Stats & Info: Dwayne Bowe

AP Photo/David ZalubowskiBrandon Marshall (left) and Jay Cutler both were drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2006.
Only three players have had at least 1,000 yards receiving each of the last five seasons: Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White and Brandon Marshall.

For Marshall, his first two 1,000-yard seasons came when he was paired with QB Jay Cutler with the Denver Broncos. From 2007-08, Marshall had 206 receptions (only Wes Welker had more) and his 2,590 yards ranked third behind Fitzgerald and Reggie Wayne.

In 2008, Cutler targeted Marshall a league-high 179 times, 33 more than any other QB-receiver combination. That’s the most times a QB has targeted a player in a single season in the last four years.

Marshall and Cutler have been reunited with the Chicago Bears, a team that hasn't had a 1,000-yard receiver since Marty Booker in 2002.

In fact, since the 1970 merger, the Bears have had a total of seven 1,000-yard seasons posted by receivers. (Booker and Curtis Conway are tied for the most with two.)

In his three seasons in Chicago, Cutler's leader in receptions among wide receivers is Johnny Knox with 133, which ranks 43rd in the NFL among wide receivers. (The Bears leader in receptions the last three seasons is running back Matt Forte with 160.)

However, one area that Knox has proven to be Marshall's equal is on deep routes. On throws over 20 yards, Marshall has been targeted 68 times, with 24 receptions (and three drops) and four touchdowns over the last three seasons. (In 2008 with Cutler, Marshall was targeted 25 times on throws more than 20 yards downfield, with seven receptions, 235 yards and one TD.)

Knox has been targeted 18 fewer times than Marshall on throws over 20 yards, and still has 22 receptions (and only one drop) and six touchdowns.

One flaw in Marshall's game is drops. Since 2008, his 26 on-target drops are third most in the NFL behind Dwayne Bowe (37) and White (31).

Marshall also has caught only 12 of his 64 end zone targets the last four seasons. That’s the second-worst rate in the NFL behind Braylon Edwards. (Marshall caught five of 15 attempts from Cutler in 2008.)
Bears at Lions

No question that Julius Peppers, along with help from Israel Idonije, has helped to restore the Chicago Bears’ defense to the top of the NFL. The Bears have been tough against the pass this season (16 interceptions, T-2nd in NFL), and have executed on the defensive line to near perfection.

Their ability to be effective without the blitz has been one of Chicago's strengths. When sending four pass rushers or fewer, the Bears are allowing just six yards per pass attempt and a passer rating of 68.0. Both are first in the NFL in those situations.

Falcons at Buccaneers

Much has been made of Matt Ryan’s 19-1 home record. On the road, however, Ryan and the Falcons are just 10-11.

This week against Tampa Bay, Ryan might be able to expose the Buccaneers on long passes down the middle. Tampa Bay is 28th in passer rating allowed on throws between the numbers of more than 15 yards.

If the Falcons can establish the run early and force the safeties to cheat closer to the box, Ryan might look deep over the middle for a big day. Ryan is the most accurate quarterback this season on deep throws inside the numbers.

Jaguars at Titans

Maurice Jones-Drew has been one of the few successful running backs this season against a loaded box (opposing defense bring more defenders into the box than the offense has blockers). Jones-Drew has averaged 4.7 yards per carry on 37 rushes this season against a loaded box, and 10 of those runs resulted in first downs. And since 2008, only Thomas Jones (18) has more rushing touchdowns against a loaded box than Jones-Drew’s 15.

Broncos at Chiefs

When opponents put at least seven men in the box, the Kansas City Chiefs are averaging 4.9 yards per rush, second-best in the NFL.

The extra men in the box also have helped Dwayne Bowe find open space. Bowe has scored a league-high nine touchdowns with at least seven men in the box at the snap.

On defense, the Chiefs saw the best and worst of Kyle Orton in Week 10, but mostly the best. Kansas City stuck with a standard pass rush of four or fewer on 63 percent of dropbacks, and Orton responded with four touchdowns and a 155.1 passer rating. When the Chiefs sent five or more, Orton completed just 33 percent of his pass attempts with a passer rating of 47.2.

Raiders at Chargers

With a season-ending injury of Bruce Gradkowski, Jason Campbell will be back at quarterback for the Raiders. Campbell performed well in the Raiders’ 35-27 win over the Chargers in Week 5. He was most effective when the Chargers played the pass: Campbell completed 7-of-8 passes for 120 yards (118.8 rating) when San Diego had at least five defensive backs on the field.

