The NFL has gone high-tech. New for the 2015 season, every player has a tracker embedded in his shoulder pads that collects data like velocity, distance traveled and proximity to opposing players. Zebra Technologies is the company behind the tech, and the insights they provide are letting fans see the game in a whole new light.
The Wild Card round produced some incredibly impressive data, as eight teams from around the country clashed with the hopes of keeping their Super Bowl dreams alive. Here are the the craziest next-gen stats from those games, as well as drills you can use to help you replicate them.
All data courtesy of NFL.com
1. Russell Wilson’s Incredible Scramble
The Seahawks couldn’t score. Through the first three quarters of their game against the Vikings, their offense was non-existent. But just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse, Russell Wilson turned disaster into triumph and sparked the Seahawks’ comeback.
With just 11:57 remaining to play and the Seahawks trailing the Vikings 9-0, a poorly timed snap flew past Wilson’s shoulder and tumbled into the backfield.
Wilson spun around and sprinted to retrieve the ball. But instead of just falling on the ball and securing it safely (as most quarterbacks would have done), Wilson slid next to the ball, picked it up and scurryied away from pressure. Once outside the pocket, he saw a wide-open Tyler Lockett and hit him with an accurate pass.
Wilson traveled a total of 27.7 yards before he released the pass. Lockett, who was supposed to run a bubble screen, took off downfield when he saw Wilson improvising, snagged the ball and took it all the way inside the 5-yard line to set up a crucial Seattle touchdown. It’s hard to imagine any NFL quarterback making this play other than Russell Wilson.
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2. The Mighty Knile
Knile Davis set the tone for the Chiefs matchup against the Texans on the very first play. He ran the opening kickoff back for an explosive touchdown, darting through the coverage and waltzing into the end zone untouched. On the play Davis hit a supersonic top speed of 22.11 mph, the fastest speed recorded by a ballcarrier in the Wild Card round and the 8th fastest speed (tied with Allen Robinson) during the entire regular season.
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3. The Seahawks’ D Stuffed AP
Blair Walsh took much of the blame for the Vikings’ loss to the Seahawks, but Adrian Peterson’s disappointing performance was another major issue. The Seahawks’ swarming defense held the regular-season rushing leader to 45 yards on 23 carries. Peterson was constantly running east and west looking for daylight, as evidenced by the fact that he covered 476 yards with the ball in his hands. His 9.33 yards traveled per rushing yard were more than twice his season average of 3.92. The Seahawks pursued the ball tirelessly, preventing AP from busting free for big yardage.
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