The Hog Report is an exact science, with head-to-head match-ups of the great behemoths of the gridiron leaving little to the imagination. Some numbers, however, can be more interesting than others.
The number four, as in Detroit’s Fearsome Foursome featuring defensive tackle Alex Karras in a defense with Hall of Famers Paul Hornung and Dick LeBeau, is one of those.
As Karras suffers through kidney failure, we here at the Hog Report remember being floored by him twice: once for his unrelenting savagery on the field, and once in a show-stealing performance as the soft-hearted goon, Mongo, in Mel Brooks’ classic Blazing Saddles.
Mr. Karras, you surely will be missed.
As the 2012 NFL season entered its fifth week – one-fourth of the way to the grand Mecca of the NFL in the Superdome – the magic of numbers had reared its head on Monday night.
Any voodoo that might be associated with New Orleans was alive and well for the 666th Monday night match-up in New York, as the Texans took on Tim Tebow’s New York Jets.
But, Tebow’s apocalyptic tweets aside, our calculations have found that the great hogs have begun to emerge, while the impostors are ready for pasture. Dominance is dominance and numbers do not lie, despite 140-character prophesies.
And so we shall exalt the dominant and cast aside the impostors.
Three Prime Cuts
Hog-a-Roni, the San Francisco Meat
The 49ers entered into Sunday’s contest facing a Bills team that was ranked first overall in the Offensive Hog Index.
And while their defensive hogs were not so hot in the Defensive Hog Index, Buffalo is still leading the league in money invested in d-hogs, with over $77 million.
San Francisco decided to do what they do and demoralized their opposition until their self-respect is something far, far away in the rear-view mirror.
The 49ers offense managed to pull off a feat that has never been accomplished: they gained over 300 yards both on the ground AND in through the air.
Yardage totals may have become inflated in recent years, but averages per attempt have remained the equalizer. To that effect, San Francisco was only the 13th team in the ENTIRE history of the game to pass for more than 300 yards and average over 8 YPA rushing.
The 49ers 76% completion rate was the second-highest out of all those teams and their 311 total rushing yards were heads and shoulders above the second-highest total of 250, set by the 1959 Chicago Cardinals.
Even more impressive was the efficiency with which the 49ers achieved their numbers. They did not give up a sack or an interception for a perfect 0 NPP% and passed for 12.40 YPA on 25 throws.
San Fran also limited the Bills to 240 yards total, which was only matched by two of the teams on that 13 team list. The 2000 Eagles put up similar numbers, but were picked off twice and sacked once while only throwing for 6.82 YPA. The 1950 Rams were the other team to allow so few yards, but Green Bay managed to sack them three times and pick them off twice, while L.A. only threw for 6.89 YPA.
Hands down, San Francisco’s hogs punched the clock on Sunday for one of the most dominant and workman-like performances in the history of professional football. For a game the Hog Report picked to win the match-up of the week, even we did not see this coming.
Indianapolis Colts O-Hogs Run a Marathon and Finish ChuckStrong
The Colts hosted a desperate Packers team in Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. The Packers have underperformed all season and arrived with their backs up against the wall.
The Colts, on the other hand, had learned that their head coach, Chuck Pagano, was diagnosed with leukemia and had to hand the reins to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians during his hospitalization.
Unsurprisingly, the Colts came out flat and allowed the Packers to take a 21-3 lead into halftime. But, after walking away from the game with a breathtaking 30-27 win, the Colts had to thank their oxen in the trenches as much as Reggie Wayne’s discovery of the fountain of youth.
One of the most extraordinary factors in the win was the amount of plays run by two up-tempo, no-huddle offenses.
The Colts alone attempted 55 passes and ran the ball 30 times.
This has only been accomplished by six winning teams in the history of professional football. Of those six, three went to overtime and had extra time to rack up more attempts.
But, of the three non-overtime winners, the Colts had arguably the most impressive performance.
Even more impressive is the extra vigor that the Colts’ hogs were able to pull out to win the game for Pagano in the second half. While Wayne fought through cramps down the stretch, the offensive linemen helped the offense to click and Dwight Freeney led the Colts’ pass rush to crank up the heat high enough melt the frozen tundra.
