5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 3
The third week of the 2019 NFL season had more than its fair share of incidents, both notable and strange in equal measure. There were at least two moments worthy of high praise.
Two quarterbacks set new records in their excellent careers, namely Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes. Brady had his 71st career game with 300 passing yards and two touchdowns, the second most behind Drew Brees (93). Mahomes, in passing for 374 yards and three touchdowns for the Kansas City Chiefs against the Baltimore Ravens, established new marks for passing yards and touchdowns for a player through 20 regular games. No other player has more than Mahomes 6,576 yards and 60 touchdowns after 20 games. We are seeing something truly special in this youngster.
Here are five other stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- from Week 3 of the season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars' Defense Had 9 Sacks
The Jacksonville Jaguars, far from perfect themselves on offense on Thursday night, made sure that Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota had plenty of reasons to remember his matchup. The Jaguars' defense sacked Mariota nine times, marking the 11th time since 2010 the Jaguars have inflicted five or more sacks in a single game.
The game marked the eighth time that Mariota has suffered five or more sacks in a game since 2015. Russell Wilson (10), Aaron Rodgers and Tyrod Taylor (nine) are the only players with more games with five or more sacks in this time.
The Jags will be hoping that they can continue to bring the heat in Week 4 when they take on Joe Flacco and the Denver Broncos. Flacco has endured 11 sacks so far this season, including six against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3.
Dalvin Cook Had His 3rd Consecutive Game with 100-Yard Game
The Minnesota Vikings' offense is certainly not producing great numbers through the air, but running back Dalvin Cook is thoroughly enjoying the impact Gary Kubiak is having on his career. Cook rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, his third straight game with at 100-plus rushing yards and a touchdown.
Cook is the first Vikings running back with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games since Adrian Peterson back in 2015. He is the first running back to start the season with 100-plus yards in Weeks 1, 2 and 3 since DeMarco Murray did it for the Dallas Cowboys in 2015.
Cook is one of only five players in NFL history with 110-plus rushing yards and touchdown in each of his teams first three games of a season. The other players on this list are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They are Jim Brown (1958), O.J. Simpson (1975), Emmitt Smith (1995) and Curtis Martin (2004).
Cook will have his work cut out for him if he wants to extend his streak to four games, as the Vikings take on the Chicago Bears in their next contest. The Bears have allowed just two running backs to amass 100-plus rushing yards over the last four seasons.
Peterson was the last Vikings back to go over the century mark against the Bears, all the way back in Week 13 of the 2013 season. But this should not deter anyone from starting Cook, given his current form and the current tendencies of the Vikings. The Vikings have a pass-to-run ratio of 1.06 in neutral-game situations this season.
Darren Waller Had 13 Receptions for 134 Yards
On the other side of the field from Cook in Week 3, Raiders tight end Darren Waller continued his strong start to 2019. Cook saw 14 targets against the Vikings and came down with 13 receptions for 134 yards. Both of these figures are the second-most in a single game by a Raiders tight end since 2000. Brandon Myers had 15 targets and 14 receptions in a Week 13 loss to the Cleveland Browns back in 2012.
Through three weeks of the season, Waller has 26 receptions for 267 yards, although he has yet to find the end zone. No tight end in Raiders history has more receptions through Weeks 1-3 than this. Waller went past the previous record on Sunday, surpassing Todd Christensen, who had 22 grabs in the first three weeks of the 1985 season.
Waller has long since shed the streaming tag and has emerged as the one true must-start on the Raiders offense in fantasy terms (Josh Jacobs is in that mix, too). He currently sits as the overall TE3 in PPR leagues. He could be in for another big day in Week 4, as the Raiders take on the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are allowing 16.0 PPR points per game to the tight end position in 2019 and allowed Austin Hooper to catch two touchdowns against them in Week 3.
Luke Falk Averaged -0.53 Passing NEP Per Drop Back
Playing against a Bill Belichick defense is a daunting prospect for a young quarterback, especially one making his first career start. Luke Falk was set up to fail, and he managed to do so for the New York Jets on Sunday.
Falk completed a mere 12 of his 22 pass attempts for 98 yards against the New England Patriots, throwing an interception and taking five sacks. Falk became just the sixth quarterback since 2000 to throw for less than 100 yards on 20-plus pass attempts in his first career start.
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Going by our metrics, Falk's per-play performance was just as bad as it sounds.
Falk averaged -0.53 Adjusted Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, the lowest among all quarterbacks with at least 20 attempts in Week 3. The Jets' 105 yards of total offense was the lowest achieved against a Belichick Patriots team.
Gang Green will be hoping Sam Darnold is back to health following their Week 4 bye, as another game with Falk under center will be more than many observers can take.
Daniel Jones Had 336 Passing Yards and 4 Total Touchdowns
As bad of a day as Falk had, another New York-based quarterback making his first career start had a much more productive afternoon. In the first game in place of Eli Manning as the New York Giants' starter, Daniel Jones passed for 336 yards and two passing scores, whilst adding another two scores on the ground, as he led the Giants to their largest come-from-behind win in 49 years, topping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jones is the first rookie with at least 300 passing yards, two passing scores and two rushing touchdowns in a single game since 1970. Jones' achievement has only been matched by anyone 18 times previously, with the last two occasions both occurring in Week 16 of the 2018 season. Aaron Rodgers (442 yards, two passing and two rushing touchdowns) managed it against the Jets, while Deshaun Watson (339, two and two) did it against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jones is only the third Giants quarterback to rush for two scores in the same game and the first since Jeff Hostetler in 1991. Jones scored 36.2 fantasy points on Sunday, the most by a rookie quarterback in his first career start in NFL history. It surpassed the previous best of 30.7, achieved by Cam Newton in 2011. Manning had one game with more fantasy points than Jones' tally in his entire time with the Giants, scoring 38 fantasy points against the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 of 2015. That was one of only two 30-plus fantasy games of Manning’s career.
It's only one game, but Jones is on the streaming radar for Week 4 as the Giants take on Washington. With star running back Saquon Barkley out, the Giants may have to rely on Jones and the passing game against the NFC East cellar dwellers. Indeed, Jones is listed as a "buy" in our own JJ Zachariason's 15 Transactions this week.