5 NFL Stats to Know Through Week 8

Here are some important -- and interesting -- takeaways from the eighth week of NFL action.

Week 8 was headlined by a number of star players going down with serious injuries.

It all started on Tuesday when I broke my foot in my rec league hockey game and carried over into the weekend’s NFL games.

Cameron WakeLe'Veon Bell, Steve Smith, Keenan Allen, and Reggie Bush all saw their season come to a premature ending, while Matt Forte will likely miss at least a couple of weeks as well.

It is terrible to see these players go down in the midst of a great season, but such is life in the NFL.

Meanwhile other players continued to shine, and some rebounded after a rocky start to the season.

Here are five stats to know through Week 8.

1. The 13 touchdown passes in the Saints and Giants game is the most ever in an NFL game

Previously, no game in NFL history has ever had 13 or more passing touchdowns.

The Saints were actually involved in the game that set the previous record with 12 passing touchdowns back in 1969.

Drew Brees tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes after only throwing eight all season prior to the game. He now ranks 11th in Passing Net Expected Points per play (0.19), which measures the value added or lost through passing on a per drop back basis.

Eli Manning had found the endzone 11 times prior to Week 8, including four games with multiple touchdowns and two games with 3 touchdowns apiece, but that didn’t make his 6-touchdown performance any less surprising. His 0.22 Passing NEP per play now ranks ninth among NFL quarterbacks who have attempted 50 or more pass plays this season.

There were plenty of touchdown passes to go around in this game, and seven different players had a touchdown reception

Player Team Receiving Touchdowns
Odell Beckham Giants 3
Dwayne Harris Giants 2
Willie Snead Saints 2
Brandin Cooks Saints 2
Shane Vereen Giants 1
Marques Colston Saints 1
Benjamin Watson Saints 1

Odell Beckham
led the way with three touchdowns, while his teammate Dwayne Harris had two touchdowns on only three receptions, and Shane Vereen caught his second touchdown pass of the year.

Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks each had the first multi-receiving touchdown game of their career, while Marques Colston caught his first touchdown pass of the season. Benjamin Watson now has three touchdowns across his last four games.

Don’t expect Brees to put 52 points on the board every week, but it is a good sign to see that he still has the ability for a big game.

2. Chris Johnson’s 676 rushing yards are second most in the NFL

After Chris Johnson went through training camp without signing with any team, it became safe to wonder whether he had played his last down in the NFL.

Now he is a starting running back and trails only Devonta Freeman (709) in total rushing yards this season. Through eight games, he has already eclipsed his 2014 rushing yardage and touchdown totals of the entire 2014 season and ranks among running backs with 50 or more carries as a mid-range starter in many categories. I know mid-range isn’t a big compliment, but it’s a long way from being the running back that no team wanted.

Statistic Value Rank
Rushing Yards Per Game 84.5 7th
Rushing Touchdowns 3 T-11th
Rushing NEP Per Play 0.00 18th
Rushing Success Rate 41.13% 21st

His 0.00 Rushing NEP per play is tied for the second best value of his career and his best since his 2,000 rushing yard season in 2009. 

Johnson is also having the second best season of his career in terms of Rushing Success Rate, which measures the number of rushes that contribute positively toward a player’s Rushing NEP compared to the number of rushes, and his 4.8 yards per carry is the third highest average of his career and the highest since 2009.

He still lacks consistency as he has yet to turn in double-digit fantasy performances in consecutive weeks, but he currently has the eighth most fantasy points among running backs.

3. Malcom Floyd’s 0.90 Reception NEP per target is seventh best in the league

After losing Keenan Allen for the season, Malcom Floyd will be a top wideout for the remainder of the season for the Chargers. Floyd actually ranks much higher than Allen in terms of Reception NEP per target, which measures the value added or lost through receptions on a per-target basis.

Player Rec NEP/Tar   Rec Success Rate Yards Touchdowns
Malcom Floyd 0.90 0.86 409 3
Ladarius Green 0.84 0.89 314 4
Steve Johnson 0.72 0.83 283 2
Keenan Allen 0.72 0.87 725 4
Antonio Gates 0.61 0.86 243 2

Including his injury shortened Week 8, Allen leads the league in receptions and has averaged 8 catches for 90 yards this season, which won’t be easy to replace, but Philip Rivers still has plenty of capable options to throw to in Allen’s absence.

4. Carson Palmer’s 0.37 Passing NEP per play is first in the league

Among quarterbacks with 50 or more drop backs, Carson Palmer leads the way in Passing NEP per play, barely edging out Andy Dalton and Tom Brady. All three have a score that rounds to 0.37, but Palmer's mark of 0.3740 bests Dalton's 0.3737 and Brady's 0.3693.

Palmer’s previous career high (0.21) in this category came back in his second year in the league in 2005. He is also on pace for career highs in touchdowns per game (2.5) and yards per game (298.2) and is on pace to throw the fewest interceptions of any 16-game season in his career.

He has clearly recovered from last season’s ACL tear and is on pace for the best season of his 12-year career.

5. Gary Barnidge’s 1.00 Reception NEP Per Target is first among tight ends

Among all pass catchers with 25 or more targets, Gary Barnidge trails only James Jones (1.47) in terms of Reception NEP per target.

Surprisingly, you’ll have to scroll down to fourth on the tight end list to find Rob Gronkowski (0.87), behind Barnidge, Benjamin Watson (0.93), and Crockett Gillmore (0.91).

After a slow start to the season in which he saw six targets through the first two games, Barnidge has double-digit standard fantasy points in each of his last six games. No other tight end, including Gronkowski, has more fantasy points than Barnidge in that span.

Over his six-year career prior to this year, Barnidge had 44 receptions for 603 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s on pace to shatter all of those totals in this season alone.