Overall, the Colts’ NPP% was impressive enough:
- 15.79 Defensive NPP% while allowing only 7.36 P/YPA
- 8.47 Offensive NPP% helped Luck to throw for 345 yards
But, despite the sheer volume of plays, the Colts’ hogs performed exceptionally well in the second half:
- 27.27 Defensive NPP% including all five sacks and their interception
- 3.13 Offensive NPP% on a staggering 32 pass attempts
Our thoughts are with Pagano, an outstanding defensive mind who has always coached the best out of his hogs. It is truly a testament to the type of coach that he is that his front-line warriors finished so strongly to pull out a win for Pags.
The Giants’ Offensive Linemen are the Chefs behind Victor Cruz’s Salsa
Although the Hog Report observed a couple of weeks ago that the Giants d-hogs’ steady improvement mirrored that of their offensive counterparts, the upward trend has been broken for Jason Pierre-Paul and company. On the less-heralded offensive side of the ball, the improvement has continued, especially in offensive NPP%, while the defensive NPP% has increasingly dwindled.
The Giants now share the top spot in the OHI with their Super Bowl nemesis, the Patriots. But more impressive was the Giants’ performance against an underrated Cleveland defensive front when New York was missing their best lineman, David Diehl.
They finished the day with a 4% offensive NPP% against a Cleveland defense that began the week sporting a 10.50 defensive NPP%, good for an eighth-place ranking. They also ran over the Browns’ defensive for 243 yards at 7.15 R/YPA, while holding Cleveland to only 83 yards rushing.
- Since 2009, teams that ran for greater than 240 yards with at least 7 R/YPA and held opponents to less than 85 are 6-2, and every game featured over 50 attempts between both teams.
- Of those eight games, only four featured more than 70 combined passing attempts, with the rushing yardage winner finishing 2-2
- Only three of those eight games did the team rushing for more than 240 yards throw more than 30 attempts, and the Giants were the only winner of those three teams.
- Unsurprisingly, only one other team in those eight games besides the Giants did not allow a sack.
The point is that high yardage totals are often a sign of offensive inefficiency and an inability to finish drives. Thanks to the Giants’ o-hogs, New York has been both prolific and efficient. It is a very rare combination.
Roasted Pork Butt: The Eagles D-Hogs have had their Wings Clipped
After a hot start to the season, Philadelphia and their cast of maniacal Wide 9 pass rushers have been subdued. After Week 3, they were fourth in the DHI and sported an 11.11 NPP%. Then in Week 4 they faced the previously mentioned Giants’ o-hogs, and fell to earth after forcing only one interception and no sacks for a dismal 2.38 NPP%.
A patchwork Pittsburgh offensive line seemed to be the elixir the Eagles needed to create havoc and pump up their NPP%. Instead, they had no sacks, no interceptions and a nil NPP%. Even worse, the Steelers, who entered the game dead-last in R/YPA with a pitiful 2.64 average, ran over the Eagles at a clip of 4.39 YPA.
Now they have fallen seven spots in the DHI to 13th overall and a 26th-ranked 6.95 NPP%. Even if Michael Vick fumbles away the season and Andy Reid continues to forget that he has running plays in his playbook, the Eagles are being let down by what should have been the strength of the team.
Trench Warfare of Week 6: Giants visit the 49ers in an NFC Championship Redux
In a rematch of one of the most thrilling games of last season’s playoffs, the Giants return to the swirling winds of Candlestick Park. They face off against a 49ers team fresh off one of the most impressive performances in history.
Even though the 49ers have home field advantage, as well as an advantage in Cold, Hard Football Facts’ Quality Stats, the match-up in the trenches is very intriguing.
The Giants, as we mentioned, have the top-ranked offensive line. They are sixth in R/YPA and second in offensive NPP%.
The 49ers defensive hogs are ranked 23rd in NPP% and sixth in limiting R/YPA.
On the other side of the ball, last week’s performance vaulted the 49ers’ o-hogs up 10 spots in the OHI to sixth, and they hold the top spot in R/YPA in 6.08.
Even after shutting down the Browns’ running game, the Giants are still only ranked 25th in defensive R/YPA.
Will one of the two disappointing pass-rushes come alive, and who will be the most efficient offense. In the NFC Championship, the Giants barely won the battle of NPP%, 10.35 to 9.38. San Francisco’s d-hogs Mr. and Mr. Smith, Aldon and Justin, will certainly have something to say about that.
And San Francisco will probably plan on replicating a performance in which their R/YPA was over 2 yards better than New York’s.
The quality stats do not lie, and neither do results. The 49ers will take this game in the end, but not without another trench-tastic contest.