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Delving into PFR’s NFL Play Index: Week One

Posted by Andrew McKillop on September 13, 2011

Post Highlights

  • The Steelers are the first defending conference champion to lose their opener by 28 points or more.
  • The Jets only had 45 rushing yards against the Cowboys, but still picked up the win.  It’s only the second time in team history that the Jets won a game, despite rushing for 45 yards or less.  They have a record of 2-42-1 in such games.
  • Since 1983, head coaches coming directly from the Pac-12 are 8-2 in their debuts.

 

As I watched the NFL’s slate of games yesterday, I noticed I was consistently referring to Pro-Football-Reference’s NFL Play Index.  PFR’s NFL Play Index is an array of powerful tools, which dig into the site’s vast database on Pro Football.  With the PFR’s NFL Play Index, you can create thousands of different facts and statistics.   Every week this season I’ll publish some of the queries I run with PFR’s NFL Play Index, and many other facts I find out with my research.  I’m hoping to uncover facts and statistics not mentioned by the mainstream media.

 

General Notes

Four QB’s threw for over 400 yards…

It’s the first time in NFL history that four different QB’s threw for 400 or more yards in the same week.  The previous record was three different QB’s, which last occurred in Week 13 of the 2004 season.

 

Thursday Night Game

New Orleans Saints 34 at Green Bay Packers 42

Drew Brees’ 419 passing yards, zero interceptions not enough…

Drew Brees is only the 10th QB in NFL history to throw for 419 yards or more with zero interceptions, and still lose the game.  It’s the second time it’s happened in his career (last time: 2008 at Denver).  Last year four QB’s threw for over 419 yards or more with  zero interceptions, but lost the game.

 

Early Sunday Games

Pittsburgh Steelers 7 at Baltimore Ravens 35

The Steelers gave up 35 points…

From 1990 to 2011, the Steelers have only given up 35 or more points to a division opponent on four occasions.  The last time was in 2005 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals 31-38.

The Steelers are the first defending conference champion to lose their opener by 28 points or more.

The Steelers had seven turnovers…

The last time the Steelers gave the ball away seven times, was in 1995 against the Vikings.  Since the 1970, the Steelers have only had 11 games where they turned over the ball seven times or more.  Five of those games occurred on Week One.  The Steelers are only the third team since 1990, to give up seven turnovers in Week One.

Ravens avenged their loss to the Steelers in last year’s playoffs…

The Ravens are the first team since 1999, to defeat the team they lost to in the previous season’s playoffs by 28 points or more.  In 1999, the Cowboys defeated the Cardinals 35-7.

The Ravens 28-point victory over the Steelers, avenges the Ravens loss to the Steelers in last year’s playoffs.  The Ravens are the first team since 1952, to defeat the team they lost to in the previous season’s postseason, by 28 or more points in their season opener.  In 1952, the Browns defeated the Los Angeles Rams 37-7 in their season opener, one season after losing to them in the NFL championship 24-17.

 

Atlanta Falcons 12 at Chicago Bears 30

Matt Ryan completes 30 passes, but no touchdowns…

Matt Ryan becomes the first Falcons QB to complete 30 passes in a game without a TD pass.

The Bears score 30 points…

The Bears 30 points are the most they have scored in Week One since 1995.  From 1984 to 1988, the Chicago Bears scored 30 or more points in every opener.

 

Cincinnati Bengals 27 at Cleveland Browns 17

The Browns give up 100 rushing yards to the Bengals Cedric Benson

Since their return to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have given up a 100 rushing yards or more to a Bengals RB in every season except 2003.

 

Indianapolis Colts 7 at Houston Texans 34

Colts allow 34 first half points…

It’s only the fifth time since the NFL merger, that a NFL team was down 34 or more points at halftime in their opener.   The last time it happened was in 1994.  Ironically it was the Colts who scored 35 first half points against a Houston team, when they started the 1994 season with a 35-0 halftime lead over the Oilers.

Texans lose turnover battle, but still win big…

The Texans lost the turnover battle, but still won by 27 points.  Since 1990, there have been 21 instances where a team loses the turnover battle, but wins the game by 27 or more points.

 

Tennessee Titans 14 at Jacksonville Jaguars 16

Jaguars in another close opener…

Nine of the last ten Jaguars openers have been decided by a touchdown or less.

