Stats & Info: Giovani Bernard

Offensive Rookie of the Year favorites

December, 11, 2013

Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsGiovani Bernard has emerged as one of the front-runners for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

As we close in on the end of the NFL regular season, ESPN Stats & Info looks at some of the leading candidates for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

RB Giovani Bernard, Bengals
Bernard has been a dual-threat back for the Cincinnati Bengals in his rookie season. The 37th overall pick has three receiving touchdowns, more than all other rookie backs combined this season.

The Bengals' offense has noticeably improved with Bernard on the field this season. Bernard has been especially effective in the red zone. His 4.6 yards per rush in the red zone is the highest by a rookie since Adrian Peterson (4.8) in 2007.

WR Keenan Allen, Chargers
Allen, who fell to the San Diego Chargers at 76th overall in the draft due to a knee injury, leads rookie receivers in receptions (61) and receiving yards (902). Allen is on pace to post the most receptions and receiving yards by a rookie receiver in the last five seasons (A.J. Green finished with 65 receptions for 1,057 yards as a rookie in 2011).

Not only does Allen lead rookies in standard receiving categories, he also boasts the best catch rate among rookie receivers (70 percent).

RB Eddie Lacy, Packers
Eddie Lacy
Since his return from a concussion in Week 5, Lacy leads the league in rushing yards after contact (441). Last season, the Green Bay Packers averaged only 1.4 yards after contact per rush, the fourth fewest in the league.

One of Lacy’s biggest impact areas comes on third and fourth down. The Packers convert on 50 percent (41-of-82) of their third downs and 100 percent (5-of-5) of their fourth downs when Lacy is on the field. Without Lacy, the Packers convert only 29 percent (26-of-89) of their third downs and 20 percent (1-of-5) of their fourth downs this season.

Honorable mention
• RB Andre Ellington, Cardinals
• WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings

Top stats to know: Bengals at Dolphins

October, 31, 2013
Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesSince Week 6, Andy Dalton has the most passing touchdowns (11) and the second-highest Total QBR (89.2) in the NFL.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins will kick off Week 9 on Thursday night. The teams are trending in opposite directions. Miami has dropped its past four games, while Cincinnati has won its past four contests.

1. Andy Dalton’s play has been key to the Bengals' recent surge. Dalton has thrown for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in three straight games.

He is the only quarterback in Bengals history to accomplish that within a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Dalton has completed 65.2 percent of his passes 15-plus yards downfield in his past four games, nearly double his rate in the first four games. The league-average completion percentage on those passes is 41 percent.

2. Helping fuel Dalton have been two surprise weapons, Marvin Jones and rookie Giovani Bernard.

Jones has caught all eight of his red zone targets for seven touchdowns this season. He is the only player in the league to catch all of his red zone targets (minimum of five targets).

Bernard has given the Bengals a receiving threat out of the backfield. Bernard has 26 receptions this season, including 14 during the winning streak.

No Bengals running back had caught more than 20 passes from Dalton in a season entering this year. Bernard is one of seven players this season to average 9.0 yards after the catch (minimum 20 receptions).

3. The Dolphins started off this season strong, going 3-0 for the first time since 2002. They have lost four straight games since, their longest losing streak since they lost their first seven games of the 2011 season.

In their past four games they have turned the ball over 10 times, the fourth-most by any team in the NFL. The Dolphins have converted only 30.9 percent of their third downs during this losing streak; before that they converted half of their third downs.

4. Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 32 times this season, most in the NFL. The more alarming stat is that opponents are doing this without bringing additional pressure.

Tannehill has been sacked on 10.2 percent of his dropbacks against four or fewer pass-rushers this season, the highest rate in the league. In the past two seasons, only the 49ers have more sacks (52) with such pressure than the Bengals (51).

5. There is some reason for Dolphins fans to be optimistic. Both of the Bengals' losses this season have come on the road. They are allowing almost 10 more points per game in road contests this season. The Bengals' defense has forced only two turnovers in four road games this season compared to 10 in four home games.

