Behind the Box Score
by XL Staffer Zach Law
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Note that I’m focusing on offensive stats here. The story is long as-is and would be War and Peace if I talked about defensive numbers. This story is kind of an experiment, so I’d like to see as much feedback as possible.
New England 30, Raiders 20
Tom Brady is a stud. He saw almost no pressure and coverage wasn’t good, so what do you expect?
Deion Branch showed no rust with a studly 7/99, one touchdown performance.
Corey Dillon was terrible in the first half, but turned it on with two second-half scores.
Ben Watson caught only two balls, but looked fierce.
Troy Brown might not be the second-leading receiver every week. After the Patriots brought in what seemed like a dozen free agents, mister reliable helped them out with some drive-extending catches.
Pass Distribution (24 completions): 16 WR (2 TD), 5 RB, 3 TE
Kerry Collins put up great fantasy numbers with three touchdowns and ‘only’ one interception.
Randy Moss is uncoverable when he’s in man. The Patriots left him alone once and the result was a 73-yard touchdown.
LaMont Jordan was solid but unspectacular in his starting debut. He missed some snaps with cramps.
Jerry Porter made a few nice catches.
Courtney Anderson is going to be a top waiver selection in a lot of leagues with two short-yardage touchdowns.
Zack Crockett is the backup, not Justin Fargas.
While the focus was on Jerry Porter’s injury all week, Ronald Curry didn’t have one catch.
Pass Distribution (18 completions): 10 WR (TD), 5 RB, 3 TE(2 TD)
Kansas City 27, New York Jets 7
Priest Holmes is healthy. The Chiefs were true to their word about limiting his touches. Those who handcuffed Larry Johnson to Holmes are smiling today.
Despite throwing an end-zone pick, Trent Green seems to be healthy.
There is no apparent threat to Eddie Kennison’s position as top wideout.
Tony Gonzalez had another boring, productive day.
Green spread the ball around nicely. Some guy named Ronnie Cruz had a catch. He only got two balls to running backs.
Pass Distribution (15 completions): 9 WR, 4 TE, 2 RB
It looks like the Jets were smart to let Anthony Becht go. Chris Baker had the best stats of any tight end in the league.
Chad Pennington’s arm injury may not be healed. The injury probably had little to do with his six fumbles.
Curtis Martin played his age.
Laveranues Coles had a decent game but dropped a sure touchdown pass.
The Jets put together 350 passing yards, although they were out of the game by halftime.
Pass Distribution (27 completions): 12 WR, 9 TE(TD), 6 RB
Tampa Bay 24, Minnesota 13
Carnell Williams is going to be a workhorse. His 71-yard touchdown run sealed the game.
Brian Griese threw a couple of picks but was solid.
Alex Smith is a red-zone target. It’s going to be an interesting week for waiver-wire tight ends.
Joey Galloway only seems like he’s 42 years old.
Michael Clayton is still recovering from knee surgery. Look for his numbers to only improve.
One player noticeably absent from the box score was Michael Pittman.
Pass Distribution (18 completions): 10 WR, 5 TE(2 TD), 3 RB
Daunte Culpepper was back to his 2003 form with five turnovers, including two fumbles. In a lot of league formats he scored negative points.
The lack of a running game, especially in a close game, was painful. Moe Williams had the most touches to further cloud an uncertain situation.
Nate Burleson caught only three passes, and one poorly run route led to an interception.
Jim Kleinsasser and Jermaine Wiggins tied for the team lead in catches.
Michael Bennett couldn’t get positive rushing yards in six carries.
Mewelde Moore returned kicks but didn’t get any touches from scrimmage.
Pass Distribution (22 completions): 9 WR, 8 TE, 5 RB
Buffalo 22, Houston 7
J.P. Losman was the solid leader that the team needs at quarterback.
Willis McGahee didn’t have a killer workload but performed very well.
Eric Moulds will get the most targets, but Lee Evans is going to lead the team in receiving yards.
Jason Peters had the lovely stat line of one catch/one yard/one touchdown.
Shaud Williams is McGahee’s backup.
Losman’s going to get some decent yardage from scrambles.
Is David Carr’s honeymoon over? Either he’s not developing or the offensive line is that bad.
The entire offense was brutal.
Keep an eye on Matt Murphy, the backup tight end who had a catch. Make it your bad eye, though.
Domanick Davis couldn’t salvage a bad rushing day with his usual four or five catches. He had two.
The team’s still looking for that number two receiver.
