Checking the Numbers: Panthers-Cowboys Game

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 28:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys passes against the Carolina Panthers at Cowboys Stadium on September 28, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 28: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys passes against the Carolina Panthers at Cowboys Stadium on September 28, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Last night on Monday Night Football, the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys played the second game ever in Cowboys Stadium. Both teams were in need of a win, for Carolina to avoid an 0-3 start and Dallas to avoid starting 0-2 in their new home. After the Panthers shut out the Cowboys in the first half for a 7-0 lead, Dallas returned the favor on their way to a 21-0 win. But, what can the numbers tell us about how it happened? As I have done with several games in this season, here I wanted to look at this game from my own analytical perspective.

In this post, I took the box score stats from the game and compared how each team did against a combination of their season averages from the 2008 season and the 2009 season. Up to this point, I had been using only 2008, but I have begun incorporating 2009 numbers as well. For each team, I average per game for all games played in 2008 and 2009 prior to this weekend as the baseline. 

So, anyway, on to the numbers! (Box Scores taken from Yahoo! Sports and 2008/2009 averages from Pro-Football-Reference.com). Below, I have four tables.

Panthers’ Offensive Boxscore vs. Panthers’ Offensive Averages

The first table is a comparison of Carolina’s offensive numbers from this game with their average numbers from the beginning of the 2008 season up until last week. This gives an indication as to how well the Cowboys’ defense performed in this game because it shows whether the Panthers’ offensive numbers were above or below their game averages.

Team Statistics Cowboys’ Def vs. Panthers’ Off
  CAR CARAvgOff % Difference
  First Downs 15 18.06 -16.92%
    Passing 10 9.78 2.27%
    Rushing 5 7.22 -30.77%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 271 344.67 -21.37%
    Total Plays 52 59.67 -12.85%
    Average Gain Per Play 5.2 5.78 -9.98%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 73 148.17 -50.73%
    Rushes 16 31.06 -48.48%
    Average Per Rush 4.6 4.77 -3.58%
  NET YARDS PASSING 198 196.5 0.76%
    Yards Per Pass Play 5.5 6.87 -19.92%
    Times Sacked 3 1.44 107.69%
    Had Intercepted 2 1 100.00%
    Fumbles Lost 1 0.56 80.00%

The Cowboys’ defense did a great job on the Panthers’ offense, holding them below their average offensive output in most categories. They did a particularly good job stopping Carolina’s rushing game, holding the Panthers to less than 50% of their average. Overall, the ‘boys held Carolina over 21% below their average in total yards.

Cowboys’ Offensive Boxscore vs. Panthers’ Defensive Averages

The second table is a comparison of the Cowboys’ offensive numbers from the game to the Panthers’ defensive averages. This tells us how the Cowboys’ offense performed compared to Panthers’ defensive averages.

Team Statistics Cowboys’ Off vs. Panthers’ Def
  DAL  CARAvgDef % Difference
  First Downs 24 18.67 28.57%
    Passing 12 10.94 9.64%
    Rushing 10 6.61 51.26%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 449 329.83 36.13%
    Total Plays 67 64.06 4.60%
    Average Gain Per Play 6.7 5.15 30.12%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 212 124.89 69.75%
    Rushes 32 27.83 14.97%
    Average Per Rush 6.6 4.49 47.09%
  NET YARDS PASSING 237 204.94 15.64%
    Yards Per Pass Play 6.8 5.66 20.18%
    Times Sacked 2 2.17 -7.69%
    Had Intercepted 0 0.78 -100.00%
    Fumbles Lost 0 0.83 -100.00%

The Cowboys’ offense performed well in this game. They were above Carolina’s yards allowed in both rushing and passing, particularly rushing (nearly 70% above the average).

Cowboys’ Offensive Boxscore vs. Cowboys’ Offensive Averages

The third table compares the Cowboys’ offensive output in this game against their average offensive output from 2008 and so far in 2009. So, it gives an indication as to how the Panthers’ defense performed against the Cowboys’ offensive averages.

Team Statistics Panthers’ Def vs. Cowboys’ Off
  DAL  DAL AvgOff % Difference
  First Downs 24 18.44 30.12%
    Passing 12 10.44 14.89%
    Rushing 10 6.83 46.34%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 449 352.89 27.24%
    Total Plays 67 60.5 10.74%
    Average Gain Per Play 6.7 5.83 14.87%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 212 116.22 82.41%
    Rushes 32 25.22 26.87%
    Average Per Rush 6.6 4.61 43.23%
  NET YARDS PASSING 237 236.67 0.14%
    Yards Per Pass Play 6.8 6.71 1.36%
    Times Sacked 2 1.78 12.50%
    Had Intercepted 0 1.28 -100.00%
    Fumbles Lost 0 0.78 -100.00%

Just like the last table, this one shows that the Panthers’ defense struggled and the Cowboys’ offense was solid. Carolina allowed Dallas to gain over 82% more yards rushing than they had been averaging. They also allowed 6.6 yards per rush, over 43% above the Cowboys’ average.

Panthers’ Offensive Boxscore vs. Cowboys’ Defensive Averages

The fourth table compares the Panthers’ offensive output with the Cowboys’ average defensive numbers. So, this gives an indication as to how the Panthers’ offense performed against the Cowboys’ defense.

Team Statistics Panthers’ Off vs. Cowboys’ Def
  CAR DAL AvgDef % Difference
  First Downs 15 17.83 -15.89%
    Passing 10 10.61 -5.76%
    Rushing 5 5.44 -8.16%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 271 310.33 -12.67%
    Total Plays 52 61.44 -15.37%
    Average Gain Per Play 5.2 5.05 2.96%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 73 109.83 -33.54%
    Rushes 16 25.5 -37.25%
    Average Per Rush 4.6 4.31 6.80%
  NET YARDS PASSING 198 200.5 -1.25%
    Yards Per Pass Play 5.5 5.58 -1.40%
    Times Sacked 3 3.28 -8.47%
    Had Intercepted 2 0.44 350.00%
    Fumbles Lost 1 0.78 28.57%

This table shows that the Panthers’ offense struggled compared to the Cowboys’ defensive statistics. Just as when compared against their own numbers, the Panthers were below the Cowboys’ defensive averages, in just about every category.

From these numbers, this game looks like it was a good old-fashioned butt-whuppin’. The Cowboys dominated on both sides of the ball, and probably should have won by more. If there would be any area of concern for Dallas, it may be that Tony Romo is playing more safe than he ever has. But, if their rushing game keeps up like the last two weeks, he may be well advised to continue to do so.

Let me know your thoughts.

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One Response to “Checking the Numbers: Panthers-Cowboys Game”

  1. MindHack Says:

    MindHack…

    […]Checking the Numbers: Panthers-Cowboys Game « Checking the Numbers[…]…

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