By Erik Frenz
Cold, Hard Football Facts Hog Reporter
Every week of the 2011 NFL season, we'll put on a white apron and fishnet cap and get covered in hog blood as we dissect the data. We'll wade through the fat and the bones to find the meatiest, most succulent hogs, while singing sad songs for the hogs that were led to the slaughter.
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Ravens cook up a feast in Baltimore
To say Pittsburgh's trench play was "terrible" would be an insult to the world "terrible." They were flat out dominated on both sides of the ball against Baltimore, not something we've come to see out of Pittsburgh's defense.
Two things stand out from this game, both end in "Hog."
Baltimore's Defensive Hogs forced 7 Negative Pass Plays, while holding Pittsburgh's offense to 33% on third down conversions and 4.1 YPC. They helped hold Big Ben to a passer rating of just 52.9. Considering his career passer rating is 92.5, that's...umm...bad.
More impressive, though, were Baltimore's Offensive Hogs. They held a dominant Pittsburgh defense at bay for 60 minutes. Joe Flacco was sacked just one time, and Baltimore averaged 5.5 YPC.
Yep, the dominant D-Hog dynasty known as the "Steel Curtain" didn't just show chinks in the armor, but may have had all of its limbs severed. Quite literally, the best chance Pittsburgh had might have been to bite their legs off
. It would have at least kept Baltimore from running Hog wild all over them on Sunday.
In non-Hog related statistical information, Pittsburgh's turnovers (7) equaled their points on the day (7). In fact, the Ravens set a team record for turnovers with their defensive performance. Pittsburgh's defense gave up just 15 passing touchdowns in 2010, but gave up three to Joe Flacco in Week 1. Not a good start.
Washington Redskins D-Hogs start a new tradition in D.C.?
A legacy of trench play lives in Washington Redskins lore, and though they haven't been able to get back to that dominance offensively, signs pointed to great improvements for Washington's D-Hogs.
It was a convincing performance against a haphazard New York Giants offense. Four sacks and an interception added up to five Negative Pass Plays for Washington. The interception was a pick-six tipped in the air and returned by rookie Ryan Kerrigan.
3.8 yards per carry is a solid number against a run-happy New York Giants offense. That's enough to get a first down on three carries, but not when combined with inefficiency in the passing game. In fact, New York converted just one of 10 third-down conversion attempts.
Bills O-Hogs throw a tailgate party in Kansas City
The Buffalo Bills brought their butcher knives and charcoal grills to Arrowhead Stadium, and their O-Hogs carved up and grilled Kansas City, leaving them chasing their tails and squealing like stuck pigs (or, in this case, Hogs).
On top of converting 50 percent of their third downs and rushing for 4.2 yards per carry, they gave up just two Negative Pass Plays — and one was an interception on an option pass by receiver Brad Smith.
Take nothing away from Ryan Fitzpatrick as a quarterback, but he could have made those throws from his La-Z-Boy while surfing through a litany of games on NFL Sunday Ticket
Hogs led to the slaughter
St. Louis Rams D-Hogs put to sleep by "Dream Team"
In Week 1, the articles write themselves. Expectations and hopes are built over a six-month offseason and sent crashing down in a 60-minute football game.
The St. Louis Rams looked to be on the upswing, improving from the league's worst D-Hogs in 2009 to the seventh-ranked in 2010 under Head Hog Steve Spagnuolo. As such, they were set up for failure in Week 1 against a Philadelphia offense that's loaded with talent. St. Louis' front seven missed the wake-up alarm and slept all through their beatdown at the hands of the Eagles. Even a defensive Da Vinci like Spagnuolo couldn't draw anything up to stop the Philadelphia Eagles offense from soaring to an 18-point road victory.
Michael Vick is Philadelphia's "Mr. Fix-It," because he can take any broken play and make something out of it. Converting 66 percent of their third downs was just the start. Philadelphia gave up just three Negative Pass Plays — all sacks — on 35 pass plays total, but even that just scrapes the surface of their dominance over St. Louis' defense.
The biggest indicator comes with 7.8 YPA rushing on the ground for Vick's gang of vicious offensive dogs — I mean Hogs.
To think, that wasn't even the best the Eagles are capable of.