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Thursday, September 30, 2010
D-Gaps: More yards allowed, more wins?

By Jason Vida

(Filling you in on what you may have missed on the "other" side of the ball this week)

Three weeks into the season and across the league teams are winning despite surrendering obscene amounts of yardage. The 16 winners in Week 3 allowed a total of 5,752 yards (359.5 per game) and 73 MORE total yards than they gained. That’s right, losers gained more total yards than winners last week.

Five teams -- the Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears -- won despite being outgained by at least 100 yards. A team has been outgained by triple digits 24 times in 2010, and those teams’ record is 12-12.

Last year, teams which were outgained by at least 100 yards were 18-102 (.176 win percentage). That number is in line with what we've seen from teams outgained by that much dating to the merger. From 1970-2009, teams were 638-2,949-21 (.180 win percentage). So over the previous 40 seasons, teams won 18 percent of the time when being outgained by triple digits. So far in 2010, they're winning 50 percent of the time.

Ware, Cowboys defense secures first win
Needing a win to avoid an 0-3 start, the Cowboys got a huge performance from their defense -- especially linebacker DeMarcus Ware -- against the Houston Texans. Ware recorded three sacks and six tackles, five for a loss. Since sacks became an official stat in 1982, a Cowboys player has registered at least three sacks in a game 20 times. Ware has done it six times, two more than any other Cowboy. Among active players, only Julius Peppers, with seven, has more three-sack games than Ware.

The rest of the defense combined to force their first three turnovers of the season as Dallas finished plus-three in turnover margin. The Cowboys have won 15 straight games with a plus-three or better in the turnover column since losing to the Cardinals in 1997.

McNabb needs to keep it short vs Eagles secondary
As Donovan McNabb returns to Philadelphia to face the Eagles for the first time, he would be smart to throw the ball underneath and check down frequently against a much-improved Eagles pass defense.

Quarterbacks have completed 1-of-12 passes and have a 27.8 passer rating on throws at least 20 yards downfield against the Eagles this season. The Eagles have allowed fewer completions on throws of that length than 29 of the NFL’s 32 teams in 2010. In 2008 and 2009, opponents completed 31.6 percent of throws 20 or more yards from the line of scrimmage vs Philadelphia and had a passer rating of 60.2 on those attempts.