In that Week 5 win, Campbell received a solid dose of the Chargers’ 3-4 base defense, completing 4-of-8 passes for just 26 yards. On the season, Campbell has faced a 3-4 defense on nearly 29 percent of his dropbacks, and the results have not been good. He’s completed 47.2 percent of his passes when facing a 3-4 defense with just one touchdown and a passer rating of 56.3.
Philip Rivers

For the Chargers, Philip Rivers has established himself as an MVP candidate this season, but he has been hindered in one area. Rivers has thrown eight of his nine interceptions when throwing the ball 15 yards or more downfield. The eight interceptions on deep balls are tied for the most in the league with Aaron Rodgers.

Bowe, Cassel becoming Chief contributors

December, 3, 2010
ESPN NFL Research Coordinator Russell Baxter's Top Five Things to Know as heard this morning on Mike and Mike in the Morning .

Matt Cassel
Dwayne Bowe
• Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel has 18 TD passes and just one interception in his last seven games, 13 of those scores to WR Dwayne Bowe. Cassel and Bowe could both be headed to their first Pro Bowls. The last time the Chiefs had a QB and WR in the Pro Bowl in the same season was 1983 when they sent Bill Kenney and Carlos Carson.

• The Chicago Bears have rushed for 130 yards in three straight games, after averaging 90.6 rush YPG in their first eight games At 8-3 Chicago has already surpassed last season’s win total (7-9).

• The New Orleans Saints have scored 30 points in three straight games, after reaching the 30-point mark just once in their first eight games. New Orleans led the NFL in points scored in 2008 with 28.9 PPG and in 2009 when they averaged 31.9.

• Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning has thrown nine interceptions in his last four games after throwing two in his first seven games. Incredibly, Manning has thrown 24 interceptions in his last 22 games (including playoffs) dating to last season.

• Including playoffs, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has won five straight meetings against the Baltimore Ravens dating to 2007, throwing nine TD passes and just two interceptions while being sacked only 17 times in those five wins. That’s quite a contrast to 2006, when the Ravens swept the Steelers by a combined 58-7 score and Roethlisberger was sacked 14 times in two games.
Entering this season, Michael Vick had two 300-yard passing games in his career.

Michael Vick
Following his 302-yard performance in the Philadelphia Eagles’ 34-24 win over the Houston Texans, Vick now has thrown for 300 yards in three of the last four weeks, including back-to-back games for the first time in his career.

Vick threw two touchdown passes and also had his sixth rushing touchdown of the season, tying the team record for rushing TDs by a quarterback in a season. He now shares the record with Donovan McNabb (2000, 2002) and Randall Cunningham (1988).

From the Elias Sports Bureau: Thursday was the fourth time that Vick had both rushing and passing touchdowns in a game this season. Since 2005, the only other player with at least four such games in one season is Aaron Rodgers, who did it five times in 2009, and has done it four times this season.

The Eagles came into the game allowing a touchdown on 76.7 of the possessions inside the red zone, by far the worst percentage in the NFL. The Texans scored all three of their TDs in as many red-zone possessions on Thursday.

From the Elias Sports Bureau: The Eagles won despite allowing 323 passing yards. That ended the Eagles’ streak of 25 consecutive home games in which they held their opponent to fewer than 300 net passing yards, which was the longest current streak of that type for any NFL team.

Houston is now 5-7 -- the fourth straight season the Texans have been 5-7 after 12 games.
Arian Foster did have his sixth multi-TD game of the season. That’s the most in the NFL this season, one more than the Kansas City Chiefs’ Dwayne Bowe. However, the Texans are only 3-3 when Foster scores at least two touchdowns in a game.

Foster has 14 total touchdowns this season, tying Domanick Williams’ 2004 team record for most TDs in a single season.

Patriots becoming a second half team

November, 30, 2010
• Here’s a part of the New England Patriots’ revival that hasn’t been discussed. Last season, New England had few problems scoring points in the first half but was ineffective after halftime. Last season, New England scored 282 points in the first half and just 145 points in the second half and overtime. This season in 11 games, Bill Belichick's team has scored 136 points in the first half and a whopping 198 points after halftime.

