Stats & Info: Charles Woodson

Defense won't save the Packers

November, 12, 2013

AP Photo/Mike Roemer With Aaron Rodgers on the sideline, the struggling Packers defense is exposed.

The Packers are No. 13 in the Week 11 Power Rankings, their lowest rank since Week 7 of the 2010 season (15th).

With Aaron Rodgers on the sideline, it’s easy to pin the dip on backups Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien. The two have combined for a 24.2 Total QBR the past two weeks, a far cry from Rodgers’ fifth-ranked 70.3 QBR this season.

The offense wasn’t expected to perform at the same level without Rodgers and with just one touchdown on seven red zone drives without him, it’s clear it hasn’t.

But without Rodgers and the offense matching opponents on the scoreboard, a struggling Packers defense has become more and more exposed.

No Turnovers

The Packers have intercepted three passes this season, fewest in the NFL. This is in stark contrast to the previous four years of the Dom Capers era, when the Packers recorded 103 interceptions, 17 more than the next highest team.

The Packers’ interception leader from 2009 to 2012 was Charles Woodson (19), who signed with the Raiders in the offseason. Woodson’s veteran presence not only led to interceptions for himself, but also for others.

Tramon Williams was second on the Packers during that stretch with 16 interceptions. Williams played nearly 400 snaps more than Woodson in their last four seasons together, but recorded only one of his interceptions with Woodson off field. Williams has no interceptions this season despite playing the most defensive snaps for Green Bay.

On the whole, the Packers averaged an interception once every 20.7 attempts from 2009 to 2012 with Woodson on field, and once every 29.9 attempts with Woodson off field.

This season the Packers have averaged an interception once every 101 attempts.

No stops in the fourth quarter

In Week 10, the Eagles were able to run out the final 9:32 of game time. In Week 9, the Bears killed 8:58 of game time in the fourth quarter on an 18-play, 80-yard drive. This inability to stop opposing offenses when it matters has been a trend for the Packers this season.

The Packers have allowed an NFL-worst nine drives of at least 10 plays in the fourth quarter this season (in nine games played) despite allowing six such drives in the first three quarters.

Breaking instead of bending

Most of the long fourth quarter drives against Green Bay have resulted in touchdowns. The Packers have allowed a touchdown on 42 percent of opponent drives in the fourth quarter this season, 10 percentage points worse than the next highest team (Falcons) and 24 percentage points worse than the league average.

The Packers have allowed more touchdowns throughout the game, however. Twenty-four percent of all drives against the Packers this season have resulted in a touchdown, worst of the Capers era and twice as frequent as the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl season.

Getty Images, US Presswire
Brady Hoke is trying to do something Bo Schembechler & Lloyd Carr couldn’t do, beat Michigan State in his 1st year. No 1st-year Michigan head coach has beaten MSU since Bennie Oosterbaan in 1948.

Every Friday during college football season, we're taking fans' questions and answering them on our blog. You can send questions to our Twitter account @ESPNStatsInfo. Be sure to follow so you can tweet us your questions (facts, not opinions) and we'll answer the best of the best.

When was the last time Michigan State beat Michigan three times in a row? How many times did it happen?
-- asked by @ahmedmulla

The last time the Spartans won three straight against the Wolverines (prior to this current 3-game win streak) was 1965-67. This is their fifth winning streak of three games or more in the series. Their longest winning streak was four games, most recently from 1959-62.

When is the last time Ohio State started 3-3 and how did its season end?
-- asked by @A_S_Nowak

Ohio State is 3-3 for the first time since 2004, when the Buckeyes rallied to finish 8-4 and beat Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl. That year was also the last time that the Buckeyes lost their first two Big Ten games (started 0-3) and failed to win at least a share of the Big Ten title.

Has Georgia ever started 0-2 and still won the SEC East?
-- asked by @jcharris08

Georgia has started 0-2 twice since the SEC split into divisions in 1992. The Bulldogs failed to qualify for a bowl game in either season. In 1993, they finished 5-6 (2-6 in SEC). They also finished 5-6 in 1996, when they picked up three SEC games. Even before the SEC broke into divisions, none of Georgia’s conference championships followed 0-2 starts.

