Top individual performers in the AFC South

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Nov 4, 2008.

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  1. NewsGrabber

    NewsGrabber Guest

    Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

    I'm overdue to take a look at the NFL stat pack while wearing my AFC South glasses. So here are the most significant individual leaders from among Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee.

    Â*[​IMG]Â*Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesÂ*Houston's Matt Schaub leads the AFC South in passer rating (91.0). Passing: Matt Schaub will be out for a stretch with a knee injury, but at the halfway point he leads the division in passer rating (91.0), third-down passer rating (94.0), average gain (7.76 yards) and touchdown percentage (4.4).

    Of note: The passer ratings of the AFC South quarterbacks run in inverse order of the standings: Kerry Collins of the Titans is at 72.9, Peyton Manning 83.3, David Garrard 83.7 and Schaub at 91.0. ... Collins is the best fourth-quarter passer but ranks just 21st in the NFL with a 78.9 rating. He's often been handing off as the Titans have protected leads and he has 20 fewer fourth-quarter attempts than any of the other AFC South quarterbacks.

    Rushing: Titans rookie Chris Johnson is fourth in the NFL with 715 yards, the best total in the AFC. No. 2 in the division is also a first-year man, Houston's Steve Slaton (538).

    Of note: The Jaguars divide their work more evenly than anyone, but Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor's combined yardage (641) is less than Johnson's. ... As bad as it's been for Jacksonville, those two backs have combined for 3.73 yards per carry, better than the combined 3.36 of Indianapolis' Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes.

    Receiving: Houston's Andre Johnson has 60 catches, a 15-catch lead on Jacksonville's Matt Jones. Johnson has 834 receiving yards, a 248-yard lead over Reggie Wayne.

    Of note: Indianapolis' Anthony Gonzalez is the division's best third-down receiver, with 14 catches for 199 yards, but that catch total is only good for an eighth-place tie on the entire NFL register. These four teams spread it around and also run a good deal on third down.

    Scoring: The Titans not only have the league's top scoring nonkicker in LenDale White (60 points on 10 touchdowns), they have two of the top 21, as Chris Johnson is tied for 11th with six scoring plays. Rob Bironas leads the division's kickers with 71 points, fifth in the league. He's on pace for just one fewer field goal than last year's 35, but is only eight extra points shy of last year's total of 28.

    Interceptions: The Titans are tied for the league lead with 13 interceptions. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan and safety Michael Griffin are among the six players tied for the league-lead with four interceptions, while the other safety, Chris Hope, has three. No one else in the division has more than two, and the fourth member of the Titans' starting secondary, Nick Harper, is one of them along with Jacksonville's Rashean Mathis, Brian Williams and Gerald Sensabaugh; Houston's Jacques Reeves and Eugene Wilson; and Indianapolis' Melvin Bullitt.

    Sacks: Houston's Mario Williams has maintained a sack-a-game pace and is tied for seventh in the league with eight, while Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth has six, second among interior defensive linemen. Indianapolis' Robert Mathis also ranks in the top 20 with five quarterback takedowns.

    Returns: Houston's Jacoby Jones has two punt return touchdowns, more than anyone but Reggie Bush, and his 12.9-yard average is tops in the division. Tennessee's Chris Carr has been very steady, ranking second in the NFL with an average kickoff return of 28 yards without a huge one to help the average (His long is 52).

    Punting: Hunter Smith of Indianapolis has a net average of 39.9 yards, nearly three yards better than Tennessee's Craig Hentrich. But Hentrich leads the division with 15 punts pinned inside the 20-yard line, a significant number for a team that has a top defense and has had leads to protect.



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