Pass Distribution (9 completions): 4 RB, 3 WR, 2 TE
Pittsburgh 34, Tennessee 7
Willie Parker scored his first touchdown and accumulated more than 200 total yards. That’s not bad for a third-stringer.
Ben Roethlisberger had a perfect quarterback rating.
Heath Miller had a touchdown on his first NFL reception.
One downfall to eleven total pass attempts was Hines Ward’s poor receiving day. He had some solid downfield blocks, not that he needed them with the way the Titans tackled.
The Steelers had the most rushing attempts in the NFL last year. They had 41 attempts on Sunday.
Pass Distribution (9 completions): 6 WR(TD), 2 TE(TD), 1 RB
In the first half when it still was fairly close, Chris Brown nearly averaged six yards a carry.
Tight ends were huge. Erron Kinney had five receptions and Ben Troupe had four catches in his return from a foot injury. Rookie Bo Scaife had two catches.
Drew Bennett had a 53-yard grab.
Steve McNair’s interception was a red-zone pass that Drew Bennett couldn’t haul in.
One of the reasons why the Bills let Travis Henry go was his tendency to fumble. Henry dropped one on the carpet (grass).
Rob Biornas missed his first NFL field goal attempt.
Pass Distribution (18 completions): 11 TE(TD), 7 WR, 0 RB
New Orleans 23, Carolina 20
Deuce McAllister didn’t have a great YPC, but he scored two touchdowns.
Aaron Brooks was efficient if unimpressive.
With Boo Williams out for the season, Ernie Conwell came through in a big way with a team-high six receptions.
The human fumbling machine, Aaron Brooks, lost another one.
John Carney, who’s benefited from playing in a dome the past few years, calmly hit two 45+ yard kicks in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner.
Pass Distribution (18 completions): 9 WR, 7 TE, 2 RB
Stephen Davis’s remarkable recovery from microfracture knee surgery culminated in a 13-carry, 81-yard performance.
Jake Delhomme threw two interceptions in an otherwise solid performance.
Steve Smith showed that he’s back with an 138-yard receiving game.
DeShaun Foster had 12 touches in a backup role.
Other than Smith, wide receivers caught two balls. New Panther Rod Gardner didn’t have a catch.
Pass Distribution (19 completions): 10 WR(TD), 7 RB, 2 TE
Washington 9, Chicago 7
Clinton Portis had a lovely 121 rushing yards on 21 carries.
Santana Moss had a long reception of 53 yards.
John Hall scored all nine points for the Redskins.
John Hall sustained an injury in the game, so he might not play in Week Two.
Left for dead after pathetic performances in 2004, Mark Brunell came in after an injury to Patrick Ramsey and led his team to a win.
Joe Gibbs might have smiled after Portis and Ladell Betts combined for 33 carries.
Pass Distribution (14 completions): 10 WR, 4 TE
Mushin Muhammed had six catches but averaged less than ten yards per reception.
Thomas Jones had 17 touches for 45 total yards. He had a touchdown, though.
Kyle Orton had the kind of quarterback rating you expect from a rookie quarterback.
Cedric Benson had three carries in his first NFL appearance.
Who’s the number two wideout? Candidates Mark Bradley, Justin Gage, and Bernard Berrian each had one catch.
Passing Distribution (15 completions): 9 WR, 3 TE, 3 RB
Miami 34, Denver 10
Both Chris Chambers and Marty Booker had a 60-yard play. No one saw that kind of big-play ability coming from this offense.
Gus Frerotte came over with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. The pairing seems to work, as Frerotte threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Nick Saban has to like the 60 total offensive snaps.
Ronnie Brown left early with a shoulder injury, but his 23 touches means that he can carry the load.
Frerotte hit eight different receivers. He had zero pass attempts in 2004.
After another offseason of hope that Jake Plummer was finally over his turnover-prone ways, he lost two interceptions and a fumble.
Mike Anderson left early with an injury, opening the door for Tatum Bell, who was unspectacular.
Jeb Putzier didn’t start but had seven receptions. Rod Smith also had seven grabs.
Ashley Lelie was a nonfactor with two receptions.
Tatum Bell had 47 rushing yards, but 30 of them were on one attempt.
If you wanted another hole punched in the Mike-Shanahan is a genius theory, here you go.
Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 13
Carson Palmer's second year as a starting quarterback started well.
Chad Johnson didn't make any huge plays but was solid.
Rudi Johnson did not disappoint after getting the big contract extension.