 

Buffalo Bills 7 at Kansas City Chiefs 41

The Bills win by 34 points on the road…

The Bills 34-point victory over the Chiefs, is the first time since 1999 that a NFL team won it’s opener on the road by 34 points or more.  In Week One of 1999, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the new Cleveland Browns 43-0.

 

Philadelphia Eagles 31 at St. Louis Rams 13

Michael Vick almost rushes for 100 yards..

Eagles QB Michael Vick rushed for 98 yards.  It’s only the third time since 1960, that a QB rushed for 90 or more yards in their opener.  Michael Vick ran for 103 yards against the Packers in last year’s opener, and the Bengals Jeff Blake ran for 90 yards against the Titans in the 1999 opener.

 

Detroit Lions 27 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20

Lions have won five straight…

The Detroit Lions have now won 5 games in a row dating back to last season.  It’s their greatest win streak since 1995.

Matthew Stafford throws for 305 yards…

Matthew Stafford becomes the first Lions QB to pass for over 300 yards in a season opener since Bobby Layne did so in 1953 (additional info found in the Detroit Lions 2010 Media Guide).

 

Later Sunday Games

Carolina Panthers 21 at Arizona Cardinals 28

Cam Newton’s 422 passing yards…

Cam Newton is the just 6th Heisman Trophy winner, to throw for 400 yards or more in a game.  The others: Johnny Lujack, Vinny Testaverde, Chris Weinke, Carson Palmer, and Matt Leinart.


Minnesota Vikings 17 at San Diego Chargers 24

Donovan McNabb’s less than stellar Vikings debut…

The Vikings Donovan McNabb passed for 39 yards on 7 completions.  It’s the fewest yards ever thrown in a game by a Vikings QB with 7 or more completions.

Chargers gained 220 more yards than the Vikings…

The last time the Chargers had a 220+ yard differential over their opponent in an opener was in 1984; also in an opener against the Vikings.

 

Seattle Seahawks 17 at San Francisco 49ers 33

Jim Harbaugh wins his debut…

Since 1983, head coaches coming directly from the Pac-12 are 8-2 in their debuts.  Check out the chart below.

Coach From To Debut Score
John Robinson USC Rams 1983: W at Giants 16-6
Darryl Rogers Arizona St Lions 1985: W at Falcons 28-27
Dennis Green Stanford Vikings 1992: W at Packers 23-20
Rich Brooks Oregon Rams 1995: W at Packers 17-14
Steve Mariucci California 49ers 1997: L at Buccaneers 6-13
Mike Riley Oregon St Chargers 1999: W at Bengals 34-7
Dennis Erickson Oregon St 49ers 2003: W vs Bears 49-7
Lane Kiffin USC ¹ Raiders 2007: L vs Lions 21-36
Pete Carroll USC Seahawks 2010: W vs 49ers 31-6
Jim Harbaugh Stanford 49ers 2011: W vs Seahawks 33-17

¹ Was an assistant coach at USC.

 

New York Giants 14 at Washington Redskins 28

A rare opening game loss against the Redskins for the Giants…

The Giants loss opening game loss to the Redskins, breaks a streak of six straight wins over the Redskins in openers.

Redskins Fred Davis gains 105 receiving yards…

Fred Davis’ 105-yard receiving performance, marks only the third time since 1990, that a Redskins TE gained over 100 yards receiving.

 

Sunday Night Game

Dallas Cowboys 24 at New York Jets 27

No running game, no problem…

The Jets only had 45 rushing yards against the Cowboys, but still picked up the win.  It’s only the second time in team history that the Jets won a game, despite rushing for 45 yards or less.  They have a record of 2-42-1 in such games.

 

Monday Night Games

New England Patriots 38 at Miami Dolphins 24

Chad Henne’s 400+ yard passing, 50+ rushing…

Dolphins QB Chad Henne passed for 416 yards, and rushed for 59 yards.  Going back to 1960, Henne is only the third QB to pass for 400 or more yards, and rush for 50 or more yards in a single game. The other two QB’s (2008: Matt Cassel, and 1992: Steve Young) also lost their games.

 

Oakland Raiders 23 at Denver Broncos 20

Raiders snap Week One losing streak…

The Raiders snapped an 8-game Week One losing streak.  The Raiders were only one game away from tying the Eagles (1968-76) for the worst Week One losing streak.  It was also a rare Week One road win for the Raiders.  Since 1991, the Raiders are 2-11 in Week One away games.

 

Reference: Pro-Football-Reference’s Play Index, Box Scores from ESPN.com

 

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