Looking at the weekend numbers

Before Sunday’s games kick off, it’s time to empty the numbers from the notebook …

Earlier in the week, Jagaurs coach Jack Del Rio compared Bears running back Matt Forte to Marcus Allen. It’s not hard to understand why. Forte leads the Bears in receptions with 48, and is bidding to become the first Chicago rookie to lead the team in receptions since Mike Ditka in 1961.

Even more impressive, Forte needs only five yards from scrimmage to break Gale Sayers‘ record for a Bears rookie.

Most scrimmage yards by a rookie
Bears history
Player Year Rushing yards Rec. yards Scrimmage yards
Gale Sayers 1965 867 507 1,374
Matt Forte 2008 1,012 358 1,370
Anthony Thomas 2001 1,183 178 1,361
Beattie Feathers 1934 1,004 174 1,178
Rashaan Salaam 1995 1,074 56 1,130
Harlon Hill 1954 1,124 0 1,124
Mike Ditka 1961 1,076 0 1,076

Forte also is joining some elite company, being one of the few rookies to account for more than 35 percent of his teams offense.

Highest Pct. of Team’s Scrimmage Yds
Rookies in the Super Bowl era
Player Scrimmage yards Pct.
Marshall Faulk, 1994 1,804 39.4
Eric Dickerson, 1983 2,212 39.1
Edgerrin James, 1999 2,139 36.6
Matt Forte, 2008 1,370 35.7
George Rogers, 1981 1,800 35.6

All of the players, outside of Forte, were top four overall picks. Forte was selected in the second round.

  • Detroit is not picking an easy week to try to get its first win of the season. The Vikings have won 12 of their last 13 games versus the Lions and, dating back to 1998, Minnesota has racked up an 18-3 record versus Detroit. That’s not to say that Detroit won’t win this weekend; it just would be the upset of the season.
  • After missing the last four games with a sprained left knee, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is expected to return to Houston’s starting lineup. But with the Texans playing in Green Bay, Schaub did not pick an ideal spot to come back. He has lost his last nine road games and is 1-10 as a starter on the road.
    Check out how much better, and how much more consistent Schaub has been at home.
    Matt Schaub career as a starter
    Home Road
    W-L 6-3 1-10
    Comp Pct. 67.3 62.2
    Pass YPG 255 199.5
    TD-INT 13-6 9-13
    Passer Rtg. 101 74.6
  • As much as the two might not have gotten along in the past, nobody has missed Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer any more than Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson. This season, Johnson is averaging a paltry 9.5 yards per catch, which ranks him 75th out of 77 qualifying receivers. In other words, hurry back, Carson.
  • It sure hasn’t bothered New York before when wide receiver Plaxico Burress was out of the lineup in the past. Since Burress joined the team in 2005, the Giants are 3-0 in games their star wideout has not played. The Giants beat the Texans, 14-10, on Nov. 5, 2006, with Burress out of the lineup due to back spasms. This season, with Burress gone again, the Giants defeated the Seahawks 44-6. Then last Sunday, with Burress nursing his hamstring and thigh injuries, the Giants beat the Redskins, 23-7. As if that weren’t enough, in the game they briefly benched Burress for missing a treatement session on his neck earlier this season, the Giants beat the Steelers 21-14. Sounds like Burress needs the Giants a bit more than they need him.
  • Just as he has gotten better as this season has gone along, Titans quarterback Kerry Collins also has gotten better as the games have gone along. Collins’ passer rating has increased in each quarter this season. Collins has thrown four interceptions (and no touchdowns) in the first quarter this season and has a passer rating of 56.0 in the opening frame. But Collins has not thrown an interception after the first quarter this season, and all six of his nine touchdowns have come in the second half. His fourth quarter passer rating is 96.3.
  • Two of the NFL’s toughest home teams perennially have been Denver and Seattle. But this season, not so much. Heading into Sunday’s game in Denver against Kansas City, the Broncos have lost three consecutive home games. The last time they lost four straight home games was under Wade Phillips over the course of two seasons in 1993-94. The Seahawks already have lost four straight home games as they prepare to host the Patriots Sunday. The last time they lost five straight home games was back in the woeful 1992 season.

If the Cowboys seem like a different team with Tony Romo at quarterback, it’s because they are. Since Romo returned, the Cowboys have won three straight. In his past two games, Romo has thrown six touchdown passes and one interception. Take a look at the Cowboys offense this season with and without Romo.

Cowboys offense in 2008
With Romo Without Romo
W-L 7-2 1-2
PPG 28.7 13.7
Pass YPG 278.6 140.3
Pass TD-INT 21-8 3-6

Yet as good as Dallas has been with Romo, it has the challenge of the season in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have allowed only 10 points in each of their last three games. And hard as this might be to believe in defense-rich Pittsburgh, Steelers linebacker James Harrison is now one sack shy of the franchise’s all-time single season sack record. Harrison has 14 sacks and is one shy of tying the 15 that former Steelers linebacker Mike Merriweather rang up in 1987.

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