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AFC-NFC NEWS AND NOTES

Posted Nov 21, 2012

AFC-NFC NEWS AND NOTES

AFC NOTES

BALANCE ON OFFENSE LEADS TO SUCCESS FOR TEXANS


NFL defenses present complex schemes in an attempt to confuse and disrupt offenses. One method offenses use to counter is a balanced approach that leaves defenses guessing. 

 

The Houston Texans, who sit atop the AFC with a 9-1 record, certainly believe in balance. Through Week 11, Houston has the best run-to-pass ratio in the NFL this season (50.1 rush/49.9 pass). That balance will be tested again this week when the Texans travel to Detroit to face the Lions on Thanksgiving (CBS, 12:30 PM ET). 

 

Houston’s versatility on offense has been on display the past two weeks. In Week 10, Houston relied on running back ARIAN FOSTER to rush for 102 yards against a stingy Bears defense in the Texans’ 13-6 win at Chicago. Foster leads the AFC with 949 rushing yards this season.

 

In Week 11, Houston turned to quarterback MATT SCHAUB and wide receiver ANDRE JOHNSON in the Texans’ 43-37 overtime win against Jacksonville. Schaub passed for 527 yards, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer WARREN MOON (December 16, 1990) for the second-most passing yards in a game in NFL history, while Johnson had a career-high 273 yards on 14 receptions, including a 48-yard game-winning TD catch.

 

“It is part of our identity,” says Schaub on the Texans’ balanced offense. “It’s how we operate. We can control the ball and put drives together. It’s just something that we need to stay true to our plan and who we are.”

 

The teams that are closest to a 50-50 run-to-pass ratio this season:

 

TEAM

TOTAL PLAYS

RUSH PCT.

PASS PCT.

PCT. DIFF.

Houston Texans

698

50.1

49.9

0.3

San Francisco 49ers

599

50.4

49.6

0.8

Washington Redskins

626

50.5

49.5

1.0

Kansas City Chiefs

676

47.2

52.8

5.6

Chicago Bears

620

46.6

53.4

6.8

 

The Texans balanced offense starts up front with a productive ground game that utilizes a zone-blocking scheme.

 

“We feed off our running game,” says Schaub. “We try to make everything look the same, whether it's a run or pass. When the offensive line is as aggressive in the pass as they are in the run, it really sells to the defense that we're trying to run the ball. That in turn, will help our receivers get open down the field and create big plays.”

 

NFL Network analyst and former NFL head coach STEVE MARIUCCI is a believer in the Texans’ zone-blocking scheme.  Mariucci says the Texans have all the right pieces to master the scheme.

 

“That zone-run scheme is the scheme that head coach GARY KUBIAK was involved in at Denver with MIKE SHANAHAN and ALEX GIBBS, and brought it to Houston,” says Mariucci. “He has the offensive line to do it, he has the running back to do it right now, and it’s a great run-game scheme for play action and movement passes. They go hand in hand together.”


The teams with the most rushing yards per game since 2011:     

 

TEAM

RUSH YARDS PER GAME

Minnesota Vikings

147

Houston Texans

146.7

San Francisco 49ers

142.3

Denver Broncos

141.7

Philadelphia Eagles

134.3

 


NFC NOTES


COMEBACK WINS HIGHLIGHT UNPREDICTABILITY OF NFL

 

“It’s amazing how close the NFL is,” says Atlanta head coach MIKE SMITH, whose team overcame a 13-point deficit to win in Week 11. “You just don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

 

The 2012 NFL season has proven that to be true. And it was evident this past weekend when four teams rallied to win after trailing by at least 11 points. Three of those teams came back from a deficit of at least 13 points.

 

TEAM

OPPONENT

LARGEST DEFICIT

FINAL SCORE

Houston

Jacksonville

14

Houston 43, Jacksonville 37 (OT)

Atlanta

Arizona

13

Atlanta 23, Arizona 19

Dallas

Cleveland

13

Dallas 23, Cleveland 20 (OT)

Tampa Bay

Carolina

11

Tampa Bay 27, Carolina 21 (OT)

 

“The guys trusted each other,” said Buccaneers head coach GREG SCHIANO after Tampa Bay erased an 11-point deficit to come back and win in Week 11. “For those guys to keep fighting, it says a lot. They believed in themselves and believed in each other. When guys had tough plays, their teammates picked them up. And that’s so important.”

 

This season, nearly 12 percent of the games (19 of 160, 11.9 percent) have featured a team overcoming a deficit of at least 11 points to win. Nineteen such teams are the second-most in a season’s first 11 weeks in NFL history.

 

MOST COMEBACKS FROM 11 POINTS DOWN TO WIN (THROUGH WEEK 11)

SEASON

GAMES

1987

22

2012

19

2011

17

1989

17

1984

17

1979

17

 

“We always talk about playing 60 minutes,” says Chicago head coach LOVIE SMITH, whose team rallied from a 12-point deficit in Week 8. “You’ve got to really just fight to get a win, but the good teams, at the end, find a way to win. No matter how you start, it’s about how you finish.”

 

Through the first 11 weeks, there have been 15 games – 9.4 percent (15 of 160) of all games – in which a team trailing by at least 13 points came back to win. That is tied with 2011 for the second-most such games at this point in NFL history.

 

MOST COMEBACKS FROM 13 POINTS DOWN TO WIN (THROUGH WEEK 11)

SEASON

GAMES

1987

19

2012

15

2011

15

1984

14

1979

14

 

“It’s fun when you come back,” says New York Giants quarterback ELI MANNING, who has orchestrated two 14-point comeback victories this season. “It’s fun when you start making plays and you’re seeing things happen. You get to fight back and then you get the excitement of coming back. You see the rally happening and your teammates get fired up.”

 

Following are the 19 games this season in which a team has come back from at least 11 points down to win. Thirteen of the games were decided in regulation and six went to overtime. Ten of the games had a team erase a deficit of at least 14 points to win, including three clubs that trailed by at least 18 points.

WEEK

TEAM

OPPONENT

LARGEST DEFICIT

FINAL SCORE

2

St. Louis

Washington

15

St. Louis 31, Washington 28

2

New York Giants

Tampa Bay

14

New York Giants 41, Tampa Bay 34

3

Kansas City

New Orleans

18

Kansas City 27, New Orleans 24 (OT)

3

Baltimore

New England

13

Baltimore 31, New England 30

3

Jacksonville

Indianapolis

11

Jacksonville 22, Indianapolis 17

4

New England

Buffalo

14

New England 52, Buffalo 28

4

Arizona

Miami

13

Arizona 24, Miami 21 (OT)

5

Indianapolis

Green Bay

18

Indianapolis 30, Green Bay 27

5

New York Giants

Cleveland

14

New York Giants 41, Cleveland 27

6

Denver

San Diego

24

Denver 35, San Diego 24

6

Seattle

New England

13

Seattle 24, New England 23

7

New Orleans

Tampa Bay

14

New Orleans 35, Tampa Bay 28

7

Oakland

Jacksonville

14

Oakland 26, Jacksonville 23 (OT)

7

Pittsburgh

Cincinnati

11

Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 17

8

Chicago

Carolina

12

Chicago 23, Carolina 22

11

Houston

Jacksonville

14

Houston 43, Jacksonville 37 (OT)

11

Atlanta

Arizona

13

Atlanta 23, Arizona 19

11

Dallas

Cleveland

13

Dallas 23, Cleveland 20 (OT)

11

Tampa Bay

Carolina

11

Tampa Bay 27, Carolina 21 (OT)

 

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