Rudi did miss a meeting this way, leading to Chris Perry getting the start. Perry had ten touches.
Third-year wideout Kevin Walter was a surprise in the slot.
It's hard to tell if the offense is that good or if the Browns are that bad.
Pass Distribution (26 completions): 18 WR(TD), 8 RB
Frisman Jackson will be a top waiver wire pickup. He had 203 career receiving yards before Sunday's
Rueben Droughns is the starting running back.
Trent Dilfer had three turnovers.
Reuben Droughns also returned five kickoffs.
Braylon Edwards started slowly with only two catches.
If Droughns gets most of the carries, that won't leave much for William Green with Lee Suggs coming back soon.
Pass Distribution (26 completions): 19 WR(TD), 3 TE, 3 RB, 1 Center (Jeff Faine caught a deflected pass)
Jacksonville 26, Seattle 14
Fred Taylor's knee seems OK. He had 22 total touches.
Jimmy Smith, now more than 36 years old, is still the
team's number one threat.
Byron Leftwich was efficient and did not turn the ball over.
Matt Jones wasn't an impact player, but he did have two receptions, two rushes and one completion.
Reggie Williams was a deep threat in college but in the NFL he's still a possession guy.
Passing Distribution (18 completions): 14 WR(2 TD), 3 RB, 1 TE
Matt Hasselbeck had four turnovers.
Bobby Engram looks like a solid number two receiver.
The Seahawks led until the middle of the third quarter and Shaun Alexander only had 14 touches?
Joe Jurevicius as the slot receiver looks like a solid pickup. If Peter Warrick gets involved in the passing game Hasselbeck can't complain about having too few options.
According to passer rating, Hasselbeck was the third-best QB on the field this Sunday.
Jerramy Stevens may have finally won the starting TE job from Itula Mili.
Passing Distribution (21 completions): 17 WR (2 TD), 3 TE, 1 RB
San Francisco 28, St. Louis 25
Tim Rattay was efficient enough to hold onto the starter's role for a while.
Whatever training regimen that Kevan Barlow tried in the offseason didn't work.
Arnaz Battle's about to have a breakout season. He and Brandon Lloyd are a solid set of wide receivers.
All that talk about Frank Gore taking over the starting running back role seems to have some weight.
Like Matt Jones, Battle was used in three different roles.
The offense was pretty pitiful if you look closely at the numbers. Eric Johnson needs to come back and give Rattay another option.
Passing Distribution (13 completions): 9 WR(2 TD), 4 RB
Even though he threw the big interception at the end of the game, Marc Bulger was fantastic. Three receivers had at least seven grabs, and he hit nine different targets.
Torry Holt's pretty darn good.
Mike Martz is still afraid of the running game.
Shaun McDonald and Kevin Curtis had 14 receptions and neither guy is on the field every down. This offense will give defensive coordinators nightmares.
With four total touches, it's not Marshall Faulk's team anymore.
The Rams almost doubled the 49ers in total yardage, had a plus-one turnover ratio and still lost.
Passing Distribution (34 completions): 28 WR(2 TD), 4 RB, 2 TE
Dallas 28, San Diego 24
For a week at least, Drew Bledsoe is rejuvenated.
Julius Jones had 29 touches. Anthony Thomas had three.
Keyshawn Johnson had his usual five receptions, but two were for scores.
Patrick Crayton looked pretty good from the slot.
Maybe Drew Bledsoe forgot that he had an All-Pro tight end. Jason Witten had more penalties than receptions.
Bledsoe was sacked four times. That might catch up if it's a weekly thing.
If there was any doubt about Julius Jones being the workhorse, it's over.
Passing Distribution (18 completions): 14 WR(3 TD), 3 RB, 1 TE
Drew Brees had the fewest interceptions by a starting QB in the NFL in 2004. On Sunday he had two.
Keenan McCardell stepped up in a big way due to Antonio Gates's suspension.
LaDainian Tomlinson's YPC was similar to 2004.
Tomlinson had only 19 touches. With their other big weapon out, that number is quite low.
Justin Peele had negative four receiving yards. He didn't exactly step up.
Only two receivers had more than two catches. Brees needs to spread the ball around a bit more.
Passing Distribution (18 completions): 15 WR(2 TD), 2 TE, 1 RB
New York Giants 42, Arizona 19
Plaxico Burress was a good pickup for the Giants, considering that Amani Toomer didn’t show up.
Tiki Barber didn’t have a ton of touches but made the most of them.
