5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 1
The 2020 NFL season is finally underway. Despite plenty of tension and excitement, it is fair to say that not everyone was at their best in Week 1. Many players and teams will be hoping to knock off some rust and really get going for good in the coming days ahead of the next round of games. But that doesn't mean that the past weekend lacked for significant milestones.
Here are five stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- from the season's opening week.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Rushed for 138 yards and a Touchdown
In his first game against the Houston Texans, Edwards-Helaire carried the ball 25 times, amassing 138 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs' 34-20 victory. He became the eighth player with 100+ rushing yards and a touchdown in his first-ever game in Week 1 since the 2000 season. The last player to achieve this feat was Saquon Barkley in 2018, while both Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt managed it in 2017.
Edwards-Helaire's tally of 138 rushing yards was statistically even more impressive. Only seven players have amassed more rushing yards in their first career game than Edwards-Helaire since 1950. These players were Marshall Faulk (1994), Randy McMillan (1981), Cadillac Williams (2005), Hunt (2017), Billy Sims (1980), William Andrews, and Otis Anderson (1979).
The Chiefs and Edwards-Helaire take on the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2, and he may not find things quite to his liking this time out. The Chargers' defense managed to contain Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, restricted him to just 69 yards on 19 rushing attempts. But it is not usually wise to bet against the Chiefs these days, especially with Patrick Mahomes leading the offense.
A few more targets in the passing game wouldn't go amiss however. Edwards-Helaire was targeted just twice on Thursday night.
Cam Newton Rushed for Two Touchdowns
Newton rushed 15 times for 72 yards and 2 touchdowns, the seventh time in his career he has rushed for two scores. Both the carries and yards were franchise records for a quarterback.
Newton completed 15 of his 19 pass attempts for 155 scoreless yards, but he'll be hoping to pick up some more yards through the air in Week 2 when the Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks.
Despite their victory over the Atlanta Falcons, the Seahawks did allow Matt Ryan to pass for 450 yards. But Ryan has receiving talent that Newton and the Patriots can only dream off, with three receivers (Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage) all eclipsing 100 receiving yards on Sunday.
Davante Adams Caught 14 Passes for 156 yards and 2 Touchdowns
Many people had predicted that Davante Adams would be in line for a potentially record-breaking workload in 2020, given his lack of proven competition for targets in the Green Bay Packers offense. Things certainly seemed to go according to this script on Sunday.
Adams drew a league-high 17 targets in the Packers 43-34 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. He converted these into 14 receptions for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns. The most receptions Adams had previously had in a single game was 13, which he had managed twice. The last time was in Week 16 of the 2019 season.
Adams became just the second player in NFL history to have at least 14 receptions for 150 or more yards and at least 2 touchdown catches in the same game. Wes Welker posted 16 catches for 217 yards and 2 scores playing for the Patriots in Week 3 of the 2011 season.
It should be more of the same in Week 2 as the Packers take on the Detroit Lions. In his career, Adams has seen an average of 9.6 targets per game against the Lions, whilst averaging more than 16 PPR points per contest. It should surprise no one if he is among the leading wide receivers again next week.
Josh Jacobs Scored 35.90 PPR Points
Jacobs posted 35.9 fantasy points on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, the highest score by any running back in the league. He managed this feat thanks to 93 rushing yards on 25 carries with 3 rushing scores, as well as 4 grabs for 46 yards. The four catches were a new career-high.
Jacobs feat marked the fifth time a Raiders running back amassed at least 35 PPR points in a single game since the 2000 season, and the first since Darren McFadden had 41.9 in Week 14 of the 2010 season. Jacobs joins Todd Gurley as the only running backs with at least 20 carries, 3 rushing scores, and 4 receptions in a game since the start of the 2017 season.
As I previously mentioned, Jacobs has already shown a liking for the season opener. He scored twice on the ground in Week 1 of the 2019 season, his first career game. Jacobs and Lawrence Phillips are the only players in NFL history with two or more rushing scores in Week 1 of both their first and second seasons.
Jacobs retaining a role in the Raiders' passing game would certainly be welcome, especially in Week 2 with a match against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' pair of Ronald Jones and Fournette to just 71 yards on 22 rushing attempts on Sunday. While Jacobs is almost certainly a better runner than these two, the likelihood of the Raiders getting into comeback mode against the Saints could limit Jacobs' rushing attempts as Derek Carr has to take to the air.
It is worth noting that while Jacobs drew six targets against the Panthers, Devontae Booker also saw three.
Carson Wentz Managed -0.38 Passing NEP per Drop Back
Despite getting off to a fast start, things quickly went downhill for Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. They surrendered a 17-0 lead to fall to Washington 27-17. Wentz finished with 24 completions on 42 attempts, gaining 270 yards with 2 touchdowns. He also tossed a pair of interceptions. But according to our metrics, Wentz had an even more miserable game from an efficiency standpoint.
Wentz managed a pitiful -0.38 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, the lowest mark among all quarterbacks in Week 1. For further context, there were 132 instances of a quarterback passing at least 40 times in 2019. Only two players managed a single-game mark worse than Wentz among that sample. Jared Goff had -0.44 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10. Mason Rudolph of the Steelers posted a woeful -0.53 a week later against the Cleveland Browns.
Wentz also absorbed a career-high eight sacks, the most of any quarterback in Week 1. These were the most sacks against the Eagles in a single since game since the New Orleans Saints sacked Michael Vick seven times back in Week 9 of the 2012 season.
The Eagles' injury ravaged offensive line either needs to get healthier or at least better in Week 2 when the Eagles welcome the Los Angeles Rams to Philadelphia. The Rams managed to sack Dak Prescott three times on Sunday night whilst restricting him to 6.8 yards per attempt. The Eagles will also hope that Miles Sanders is healthy so they can mix up their offensive strategy. Only the New York Jets ran the ball fewer times than the Eagles this past week (16-17).