Stat Attack: Arizona Invites New England Into The Twilight Zone
By Jarrod Argobright
Cold, Hard Football Facts Stat Attack-istician
Do no adjust your internet browser, as Stat Attack enters the NFL Twilight Zone.
The Arizona Cardinals are 2-0 and are the first team to beat the Patriots in New England in their home opener since Tom Brady became the team's starting quarterback.
Struggling third-year St. Louis QB Sam Bradford came alive unexpectedly against RGIII to beat the Washington Redskins 31-28, despite missing running back Steven Jackson for much the game.
The Seattle Seahawks continue to be two freakishly different teams on the road and at home.
Eli Manning and the N.Y. Giants authored another miraculous victory, while the Jacksonville offense disappeared into a black hole against the mighty Houston Texans defense.
Stat Attack rumbles through the muck that is Week 2 to find out that reality in the NFL is much simpler than an extraterrestrial takeover of your mind.
... Or is it?
Arizona 20, New England 18
The Patriots lost a home opener for the first time since Tom Brady was named the starting quarterback back in September 2001.
Most freakishly, New England lost despite winning almost every statistical battle, save for the scoreboard.
The Patriots passed for more yards (316-140); averaged more yards per play (5.0 to 4.0), posted a higher average in Real Passing Yards Per Attempt (5.9 to 5.0), won the turnover battle (2-1) ... and lost the game.
Rod Serling could not have dreamed up the freakish twists at the end of the game: the Cardinals coughed up the ball on their own side of the field in the final minutes, handing Stephen Gostkowski a chance to win the game. Instead, the Patriots kicker, who was a perfect 4 for 4 on the day, including a 53-yarder with plenty of leg left on it, shanked the 42-yard potential game winner.
It was the first missed game-winning attempt by a New England kicker since Dec. 26, 1999, according to CHFF's "Captain Comeback" Scott Kacsmar.
"FINALLY they choke on one," he Tweeted Sunday. The kicker that day in 1999? Future legend Adam Vinatieri.
Fast forward to Week 2, 2012: About the same time Gostkowski was shanking his kick, Vinatieri booted a 53 yarder with 8 seconds left to lift Indianapolis to a 23-20 victory.
San Francisco 27, Detroit 19
No awkward handshakes this time around as the 49ers beat the Lions for the second consecutive season. The 49ers ran for 148 yards, almost double Detroit's 82 rushing yards.
Jim Harbaugh's 49ers not only own the NFC right now, they are inside the mind of football fans, too. San Francisco is 16-4 since Harbaugh became coach and an incredible 15-4-1 against the spread, as we reported to CHFF Insiders before the game.
The public, in other words, still refuses to believe this team is that good.
After the game, a camera crew catches Jim Schwartz tossing what appears to be a voodoo doll of coach Harbaugh into the trash. A reporter confronts Schwartz about the doll, but he denies everything.
Pittsburgh 27, New York Jets 10
The Steelers have won their last 10 home openers dating back to 2002. Pittsburgh converted more than half of their third down attempts (8 of 15), while holding the Jets to a paltry 33 percent third down conversion rate (4 of 12).
Pittsburgh dominated through the air, averaging 8.5 passing YPA to just 4.8 for the Jets.
Seattle 27, Dallas 7
Talk about the Twilight Zone: the Seahawks undergo a dramatic metamorphosis whether playing at home or on the road.
Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider and its trusty new Spreadapedia reported the dramatic differences before the game. The Seahwaks since 2000 are:
- 66-37 at home
- 36-66 on the road
- 55-43-5 ATS
- 39-60-3 ATS on the road.
The Seahawks continued their home dominance over the Cowboys, as the 'Birds have won the last three meetings between the two teams in Seattle.
Seattle held Dallas to to 49 yards rushing, while limiting Week 1 hero Kevin Ogeltree to 1 reception for 26 yards.
Upon entering CenturyLink Field, a chill runs down Tony Romo’s spine. Afterward, he declines all postgame interviews, as he can’t wait to get back to Dallas.