Brandon Jacobs had his first NFL touchdown. He fits the offense a lot better than Ron Dayne.
Eli Manning was the quarterback on a team that scored 42 points, but his numbers were south of mediocre.
Four guys with receptions is a pretty low number.
Tiki Barber had the low YPC among running backs, and that was 4.8.
Defense and special teams were the stars of the game.
Pass Distribution (10 completions): 6 WR(TD), 2 RB(TD), 2 TE
Larry Fitzgerald is Kurt Warner’s new best friend.
So far, the J.J. Arrington experiment has been a failure. That’s about as bad a running day as you’ll see in the NFL.
There are worse complementary options at wide receiver than Anquan Boldin.
Kurt Warner was the team’s leading rusher. His passing day was decent.
Obafemi Ayanbadejo had five receptions. Try saying his name three times fast.
Josh McCown didn’t exactly create a QB controversy with his relief appearance.
Pass Distribution (32 completions): 20 WR(TD), 11 RB, 1 TE
Detroit 17, Green Bay 3
Most of the focus on the Lions was on their three first-rounders at wide receiver. Marcus Pollard led the team in receptions. Nice signing there.
Here’s the key to Joey Harrington’s day: Zero turnovers. His passing numbers were solid.
The team leaned on Kevin Jones.
Kevin Johnson was the wide receiver with the most yards. Roy Williams, Charles Rogers, and Mike Williams combined for four catches, although Mike Williams did get a touchdown.
Charles Rogers didn’t break anything.
The Lions won, but the Packers aren’t supposed to be anything on defense.
Pass Distribution (15 completions): 6 WR(TD), 5 TE(TD), 4 RB
Brett Favre had a terrible game. He’s in great shape, though.
Ahman Green wasn’t used very much. His five catches are promising.
Donald Driver was the leading wide receiver, which is a good thing because Javon Walker tore his ACL.
For a team trailing by a touchdown most of the game, the Packers seemed to abandon the run.
When the top candidates had 15 total receiving yards, it’s hard to tell who’s going to be the new starting wide receiver opposite Donald Driver.
Favre spread the ball around nicely. He hit eleven different guys if you count the interceptions.
Pass Distribution (27 completions): 12 RB, 10 WR, 5 TE
Indianapolis 24, Baltimore 7
The Ravens held the Colts in check until the second half.
Peyton Manning didn’t seem too bothered by the Ravens vaunted defense.
Edgerrin James had a decent game.
Brandon Stokley looks recovered from his preseason injury.
Marvin Harrison always finds a way to get into the end zone.
What happened to Dallas Clark? Backup Ben Utecht had the one catch and touchdown.
It’s going to be hard to figure out who will be the leading receiver from week to week. Harrison, Stokley, and Wayne all look like good starts every week, again.
Pass Distribution (21 completions): 17 WR(2 TD), 3 RB, 1 TE
Jamal Lewis was not sharp.
Derrick Mason had a good game on a bad passing team.
It didn’t matter which quarterback was in the game. Four turnovers from the position is inexcusable.
Daniel Wilcox had eight catches.
Almost half of the receptions were by tight ends. It’s doubtful that Wilcox has the most catches from the position but it’s worth watching.
Mark Clayton looks like the complementary wide receiver that he was drafted to be.
Kyle Boller didn’t have the confidence of his teammates. Now he’s going to miss a few weeks. That’s not good.
Pass Distribution (34 completions): 16 WR, 15 TE(TD), 3 RB
Atlanta 14, Eagles 10
The Falcons had more than 200 rushing yards. That’s always a good start.
Mike Jenkins was the long-awaited deep threat.
Alge Crumpler got the most targets, as usual.
Mike Vick had three turnovers and still won. He’s good at that.
Looking at the numbers, the team’s not much different than the 2004 version.
After two first-quarter touchdowns, the Falcons couldn’t even get a field-goal attempt.
Jenkins made one nice play, but the wide receivers didn’t contribute otherwise.
Pass Distribution (12 completions): 5 WR, 5 TE, 2 RB
Terrell Owens had his usual 100-yard effort.
Brian Westbrook had more receiving yards than rushing yards, which isn’t unusual.
Donovan McNabb had three costly turnovers.
The Eagles need more help from complimentary guys like L.J. Smith.
Greg Lewis looked like a competent second option.
Fourteen rushing attempts isn’t going to cut it.
Pass Distribution (24 completions): 8 RB (TD), 7 T.O., 6 other WR, 3 TE