Stats & Info: Rex Ryan

Analyzing the relationship of NFL couples

February, 14, 2013
Today is Valentine’s Day, when the thoughts of young football fans turn to ... well ... more football.

Stats & Information looks at some NFL couples and lets you know who should stay together, who needs to rebuild their relationship and who might want to spend some time apart.

• Tom Brady and Wes Welker: Free-agent-to-be Welker has 672 receptions since joining the Patriots in 2007, the most for a player over any six-year span in NFL history.

• Eli Manning and Victor Cruz: Cruz, who is slated to become a restricted free agent, has 168 receptions and 19 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Along with Hakeem Nicks, he gives Manning one of the game’s best deep threats in the league.

• Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson: Johnson set an NFL single-season record with 1,964 receiving yards in 2012, while Stafford set an NFL record with 727 pass attempts. These two need to stay together if only to torture statisticians everywhere.

• Tony Romo and Dez Bryant: Early in the season, they didn't appear to be on the same page, but Bryant caught a league-high 10 TD passes from Week 10 until the end of the season.

• Aaron Rodgers and Jermichael Finley: Finley caught a career-high 61 balls in 2012, but just two went for touchdowns. At times it appeared that Rodgers had lost confidence in his tight end and reports have appeared that the Packers might release Finley.

• Cam Newton and Steve Smith: Smith was critical of Newton's sideline demeanor last season, and he could have a point. When trailing in the fourth quarter over the last two seasons, Newton’s QBR of 35.9 is 35th among 45 qualifying quarterbacks.

• Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan: After going to a pair of AFC Championship games in their first two seasons together, the relationship hasn't worked recently. Sanchez regressed even further in 2012, and has an NFL-high 52 turnovers over the last two seasons.

• Alex Smith and Jim Harbaugh: Harbaugh has turned to the younger Colin Kaepernick. Since Kaepernick took over as the starter in Week 11, his 81.2 Total QBR is second to only Russell Wilson. Smith’s QBR of 54.1 since the start of 2011 is 19th among quarterbacks with at least 500 action plays.

• Matt Cassel and Andy Reid: The Chiefs and Reid’s Eagles were tied with the Jets for the most turnovers in the NFL last season with 37. Cassel struggled with 19 turnovers in just nine games.
The Miami Dolphins and New York Jets – two teams in desperate need of a win – hook up on Monday Night Football (8:30 ET on ESPN) for the 12th time and first since 2009. The Jets hold a 6-5 edge in games against the Dolphins on MNF.

The Dolphins are 0-4 and have lost seven straight dating back to last season, the longest active streak in the NFL. After a 2-0 start, the Jets have lost three straight, the third time they’ve had a losing streak of that length in three seasons under Rex Ryan.

One focus tonight will be on each team’s running game. The Dolphins traded for Reggie Bush in the offseason, thinking he’d be the team’s every-down running back. However, Bush has run for only 119 yards on 40 carries, while rookie Daniel Thomas leads the team in rushes (41) and rush yards (202). Bush is averaging a career-low 3.0 yards per rush and hasn’t scored a rushing TD since Nov. 15, 2009 (a span of 17 games).

The Jets have been struggling with their identity, trying to revert to their trusted ground-and-pound philosophy. Shonn Greene had his best game of the season last week at the New England Patriots (83 yards, TD), but the Jets were held to fewer than 100 yards rushing for the third time in five games this season. In Ryan's first two seasons as head coach, the Jets were held to fewer than 100 yards rushing a total of three times.

In addition, the first two years under Ryan saw the Jets average more rush yards per game than anyone else in the NFL and rank in the top four in rush defense. So far this season, the ground game has come to a screeching halt, averaging fewer than half as many yards per game while giving up 40 more per game.

One reason the Jets are struggling in the run game this season is their inability to run the ball up the middle. They are averaging just 2.7 yards per rush up the middle, with Green making the majority of those rushes. Of the 57 rushes up the middle the Jets have run this season, Green has 37 of them, while picking up just six first downs.

As mentioned, the Jets’ rush defense has been vulnerable this season as well, particularly on rushes to the offenses’ left. The Jets have allowed five touchdowns on 63 attempts this season after allowing four in 109 attempts last season.
In a rematch of last season's NFC championship game the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears and improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2007.

