NFL

Eagles to look for more of the ball to put first loss behind them, Jefferson can handle Vikings' business

By Sports Desk November 18, 2022

There are no more perfect teams in the NFL, just some very good ones.

The Philadelphia Eagles lost their 100 per cent record against the Washington Commanders on Monday, and will look to bounce back in Indianapolis in Week 11.

The New York Jets return from their bye week looking to continue to surprise, though they have a tough trip to the New England Patriots to contend with, while the Minnesota Vikings host the Dallas Cowboys in another enticing clash.

Stats Perform has taken a look at some of the more interesting numbers ahead of these and other big games on Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) @ Indianapolis Colts (4-5-1)

Philadelphia possessed the ball for just 19 minutes and 36 seconds of game time in the loss to the Commanders. It was their lowest time of possession in a game since another loss to Washington in Week 4 of the 2015 season (18:52).

Jalen Hurts rushed for a touchdown last week, giving him 20 in his career. At 24 years and 99 days old, he became the second-youngest quarterback in NFL history to reach 20 rushing touchdowns, trailing only Cam Newton (23 years, 199 days).

Matt Ryan had a 39-yard rush in last week's win over the Las Vegas Raiders, the longest run of his career. It was the longest rushing play by a Colts quarterback since Jim Harbaugh ran for 41 yards in Week 4 of the 1994 season.

With a win, Jeff Saturday would join Jim Caldwell (2009) as the only Colts head coaches to win the first two games of their careers.

New York Jets (6-3) @ New England Patriots (5-4)

The Patriots have won 13 consecutive games against the Jets, winning every meeting since the beginning of the 2016 season. That is tied for the longest active win streak against a single opponent for any team (the Chiefs over the Broncos).

The Jets entered their bye week with a 20-17 win over the Bills in which they had 136 net passing yards. They are 5-0 this season when having 250 or fewer passing yards in a game compared to 1-3 when they have more than 250.

Players aged 23 and younger have gained 2002 yards from scrimmage for the Jets this season, the most in the NFL (next most is the Colts with 1336). That is already the most scrimmage yards for the Jets by players 23 and under since the 1990 season (2452).

Jakobi Meyers leads the Patriots with 457 receiving yards this season, one of five New England players with 200+ receiving yards this season. Only the Green Bay Packers (six) have more players with at least 200 receiving yards in 2022.

Dallas Cowboys (6-3) @ Minnesota Vikings (8-1)

Last week was the Vikings' third win this season after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter, tying the 1980 Dolphins, 2000 Jets, 2003 Colts and 2011 Lions for the most such wins in a campaign in NFL history.

Justin Jefferson has 814 receiving yards over his last six games, the most in a six-game span in Vikings history and the most by any NFL player over a six-game span in a single season since Antonio Brown recorded 868 in 2015.

With his 81-yard rushing touchdown last week, Dalvin Cook has now had a rush of at least 65 yards in five straight seasons, level with Derrick Henry (2017-21) for the longest streak by any player since the 1970 merger.

Last week's loss to Green Bay snapped the Cowboys' streak of 195 consecutive wins when leading by 14 or more points entering the fourth quarter (including postseason), which had been the longest streak in NFL history.

Elsewhere...

The Buffalo Bills take on the Cleveland Browns having had at least 100 rushing yards and 300 total yards in 16 straight games, including postseason, the third-longest streak in the Super Bowl era behind the Seattle Seahawks (19, 2014-15) and the Vikings (18, 2002-03).

The Detroit Lions will need to stop Saquon Barkley, who had a career-high 35 rushing attempts for 152 yards in the New York Giants' 24-16 win over the Houston Texans last week. His 35 rushes were the most in a game by any NFL running back this season and the most by a Giant since Joe Montgomery had 38 against the Jets in 1999. 

Ahead of facing the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has completed 76.8 per cent of his passes over his last four games, the fourth-highest by any QB over a four-game span in a single season in NFL history (minimum 140 attempts, excluding overlapping spans) behind Peyton Manning (78.8) and Philip Rivers in 2013 (78.3), and Sam Bradford in 2016 (77.9).

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2, 27-24. Since 2018, six of the nine games between the Chiefs and Chargers have been decided by seven points or fewer, tied for the third most of any matchup since then (Bears-Lions and Texans-Colts, seven each).

Related items

  • New Simeone? Howe did not learn 'dark arts' from Atletico coach New Simeone? Howe did not learn 'dark arts' from Atletico coach

    Eddie Howe was amused by the suggestion he might be the "new Diego Simeone" following accusations of Newcastle United employing Atletico Madrid's "dark arts" this season.

    Newcastle are enjoying an outstanding season, third in the Premier League and on the eve of the home leg of an EFL Cup semi-final.

    Having been more concerned with a relegation battle this time a year ago than any cup progress, the Magpies need only avoid defeat against Southampton on Tuesday to make a first major final since 1999.

    Liverpool were the last top-flight team to beat Newcastle way back in August, their sole league reverse this season, but their approach both in that match and in subsequent tussles with elite opposition has been the source of some debate.

    Newcastle, whose coach Howe spent time studying Simeone's Atletico after leaving Bournemouth, have received five yellow cards for time-wasting this season, fewer only than Aston Villa and Fulham.

