New York Times: Post-Week 17, 2013

January 1, 2014 Current Events

In my final article of the year at the New York Times, I look at one key statistic for each team. Denver Broncos: Quarterback Curse Can Peyton Manning break the hex? Only four quarterbacks — Tom Brady (2007), Rich Gannon (2002), Kurt Warner (2001) and Dan Marino (1984) — have played in a Super Bowl […]

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Checkdowns: London Fletcher’s Last Stand (NYT)

December 28, 2013 Checkdowns

A special bonus article this week at the New York Times, as I took a look at the incredible career of London Fletcher. On Sunday, Fletcher, a Washington captain, will play in his 256th straight game, the third-longest streak in N.F.L. history for a player who was not a kicker, behind only Brett Favre’s 299 […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 16, 2013

December 25, 2013 Coaches

Black Monday is just four days away. This week here. Tweet

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New York Times: Post-Week 15, 2013

December 18, 2013 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I look at the dominant Seattle pass defense. As the passing revolution overtakes the N.F.L., football fans have become immune to the avalanche of falling records. Teams are averaging 239 passing yards per game and completing 61.3 percent of passes, metrics that would be single-season records. Peyton Manning […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 14, 2013

December 11, 2013 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I look at the questionable decisions of the man responsible for the struggles of the 2013 Colts. After a 2-14 season in 2011, the Indianapolis Colts hired Ryan Grigson as their general manager, and his success was immediate. In 2012, the Colts made the playoffs and he was […]

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Checkdowns: Tale of a Tailspin Graphic (NYT)

December 7, 2013 Checkdowns

I contributed to this New York Times graphic regarding the Jets struggles. Tweet

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New York Times: Post-Week 13, 2013

December 4, 2013 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I look at what offensive records may be set this season. Peyton Manning remains on schedule to break the single-season touchdown and passing records. With 41 touchdowns in 12 games, he needs 10 in his final four games to break Tom Brady’s single-season record of 50 passing touchdowns. […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 12, 2013

November 29, 2013 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I analyze the Cardinals, the Steelers, and some record-setting points and yardage numbers. Bruce Arians is doing it again. A year ago, he helped turn the Indianapolis Colts from the worst team in the N.F.L. in 2011 to a playoff team in 2012. Hired as the team’s offensive […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 11, 2013

November 20, 2013 Coaches

Eight teams fired their head coaches last year. How are those eight coaches doing in 2013? And will there be more firings next year because of the Reid effect? That’s what I’m writing about this week at the New York Times. Andy Reid may be the worst thing to happen to struggling coaches. In 2012 […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 10, 2013

November 13, 2013 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I talk about the shocking development that follows after a bad offensive line loses two of its starters: Off the field, the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin dispute has dominated the headlines in Miami. On the field, the absence of the two allowed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line to […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 9, 2013

November 6, 2013 NYT

There are seven teams that have two or fewer losses this year. But that doesn’t mean those teams are without weakness: this week at the New York Times, I look at the biggest concern for each of the top teams in the NFL: Seattle Seahawks (8-1) Seattle has the best record in the N.F.C. and […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 8, 2013

October 30, 2013 NYT

It’s mid-season awards time at the New York Times! OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE FIRST HALF (NON-QB EDITION) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs. Honorable mention: LeSean McCoy, Jimmy Graham, Calvin Johnson. No offense is as dependent on one player as the Chiefs are on Charles. He leads the league in carries on first-and-10 and has produced […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 7, 2013

October 23, 2013 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I look at how the Chiefs have gone from worst to first: The Chiefs have found success in an unusual way. In the modern N.F.L., the best teams tend to be the best passing teams, but Kansas City has managed to succeed with a mediocre passing attack thanks […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 6, 2013

October 16, 2013 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I look at the hard-to-read Carolina Panthers. Carolina has won six of nine games since I declared them a sleeping giant. On the other hand, the team has a losing record this season and has beaten teams with a combined one victory. In other words, as tends to […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 5, 2013

October 9, 2013 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I fawn over Andrew Luck: Luck ranks fourth in ESPN’s Total QBR metric, which includes two of the hidden areas where Luck excels: rushing and third-down passing. Luck has produced the most value on the ground of any quarterback in the league, according to Total QBR, slightly better […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 4, 2013

