In the heart of the battle, where brute force is revered and the foundation is built for the truly great (and the truly terrible), this week provided plenty of fodder for the Hog Report. Including one group of o-hogs which may have helped to cause their longtime leader to be impeached.
The Falcons remained undefeated against America’s (Dumbest) Team and the Texans played lackluster football and still rolled to a win against a Bills team whose hogs were severely outclassed.
Everything is normal in the land of football, right?
Roasted Pork Butt: Philadelphia’s O-Hogs Turnstile Their Way to Andy Reid’s Demise
Sure, questionable decisions from Reid have reared their ugly head in recent memory. But the movement of Juan Castillo from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator could be the most questionable.
Howard Mudd was installed as the offensive line coach, but the man who led the o-hogs during Peyton Manning’s heyday has not helped the Eagles to be anything but anemic.
Once regarded as one of the great hog soothsayers of his time, Mudd has done nothing but help his charges fuel the fire under Andy Reid’s hot seat.
Against the Saints, the Eagles were expected to jump start their offense and take some heat off of a severely underachieving team.
Their d-hogs almost were blanked on sacks for the month of October, but did manage a 6.70 NPP% against a good Saints o-hog group ranked 12th overall and 8th in NPP% in the Offensive Hog Index.
The Eagles offensive line, however, managed to give up seven sacks and a 16.67 NPP% to a laughable New Orleans d-hog group.
Entering the contest, Aints d-hogs were sitting at No. 27 in the Defensive Hog Index and No. 28 with a 6.20 NPP%. To put even more perspective on it, not that any is needed, Philly’s offensive line gave up seven sacks in a must-win situation if they wanted to save their bacon for next season.
As our fearless leader of Cold, Hard Football Facts said, one team could blow up spectacularly, and Michael Vick is not the quarterback for this team. With this offensive line, CHFF nailed that on the head.
Those seven sacks were over one-third of the Saints’ 20 on the season. And five of those were against a Chargers team whose left tackle, the enigmatic Jared Gaither, remained in the game at a time in which he was hurt so badly he could barely move out of his stance.
It is too bad the Eagles do not face the Jaguars’ d-hogs and their unbelievably hopeless 3.99 NPP%.
Injuries can be to blame, including left tackle Jason Peters and center Jason Kelce, but another NFC team entered their Sunday contest without their All-Pro guard and managed to dominate the trenches against another poor group of d-hogs.
Prime Cut: Bucs’ O-Hogs Spring the Muscle Hamster from his Cage
Despite losing All-Pro guard Carl Nicks, the Buccaneers’ o-hogs keep getting better every week. Against the Raiders, they plowed the way for Doug Martin to have one of the most astounding rushing performances ever put on by a rookie.
Or any running back, really.
Even more impressive was how little contact was made by any Oakland defender. Martin has started to become more patient trust in his steadily improving offensive line instead of running like his hair is on fire, and it has paid big dividends.
Tampa Bay’s o-hog group jumped up five spots to No. 10 in this week’s OHI. Unsurprisingly they ranked sixth in rushing with a 4.72 YPA, but they are also quietly ranked No. 7 with a 6.42 NPP%.
In the past four weeks, Tampa Bay is 3-1 and Martin has only averaged less than 5 YPA rushing once: 4.7 every time he toted the rock against the Vikings. In that same stretch, Josh Freeman has thrown 11 TDs compared to only 1 INT and had a passer rating over 100 every week. It almost goes without saying that in that stretch the o-hogs have only allowed a 5.96 NPP%.
Against Oakland they had a minuscule 3.22 NPP%
Greg Schiano’s hard-nosed hogs have allowed Martin to rack up some numbers that are very historical in addition to their admirable overall performance.
On the season, Martin has four touchdowns of greater than 35 yards. That ties him fifth all-time with 12 other running backs. If his hogs can clear the path for another one or two 35+ yard TDs, that would put him in good company.