    In relation to this trait, Howe was asked if he was the "new Diego Simeone" and laughed before replying: "It's so funny how things can be blown out of all proportion.

    "Yes, I did go and see a couple of Diego Simeone's training sessions, and I have huge respect for him as a coach and a manager.

    "But literally they're one-hour training sessions and then you go. Certainly I took nothing of the 'dark arts' from Diego.

    "I'm very much the same manager [he was before]. I've changed slightly because I've got older and I've got new ideas, and I'm always looking to evolve my work and improve.

    "I'm still fundamentally the same manager with the same principles and the same beliefs in style of play.

    "I just think I've become different from managing Newcastle. I think, naturally, managing this club is a huge challenge, so you evolve in that way."

    Newcastle's strong defensive record is also comparable to Simeone's best Atletico sides, keeping a Europe-leading 16 clean sheets in all competitions.

    But Howe is not planning to protect a draw against Southampton as he urges his Newcastle team, who have been wasteful of late, to attack their opponents in the manner popular former manager Kevin Keegan did.

    "The template is to entertain – of course, within the Kevin framework," he said. "We want Newcastle supporters to come to the game excited about what they're going to see.

    "It's to attack, it's to be front-foot, and it's also to try to win."

    Southampton were the last team to score against Nick Pope, back in early November, and boss Nathan Jones does not believe a win on Tyneside is beyond the Premier League's basement side, who lost 1-0 in the first leg.

    "It's not 'mission impossible' by a long chalk. It's a game of football," Jones said. "Anything can happen.

    "We have to be the best versions of ourselves – we know that's what we have to do. We have to have a game plan, we have to be good, and we have to execute it.

    "Newcastle are in good form, but they're not going to go the rest of their lives without getting beaten, so why not get beaten tomorrow night? That's what we have to attempt to do.

    "We'll go there in good spirits, we felt we played well in the first leg. If we'd had a bit more belief in the first half and been a bit more aggressive, it could have been something different.

    "We had a really good chance to take the lead. There's a lot of positives to come out of it.

    "It's definitely not 'mission impossible', and not even 'improbable'. It's a really acutely poised cup tie. That's how we're treating it."

  • AFC Championship Game win adds to injured Mahomes' 'already great legacy' AFC Championship Game win adds to injured Mahomes' 'already great legacy'

    Patrick Mahomes "definitely didn't feel good" in the Kansas City Chiefs' AFC Championship Game win, but his performance added to "an already great legacy", according to general manager Brett Veach.

    Superstar quarterback Mahomes sustained a high ankle sprain in the Divisional round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    That sort of injury would generally bring about a spell on the sidelines, but Mahomes was determined he would not miss Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, who had won at Arrowhead Stadium last year to reach the Super Bowl.

    While clearly limping in the second half, Mahomes battled through to finish with 29-of-43 passing for 326 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-20 Chiefs success.

    Most notably, a painful five-yard run in the final seconds of the game was followed by a shove from Joseph Ossai that prompted a 15-yard penalty to put Harrison Butker in field-goal range to snatch victory.

    Mahomes' fellow Chiefs were in awe of his commitment, including GM Veach, who said: "People don't realise how hurt he was.

    "We all saw the injury. High ankles are terrible injuries, and sometimes guys miss two, three weeks, and he was out there and running for a first down and a big play in the game that got us in field-goal range.

    "But it just adds to an already great legacy."

    Mahomes' pain was not in doubt for those watching, but he emphasised afterwards: "I definitely didn't feel good.

    "I think the worst one was when I fumbled. I tried to pick it up, and that was probably the worst I tweaked it during the game.

    "[The team] got me as close as they could to 100 per cent. Then I just battled through, and I'll have a few more weeks to get it ready [for the Super Bowl]."

  • Bengals' Ossai knows he must learn from penalty pain Bengals' Ossai knows he must learn from penalty pain

    Joseph Ossai knows he must learn from a painful experience after he gifted the Kansas City Chiefs the chance to seal their place in Super Bowl LVII.

    Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Ossai was hit with a roughing-the-passer penalty for a shove on Patrick Mahomes after the quarterback had run out of bounds right at the end of the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

    A 15-yard penalty allowed Harrison Butker to convert a decisive 45-yard game-goal to snatch a 23-20 win and set up a showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium, Arizona on February 12.

    The 22-year-old Ossai was emotional after such a costly late penalty in a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game and knows he must be more disciplined going forward.

    "I gotta learn from experience," Ossai said. "I gotta know not to get close to that quarterback when he's close to that sideline if it's anything that could possibly cause a penalty in a dire situation like that. I gotta do better."

    He added: "I was just in full chase mode. I was trying to push him, maybe get him going backwards because I knew he was going for that sideline.

    "I was trying to make him go backwards, get that clock running. I haven't seen it yet. I don't know how far out of bounds we were."

    DJ Reader backed Ossai to use the hurt he is feeling now to drive him on to better things.

    Reader said: "That play is going to find him again. Those roles are going to find him again as a player, and just be ready for it."

    He added: "This pain is going to drive him to be great. He'll get there."

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