5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 6
With six weeks of the 2020 NFL season gone, we are down to only three unbeaten teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans joined the Seattle Seahawks at 5-0, with the two AFC rivals meeting soon in a mouth-watering clash.
At the other end of the scale, only one team has yet to taste victory this season -- the New York Jets. If the Jets' game against the Miami Dolphins is anything to go by, in the words of Elton John, I think it's going to be a long, long time before the Jets get their first W of the year.
Here are five stats to know -- both traditional and our advanced statistics -- from Week 6 of the NFL season.
Drew Lock Completed 41.6% of his Passes in Denver's Win
Sunday was a stellar day for fans of the "Quarterback Wins" argument, as Drew Lock "led" his Denver Broncos side to an 18-12 win over the New England Patriots. The W will go for Lock in his career stats, but he was far from the driving force behind the victory.
Lock completed just 10 of his 24 pass attempts for 189 scoreless yards while also tossing a pair of interceptions. His counting stats were terrible, while his per-play efficiency wasn't much better. Lock averaged -0.21 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play against the Patriots, the fifth-worst mark in Week 6 among quarterbacks with at least 20 pass attempts.
The Broncos' victory, despite the inaccuracy of their quarterback, was something of a record-breaker. Lock completed just 41.6% of his pass attempts on Sunday, the lowest completion percentage by a quarterback in a victory over the Patriots since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000. The previous low came in 2005, when Jake Delhomme completed 42.3% of his passes in a 27-17 victory for the Carolina Panthers.
All told, eight quarterbacks have defeated the Belichick Patriots after completing 50% or fewer of their passes (minimum 20 attempts). Lock also became just the second quarterback to toss multiple picks and win on the road against the Patriots during Belichick's reign. The only other player to "achieve" this feat was Kurt Warner back in 2001.
Derrick Henry Totaled 40.4 PPR Points
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry got off to a slowish start to the 2020 season, but he is heating up nicely in the last couple of weeks. On Sunday, Henry treated the world to one of his vintage displays of dominance. He rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns against the Houston Texans with a further 52 receiving yards as the Titans saw off their divisional rivals with a 42-36 overtime victory.
Henry's deeds helped him him finish the day with 40.4 PPR points, the highest total by any player in Week 6. It's also the fourth most points in a single game by a running back this season, trailing Joe Mixon (42.1 in Week 5), Alvin Kamara (44.7 in Week 3), and Aaron Jones (45.6 in Week 2).
Henry is the first player in NFL history to have a 200-yard rushing game in three consecutive seasons. He rushed for 238 yards in 2018 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and 211 yards in Week 17 of the 2019 season. His unlucky victims that day were also the Texans.
The biggest highlight of Henry's day was an incredible 94-yard touchdown, which marked his second career rushing score of at least 90 yards. Henry's 2018 game against the Jaguars featured a 99-yard rushing touchdown. Henry is now one of five players with at least two rushing scores of 90-plus yards in their career. The other four players are Ahman Green, Lamar Miller, Chris Johnson, and the great Bo Jackson.
D'Andre Swift Scored 27.3 PPR Points
The Detroit Lions have kept rookie running back D'Andre Swift on something of a tight leash in the first five weeks of the season. Swift has seen a 15% opportunity rate so far this campaign with no more than five carries in any game. They finally unleashed the beast on Sunday against the Jaguars and got the rewards for doing so.
Swift rushed 14 times against the Jaguars and finished with 116 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Swift had gained only 42 rushing yards all season before Week 6. Swift also saw four targets for the second week in a row, although he was able to post just three catches for seven yards.
Swift scored 27.3 PPR points on Sunday, trailing only Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake among all running backs in Week 6. Swift's tally of fantasy points was the most by a Lions back since Week 14 of the 2017 season, when Theo Riddick also managed 27.3 points (against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
You have to go even further back for the last time a running back for the Lions managed a 100-yard rushing game with two scores. The last player to do so was Kevin Smith, and it was way back in Week 11 of the 2011 season. Smith ran for 140 yards and two scores in a 49-35 win over the Panthers.
Matt Ryan Threw 4 Touchdown Passes
The last few weeks have been awful for Matt Ryan -- in both reality and fantasy. Between Week 3 and 5, Ryan averaged fewer than 250 passing yards a contest while throwing for exactly one touchdown. He also received a lukewarm long-term endorsement from the owner of the Atlanta Falcons regarding his future as the Falcons signal-caller. On Sunday, Ryan rolled back the years with a truly dominant outing against the Minnesota Vikings.
Ryan completed 30 of his 40 pass attempts for 371 yards and four touchdowns, two to Julio Jones. Ryan's efforts saw the Falcons run out 40-23 winners over the Vikings and also saw him finished as the overall QB2 on the week with 31.6 fantasy points. He'd averaged a mere 12.7 in his previous three games.
Ryan and his fantasy managers will be hoping that this marks the turning of a corner for the veteran quarterback as he has another juicy matchup in Week 7. The Falcons take on the Lions, a team that has allowed at least 240 yards and multiple passing scores in every game this season bar one. Even in that one, Gardner Minshew was able to rush for a score to add to his 243 yards and one passing touchdown.
Justin Jefferson Scored 39.6 PPR Points
Sunday's blowout loss to the Falcons was another low point in a season so far full of them for the Vikings. The one bright spot they have gleaned from the opening six weeks of the season should be that they have unearthed something special in Justin Jefferson
Jefferson caught nine of his 11 targets against the Falcons for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Sunday marked his third 100-yard game in his last four. Jefferson already had something approaching a coming-out party in Week 3, when he scored 30.5 PPR points against the Titans. But he repeated the dose, granted mostly in garbage time, with 39.6 PPR points against the Falcons. This was the most by any wide receiver in Week 6.
Jefferson is just the second wide receiver ever to have at least two games with 30-plus PPR points in the first six games of his professional career. The last player to achieve this feat wasn't even playing in the NFL. It was Bill Groman of the 1960 Houston Oilers of the AFL who managed it on his way to a league-best 1,473 receiving yards.
After six games of his rookie season, Jefferson has 28 receptions for 537 yards. Jefferson has set a new rookie record for most receptions and yards for the Vikings in their first six games, overtaking Randy Moss. Moss had 27 grabs for 527 yards in 1998.