- 5 for Barry Sanders in 1997
- 5 for Adrian Peterson in 2007
- 5 for Terrell Davis in 1998
- 6 for Chris Johnson in 2009
Speaking of another outstanding rookie campaign, Peterson in 2007, the Bucs’ o-hogs have helped put Martin in a small group of company for impressive rookie running back performances. There have only been three rookie backs in this history of football to carry the ball over 20 times and average over 10 YPA.
Rookie RBs with 20 Carries and 10 YPA
The Best Terrible Stat Line: The Vikings O-Hogs Are Jacks of One Trade
Against the Seahawks, the Vikings rolled into Seattle against a team that plays like Dr. Jekyll to their Mr. Hyde on the road. Despite Seattle’s tendencies, the Vikings offense found themselves with split personalities.
The Seattle defense entered the game ranked 7th in the league in rushing average, giving up only 3.71 YPA. Combined with a middle of the pack, 15th-ranked NPP%, the Vikings looked to take advantage of their ability to mask passing game deficiencies by riding their o-hogs and all-everything running back Adrian Peterson, who continues to defy medical science with a career year fresh off a shredded knee.
Peterson and his hogs did not disappoint, as Peterson ran for 182 yards on only 17 carries, good for a 10.71 YPA. As a team, the Vikings ran for 243 yards for 9.00 YPA.
This is impressive enough, but then the Vikings passing game, aka Mr. Hyde/Ponder, sunk the Vikings' ship. Christian Ponder threw for 44 yards on 22 attempts, totaling a minuscule 2 YPA paired with an astronomical 19.23 NPP%.
Ponder’s performance and the team’s NPP%, in tandem with the gaping holes opened in the running game, was odd enough. It is even more so when considering the only other team in the history of professional football to put together such a contradictory performance.
The 2000 version of the Cincinnati Bengals featured center Richie Braham and tackle Willie Anderson, two of the harder-working hogs of their era. They sprung holes for a running back, Corey Dillon, whose extraordinary talents were also overshadowed by his team’s mediocrity.
Okay, maybe those Bengals were quite a bit less than mediocre.
But in Dillon’s 274-yard masterpiece against the Broncos, the Bengals were able to win the game despite super-bust Akili Smith’s abysmal passing performance. If this is the company that Ponder is going to keep, then the Hog Report hopes his college education was not wasted.
Only twice has a team rushed for more than 9 YPA and passed for less than fifty yards. The Bengals ran for 407 yards against a Broncos team that finished 11-5, on the strength their o-hogs, Dillon and Peter Warrick’s 3 rushes for 90 yards. In fact, they were dominating the line of scrimmage so thoroughly that they tried to shut out Smith completely, only asking him to attempt nine passes.
Of course, Smith only completed two of those nine. At least his two completions went for 34 yards and for 16 YPA.
Trench Warfare of Week 10: A Bull or Bear Market?
Week 10 features a match up that has the Hog Report quivering in anticipation. The Texans, one of the most complete teams in the trenches this season, visit Soldier Field and the nastiest d-hog group in the NFL: the Chicago Bears.
The Texans have the No. 3 ranked o-hog unit, only allowing a 5.68 NPP%. The Bears have a stable full of relentless d-hogs, all of whom are ready to do more than rip a chunk out of Matt Shaub’s ear. They will gladly back that up with their astounding 12.21 NPP%.
This game will likely boil down to the hapless hogs blocking for Jay Cutler. Any quarterback is bound to become irritable when his line is giving up a league-worst 13.33 NPP%. J.J. Watt, the Hog Report’s hands-down defensive player of the year at the midway point, leads the top ranked unit on the DHI.
Not only will they spend time in the backfield getting acquainted with Cutler, but they are the best in the league at getting off the field on third down due to their ability to cause third-and-long situations.
The Texans have the edge in the Cold, Hard Football Facts Quality Stats, but tune in to see if President Obama’s reelection will energize his hometown Bears.