Big play pass duos to square off in Packers-Lions contest


Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson… Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson.

These two big play passing combos will face off on Sunday as the Packers take on the Lions in Detroit.

Which of these duos is the best in the NFL? Ask fans in Green Bay and Detroit and you will get entirely different responses. Both are dynamic.

But for the sake of this blog let’s look at one aspect of this discussion. First, Jordy Nelson came into the NFL in 2008 after being a second round draft choice out of Kansas State. Since 2008, he has caught 37 TDs in 91 games. Many of those TD receptions have been for 50 yards or longer, 10 of them to be exact.

That’s the basis of this item. Let’s look at which QB-Receiver combos have had the most TD passes of 50 yards or more since 2008. For Nelson, nine of his 10 TD pass receptions of 50 yards or more have come from Rodgers, while one came from Matt Flynn. The nine TD passes of 50 yards or more for Rodgers-Nelson is tied for the second most since 2008. First on the list? You guessed it, Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson with 10. Note: Johnson has 13 TD pass receptions of 50 yards or more since 2008.

Here’s a look at the QB-Receiver combos that have had the most TD passes of 50 yards or more since 2008.

10: Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson, Detroit

9: Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson, Green Bay
9: Eli Manning to Victor Cruz, New York Giants
9: Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh

6: Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings, Green Bay
6: Andy Dalton to A.J. Green, Cincinnati
6: Matt Ryan to Julio Jones, Atlanta
6: Michael Vick to DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia
6: Tony Romo to Miles Austin, Dallas

5: Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis
5: Drew Brees to Robert Meacham, New Orleans
5: Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
5: Philip Rivers to Daren Sproles, San Diego
5: Tony Romo to Dez Bryant, Dallas

Both combos of Rodgers to Nelson and Stafford to Johnson have a TD pass of 50 or more yards this season. Rodgers and Nelson connected on an 80-yard TD last week versus the Jets; Stafford and Johnson connected Week One on a 67-yard pass against the Giants.

Note: In Week One there were six TD passes of 50 yards or more in the NFL. In Week Two there were four.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


NFL games tied at the end of three quarters


Monday’s NFL game between Philadelphia and Indianapolis was tied at the end of the third quarter, 20-20. The Eagles went on to win the game, played in Indianapolis, 30-27.

It was the second game this season that went into the fourth quarter with the score tied. In Week One, the Bears and Bills were tied 17-17 going into the fourth quarter. The Bills won that game, 23-20, in overtime.

Since 2000, there have been 234 games that were tied at the end of the third quarter, that’s about 16.6 games per season, or about one game a week. (We are pretty much on the mark with one such game each week this season.) Of those 234 games, the home team has won 123, or 52.6 percent of those contests. (Notice how both away teams won these games this season.)

The New England Patriots, the NFL’s best team this century, has been the most successful team since 2000 when it comes to games that are tied at the end of three quarters. Bill Belichick’s Patriots are 11-1 in games where they are tied going into the fourth quarter. The Washington Redskins have played in the most games with 24; the New York Giants the least with seven.

Here’s a look at each team’s record since 2000 in games where they were tied at the end of the third quarter.

New England, 11-1, .917

Arizona, 11-3, .786
Atlanta, 12-4, .750
Indianapolis, 11-4, .733
Denver, 8-3, .727

Green Bay, 9-5, .643
Cincinnati, 7-4, .636
San Diego, 8-5, .615

New York Giants, 4-3, .571
Cleveland, 9-7, .563
Philadelphia, 8-7, .533
Pittsburgh, 9-8, .529
Carolina, 6-6, .500
New Orleans, 5-5, .500

Tennessee, 10-11, .476
Miami, 8-9, .471
St. Louis, 6-7, .462
San Francisco, 6-7, .462
Houston, 9-11, .450
Chicago, 4-5, .444
Tampa Bay, 6-8, .429
Buffalo, 7-10, .412
New York Jets, 7-10, .412
Jacksonville, 6-9, .400
Seattle, 6-9, .400

Kansas City, 9-14, .391
Dallas, 7-11, .389
Detroit, 5-8, .385
Washington, 9-15, 375
Minnesota, 5-9, .357
Baltimore, 3-7, .300

Oakland, 3-9, .250

* The New England Patriots had won 11 straight games when they were tied at the end of the third quarter until last season when they lost to the Miami Dolphins on December 15. The two teams were tied at 10-10 starting the fourth quarter, but Miami won 24-20. It was the Pats first loss in a game where they were tied at the end of the third quarter since 2000. Denver has the current longest winning streak in such games at four; the Rams have the longest current losing in games where they are tied at the end of the third quarter with five.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

White Sox Jose Abreu stamps name among best-ever rookies


Each year major league baseball welcomes a new crop of first-year players (rookies) who arrive on the scene with promise and a scrapbook full of minor league clippings that excites their franchise and faithful fans. Some of these rookies find their way into the line-up or rotation and have an immediate impact. Others, not so much. And then there are those who show up with a lot of fanfare and never make their mark in the majors.

That is certainly not the case for Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu. The 27-year-old rookie first baseman has been as close to the “real deal” as any first-year player this season and maybe in the last 10-plus years. On Sunday he slugged his 35th HR, tying the White Sox rookie record. In addition, he has already surpassed the 100-RBI mark. That’s where we want to jump off in this conversation.

Abreu became only the 12th player in MLB history to have 30 or more HRs and 100 or more RBI in their first season in the majors. Abreu joins an impressive list. The last player (rookie) to accomplish this feat was Albert Pujols who had 37 homers and 130 ribbies in his rookie campaign with the Cardinals in 2001.

