By Justin Henry
Cold Hard Football Facts' Dr. Death (@jrhwriting)
We run through the signature statistical reason for each team's win or loss each week here at CHFF Insider.
WINNER: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Mike Glennon and company enabled the 0-16 Lions of 2008 to pop their corks with a tense victory on Monday night, as the last team of 2013 to win a game.
A big part of that victory goes to the defense, which not only forced an early safety, but allowed Miami to convert only 4 of 12 third downs (and 0 of 1 on fourth), and held the Dolphins to 0.14 yards a run.
Only 26 teams in NFL history posted a lower average per rush attempt (min. 10 attempts) than Miami did Monday night against the previously winless Bucs.
LOSER: MIAMI DOLPHINS
The Dolphins were crushed in rushing yardage by the lopsided score of 140-2. While Tampa averaged only 3.78 yards a run, they did run 37 times, which wound lots of time. The Dolphins only possessed the ball for 25:12, and a pair of field goals inhibited efficiency.
WINNER: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Scoring the game's last 20 points, Minnesota shook off a horrendous Christian Ponder first-quarter INT, and played efficiently the rest of the way. The Vikings averaged an impressive 9.03 yards per point scored, or just 63.21 yards gained per touchdown scored.
LOSER: WASHINGTON REDSKINS
The Vikings defense stepped up their efforts in the second half, making Robert Griffin III as uncomfortable as they (namely Kevin Williams) could. On 433 yards, Washington managed just 27 points, or 16.04 yards per point. They didn't even turn the ball over, either.
WINNER: NEW YORK GIANTS
Aided by a healthy third down percentage (seven of 14 converted), as well as a blocked punt TD, the Giants were able to wiggle past an equally-ailing Raiders opponent. New York averaged 11.38 yards per point scored, way better than their 18.60 season average.
LOSER: OAKLAND RAIDERS
Terrelle Pryor (five carries, 19 yards) wasn't able to blast his way for gold on the ground, and had to rely on his very spotty passing game. Pryor had his fourth straight anemic passing performance, going 11 of 26 for 122 yards, no touchdowns, and a pick. Rating: 40.87.
WINNER: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Nothing fancy from the Seahawk defense (one turnover), but instead the offense controlled the game. Seattle ran for 211 yards on 42 carries (a quality 5.02 YPA), and said fluidity allowed the offense to possess the ball for 35:30, up on their already solid 30:38 average.
LOSER: ATLANTA FALCONS
Because Seattle was able to bully around the Falcons run defense, Matt Ryan and the offense needed to make the most of their minimal possession time. Instead, the offense sputtered with a lackluster third down percentage, converting only three of 12 tries.
WINNER: PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Steelers were among the worst teams in Bendability (yards allowed per point scored), sitting at seventh worst with a rating of 13.12. Holding Buffalo to 250 yards and 10 points gives them a 25.00 rating on the day, or 175 yards needed for an opponent to get a touchdown.
LOSER: BUFFALO BILLS
EJ Manuel was rustier than the pipes in a haunted house in his return from injury. Not only did the rookie throw for a rating of 63.51, but Manuel averaged just 3.13 Real Yards Per Pass Attempt. That's 23 sack yards substracted from 155 passing yards, on 39 attempts.
WINNER: BALTIMORE RAVENS
It was an ugly hangnail of a victory, but the Ravens simply screwed up less than their division rival. While gaining only 225 yards of offense, Joe Flacco and the Ravens' 20 points were in good proportion to that total, giving Baltimore an 11.25 Scoreability rating.
LOSER: CINCINNATI BENGALS
Andy Dalton and AJ Green nearly erased an uninspired slapstick performance with the regulation-ending hail mary, but it wasn't to be. The offense simply went to Hell with three interceptions, 3.87 YPA rushing, and converting a mere 26.32 percent of their third downs.
WINNER: DETROIT LIONS
Calvin Johnson's second-half touchdowns will get plenty of deserved accolades, but the Lions shutdown defense came through. By forcing two Chicago field goals in the red zone, Detroit held the Bears to 19 points on 350 yards, for a superb Bendability rating of 18.42.