What's the most points Texas has given up in back-to-back weeks?
-- asked by @andtinez

After allowing 55 points to Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, the Longhorns face the nation’s top scoring team (Oklahoma State). They would have to allow 45 points against the Cowboys to break the school record for most points allowed in back-to-back weeks. Texas allowed 33 points to Texas Tech and 66 points to Houston in 1988. In Mack Brown’s first month in Austin, the Longhorns allowed 97 points in consecutive games to UCLA and Kansas State.

How many players have won the Heisman Trophy, National Championship and a Super Bowl?
-- asked by @CTL2028

Including Reggie Bush, who since forfeited the 2005 award, seven players have won the Heisman Trophy and a Super Bowl ring. Bush joins Charles Woodson, Marcus Allen and Tony Dorsett as the only players to also claim a national championship during college.

Wisconsin just missed having three 1,000-yard rushers in 2010. Has that ever been done?
-- asked by @JonFeyen

Nevada in 2009 was the only team with three players to reach 1,000 yards rushing in the same season - Vai Taua (1,345), Colin Kaepernick (1,183), and Luke Lippincott (1,034). By the way, Wisconsin was one of 52 teams to have two players reach the 1,000 mark in the same season.

Manning, Colts eye another playoff spot

July, 25, 2011
The NFL finally is ready to get back to work, much to the joy of armchair quarterbacks everywhere. Predicting Super Bowl teams in the summer and top performers in training camp is often an exercise in futility, but we can use past performance to give us some idea of what we’ll see in the upcoming season. Here are the notable milestones that can be reached -- or even extended -- this season.

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning 300-Yard Games
With his next 300-yard game, Manning will pass Dan Marino for the most 300-yard passing games in history. Both have 63, one ahead of Brett Favre. Manning has thrown for at least 300 yards in Week 1 each of the last two seasons.

Colts Consecutive Playoff Appearances
If they make the postseason in 2011, the Colts will set a record for most consecutive playoff appearances (10). Indianapolis shares the record with the Cowboys, who made nine straight playoff appearances from 1975-83.

Tom Brady's Record Streaks
Brady enters 2011 on two record streaks, and is likely to extend both to unprecedented levels. He’s thrown 335 straight regular-season passes without an interception, a streak dating to Week 6 of 2010. No one has ever thrown more than 308 consecutive regular-season passes without being intercepted. Brady also has won 28 regular-season starts home starts, also an NFL record. The mark used to belong to Brett Favre, who won 25 straight at Lambeau Field from 1995-98.

Brady and Belichick Better Together
Brady and Bill Belichick have won 111 regular-season games together, the second-most wins by a head coach-starting quarterback combination. They could tie Marino and Don Shula as early as Week 5 against the Jets and pass them the following week against the Cowboys.

Adrian Peterson’s Strong Start
One of only seven players with 5,000 rushing yards and 50 rushing TDs in his first four seasons, Peterson could join an even more exclusive club. Peterson has had at least 1,000 yards and 10 rushing TDs in each of his four seasons. If he does that again in 2011, he’ll join LaDainian Tomlinson as the only players to reach those levels in their first five seasons.

Chasing Rod Woodson
He holds the record for both interception return touchdowns and interception return yards, yet Woodson could be passed on both lists. Darren Sharper (11) and Charles Woodson (10) are within striking distance of Woodson’s 12 career interception return TDs. Sharper needs 72 interception return yards to pass Woodson; the Ravens' Ed Reed is even closer, 45 yards behind Woodson (1,483 to 1,438).

Another Record for Devin Hester?
Last season, he broke the record for most combined punt and kickoff return TDs, passing Brian Mitchell with his 14th return TD. Hester could set another record in 2011, one that actually exists in the NFL Record and Fact Book. Hester’s 10 career punt return touchdowns currently are tied with Eric Metcalf for the most in league history.

Top 5 For Tomlinson
With 13,404 yards rushing, Tomlinson could climb from sixth to fourth on the career rushing yards list. He needs 259 yards to pass Jerome Bettis for fifth, and 698 to pass Curtis Martin for fourth. The Elias Sports Bureau also tells us Tomlinson could set another record. If he rushes for 100 yards and two touchdowns in a game, it will be his 26th such game, breaking a tie with Jim Brown for the most in league history.