• The New Orleans Saints are starting to look like the team that got to the Super Bowl last season, scoring points and forcing turnovers. Incredibly, New Orleans has scored 30-plus points in each of their last three games, a feat they accomplished just once in the first eight games of the season.

• The New York Giants did something on Sunday that Tom Coughlin’s team had not done all season … they did NOT commit a turnover.

• Cleveland Browns RB Peyton Hillis has scored 13 touchdowns this season. The Browns offense scored just 21 touchdowns in 16 games last season. Similarly, Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe has 14 touchdowns this season, more than halfway to Kansas City’s offensive TD total (26) of 2009.

• The Houston Texans entered the weekend with the 31st ranked defense and were dead last against the pass. Isn't it amazing what playing a rookie QB will do? Houston gave up 162 total yards and pitched a shutout against the Tennessee Titans.

• It’s worth repeating that the St. Louis Rams are 5-6 this season, after finishing a combined 6-42 from 2007-09. Add in the fact that Steve Spagnuolo’s club is tied for first place, is coming off its first road win of the season, scoring a season-high 36 points and the Rams could become the second team in three years to win a division title one season after finishing 1-15.

• After totaling at least 25 carries and 100 yards in each of their first 9 games this season, the Oakland Raiders have COMBINED for 28 carries and 77 yards rushing in back-to-back losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins.

• Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning has thrown nine interceptions in his last four games (two picks in his first seven games this season). Any coincidence that Indianapolis has totaled just 74 rushing attempts in those contests (less than 19 carries a game)? On top of that, the Colts are 6-5 and will not win at least 12 games for the first time since 2002.

• The Atlanta Falcons haven't lost a game at home this season, are riding a five-game winning streak and haven't committed a turnover in four straight games. If that isn't a recipe to win a championship, I'd love to hear an argument.
In 2008-09, no player dropped more passes than the Kansas City Chiefs’ Dwayne Bowe. He dropped 12 passes in 2008, and 10 more in 2009.

Dwayne Bowe
This season, he’s catching everything thrown his way.

Following his first career three-touchdown game on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, Bowe has 14 TD receptions, a franchise record … with five games still to play.

Since the merger in 1970, the only player who had more TD receptions in the first 11 games of the season was Randy Moss in 2007, who had 16.

Bowe is just the third Chief since the merger with three touchdown receptions in a game, along with Tony Gonzalez (2002) and Sylvester Morris (2000).

He leads the NFL with five multi-TD games this season, and has caught a touchdown pass in seven straight games, which extends his own franchise record. From the Elias Sports Bureau: The last player with a TD reception in eight straight games in one season is T.J. Houshmandzadeh in 2007.

On the throwing end of all those touchdowns is Matt Cassel. Sunday was his second straight four-touchdown performance in a road game. After throwing no touchdowns and two interceptions in his first two road games of the season, Cassel has 13 touchdowns and just one interception in his last four road starts.

From the Elias Sports Bureau: Cassel has thrown four TD passes in each of his last two road games, the first QB to do that since Tom Brady in 2007.
Sam Bradford

Staying in the state of Missouri, rookie Sam Bradford threw for 308 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the St. Louis Rams' 36-33 win over the Broncos in Denver. From the Elias Sports Bureau: Bradford is the first rookie in NFL history throw for at least 300 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a road win.

Jets may be better off without Edwards

September, 21, 2010
EdwardsIf New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards is unable to play this weekend, what will the effect be on the Jets offense? Quarterback Mark Sanchez completed less than 54 percent of his passes as a rookie last year, but is up over 60 percent through two games this season. And that could improve even more WITHOUT Edwards.

The Jets had only three players who were targeted more than 26 times last season, and Edwards had the lowest catch percentage of the three. Jerricho Cotchery caught 60 percent of the passes thrown his way, while Dustin Keller hauled in more than 56 percent. Edwards caught exactly half of the 70 passes that were intended for him as a Jet.

And with Sanchez being second in the league in interceptions thrown last season, expect an improvement in that area as well. Only two players in the entire league were the target on more of their quarterback's interceptions than Edwards was last season. And since the beginning of 2008, only Calvin Johnson (22) has seen more picks on passes thrown his way than Edwards (19).

In fact, Sanchez had a higher passer rating when targeting 10 different receivers last year than he did when throwing the ball Edwards’ way.

On top of all that, only one player – Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe with 23 – has dropped more passes since the start of 2008 than the 21 that Edwards has had go through his hands.