The 2017 NFL regular season is technically 53 percent complete, but the second half of the year truly gets underway as Week 10 kicks off. Let’s reflect on the first nine weeks of the year with a look at 10 statistics that we think are cool. Hopefully, you’ll agree.
Why Sean McVay has practically clinched coach of the year: One year after averaging a league-low 14.0 points per game, the Los Angeles Rams are averaging a league-high 32.9 points per game. That despite the fact they’re using the same quarterback-running back duo that they employed for the majority of the 2016 season.
Largest scoring difference from one season to next since 1999 when the STL Rams finished season with a 17.8-ppg improvement and won SB XXXIV. https://t.co/4Kd5PSWc0E
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) November 8, 2017
Why Carson Wentz is the league’s MVP frontrunner: The broad numbers are great, but these two set him apart. First, Wentz has a league-best passer rating of 125.1 on third down. Second, he has a 15-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio in the red zone. In other words, he’s at his best when it matters most.
Reason No. 3,482 why the Browns suck: Cleveland is on pace to post a turnover margin of minus-24, which would be tied for the worst mark in the NFL this century.
LeGarrette Blount is allergic to the end zone: Blount, who led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns last season, has carried the ball inside the opponent’s 5-yard line eight times, but he has minus-five yards on those attempts and has scored just once. Maybe that’s why the Eagles acquired Jay Ajayi….
Same with Keenan Allen: Dude’s been targeted nine times in the red zone. He’s caught one of those nine passes.
It’s Antonio Brown and then everybody else: Brown is averaging 104.4 receiving yards per game. No other player in football is averaging 87. He’s on pace to lead the league by a 286-yard margin, despite the fact the Steelers offense hasn’t even been consistently clicking.
Four NFL teams have scored at least 50 more points than they have allowed: Those teams — Los Angeles (+108), Philadelphia (+104), Jacksonville (+89) and New Orleans (+66) — went a combined 21-43. None made the playoffs.
If you’ve got Jarvis Landry, you’d better be in a points-per-reception league: The Dolphins wide receiver is on pace to catch 112 passes for just 860 yards. That would make him the first receiver in NFL history to fail to hit the 1,000-yard mark on 100-plus receptions. He’s averaging just 7.7 yards per catch, which is nearly two full yards lower than the lowest average for a 100-catch receiver in league history (9.6 in 2016 for Larry Fitzgerald).
NFL offenses are using running backs in the passing game a lot more than usual: 25 percent of the 36 players with 35-plus catches (those essentially on pace for 70-catch seasons) are backs. Christian McCaffrey ranks third in football with 54 receptions, James White ranks tied for 12th with 43 and eight other running backs rank in the top 50. Backs have caught 25.3 percent of the passes completed in the league this year, which is up 13 percent from 22.3 percent last season.
And quarterbacks are taking more sacks than usual: The league-wide sack rate is up 14 percent from last season, and three players (Calais Campbell, DeMarcus Lawrence and Everson Griffen) are on pace to record 20-plus sacks. That’s a mark only 10 players in NFL history have hit.