If you happen to miss the actual viewing of a sports game, there are always plenty of stories that can be told simply by reviewing the box scores. And as a whole, you can define a team in large by a compilation of those tales.
Take the NFL for example, where you never know what the hell is going to happen from week to week – but can help explain the madness from looking at every box score for every team.
That’s when you uncover the stories that truly and objectively define each NFL team in the 2015 season. Numbers can paint some pretty good pictures.
So, without delay, here is the single stat that best sums up every NFL team in 2015.
New England Patriots — All Hands On Deck
It’s been an injury nightmare for the New England Patriots in 2015, yet somehow Bill Belichick’s team has managed to maintain the top spot in the AFC with an 11-2 record.
To rattle off a few of those injuries: Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, and LeGarrette Blount; not to mention basically the entire offensive line missing time.
How, you ask? Everyone is chipping in. 15 different Patriots have caught a pass this season—including one Tom Brady. Oh, and through all of it, Brady leads the NFL in passing yards. That’s simply mind-blowing.
New York Jets — Protecting Your Signal Caller
One of the keys to having a successful offense is your ability to protect the quarterback, and that’s what the Jets have done this year.
Buffalo Bills — *Whistle* *Yellow Flags Fly*
The Bills are possibly the least disciplined football team in the league. They aren’t the most penalized but their penalties come at the worst possible times.
In total, they’ve gotten the zebra treatment 218 times for a ridiculous 1,880 yards on the season.
Miami Dolphins — Organized Negligence
This is what we call organizational negligence. It’s a fireable offense.
The Dolphins have underachieved yet another year in which they had high expectations. At 5-8, they’re last in the AFC East and a big reason for it is their notable offensive inabilities. But, are they really inabilities or is it just ignorance?
Miami refuses to run the football despite the fact they have an elite back in Lamar Miller.
Here’s what I mean: The Dolphins’ 265 rushing attempts are the lowest in the entire NFL. Yet, their 4.8 yards per attempt is tied for second best in the NFL.
They run the ball effectively when they run it…but they refuse to do so with any consistency. This trend continues to ruin any rhythm they attempt to generate on offense, and continues to make my head spin.
Cincinnati Bengals — It’s A Give And Take Game
The Bengals have never been ones for taking care of the football. They posted a 0 turnover differential in 2014, and, while a good team, they could never win games down the stretch because of it.
2015 is different, though. Aside from AJ McCarron’s two turnovers, the Bengals are +8 on the turnover differential and have been far more efficient because of it.
Pittsburgh Steelers — Classic Steeler Football
When you imagine Pittsburgh Steelers’ football you immediately think of ground-and-pound and smash mouth defense. Even with Ben Roethlisberger, a strong run game is always a focal point of the Steelers.
That’s been especially true in 2015, as Pittsburgh endured multiple injuries to major skill position players. The run game, yet again, became the anchor of the team.
Their ability to average 4.7 yards per carry and accumulate 14 rushing touchdowns despite losing Le’Veon Bell after six games is a major reason why they’re 8-5 and in the middle of the AFC playoff race.
Baltimore Ravens — The Walking Infirmary
17. That’s how many players the Baltimore Ravens have placed on the IR in 2015, including Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, Justin Forsett, Dennis Pitta, Terrell Suggs, and Breshad Perriman — not exactly patsy players.
The Ravens are an example of their head coach, though. Smart, relentless, and they haven’t given up this year despite being dealt the worst hand in the league.
Cleveland Browns — Three.
Three. 3. Tres. Whatever you call it, that’s the Browns’ most telling number this year.
It’s the number of quarterbacks they’ve started in 2015 — by choice. Not surprisingly at all, three is also the number of wins Cleveland has this season.
Indianapolis Colts — Passing The Ball Is Hard
The Indianapolis offensive line is downright disrespectful and only exacerbated by the team’s front office refusal to address it. That’s led to the injury of Andrew Luck and now Matt Hasselbeck because of abusive hits.
Their net yards per pass attempt (which accounts for pass yards – sack yards / pass att. + times sacked) is third worst in the league at 5.8.
Otherwise known Trent Richardson‘s career yards per carry multiplied by two.
Houston Texans — 33.33 Repeating
The Houston Texans are possibly the most undefinable team in the NFL? They’re kind of just there.
One thing I did find interesting though, is that they have only scored 30 total touchdowns on offense. Stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has accounted for 10 of those, or, you guessed it, 33.33 repeating percent.
That’s pretty impressive.
Jacksonville Jaguars — Touchdown Blake
Bortles is also near the top of the NFL in interceptions on the year, but his maturation into a more confident passer – alongside the growth of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns – have set the tone for the Jaguars moving forward.
Tennessee Titans — Holding Onto The Rock
15.9 turnover percent.
Yeah, nearly 16 percent of Titans offensive drives end in a turnover. That is not good.
Maybe they should borrow some duct tape from Tim McGraw.
Denver Broncos — Three and Get The Fuck Out
The Broncos are currently in the middle of a 2006 Chicago Bears-type season.
That’s just a nice way of saying their defense is doing all of the work while the offense makes a few plays here and there to make you remember they still exist.
Denver’s most alarming stat of 2015 is their three-and-out drive percentage, which sits at a miserable 27.22 percent. That means (more than) one of every four offensive drives the Broncos have ends without getting a first down.
To put that awfulness in context, the St. Louis Rams are the only team in the NFL with a worse percentage than the Broncos. It’s also a strong indicator that this team is going nowhere in the playoffs.
Alex freaking Smith has thrown the least amount of interceptions (4) in the NFL this season. Granted, he’s King Dump Off and doesn’t really take a ton of downfield shots, but that’s fairly difficult to do.
The Chiefs themselves have gone as Smith goes. After losing their star Jamaal Charles in a Week 5 loss, KC dropped to 1-4 on the season. They lost the following week, moved to 1-5 on the season and hope was gone.
But all winning teams possess the ability to take care of the football. And behind steady, albeit safe, football from Alex Smith – the Chiefs have stormed back and find themselves in the middle of the AFC playoff hunt.
Oakland Raiders — Driving The 4th Quarter Carr
Derek Carr has thrown for 28 touchdowns against only nine interceptions, pretty impressive numbers for a 24-year-old QB on the Raiders.
But what I’m impressed with most is Carr’s three fourth-quarter comebacks in 2015. He’s showed incredible maturation in his second season, proving that happiness can be had in Oakland.
Until the Raiders move away from Oakland that is.
San Diego Chargers — A Wasted No. 15 Pick
The San Diego Chargers narrowly missed the playoffs in 2014, and they basically kept the same roster heading into 2015. Thus, their major offseason move was drafting running back Melvin Gordon at No. 15 overall.
It has backfired.
The Chargers aren’t that good anyway, but Gordon’s zero touchdowns on 201 touches this season – when nearly every back taken after him has produced – pretty much tells you everything about a tumultuous season.
Gordon’s inabilities have forced Philip Rivers and the Chargers to throw the ball a league-high 547 times this year.