Ezekiel Elliott is the toast of the rookies and the running back class, leading the NFL with 703 yards on the ground, but David Johnson’s big Monday night against the New York Jets put him in the lead for rushing touchdowns with eight.
Johnson ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns in the Arizona Cardinals’ 28-3 win over the Jets, and that productive night followed up his Oct. 6 performance of 157 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first player since Doug Martin in Weeks 8 and 9 in 2012 to rush for at least 250 yards and five touchdowns in a two-game span, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
With 27 yards receiving on Monday night, Johnson increased his scrimmage yards to 833 on the season, becoming the first player since Ahman Green in 2003 (866 yards) to reach that height over the first six games of a season.
Monday night marked Johnson’s second game with 100 yards and three rushing touchdowns, the first player in Cardinals history to do that and the first player in the NFL to do it in his first two seasons since Adrian Peterson had two such games in his 2007 rookie season.
While Johnson was running strong on Monday night, New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick continued his ugly season, especially in the second half of games. Fitzpatrick threw his 10th interception in the second half of games this season and hasn’t thrown a second-half touchdown, the first time that has happened in 35 years in the NFL, according to Elias (Dan Pastorini, 1981).
- Elliott is the only player averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game and it isn’t even close. He has 117.2 yards per game. Of his 703 yards, 444 of them have coming on first down, which also easily leads the NFL.
- Even with that, six running backs are averaging more yards per carry than Elliott’s 5.13, led by Jay Ajayi (5.73) and LeSean McCoy (5.64). Ajayi leads the league by averaging 6.9 yards per carry in the second half of games and yards per carry (7.1) on first-down runs.
- Elliott is also the only player with more than 30 rushing first downs, as he paces the NFL with 37 (Johnson is second with 29).
- McCoy leads the NFL with 18 rushing plays of more than 10 yards, followed by Elliott (17) and Johnson (16).
- Carlos Hyde and DeMarco Murray lead the league by converting first downs on all five of their third-and-short (less than 3 yards) carries.
- Nobody has been stuffed for negative runs more than LeGarrette Blount at 16 (McCoy is next with 15).
- Matt Ryan easily leads the league with 2,075 yards passing (1,033 yards after the catch by his receivers), 9.88 yards per attempt, 19 pass plays over 25 yards, converting first downs on 43.8 percent of his attempts, and a 117.9 passer rating.
- Although Ben Roethlisberger will miss time with a knee injury, he currently leads the NFL with 16 touchdowns passes, followed by Ryan’s 15. Ryan and Roethlisberger are tied for percentage of touchdowns per attempt at 7.1.
- Perhaps the Jets should allow Fitzpatrick to play the first half and pull him at halftime. In the first half of games, he has five touchdowns and one interception. As detailed earlier, in the second half of games, he has no touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. Brock Osweiler and Jameis Winston are tied for second with eight interceptions each.
- Sam Bradford is the only quarterback completing more than 70 percent of his passes (70.4). Bradford and Brian Hoyer are the only qualifying quarterbacks without an interception. Hoyer leads the league by taking sacks on only 2.1 percent of his pass attempts.
- Although he only has 15 such attempts, Tom Brady leads in completion percentage (86.7) in the fourth quarter or overtime.
- While he has struggled in other areas, Cam Newton leads the league by converting 47.8 of his attempts on third-and-long (8 yards or more).
- Andrew Luck is the only quarterback with more than 20 sacks (23).
- Three players are averaging more than 100 receiving yards per game – Julio Jones (109.3), Greg Olsen (101.7) and A.J. Green (101).
- Four players are averaging more than 20 yards per catch – Sammie Coates (22.16), Rob Gronkowski (21.69), Jones (21.16) and Chris Hogan (21.15).
- Four players have seven catches greater than 25 yards – Amari Cooper, DeSean Jackson, Julio Jones and Marvin Jones.
- Three players have five first-down catches on third-and-7 or more – Kelvin Benjamin, Gronkowski and Terrelle Pryor.
- Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton have been targeted the most, 64 times each.
- Jordy Nelson is the leader with seven red zone receptions.
- Marvin Jones and Brandon Marshall lead the NFL with five dropped passes apiece.
- Luke Kuechly leads the NFL with 68 tackles.
- Lorenzo Alexander continues to lead the NFL with eight sacks.
- Marcus Peters is the interception leader with five.
- Four players have nine passes defensed – David Amerson, Trumaine Johnson, Jason McCourty and Peters.
- Four players have forced three fumbles – Alexander, Bruce Irvin, David Irving and Yannick Ngakoue.
- Travis Benjamin and Spencer Ware are the only players with three fumbles lost so far this season.