Stats & Info: Mike Martz

Colts face biggest game in a decade

October, 26, 2010
• While the 4-2 Indianapolis Colts have reached the playoffs eight straight years, and over that span have appeared in a pair of Super Bowls, next Monday's meeting vs the Houston Texans may be the team's biggest game in nearly a decade. Racked by injuries and already 0-2 in the division (including a loss at Houston in Week 1), a sweep at the hands of Houston may put QB Peyton Manning and company in a very big hole in a very competitive division.

• A year ago, the New Orleans Saints were one of the league's most opportunistic teams en route to their first Super Bowl title. After seven games last season (7-0), Sean Payton's club had totaled 21 takeaways. This season, the 4-3 Saints have forced nine turnovers in seven games. And when it comes to taking care of the football, QB Drew Brees has thrown numerous mind-numbing interceptions reminiscent of a young Brett Favre. Brees threw six picks through seven games last year and 11 all season. He has thrown 10 in seven games this season, which is tied with Favre for second in the NFL.

• Last season the Saints (13-3) and Colts (14-2) were a combined 27-5. This season, they’re a combined 8-5. On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) have already surpassed last season’s win total (3-13).

Darren McFadden
• Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden has totaled 557 yards rushing and run for four touchdowns in five games this season. The former fourth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft had totaled 856 yards rushing and five TD in the first 25 games of his career entering 2010.

• Speaking of reclamation projects, how about Seattle Seahawks WR Mike Williams? Selected 10th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, the former Southern Cal star has totaled a team-high 32 catches for 348 yards and a score in six games in 2010. It’s worth noting that Williams totaled 44 receptions for 539 yards and two TD in 30 games with the Detroit Lions, Raiders and Tennessee Titans from 2005-07.

• I’ll try and be fair to Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz but the following numbers are a little disturbing. Take a look at his last three seasons as the Lions (2006-07) and San Francisco 49ers (2008) offensive coordinator, and where the Bears are headed. His numbers as head coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2000-05 were somewhat similar.

• The Kansas City Chiefs ran for 236 yards in their 42-20 win over Jacksonville and are now averaging an NFL-high 176.5 yards per game on the ground. It must be the Thomas Jones effect. Last season, the well-traveled running back was the leading rusher on the league’s best running team -- the New York Jets.

• There were nine interception returns for touchdowns in Sunday's 13 games. In the first six weeks of the season combined, there were just 12 interceptions returned for scores.

Jets defense steps up without Revis

September, 21, 2010
• In Week 2, the 16 winning teams committed only 13 turnovers (eight winners went turnover free), while the 16 losers combined for 51 (three-plus turnovers by 11 losing teams). The only team not to commit a turnover and still lose the game was the St. Louis Rams.

• On occasion, a team will gain confidence from playing well late in a season and carry it over into the following campaign. Could this year’s story be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Raheem Morris’ team won two of its last three games in 2009, including an OT win at the New Orleans Saints, and is now 4-1 in its last five games dating back to last season. Remember, the Morris Era began 1-12 last year (their lone win coming over the Green Bay Packers).

• It’s just one man’s opinion, but the two teams that faced the most pressure to win this past week were the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets and both responded. Cincinnati’s home win over the Baltimore Ravens (who have not allowed a TD this season) came via their defense that some forget finished fourth in the NFL last season in yards allowed. And New York shut out the New England Patriots in the second half WITHOUT CB Darrelle Revis and showed that New England still has some work to do on defense and on the offensive line.

• Late last season, the Dallas Cowboys turned to their running game to propel them to the NFC East title and their first playoff win since 1996. After two games this season, Dallas has totaled only 42 running plays compared to 100 pass plays and their offense has totaled just two touchdowns. Their play-calling continues to be a mystery.

• Has the Houston Texans' run defense improved that much? For the second week in a row, a team virtually abandoned the run to throw the ball all over the field. Houston's opponents have totaled just 27 carries for 62 yards in two games, while attempting 100 pass plays. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys test the Texans' front seven this Sunday.

• There were those who questioned the Chicago Bears' wide receiving this offseason and whether it was a good fit for Mike Martz's offense. For what it's worth, Bears QB Jay Cutler has thrown five TD passes in his first two games, and just one to a wide receiver.

• In recent seasons, teams have basically not bothered to run the football against the Minnesota Vikings’ defense but that has not been the case in the season’s early going. In Week 1, the Saints turned to the ground attack in the second half (22 attempts) after rushing the ball just three times in the first half. Sunday, the Miami Dolphins ran the ball 29 times for 120 yards in their 14-10 win.

For what it’s worth: Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick has rushed for 140 yards in two games this season. In ’09, then-Eagles QB Donovan McNabb rushed for 140 yards in 14 games.