Aaron Rodgers threw for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns, all three of which went to tight end Jermichael Finley. Finley is the only Packers player to have three receiving touchdowns in a game against the Bears since 1960.

He's the first Packers player with three receiving touchdowns against any team since Greg Jennings against the Vikings last season, and just third to do so in the last 10 seasons.

The Bears vaunted defensive line struggled Sunday against the Packers, as Chicago was unable to get pressure on Rodgers when sending four or fewer pass rushers.

Rodgers threw all three of his touchdowns Sunday when the Bears brought four or fewer pass rushers. He threw shorter in those situations compared to last season and only attempted two of his 27 attempts facing standard pressure while under duress.

Rodgers' counterpart Jay Cutler threw two touchdown passes, but also had two interceptions, his first game with multiple interceptions this season.

Most of his struggles came when he threw deep. Cutler was just 2-of-8 with 2 interceptions when throwing at least 15 yards downfield Sunday. It's the sixth straight game Cutler has thrown an interception of that throw length against the Packers, including the 2010 NFC Championship game.

Since joining the Bears, Jay Cutler has now thrown 9 interceptions against the Packers on throws of 15 yards or more, including the playoffs. That's the most such picks by any player during that time period against a single opponent.

Elsewhere around the NFL:

• Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith had his first three career TD receptions come on his first three career NFL receptions. Smith scored all three of his touchdowns in the first quarter, the first rookie in NFL history with three touchdowns in the first quarter of a game according to Elias.

• The Arizona Cardinals suffered a loss against the Seattle Seahawks, but there was still some reason for Larry Fitzgerald to smile. Fitzgerald brought in his 67th career touchdown reception, moving him into first place all-time in the franchises history for touchdown receptions.

• Darren McFadden had a career-high 171 rushing yards in the Oakland Raiders win over the New York Jets. McFadden became just the third player to rush for over 100 yards against the Jets since Rex Ryan took over as head coach. His 171 rushing yards are the most any player has had against the Jets during that span.
One of the most highly anticipated games of the 2010 NFL season turned into one for the record books. But surely, the New England Patriots' 45-3 undressing of the New York Jets on national television was not what most people expected from this matchup of 9-2 teams. Let's examine some of the biggest eye-openers from this game:

• The 42-point margin of victory is tied for the second-largest in Monday Night Football history. Only the Baltimore Ravens' 48-3 win over the Green Bay Packers in 2005 had a larger point differential. Coincidentally, this is the Jets' second 42-point loss on Monday Night Football. The other was also a 45-3 loss (to the Miami Dolphins in 1986). It's the Patriots second-largest margin of victory over the Jets, after a 53-point thrashing in 1979.

Tom Brady threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns. He now has 252 career TD passes and has passed Drew Bledsoe, the man whose injury launched his career, for 13th-most in NFL history. This was Brady's eighth career game with at least 300 pass yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. That is the most such games by any quarterback since the 1970 merger.

• Brady was sharp on throws of 10 yards or fewer, completing 17-of-20 attempts for 244 yards and four touchdowns. Overall, Brady's targets accumulated 209 yards after the catch, accounting for 64 percent of Brady's total passing yards. The 209 yards after the catch are the Patriots' season high; for the Jets it's their most allowed this season.

• The win is Brady's 26th straight regular-season home win, which breaks Brett Favre's record 25-game streak at Lambeau Field for the Packers.

• He now has 27 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. According to Elias, it's just the fourth time that a quarterback has had at least 25 touchdowns and five or fewer interceptions through 12 team games. Brady is now responsible for two of those four seasons (the others belong to Favre and Donovan McNabb).

• Brady and Bill Belichick have tied Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll for the second-most wins as a quarterback-coach combo (107). Only Dan Marino/Don Shula ever won more games together (116).

• While it was a night the Jets would like to forget, LaDainian Tomlinson made some history of his own. With 47 rushing yards, he upped his career total to 13,278 yards and moved past Eric Dickerson for sixth-most in NFL history. Jerome Bettis (13,662 yards) sits next ahead of LT on the list.

• It was also a historic night for a Rex Ryan defense. The Patriots' 45 points are the most ever scored against a Rex Ryan defense since he became defensive coordinator for the Ravens in 2005.

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.