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Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of sports. While baseball has long carried the mantle for statistical analysis and overall nerdiness, the NFL appears to be turning more to numbers than ever before. Stat-driven decision-making and overall efficiency ratings are a much bigger part of game plans on the gridiron than ever before.
Some fall on the sabermetric side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.
With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the NFL through Sunday night's action:
6: Players with 7 TD passes in one game
It feels like ages ago since it happened on Thursday night, but Peyton Manning was the star of the NFL's Opening Weekend because he did something that hasn't been done in over 40 years. He became just the sixth player in NFL history to tie the single-game record of seven touchdown passes when he crushed the defending champion Ravens in Denver. He joined Chicago's Sid Luckman (1943), Philadelphia's Adrian Burke (1954), Houston's George Blanda (1961), New York's Y.A. Tittle (1962) and Minnesota's Joe Kapp (1969) in this prestigious club.
745: Combined passing yards from Colin Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers
The Packers' final image of the 2012 season was Colin Kaepernick streaking all over the field setting an NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 181 in the NFC Divisional Round. The 49ers' new franchise quarterback torched the Pack once again but did so through the air this time. He completed 27-of-39 passes for 412 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Most of those passes — 13 for 208 yards and two scores to be exact — went to Anquan Boldin in his SanFran debut. Aaron Rodgers did his best to keep up with Kaepernick with 333 yards of his own through the air and three touchdown passes. Kaepernick rushed just seven times for only 22 yards but the result was the Packers began this season the same way they ended the last, by losing to the Niners.
9: Danny Amendola receptions that went for first downs
The newest member of the Patriots' receiving corps had a big debut in Buffalo. The oft-injured Danny Amendola was excellent in his first game with New England, catching 10 passes for 104 yards in the win over the Bills. More importantly, nine of those 10 catches went for first downs — something Wes Welker only did twice for Tom Brady since 2008 (77 games). The former Ram needs to prove he can stay healthy long-term to be considered a viable replacement for Welker, but so far so good for Amendola.
163: Cam Newton's career-low yards of total offense
The third-year quarterback's previous career-worst tally for total offense in a game was 183 yards last October in a 16-12 loss to Seattle. He set a new personal low on Sunday after posting a career-low 125 yards passing and only 38 yards rushing in yet another ugly loss to the Seahawks, this one 12-7. These two losses were the former No. 1 overall pick's worst two passing games of his career as well — 141 and 125 yards respectively. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson posted his first career 300-yard passing game with 320 yards on 25-of-33 passing.
8: Career game-winning, fourth-quarter drives for Andrew Luck
Since the start of last season, no quarterback in the league has more fourth-quarter, game-winning drives than the Colts' Andrew Luck. After completing his first 11 passes of the 2013 season, the Colts trailed late in the final frame against the upstart Raiders. Luck marched his offense 80 yards on 11 plays in 5:49, capping his afternoon with a game-winning 19-yard touchdown scramble. That's eight comebacks in 17 starts for Indianapolis' emerging superstar.
537: Marques Colston's New Orleans franchise record for career receptions
After five receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown, Colston passed Eric Martin as the Saints' all-time leading receiver (receptions). He has 537 catches and counting to go with his Saints' franchise-record 59 touchdown receptions. Martin still owns the yardage record with 7,854 career yards but that benchmark should fall in a few weeks with Colston now at 7,462 career yards. More importantly, the Saints defeated NFC South division rival Atlanta for the first time in seven tries in season openers.
34: Seconds left on the clock when the Jets got the ball
Tampa Bay drove the ball 61 yards on nine plays in 1:40 to kick what appeared to be a game-winning field goal in the New Meadowlands with just 34 seconds left on the clock. Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith in his first career start worked the ball 50 yards in 32 seconds on five plays to the Bucs' 30-yard line, aided in large part by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Lavonte David's late hit. Nick Folk drilled a 48-yard field goal as time expired and Smith earned his first NFL win on a fourth-quarter comeback.
19: Adrian Peterson's career games with at least two rushing TDs
The Vikings' star tailback scored three total touchdowns, including two rushing scores, in Sunday's loss to the Lions. It was his 19th career game with at least two rushing touchdowns, which leads the NFL by a wide margin since Peterson entered the league in 2007. Unfortunately, the Vikes moved to 13-6 in those 19 games as Reggie Bush stole the running back spotlight from the reigning MVP. Bush totaled 191 yards from scrimmage on 25 offensive touches (21 att., 90 yards, 4 rec., 101 yards, TD) and it was the Lions who started the season with a win.
0.9: Yards per carry for the Dolphins
The Dolphins began the season with a big road win over the Browns but did so with little help from the ground game. As a team, the Dolphins rushed for 20 yards on 23 carries — or 0.9 yards per carry. In fact, neither team could move the ball successfully on the ground as the Browns didn't fare much better. Cleveland mustered only 47 yards on 13 carries, making these the worst and third-worst (Pittsburgh ran for 32 yards) Week 1 rushing performances prior to the two "Monday Night Football" games.
11: Bryan Anger's Jaguars single-game record for punts
The Jaguars didn't do much of anything in Sunday's pathetic 28-2 showing against the Chiefs. The Jags completed 19-of-41 passes and rushed for 71 yards as a team, failed to convert on 14 third-down attempts and didn't score a single offensive point. This led to Jacksonville punter Bryan Anger setting a new franchise record for punts in a single game with 11 boots.
2: Plays run in Kansas City territory by Jacksonville prior to the final drive of the game.
0-5: The Browns record when its quarterback throws at least 50 passes after Brandon Weeden attempted a career-high 53 passes.
6: Turnovers (3 fumbles, 3 INTs) forced by Dallas in Sunday night's win against the New York Giants. The Cowboys had a total of 16 takeaways all of last season.
9: Consecutive season-opening losses for the Cleveland Browns
17: Tony Gonzalez became one of just three players in history to catch a TD in 17 separate seasons (Jerry Rice, 19; Irving Fryar, 17)
35: Quarterbacks with 30,000 yards. Ben Roethlisberger joined the 30K club today.