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Thursday, November 4, 2010
D-Gaps: is Suh top defensive tackle?

By Jason Vida

Ndamukong Suh
Suh
Less than halfway through the season, Ndamukong Suh has established himself as the clear front-runner in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year race and has shown he has the potential to be the league's best pass-rushing interior lineman for years to come.

After recording two sacks Sunday vs the Washington Redskins, Suh now has six-and-a-half this season, tied for eighth in the NFL and three more than any other rookie. No defensive tackle has gotten to the QB more often than Suh, who is on pace to become the first defensive tackle to reach double digits in sacks since Warren Sapp in 2006.

Suh has contributed even when he's been kept out of the backfield, registering an interception vs the St. Louis Rams in Week 5 and a TD on a 17-yard fumble return Sunday. Suh is one of three players with a sack, interception, and fumble return TD this season, joining Tyvon Branch and Quintin Mikell. Since sacks became an official statistic in 1982, Suh is the first rookie defensive lineman with a sack, interception and fumble return TD.

Packers deliver first shutout of 2010
Through eight weeks, there have been 117 games played in the NFL and exactly one shutout. The Green Bay Packers 9-0 blanking of the Jets last Sunday was the first shutout of the NFL season. Week 8 is the latest we've had to wait for the first shutout of the season since 2005, when the New York Giants beat the Redskins 36-0 in Week 8.

Going back all the way to 1940, there have been only four seasons with no shutouts through seven weeks: 1956, 1997, 2005 and 2010. Could 2010 break the record for fewest shutouts in a season? It's possible, although it will require that no team gets blanked for the remainder of the year. Since the AFL formed in 1960, there's never been a season with only one shutout. There were two in both 1965 and 1994.

Texans defense not ready for primetime
If the Houston Texans are planning to make a playoff run for the first time in team history, someone should tell their defense. Through eight weeks, Houston is allowing an NFL-worst 404.1 yards per game and is on pace to surrender 6,465 yards in 2010. That would be the third-most yards allowed in a season in league history, behind only the 1981 Indianapolis Colts (6,793) and 2008 Detroit Lions (6,470). Those two teams finished a combined 2-30.

Each of the Texans' seven opponents have scored at least 24 points. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us this makes Houston the first team to allow 24 or more in its first seven games of the season since the 1989 Dallas Cowboys, who finished 1-15.