October 2, 2013 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I examine the brothers Manning: Twenty months ago, Eli Manning and the Giants won the Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, the home stadium of his All-Pro brother, Peyton. This year, Peyton seems poised to return the favor. No team is hotter through four weeks than […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 2, 2013

September 18, 2013 NYT

My article this week revolves around how Phil Emery has reshaped the Bears. It’s too early to grade any general manager, but the early returns are promising in Chicago. In January 2012, the Chicago Bears were looking for a new general manager. That search concluded with the hiring of Phil Emery, a relative unknown who […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 1, 2013

September 12, 2013 NYT

For the past few years, I have written a weekly in-season article for the New York Times’ football blog, The Fifth Down. The Fifth Down has been folded into the regular sports section, so you can find my weekly articles on the NYT Sports Page. The main subject in my article this week revolved around […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 17

January 2, 2013 Checkdowns

At the New York Times Fifth Down Blog this week, I explain my choices for the major awards this season. Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings Generally, the Most Valuable Player award is given to the best quarterback, while the Offensive Player of the Year is usually the player with the most […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 16

December 25, 2012 NYT

This week at the New York Times I looked at some record-breaking performances from week 16. Sunday was a record-setting day in the N.F.L. In case you missed it … The rookie Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh connected on a 56-yard field goal in the second quarter against the Texans, making him the first kicker […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 15

December 18, 2012 NYT

A double post at the New York Times this week. Did you know that Alex Smith is seven attempts away from qualifying for eligibility for certain rate-based statistics? If Jim Harbaugh wants to game the system — and this is Harbaugh — he could ptobably that Smith breaks the completion percentage record, set by Drew […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 14

December 11, 2012 Defensive Players

This week at the New York Times, I take a look at how three defensive stars from the 2011 Draft have dominated the league and helped make their teams Super Bowl contenders. The 2011 N.F.L. draft class was initially talked up for its star potential at quarterback: Cam Newton (the first overall pick), Jake Locker […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 13

December 4, 2012 NYT

This week at the New York Times, I blush when discussing Andrew Luck, praise the great Calvin Johnson as he tries to surpass Jerry Rice (but with a caveat), and take a look at some other random stats (including some absurd numbers from Adrian Peterson). Trivia: Brandon Marshall has gained over 1,000 yards on both […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 12

November 27, 2012 NYT

My article for the New York Times this week takes a look at one interesting statistic for each of the eight division winners.   Atlanta Falcons – Record in Close Games In 2010, Atlanta raced to a 10-2 record on the strength of an improbable 7-1 record in games decided by 7 or fewer points. […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 11

November 21, 2012 NYT

This week at the Fifth Down, I look at the remarkable turnaround in Tampa Bay.  I argue that the success Tampa Bay is having this year dates back to the end of last year, when the organization decided to rebuild the offense with a clear image in mind. Ten months ago, Tampa Bay Buccaneers General […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 10

November 14, 2012 NYT

This week at the New York Times I looked at several interesting statistical developments in both the 2012 season and in week 10. Even in today’s pass-happy N.F.L., it pays to have one of the best running backs. In one of the bigger surprises of the season, the best of the best is Minnesota’s Adrian […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 9

November 7, 2012 NYT

Are the Bears the best team in the NFL? This week at the New York Times, I profiled the incredible season the Bears are having. If you feel like every few years the Bears come out of nowhere with an incredible defense and a questionable offense, you’re right. The 2012 Bears stand as the next […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 8

October 31, 2012 NYT

My post for the New York Times this week takes a look at the triumvirate of Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan, and Mark Sanchez. Rex Ryan was hired by Mike Tannenbaum on Jan. 19, 2009. Three months later, they traded up in the 2009 N.F.L. draft to acquire Mark Sanchez. Since that moment, the three of […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 7

October 24, 2012 NYT

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the differing rookie seasons of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. The numbers still hold — Griffin dominating in all traditional stats, while Luck throwing more passes downfield than any other quarterback — so I sat down with ESPN’s Jeff Bennett to figure out why Luck ranks ahead […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 6

October 17, 2012 NYT

If you feel like this has been one of the most unpredictable seasons so far, you’re right: Pete Rozelle dreamed of a parity-filled league in which any team could win on a given Sunday. If alive today, the former N.F.L. commissioner would surely smile at how the 2012 season has started. Half of the league’s […]

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