Stats & Info: Ramses Barden

Too much pressure for Cam Newton

September, 21, 2012
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesCam Newton threw three interceptions against the Giants.
Cam Newton did not look like Cam Newton against the New York Giants.

Pressure didn’t seem to faze Newton much in his first 18 career starts. But it was a different story against the Giants.

Against five or more Giants pass rushers, he was 5-of-10 passing for 83 yards and two interceptions.

It’s only the second time in his career he’s thrown multiple interceptions against five or more pass rushers. He threw three in Week 6 last year against the Falcons.

Newton’s struggles against five or more pass rushers is rather surprising considering this: He was the second-most accurate QB the first two weeks against five or pass rushers among players with at least 20 dropbacks. Only Alex Smith (85.0) had a higher completion percentage than Newton (72.7) in those situations.

The Panthers’ success relies heavily on Newton’s ability to run the ball to complement his passing ability. The Panthers are now 1-9 when Newton has fewer than 50 rushing yards, including Thursday’s loss in which Newton had just six rushing yards.

Last season, Newton never had fewer than 18 rushing yards in a game. But after totaling four yards on the ground in Week 1, his Week 3 total is the second-lowest of his career.

Last season, Newton was able to scramble against added pressure. He led the league with 173 rushing yards against five or more pass rushers.

But on Thursday, he didn’t have a single scramble against the added pressure. He has zero rushing yards – he hasn’t even scrambled once – this season against five or more pass rushers.

It’s Newton’s fourth career game with at least three interceptions and the Panthers have lost all four. The Panthers are now 1-12 when Newton has a turnover and 6-0 when he does not.

Andre Brown came to play for the Giants. After being drafted by the Giants in 2009 and bouncing around between five teams over the next two years, he was re-signed by the Giants in August. He replaced Ahmad Bradshaw in the starting lineup and ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns.

The Giants have now won 21 straight games when their running back rushes for at least 100 yards and two touchdowns. Their last loss was in 1985, when Joe Morris had 131 and three touchdowns in a 35-33 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Brown had 71 rush yards after contact, the most by a Giants player since Brandon Jacobs in Week 4 of 2010. It’s the second-most rush yards after contact by any player in a game this season. Only C.J. Spiller (116) had more in Week 1 for the Buffalo Bills.

Brown wasn’t the only surprise weapon for the Giants. Wide receiver Ramses Barden, another player with limited playing time who was drafted by the Giants in 2009, had nine receptions for 138 yards.

Between the numbers, Barden caught all seven targets for 114 yards. Against the Panthers, he caught as many passes as and more receiving yards than his entire 2011 season.

Colts look to add more than Luck to offense

April, 27, 2012
Allen Kee / ESPNAfter selecting Andrew Luck first overall in the NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts added a number of offensive weapons on the draft’s second day.
After taking Andrew Luck with the first pick overall on Thursday, the Indianapolis Colts continued to overhaul their offense on Friday.

The Colts became the seventh team in the common draft era to draft three pass catchers (wide receivers or tight ends) in the first three rounds. After adding Luck’s Stanford Cardinal tight end Coby Fleener in the second round, they picked tight end Dwayne Allen and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton in the third round.

The last team to select three pass catchers in the first three rounds was the New York Giants. They chose Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden and Travis Beckum in the 2009 draft.

Last season, Colts tight ends dropped nine passes, tied for second-most in the NFL. They are the first team to draft two tight ends in the first three rounds since the St. Louis Rams in 2006. Among NFL teams last year, the Colts ran the fourth-fewest plays in multiple-tight end sets.

By taking Luck and Fleener, they were the first team to draft a quarterback and tight end from the same school in a draft since the 2003 Houston Texans, who picked Drew Henson and Bennie Joppru from the Michigan Wolverines.

Luck threw multiple touchdown passes to his tight ends in nine of Stanford’s 13 games last season. No FBS quarterback attempted more passes or gained more yards when targeting tight ends. Fleener led all FBS tight ends with 10 touchdown receptions of at least 20 yards over the last two seasons.

Draft chatter
• The Denver Broncos selected defensive tackle Derek Wolfe with the 36th pick. Last year, the Broncos recorded only two sacks from players lining up on the interior of the defensive line, tied with the New Orleans Saints for the fewest among teams playing a 4-3 defense.

• The Rams selected North Alabama’s Janoris Jenkins with the 39th pick. It was the highest that a Division II player has been picked since Ricardo Colclough of Tusculum went 38th overall in 2004.

• Bobby Wagner went 47th overall to the Seattle Seahawks, the first player from the Utah State Aggies to go in the first two rounds since Rulon Jones was a second-round pick in 1980.

• By taking safety Tavon Wilson in the second rounds, the New England Patriots drafted a defensive player with their first three picks. Last season, the Patriots had 12 players play at least 100 snaps at defensive back, most in the NFL.

• The Pittsburgh Steelers selected offensive tackle Mike Adams late in the second round. Pittsburgh used a league-high 25 different offensive line combinations last season.

• The San Francisco 49ers selected LaMichael James 61st overall. It’s the fourth straight season that the 49ers drafted a running back. Last season, San Francisco targeted running backs just 54 times, second-fewest in the NFL.