Another reason Abreu’s season is so remarkable is when you compare his stats this season to others in the Class of 2014. Only three rookies have had 10 or more HRs and 50 or more RBIs this season. In addition to Abreu, Houston’s George Springer has 20-51 (as of Sept. 14) and Detroit’s Nick Castellano has 10-59. Their numbers are a long ways from the numbers Abreu has put on the board this season.

Here’s a look at the 12 rookies (including Abreu) who had 30 HRs and 100 RBIs in their first year.

2014: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox, 35 HRs, 102 RBI (as of Sept. 14)
2001: Albert Pujols, St. Louis, 37-130
1993: Mike Piazza, Los Angeles Dodgers, 35-112
1987: Mark McGwire, Oakland, 49-118
1986: Jose Canseco, Oakland, 33-117
1983: Ron Kittle, Chicago White Sox, 35-100
1950: Walt Dropo, Boston, 34-144
1950: Al Rosen, Cleveland37-116
1939: Ted Williams, Boston, 31-145
1937: Rudy York, Detroit, 35-103
1934: Hal Trosky, Cleveland, 35-142
1930: Wally Berger, Boston Braves, 38-119

Note: One rookie, Willie Montanez of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1971, fell one RBI short of making this list. He ended his first season with 30 HRs and 99 RBI. A few others rookies were pretty darn close. They include: Ryan Braun (2007, 34-97), Nomar Garciaparra (1997, 30-98), Tim Salmon (1993, 31-95), Willie Horton (1965, 29-104), Luke Easter (1950, 28-107) and Joe DiMaggio (1936, 29-125).

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Inside the numbers in the Packers comeback win over the Jets


Be honest… at any time in the first half did you think, “I can’t believe they are going to start the season 0-2″?

Things certainly didn’t look good for the Packers in the first quarter of their game against the New York Jets. Down 14-0 after just two possessions and then down 21-3 in the second quarter; fortunately, a couple of field goals and a TD before halftime gave the Packer faithful some hope.

Here’s a look at two interesting stats from yesterday’s game.

Packers surrender 14 points in the first quarter: Green Bay was down 14-3 at the end of the first quarter. It was the 44th time since 1966 (the start of the Super Bowl era) that the Packers have allowed 14 or more points in the opening quarter. Prior to yesterday’s game, the Pack was a miserable 9-33-1 in such games (a .221 winning percentage). Not much hope for a victory, was there?

Yesterday’s win was the first win after giving up 14 points in a quarter since January 18, 2008 when the Packers gave up 14 points to the Seattle Seahawks in the first quarter of an NFC Divisional playoff game. The Pack went on to win that game 42-20. It was also the last time the Packers gave up 14 points to their opponents in the first quarter at home and still won the game.

Of the 44 times that the Packers have allowed the opposition to score 14 or more points in the first quarter, 11 times it happened at home, 33 times it has happened on the road. The Packers are now 5-6 in those games at home; 5-27-1 when it happens in an away game.

Packers give up 21 points in the first half, only three points in the second half: The Packers were behind 21-16 at halftime, but after allowing 21 points to the Jets in the first quarter, the Packers defense surrendered only a field goal in the second half. I guess that is what you call “making adjustments at halftime.”

Yesterday’s game was the 18th time since 1966 that the Packers allowed 21 or more points in the first half and three or less in the second half. It was also only the fourth time the Packers won a game under this scenario. The other three times:

* December 8, 2013 vs. Atlanta: Packers gave up 21 points to the Falcons in the first half; they won the game 22-21.

* September 12, 1982 vs. L.A. Rams: Packers gave up 23 points to the Rams in the first half; they won the game 35-23.

* November 1, 1981 vs. Seattle: Packers gave up 21 points to the Seahawks in the first half; they won the game 34-24.

In the 18 games where the Pack allowed 21 or more points in the first half and three or less in the second half, seven were played at Green Bay with the Packers winning four of those games. Eleven of those games were played on the road; the Packers are 0-11 in those games.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

100 yards rushing with five or fewer carries in an NFL game


Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was big factor in Minnesota’s 34-6 win last Sunday versus the St. Louis Rams. Patterson had 176 total yards and scored a TD on a 67-yard run. While Patterson only had three receptions for 26 yards, the wide receiver took three handoffs and gained a total of 102 yards rushing, leading the team in that category.

Patterson’s 102 yards on only three rushing attempts was historic. It was only the second time in the NFL (since 1960) that a player rushed for 100 or more yards on three or fewer rushing attempts. It was also only the fourth time in the league that a player had 100-plus rushing yards with less than five carries.

Here’s a look at the four players who have gained 100 or more yards rushing with five or fewer rushing attempts in a game.

Sept. 7, 2014: Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota, 102 yards on three carries.

December 12, 2010: Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville, 109 yards on five carries.

October 1, 2000: Brian Mitchell, Philadelphia, 105 yards on two carries.

December 5, 1971: Essex Johnson, Cincinnati, 109 yards on four carries.

* Patterson was the first receiver to join this group; the other three players are running backs.

* All four players above scored a TD in that game.

* Three of the four saw their teams win that contest (the Bengals lost in Johnson’s game)

* Two of the four played their game at home (Jennings and Mitchell).

* Patterson is the youngest to accomplish this feat.

* Three of the four also gained yardage with pass receptions in the game (Jennings did not)

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp



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