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Cowboys Sunday Stat Nuggets: B-Ware of D-Ware, Miles And More

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Today is the day that decides whether we start talking about the draft early or whether we remain invested in this NFL season.

There are still a couple of hours left before the Cowboys step on the field against the Vikings. What better way to get into the mood for the game than by reading a post with a couple of judiciously collected stats about the Cowboys and Vikings?

In preparation for this afternoon's game, and with the best regards of both the Cowboys and Vikings media departments, we take a quick look at the one man army in the Cowboys' defense that goes by the name of DeMarcus Ware, look at why it's all downhill for QB's over 40, wonder why David Buehler is the leading tackler on special teams and continue to marvel at Miles Austin.

The Man Machine

DeMarcus Ware is turning into a one man army for the Cowboys. If you look at a couple of stat lines for Ware and the Cowboys as a whole you'll understand just how much of a contribution Ware makes to the Cowboys' defense. The following defensive stats are based on the Cowboys coaching film through the first four games of 2010:


Solo Tackles Tackles for loss QB Pressures Sacks
Team
159 13 23 9
Ware
21 (13%)
6 (46%) 11 (48%) 6 (67%)

Ware is averaging 1.5 sacks a game and is on pace to get 24 sacks, which would beat Michael Strahan's record from 2001. Ware now has four consecutive seasons (2006-09) with 10-or more sacks, becoming the third Cowboys player to accomplish this feat after George Andrie (four seasons, 1964-1967) and Jethro Pugh (1968-1971).

Ware is the only player in the league to reach 10 sacks or more in each of the past four seasons, and he has his sights set higher: Ware's self declared target is nothing less than to set the NFL record for consecutive seasons with 10 or more sacks. The current record is nine consecutive seasons with 10+ sacks, and is held by Reggie White (13-time Pro Bowler and 8-time first team All Pro) who set the mark between 1985-1993 with the Eagles and the Packers.

And then there's Hall of Famer Bruce Smith's 200 sack NFL record. In their first five years, Ware has more sacks than Smith and is easily on track to be ahead of Smith after six year as well.

Go get 'em, DeMarcus.

It's all downhill after 40

Brett Favre celebrated his 40th birthday on Saturday, October 10, 2009. The next day he became the 12th 40-year-old QB to start an NFL game in the Super Bowl era.

Since 1966, only four other QBs have started five or more games after their 40th birthday - Warren Moon, Vinny Testaverde, Doug Flutie and Len Dawson. Favre is the only one of these greybeards with a winning record after he turned 40, and that may change if the Vikings season continues like it has started.

Most QB Starts After Turning 40 Years Old - NFL
Player Starts (Record) TD/INT
Warren Moon 25 (11-14) 27-25
Vinny Testaverde 25 (8-17) 24-32
Brett Favre 16 (9-7) 30-13
Doug Flutie 6 (3-3) 10-4
Len Dawson 5 (1-4) 5-4

Note that the table contains regular season games only. What stands out so far is not only Favre's W/L record, but his excellent TD/INT ratio. However, in the last four games he is 5-7 in that stat, one sign that age may have finally caught up with him, just as it did with every other quarterback in this table.

When the kicker is the leading special teams tackler, something is wrong

Coach Joe D. has had to revamp his entire ST unit, and the results so far have been uneven at best. David Buehler leads the team in ST tackles according to the coaching film analysis. And while it's great that he has delivered four stops that could have been touchdowns otherwise, the returners should have been stopped much earlier.

David Buehler has been credited with four solo tackles and two assists, more than any other ST player. Following Buehler on the ST tackles list are Danny McCray (4-1), Jason Williams (2-3), Victor Butler (3-0), Barry Church (2-1), Leon Williams (2-1) and Sam Hurd (2-0). Five more players have one tackle or assist.

Just how good is Adrian Peterson?

Very, very good. In 50 career games, Peterson is averaging 99.3 rushing yards per contest (4,964 yards). That average ranks as the 3rd-highest in NFL history among players with at least 4,000 yards. Jim Brown (1957-65, 12,312 yards) is the only NFL player to average over 100 yards a game for his career with 104.3. Barry Sanders (1989-98, 15,269 yards) is the only other RB ahead of Adrian Peterson with 99.8 average rushing yards per game.

In both his games against the Cowboys, he managed only 63 yards, on 12 runs in 2007 and on 23 runs in the playoffs last year. Containing A.P. will be one of the keys to victory for the Cowboys. Even better, get him to fumble the ball.

100

For the third time in the first four games this season, Miles Austin cracked the 100-yard barrier with 166 yards and a touchdown on nine catches against the Titans. He opened the season with 146 yards against the Redskins, followed by 142 yards the next week against the Bears.

Austin’s three 100-yard outings in the first four games tied Michael Irvin (1995) for the most 100-yard games by a Cowboy in the first four games of a season. His 166 yards in the Titans game marked his ninth career 100-yard outing and were good for the third-most yards in a game in his career.

After four games, Austin is already halfway to making it onto the Cowboys’ single-season record list of 100-or-more yards in a game:

  • Michael Irvin (1995): 11
  • Michael Irvin (1991): 7
  • Bob Hayes (1967): 6
  • Michael Irvin (1992): 6
  • Terrell Owens (2007): 6