Stats Pack: Around the AFC

Ed Thompson points out the AFC stats you won't easily find elsewhere -- like how Fred Taylor is proving to be the toughest AFC back to tackle, which running back has almost twice as many 100-yard games than any other AFC back, why Phil Dawson has been key to Cleveland's playoff positioning and more.


Jacksonville Jaguars: Heading into Week 15 action, no running back in the AFC has broken more tackles than Fred Taylor. While averaging 4.9 yards per carry this season, the 31-year old running back has been credited with 19 broken tackles on his runs — five more than any other running back in the AFC. Cleveland's Jamal Lewis and Buffalo's Marshawn Lynch are second at 14.

Indianapolis Colts: Running back Joseph Addai has more carries in the red zone (51) than any other rusher in the NFL. He also has a league-leading 11 touchdown runs from inside the red zone. Tennessee's LenDale White is second in carries with 45 while Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew has been entrusted with that duty 44 times. White has scored seven times while Jones-Drew has six to his credit.  

Houston Texans: Although he's been in the league since 2003, wide receiver Kevin Walter had never caught more than 19 passes in a season and had started in just four games during his first four seasons. Now, with 12 starts under his belt this season, he has 58 catches for a career-best 12.1 yards per catch. The former 7th-round draft pick out of Eastern Michigan was originally selected by the Giants, but played his first three seasons with in Cincinnati before joining the Texans in 2006.

Tennessee Titans: Tennessee's defense has been flagged a league-leading five times for roughing the passer this year. Three of the five infractions have been by defensive end Antwan Odom. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch have each been flagged once. Odom's three incidents are the most by a single player in the NFL this year.


Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have had more downs than ups this season, but kicker Sebastian Janikowski has done his part on kickoffs to help his team's coverage units and defense. He's kicked an NFL-best 35.1 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks versus a league average of just 13.6 percent. Out of 57 kickoffs, 20 have been touchbacks while 28 kicks have reached the end zone.

Chiefs defensive end Jared Allen mauls Oakland quarterback Daunte Culpepper.
Greg Trott/Getty Images

Kansas City Chiefs: Defensive end Jared Allen is currently second in the AFC in quarterback knockdowns with 21.5 on the season. The next-best thing to a sack, the knockdowns are an indicator of the amount of time Allen spends harassing the quarterback in addition to his career-best 11.5 sacks he's accumulated already this season.

San Diego Chargers: One of the reasons San Diego has had to fight to stay in playoff contention is quarterback Philip Rivers' generous nature. He's tallied an AFC-leading 20 giveaways so far with 15 interceptions and 5 fumbles lost. With 18 giveaways each, Cincinnati's Carson Palmer and Tennessee's Vince Young are second in the conference.

Denver Broncos: Oddly enough, the AFC's leader in defensive holding penalties isn't a defensive back. That dishonor belongs to defensive tackle Alvin McKinley, who's been called for the penalty three times this season. Only Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson has been called for it more often with four. 


Cincinnati Bengals: First-round draft pick Leon Hall has been tested mightily and frequently this season by opposing quarterbacks. And out of the 31 cornerbacks in the league who have been targeted at least 75 times this year, Hall is tied for the worst burned rate in the league at 68.0 percent with San Francisco's Nate Clements. But Hall has allowed more touchdowns (9) than any of the the 31 players in that peer group. Teammate Johnathan Joseph has the ninth-highest burned rate at 62.7 percent.

Cleveland Browns: Kicker Phil Dawson has been called on more often than any other AFC kicker to kick a game-tying or game-winning field goal attempt. Out of his five opportunities, he's made three (25, 33, 51 yards), missed one (52 yards) and had a 40-yard attempt blocked.

Pittsburgh's Willie Parker is the AFC's 100-yard games leader.
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Willie Parker has rushed for 100 yards seven times this season, almost twice as many times as any running back in the AFC. Seven AFC rushers, including San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, Indianapolis' Joseph Addai, Baltimore's Willis McGahee, Miami's Ronnie Brown, Oakland's Justin Fargas, New York's Thomas Jones and Tennessee's LenDale White have rushed for 100 yards four times this year.

Baltimore Ravens: Wide receiver Derrick Mason has been the team's favorite target during first quarter action this season. Mason has had 36 balls thrown to his area, more than anyone else in the NFL during the first period of play. He's caught 20 of the passes for 164 yards and 1 touchdown.


New England Patriots: QB Tom Brady's performance this season has been astonishing. But so far he's averaging a completion rate of 59.5 percent in December after two games. While that's still a healthy result, it's continuing a steady monthly decline from 79.5 percent in September to 71.5 percent in October, and 68.8 percent in November. Meanwhile, Brady's two toughest competitors, Dallas' Tony Romo and Indianapolis' Peyton Manning have completed 79.5 percent and 71.7 percent of their passes so far in December. Brady should boost his completion rate in the next two games against the Jets and the Dolphins. But if he doesn't, it could be a reason for some concern for New England as they head into the postseason.

New York Jets: When the Jets play the Patriots this weekend, two of the AFC's top takeaway artists will be doing their best to make a big play for their respective teams. Jets safety Kerry Rhodes is currently tied for third in the AFC with six takeaways (5 INTs, 1 fumble recovery) along with New England conerback Asante Samuel (6 INTs).

Buffalo Bills: Primarily on the strength of Roscoe Parrish's 22 punt returns, the Bills as a team have averaged a league-best 16.8-yard average on punt returns this season. And coincidentally, they also lead the league in covering punt returns. Against a league average of 9.3 yards per return, Buffalo has held their opponents to just 5.5 yards per return.

Miami Dolphins: One of the reasons the Dolphins are struggling this season is their inability to stop teams from scoring touchdowns once they enter the red zone. Miami is last in the league in the category, preventing a red zone touchdown just 34.9 percent of the time versus a league average of 47.9 percent. 

Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the network and are syndicated through You can contact him by email through this link.

Statistics referenced in this article are provided by STATS, LLC. Copyright 2007 by STATS, LLC. Any use or distribution of such Licensed Materials without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited. 

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