Bengals keep it short and sweet to win

September, 17, 2013

Andy Dalton made good use of the center of the field in the Bengals' win.

The Cincinnati Bengals seem to have turned an important corner when it comes to beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, with wins in the last two meetings. In each instance, they held the Steelers to 10 points.

The Steelers are 0-2 for the first time under Mike Tomlin. This was only the second time in 10 games that Ben Roethlisberger lost in Cincinnati.

On this night, it was a rookie who stole the show.

Bernard makes the Bengals go
Rookie Giovani Bernard scored the first two touchdowns of his NFL career. He’s the third rookie to score two offensive touchdowns against the Steelers in a Monday Night Football game, joining Fred Taylor and Earl Campbell.

He’s also the first Bengals rookie with two offensive touchdowns on Monday Night Football since Stan Fritts in 1975.

Bernard was the first Bengal to score two touchdowns in any game against the Steelers since Terrell Owens in 2010.

Dalton wins by keeping it simple
On a day in which Andy Dalton threw his 50th career touchdown pass, he won by keeping his passes short and letting his receivers do the work.

Dalton finished 17-for-20 for 134 yards and a touchdown on passes within five yards of the line of scrimmage. He also took advantage of the middle of the field, as the image atop this story shows.

Big Ben comes up small
Roethlisberger had a rough go of it against a very stellar Bengals defense.

Roethlisberger completed only two of his first 12 passes that traveled at least 15 yards in the air (he was 2-for-3 on the final drive, with the Bengals in a prevent defense). Roethlisberger had a completion rate of 40 percent on those passes last season.

Roethlisberger threw 11 incomplete passes of that length. On nine of those 11, he overthrew his intended receiver.

Roethlisberger was 1-for-9 when he was under duress from the Bengals defense. The only completion went for one yard.

The Steelers also failed to maintain the success they had rushing the ball in the first quarter. They had 37 rushing yards in the game’s first 15 minutes, and only seven rushing yards the rest of the game.

The Steelers and Cardinals are tied for the longest active streak without rushing for 100 yards (eight games, dating back to last season). That matches the longest streak in Steeelers history, done once in 1933-1934 and again in 1935.

Did You Know?
The Steelers are 0-2 for the fifth time in the last 25 seasons, but they’ve shown the ability to bounce back from those poor starts. In each of the four other instances, they’ve finished the season with a winning record. Three of those seasons ended with a playoff spot.

Tyler Kaufman/Icon SMISam Montgomery (99) and Kevin Minter (46) joined Barkevious Mingo (49) as three of the six LSU players -- all on defense -- taken in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft.
Much like the past few college football seasons, the first three rounds of the NFL Draft were dominated by the SEC -- 32 of the 97 draftees have come from the SEC, the most from one conference in a single draft (the previous record was 25 from the ACC in 2006).

Last year there were 16 SEC players drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft.

Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was one of six LSU players drafted -- all from the defense -- the most defensive players ever drafted from one school the first three rounds in a single draft.

LSU’s six players drafted are just one fewer than the entire Big Ten Conference.

The rest of the Day 2 roundup:
• The Cincinnati Bengals chose North Carolina RB Giovani Bernard with the 37th pick. That’s the latest the first running back has been chosen in the Common Draft Era.

• Then Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o was selected 38th overall by the San Diego Chargers, the first Notre Dame linebacker to get picked in the first two rounds since Courtney Watson (to the New Orleans Saints) in 2004.

The last Fighting Irish linebacker to go as high as Te’o was Demetrius Dubose (34th to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) in 1993.

• With the next pick, the New York Jets chose West Virginia QB Geno Smith. The Jets had a 24.7 Total QBR last season, 2nd-lowest in the NFL (only the Arizona Cardinals were worse). Since drafting Mark Sanchez, the Jets have not finished a season ranked higher than 16th in Total QBR.