Exploring the Charles Woodson effect

February, 5, 2011
Charles Woodson
One interesting dynamic to look for in Super Bowl XLV will involve two of the most versatile defenders to play in the NFL the last ten seasons. While many attest to the effect of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, we look to measure the "Charles Woodson Effect" and the impact he could have on Sunday's game.

As the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year -- a torch passed to Polamalu on Monday -- Woodson is a major player for the Packers defense. ESPN's Next-Level tracking team analyzed all 172 defensive snaps against the Green Bay Packers this postseason to anticipate what effect Woodson could have against the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

Woodson lined up in zone or single-man pass coverage on 138 snaps, or 80.2 percent of the time. The other 19.8 percent of time (34 snaps), he was lined up in support of pressure against the quarterback or run and did so within the confines of the "box" on 28 of those. The 19.8 percent is high considering during the regular season, the Packers sent a member of the secondary for pass pressure on 21.3 percent of all dropbacks, which was 7th in the NFL.

Breaking down the 138 snaps in which he was in pass coverage, he was the defender responsible for eight targets and the closest defender in zone coverage on four more. So opposing quarterbacks threw in his vicinity less than 10 percent of the time (8.7 percent) he was lined up in pass coverage.

In terms of disruption, Woodson was able to penetrate the offensive backfield on 22.7 percent of all plays, 39 times in total. On 11 such plays, Woodson lined-up across from a skill player in coverage, disguised before the snap. His presence in the backfield helped run blitzes as well as pass pressures. Green Bay did not allow a touchdown on the 17 running plays where he disrupted the backfield. His pressures helped open opportunities for other teammates as well, such as Clay Matthews, who recorded the biggest tackle for loss on any non-sack play by the Packers this postseason (a tackle of Chester Taylor for a 3-yard loss in the NFC Championship).

Opposing quarterbacks were 11-for-19 with one interception and sacked three times with a 66.1 passer rating when the Packers sent Woodson for pass pressure from the defensive backfield. The 66.1 passer rating is better than the NFL regular-season average rating of 80.4 when using one or more defensive backs on pass pressure, but worse than the Packers regular season rating of 54.9 (2nd in NFL).

Additionally, the Packers are averaging a sack per game (three sacks in three playoff games) when using secondary pressure. Only the Seattle Seahawks averaged a sack per game with secondary pressure during the 16-game season.

In what could be a game decided by defense, Woodson and Polamalu will each play the role of a queen on the chess board in Dallas, moving anywhere and everywhere in hopes of being the key to winning Super Bowl XLV.
For the second time in the last three seasons, a Pittsburgh Steeler has been named the AP Defensive Player of the Year.

Safety Troy Polamalu is the 2010 winner, two years after teammate James Harrison took home the award. It's the seventh time a Steeler has won the award, that's by far the most by one franchise. (The Giants are second with four.)

Despite missing two games this season, Polamalu finished tied for second in the NFL with seven interceptions. Since 2008, the only players who have more interceptions than Polamalu’s 17 are Ed Reed, Asante Samuel (20 each) and Charles Woodson (18).

In addition to seven interceptions, Polamalu also had five tackles for loss. According to ESPN video analysis, the Washington Redskins' DeAngelo Hall was the only other player with five interceptions and five tackles for loss this season.

Just how important is the eight-year safety to the Steelers' success? Since 2009 (including playoffs):

• The Steelers are 15-4 when he plays, 6-7 when he does not;

• Pittsburgh averages 2.3 takeaways per game with Polamalu in the lineup (1.0 when he’s out);

• Opponents average 14.5 points when he plays, 21.5 when he does not;

• 9-0 when he has an interception;

• 9-1 when he has at least five tackles.

Has this award translated to Super Bowl success? In recent history the answer is yes. Polamalu is the fifth player in the last 20 seasons to win the award in the same year his team went to the Super Bowl. The previous four players (2008 James Harrison, 2002 Derrick Brooks, 2000 Ray Lewis, 1994 Deion Sanders) all played for the winning Super Bowl team.
The Detroit Lions are streaking once again ... in the opposite direction.

