By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Colonel of Copy
The Colonel surveys the NFL landscape, issues his report from the early Sunday games here in Week 2, and searches for a series of 2012 defenses that have gone missing in action here in 2013.
1. Aaron Rodgers is (still) underrated
Rodgers is in the midst of the greatest regular-season run of consistent statistical football that we’ve seen in modern times.
Sunday’s 38-20 win over Washington marked the 37th consecutive full regular season game for Rodgers where he has kept his passer rating above 80.
In that same span, he hasn’t thrown more than a pick in a game. Not once.
That’s two-and-a-half full seasons without a single clunker. Said clunker came in Week 8 of 2010, a 59.7 at the Jets. Even if you want to go by the game-analysis done by Pro Football Focus, Rodgers hasn’t graded “in the red” (that’s bad) since Week 13 of 2009!
Only Rodgers could do what he did Sunday vs. Washington (34-of-42, 480, 4TD, 0 INT) and not even really get a lot of attention paid to it. Ho hum, Rodgers put up numbers that would've gotten you burned at the stake in 1957. Discount double check. Next.
All Rodgers needs is one more title to climb into the GOAT conversation, but in terms of most consistent of all time he's already there.
2. Washington and Minnesota’s playoff defenses from 2012 are MIA
The Vikings and Redskins were similarly surprising last year, building a playoff run out of a great running attack and solid defense.
The running attacks are still there, but the defense is nowhere to be found.
Redskins coaches need to be less worried about Robert Griffin III and more worried about why their mostly healthy defense looks awful – 443 yards, 33 points last week, 480 yards, 38 points this week.
Facing two of the best offenses in the league (Green Bay and Philly) doesn’t help, but the Redskins have a very tough schedule of offensive opponents. They’d better figure it out fast if they don’t want a season of Griffin having to throw 40 times a game.
Minnesota, on the other hand, has allowed 469 and 411 yards, 34 and 33 points. They didn’t allow 400+ until Week 8 last year, and only allowed 30+ three times. At least the Vikings won’t be on the road again until after three winnable home games (CLE, PIT, CAR) and a bye.
3. Kansas City’s 2-14 defense from 2012 is also MIA
Bendability. It’s our stat, but we’re at a loss to fully explain this one.
The Chiefs were 27th in the NFL last year in our Bendability Index; opponents needed only 13.42 yards per point, which is not good.
Last week, the Chiefs allowed two points on 178 yards, and were easily atop the 2013 Bendability list. And while that number will dip, they’ll still be in charge after allowing 16 points on 318 yards to Dallas (19.7 yards per point).
An efficient offense helps, as do games at JAX and home vs. the up-and-down Cowboys. Andy Reid has seemed to really build this team around Alex Smith – they look every bit like the emerging Niners teams of 2010-11, that played great defense and safe, mistake-free offense.
In the NFL, a good team is supposed to do two things: win the close ones against the other good teams, beat the shit out of the bad teams. The Chiefs have one win in each folder two games in, and that’s a real good thing.
4. Perhaps shitting all over Philip Rivers should stop for a week
They were lining up to kick Rivers last week, as if allowing Houston to come back from way down was Rivers’ responsibility and not that of the defense. With a crew of receivers not exactly the envy of the league, he still threw for four touchdowns and put 28 points up against a good defense.
It was fitting that his passer rating was 95.5 – that’s just above his career mark of 94.6, which is sixth all-time.
On Sunday, he tore up the Eagles, and gave critics nothing to work with by closing out the Eagles with a game-winning drive. Rivers led the Chargers to 33 first downs and 33 points, and won on a day when the defense allowed 511 yards.
Take a bow, Phil. But keep your eye out for flying garbage just in case.
5. And in other news …
No one lost bigger than Carolina coach Ron Rivera Sunday. Not only did the Panthers lose another one late (six since start of 2012), but Cam Newton wasn’t even prepared to come on the field for a Hail Mary. He was looking lost on the sidelines, no coach was in his ear, and when he got rushed by Buffalo he didn’t even really try to get out of it. Rivera looked the same. Gotta coach to the end when your job’s on the line.
… There is simply no better name for an official than Cleve Blakeman, who ran the Colts-Dolphins game with precision.
… Johnny Manziel in the NFL is going to be fun to watch, even if he sucks. …
DeSean Jackson needs a Chip Kelly tattoo: he’s averaging 8-149-1 in two games; he didn’t have eight catches or 149 yards in a game once last year. …
Two classic “winner team/loser team” close games early, both lost by who you’d expect; Cleveland to Baltimore, Tennessee to Houston. …
Miami-Indy looked like a playoff game; it’d be a bit of a shock if both didn’t make the field of six in the AFC.