It’s the highest a West Virginia quarterback has ever been drafted.

A few things to note about Smith’s college experience:

1) He attempted more than 96 percent of his passes out of a shotgun or pistol formation in his career. Dana Holgorsen introduced Smith to the pistol in 2011, and he threw 42 touchdowns and four interceptions out of that formation.

2) He threw 177 of his 518 passes (34.2 percent) at or behind the line of scrimmage last season, including a BCS AQ-high 112 screen passes. As a result, Smith’s average pass traveled only 7.7 yards past the line of scrimmage, the fewest air yards per attempt of any top QB prospect.

• Boise State has had six defensive backs drafted in the past seven years -- they had six drafted in the previous 40 years combined.

Since Chris Petersen took over as head coach in 2006, the Broncos have had eighth players selected in the first two rounds. Before 2006, Boise State had just two players ever chosen in the draft’s first two rounds.

• If we need more evidence that this is a passing league, there have been 16 cornerbacks selected and 11 wide receivers, the most of any position, and there have been nine safeties taken, tied for fourth-most.

• The 55 defensive players drafted is the most ever through three rounds.

• The 25 defensive backs taken is the most ever through three rounds.

• The six running backs is tied for the fewest through three rounds.

CFB fans asked, we answered

September, 7, 2012
Each Saturday, ESPN Stats & Information will answer statistical-related college football questions posed via Twitter (use the hashtag #AskESPNStats). Feel free to send your questions along.

How often do players score a rushing, receiving, and return TD in the same game a la UNC's Gio Bernard? – asked by @nuggetpalooza

UNC's Giovani Bernard is just the sixth player in FBS to have a rushing, receiving, and punt return touchdown in the same game over the last 10 years.

The others were Ted Ginn Jr. (Ohio State, 2004), Maurice Drew (now Maurice Jones-Drew) (UCLA, 2005), Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati, 2009), Chris Rainey (Florida, 2011) and LaMichael James (Oregon, 2011).

How many teams have started the year #1 and ended up winning the National Championship? – asked by @BJMichaelsSD

10 teams have been AP Preseason No. 1 and finished No. 1 that season. The last to do it was USC in 2004.

Which college football team with the best win percentage has never won a national championship? – asked by @grimsleyyy

Boise State has a 377-147-2 record (.719) – That ranks third on the all-time list behind Michigan and Notre Dame (according to NCAA records).

What is Notre Dame's all-time record against the Big Ten? -- asked by @ThePurvisBill

The Irish are 193-96-12 against teams from the Big Ten (based on conference membership at game time).

When's the last time Purdue went into South Bend and beat a ranked Notre Dame team? -- asked by @Tyler_Ochs

The last time Purdue pulled that off was 1974, when it knocked off No. 2 Notre Dame in South Bend. Since then, Purdue is 1-16 in South Bend and the one win came against an unranked Notre Dame team.

Let’s take a look back at that 1974 game though, because it was one of the biggest wins in Purdue history.

Not only was Notre Dame the second-ranked team in the country, it was coached by Ara Parseghian and coming off an undefeated, national title-winning season the year before. The win ended Notre Dame’s 13-game win streak, but it didn’t totally derail their season. The Irish went on to beat Alabama in the Orange Bowl. It would turn out to be Parseghian’s final season as Notre Dame coach.

When is the last time a team has lost the first week and still won the National Championship? -- asked by @J2FFY

- The last team to lose its opener and win the national championship in the same season was Miami in 1983. The Hurricanes lost to Florida 28-3 in the opener, then won 11 straight.

- In 1990, Colorado tied its first game and won a share of the title.

Which eventual national championship team was ranked lowest in pre-season polls?
-- asked by @CalixtasSoul

We’ll give you two answers here:

1. The last team to be ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll, that began the season unranked, was BYU in 1984

2. Ten teams ranked outside the top ten in the preseason poll have finished the year number one in the AP Poll. Auburn in 2010 had the lowest ranking of those teams (22nd).