St. Louis 31, Washington 28
Jeff Fisher won his first win as Rams head coach. St. Louis won despite missing Steven Jackson due to injury as Sam Bradford passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns.
Rumors swirl aby mid-game saying that Fisher benched Jackson for spiking the football, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Rams official statement is that Jackson left the game due to injury.
Mulder and Scully have been sent to Edward Jones Dome to investigate.
Houston 27, Jacksonville 7
The Texans, second on the Bendability Index entring Week 2, held the Jaguars to 117 total yards, the fewest by Jacksonville in franchise history.
The Jaguars were also a putrid 0 for 9 on third-down attempts. Houston's defense racked up five tackles for loss and three sacks.
Look for Houston to top the Cold, Hard Football Facts Quality Stats Power Rankings Tuesday when the final Week 2 stats are released. They ended 2011 No. 1 in that indicator, too.
San Diego 38, Tennessee 10
Philip Rivers threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns, all three scores caught by Chargers tight end Dante Rosario. Rosario, who came to San Diego from Carolina, caught only five TD passes in his five seasons prior to 2012.
Rivers has now completed passes to 10 different players this season.
Carolina 35, New Orleans 27
The Saints start the season 0-2 for the first time 2007, when they finished the season 7-9 and missed the playoffs.
Drew Brees passed for 325 yards, but Cam Newton’s gaudy 12.7 yards per attempt are almost double Brees’ 6.6 yards per attempt.
Philadelphia 24, Baltimore 23
The Eagles are 2-0 after defeating the visiting Ravens, despite committing nine turnovers in their first two games.
The reason? Michael Vick, the oft-maligned Eagles quarterback, who has led the Eagles to fourth-quarter comebacks in each of his first two games.
Against Baltimore, Vick was brilliant on the game-winning drive. He completed 4 of 4 passes for 70 yards while running three more times for 11 yards, including the game-winning score.
New York Giants 41, Tampa Bay 34
Speaking of fourth-quarter comebacks, Eli Manning leads the G-men to another come-from-behind victory against the Bucs.
The effort was eerily reminiscent of 2011, when Manning and the Giants tied an NFL record with seven fourth-quarter comebacks in 2011.
Manning threw for 510 yards on the day, three shy of the team record set by former Giant and hall of famer Phil Simms.
It was the most passing yards allowed by the Buccaneers in franchise history.
Miami 35, Oakland 13
Reggie Bush proved he’s still alive after all, running for 172 yards and 2 TDs on 26 carries. Oakland wonders if their scoring defense fell into an actual black hole after giving up 57 points through the first two games.
Indianapolis 23, Minnesota 20
The Colts notched their first win of the Andrew Luck era, behind the rookie signal-caller’s 224 passing yards and 2 TDs. Luck’s favorite target on Sunday wasn’t Reggie Wayne, who caught 6 passes for 71 yards and a TD, but rather Donnie Avery, who would wind up catching 9 passes for 111 yards.
Cincinnati 34, Cleveland 27
The Bengals beat the Browns in Cincinnati for the eighth time in the last nine games. Andy Dalton threw for 318 yards and three TDs for the Bengals, who have won four straight over the Browns.
Buffalo 35, Kansas City 17
CJ Spiller ran for 123 yards and 2TDs as the Bills send the Chiefs to their second straight 0-2 start.
Buffalo is 1-1, but has dominated on the ground in each of its first two games. The Bills have run the ball 62 times for 396 yards, a gaudy average of 6.39 YPA.
Green Bay 23, Chicago 10
Chicago is living in its own nightmarish Twilight Zone every time it faces Green Bay in recnet years.
The Packers have beaten the Bears their last four meetings in Green Bay and have dominated the series in recent decades: 30-11 vs. Chicago in the last 41 meetings.
In three of those four recent meetings, Jay Cutler has thrown a total of 10 interceptions and 2 TDs.
Packers running back Cedric Benson added to the Chicago nightmare by running for 81 yards on 20 carries (4.1 YPA) against the team that originally drafted him.
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