The Lions have now lost:
• 23 straight road games, one shy of their own NFL record of 24 set from 2001-04.

• 18 straight divisional games, which is the longest such streak since the merger in 1970.

• 19 straight road games against the Packers.

• 10 straight overall to Green Bay.

Charles Woodson now has now returned 10 interceptions for touchdowns, that's third in NFL history behind Rod Woodson (12) and Darren Sharper (11).

While the Lions have lost 18 straight divisional games, the St. Louis Rams snapped a 15-game division losing streak, beating the Seattle Seahawks, 20-3. The Rams have won consecutive games for the first time since weeks six and seven of the 2008 season.

LaDainian Tomlinson registered his 25th career game with 100 rushing yards and two rushing touchdows. His teams are 25-0 when he does that. It also tied Jim Brown for the most such games in NFL history.

Dustin Keller has five TD receptions this season, matching his total from 2008-09 combined.

Against the New England Patriots last week, the Buffalo Bills scored 30 points. In their three other games combined, they have scored 31 points.
Terrell Owens recorded his third career 200-yard receiving game. Since 1970, only Jerry Rice (4) has more. Owens now has 15,325 career receiving yards, passing Isaac Bruce for second in NFL history.

The Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan is now 12-0 at home against NFC opponents.

For the first time in franchise history, each of the New Orleans Saints first four games of the season have been decided by five points or fewer.

D-Gaps: Two-way trouble for Jets D

September, 16, 2010
Filling you in on what you may have missed on the "other" side of the ball this week:

Loss of Kris Jenkins a blow to Jets Kris Jenkins
Need proof that losing Kris Jenkins for the rest of 2010 will leave a sizable hole in the New York Jets rush defense? Jenkins played in six games last season before being placed on injured reserve after tearing the ACL in his left knee late in the Jets' Week Six loss to the Buffalo Bills. In those six games, New York allowed 215 yards on 72 rushes up the middle, an average of 3.0 yards per carry (fifth-best in the NFL through six weeks). With Jenkins out of the lineup, opponents averaged 3.4 yards per rush on carries up the gut and were more successful at moving the chains when rushing up the middle.

Anquan Boldin, Ravens show holes in Jets secondary
Despite the much-anticipated arrival of Darrelle Revis, Jets fans have reason to be concerned about their team's vaunted pass defense. Anquan Boldin registered 110 yards on seven catches Monday night, becoming just the second player to have a 100-yard receiving game against the Jets since the start of last season (Wes Welker had 192 yards on 15 catches last November). But Boldin didn't just work underneath, stretching the Jets defense with receptions of 38 and 27 yards. Since Rex Ryan's arrival in New York, Boldin is the first wideout to have multiple catches of 25 or more yards in a game against the Jets.

Depth at cornerback could be an issue for the Jets secondary. In his NFL debut, rookie Kyle Wilson was flagged for two costly penalties resulting in automatic first downs for the Ravens on 3rd-and-28 and 3rd-and-10. For what it's worth, the Ravens faced third-and-10 or more 55 times in 2009, converting only 11 times (20 percent).

Clay Matthews makes short work of Eagles Clay Matthews
Former USC Trojans teammate Brian Cushing might have won the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year Award last season, but with his week one performance, Clay Matthews showed that he may very well be the league’s best young linebacker. Matthews finished with two sacks, seven solo tackles, a forced fumbled and a pass defensed on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, becoming the first Green Bay Packers defender to record multiple sacks in a season opener since Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (three), Vonnie Holliday (two) and Jim Flanigan (two) each did it in Green Bay's 28-6 win vs the Lions in week one of the 2001 season.

Before Matthews' monster game Sunday, no Packers player had recorded seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in a game since KGB against the Panthers in 2005. On the seven plays Matthews made a tackle on Sunday, the Eagles gained a total of three yards. His best play was unquestionably the game's biggest, when he shed not one but two blocks to stone Michael Vick for no gain on 4th-and-1 late in the fourth quarter. Teammate Charles Woodson is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but Matthews could be the best candidate to emerge this season from a Packers defense that is crowded with playmakers.