LOSER: CHICAGO BEARS
Josh McCown's insertion as Jay Cutler's surrogate was a two-point conversion away from tying the game with 40 seconds left. Offensive ineffectiveness helped put the Bears behind, as Chicago ran for only 1.90 YPA, and failed to convert on ten of their third-down attempts.
WINNER: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Three long touchdown passes from Nick Foles (all between 32 and 55 yards) ripped the life out of Green Bay's chances of winning. Foles continues his unexpected run of dominance with a 149.31 passer rating, as he remains pick-less through the 2013 season.
LOSER: GREEN BAY PACKERS
With Seneca Wallace ailing, Scott Tolzien put up a valiant effort at quarterback. Though at times, after Tolzien drove down with effective bubble screens, the Eagles red zone D clamped down, leaving Green Bay with a Scoreability rating of 31.08 on the afternoon.
WINNER: ST. LOUIS RAMS
Tavon Austin and Chris Long led the way with a punt return score and a fumble-six respectively, forcing a startlingly bad game out of Andrew Luck. For their efforts, the Rams made it out of Sunday's game with a stellar 10.18 Scoreability rating.
LOSER: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Where's the cantankerous visage of Jim Mora to seethe, "FIVE TURNOVERS" at the press conference? Andrew Luck threw three picks, with Matt Hasselbeck chucking the other, handily coming out of the turnover battle minus-four to a wishy-washy Rams team.
WINNER: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
An aggressive performance gets the Jaguars off the schneid, even if things got surpremely close at the end. Jacksonville recovered three fumbles (one of which went for a Will Blackmon touchdown) and forced an interception, coming out plus-two in turnovers.
LOSER: TENNESSEE TITANS
Tennessee may not have expected the uppercut they got, but Jacksonville's defensive overtures proved to be the difference (particularly the safety). Although the Jaguars gained just 234 yards of offense, 29 points nails the Titans with an 8.07 Bendability rating.
WINNER: CAROLINA PANTHERS
The Panthers defense is becoming the talk of the league, holding opponents to just 11.4 PPG during this five-game winning streak. They've now beaten a good team in San Francisco, holding them to 9 points on 196 yards allowed, a Bendability score of 21.78.
LOSER: SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Colin Kaepernick and the offense learned what Carolina's previous victims have found out: they're a wall. The 49ers could only convert two out of 13 third down tries, and they surrendered a Negative Pass Play on 21.88 percent of dropbacks (including six sacks).
WINNER: DENVER BRONCOS
The win proved uglier than necessary in the second half, and Peyton Manning's legs took a beating, but the quarterback put up another dominant performance. Manning's rating clocked in at 135.19, with four touchdowns, no picks, and nearly 70 percent completions.
LOSER: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Settling for a pair of field goals kept the Chargers from fully hanging in there with their Rocky Mountain nemesis. On the day, the Chargers gained 349 yards, but with just 20 points to show for it, that leads to a 17.45 Scoreability rating, or a touchdown every 122.15 yards gained.
WINNER: ARIZONA CARDINALS
Giving up 24 points doesn't make for a good stat line, but one of those scores was on a very short field following a fumble. Away from the points, Arizona held Houston to 3.62 yards a run, and only allowed them to convert 37.50 percent of their third down attempts.
LOSER: HOUSTON TEXANS
Case Keenum played a mostly efficient game, with no interceptions against three touchdowns, but his performance lacked boldness. With a lack of good protection, Keenum averaged just 3.70 Real Yards Per Pass Attempt, hence 16 third down opportunities.
WINNER: NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The Saints' 634 yards of offense made for the tenth most in NFL history, and fifth most since the merger. Its architect was, who else, Drew Brees, who guided the way with a 139.02 rating and four touchdown throws, while racking up 39:32 in possession time.
LOSER: DALLAS COWBOYS
The Cowboys offense sputtered, stammered, and stumbled, much to the merriment of spurned ex-employee Rob Ryan. Dallas went zero for nine on third downs, and Tony Romo averaged a mere 4.33 Real Yards Per Pass Attempt, in a performance lacking guile.