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Highlighting the most important, bizarre, strange, interesting and historic stats from this week in the NFL.
Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.
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 Week 14 of the NFL season:
90: NFL record for total TDs scored on a single day
The previous single-day NFL record for total touchdowns scored was 87 from Week 17 last year on Dec. 30, 2012. With five total touchdowns, Carolina and New Orleans pushed Sunday’s total to a new NFL-record 90 touchdowns. It was the single-highest scoring day in NFL history and it came when snowy, inclement weather played a huge role in multiple games. All told, Week 14 produced 104 touchdowns, making it the first week in NFL history to feature 100 trips to the end zone. Not surprisingly, Week 14 also broke the record for most points scored in a single week with 859.
6: Most fourth-quarter lead changes in NFL history
The defending Super Bowl champs played one of the most entertaining fourth quarters in NFL history against the Vikings on Sunday. There were six lead changes in the final period, setting a new NFL record for most lead changes in the fourth quarter. What’s more impressive is that the two teams combined for five total touchdowns over the final 2:05 of the game. Joe Flacco got the last laugh by leading his Ravens on a five-play, 80-yard drive in just 41 seconds, which culminated with him connecting with Marlon Brown for the game winner with four seconds left. The win pushes Baltimore to 7-6 on the season and in a tie with Miami for the final AFC Wild Card spot.
217: LeSean McCoy's Eagles single-game rushing record
In nasty (but entertaining) weather in Philadelphia, LeSean McCoy set a franchise record with 217 yards rushing. The Eagles scored four fourth-quarter touchdowns, including two long McCoy scoring runs of 40 and 57 yards, to pull away from Detroit in a critical NFC showdown between division leaders. McCoy became just the third Eagles player to rush for 200 yards in a game, breaking Steve Van Buren’s 64-year-old single-game rushing record (205) set back in 1949. Duce Staley is the only other Eagle to top 200 yards (201 in 2000). Phily (8-5) has won five straight and is leading the NFC East after a 4-12 record a year ago.
7: Total fumbles by the Lions
The Eagles clearly handled the heaping piles of snow at The Link on Sunday. The Lions mustered just 288 yards of offense and 11 first downs in the key loss to the Eagles. They also fumbled seven times, losing three of them. Matthew Stafford fumbled five times (one lost) and Joique Bell lost both of his fumbles. The Eagles allowed zero sacks, didn’t lose a fumble and threw just one interception — Nick Foles' first pick of the 2013 season. Additionally, Calvin Johnson passed Herman Moore as the Lions' all-time leading receiver with 9,184 yards. Megatron already owns the Detroit franchise record for receiving touchdowns (66) and is 57 receptions away from passing Moore (670) for that mark. Johnson has played 41 fewer career games than Moore.
1: NFL teams to have four players with at least 10 TDs
Peyton Manning had no issues with the cold weather as the Broncos topped the Titans 51-28. He continued his record-setting season by throwing for 397 yards and four touchdowns in the playoff-clinching win for Denver. The Broncos became the first team in NFL history to boast four players with at least 10 touchdowns on the same team. Knowshon Moreno (12), Demaryius Thomas (11), Julius Thomas (11) and Wes Welker (10) all scored a touchdown on Sunday and all have double-digit scores in 2013. Eric Decker needs two more touchdowns to become the fifth player on the Broncos to reach at least 10 this season. Denver was one of two AFC teams to clinch a postseason berth on Sunday as the Colts, despite losing, clinched the AFC South because of Tennessee's loss to the Broncos.
64: Matt Prater's NFL-record longest field goal
In the same game, Matt Prater kicked the longest field goal in NFL history when he connected from 64 yards out. It broke the previous NFL record of 63 — a number many could match but none had surpassed until Prater. Tom Dempsey (1970), Sebastian Janikowski (2011), David Akers (2012) and Jason Elam (1998) were all tied with a 63-yard make. Elam’s, Janikowski’s and Prater’s record-setter came at altitude in the city of Denver.
3: Straight wins for the Patriots after trailing by at least 10 points in the second half
The Pats trailed the Browns 19-3 with less than minute to go in the third quarter. The offense lost Rob Gronkowski and the defense allowed 391 yards passing to Jason Campbell. But New England still has Tom Brady. The Pats quarterback engineered four scoring drives in the final 16 minutes of action to outscore the Browns 24-7 over that span, including two touchdown passes in the final 1:01 of play. It marks the first time since the 1993 Eagles that a team has overcome a double-digit deficit in the second half to win three straight games in a row. New England trailed by 10 to Houston, 24 to Denver and 16 to Cleveland in the second half but somehow won all three.
1990: The last time Miami won in Pittsburgh
Two teams with a combined 12 Super Bowl appearances did battle on Sunday in snowy Pittsburgh. Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill played in the snow for the first time in his entire life but he looked like a seasoned vet, throwing three touchdowns in the win. He overcame the elements — and this wild final play — to secure the victory by leading five second-half scoring drives, including the eventual game-winning touchdown with less than three minutes to play. The victory was only the third by the Fish over the Steelers since 1990 and the first in the Steel City in 23 years (Sept. 30, 1990). More importantly, the Phins are tied with Baltimore for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC. Mike Wallace, in his return to Pittsburgh, caught just two passes for 19 yards against his former team.
61-64: Gary Kubiak’s record as the Texans' head coach
Dom Capers was the Texans' head coach in the first four seasons of the franchise’s existence. He never had a winning record, finishing with an 18-46 overall record. After working as an assistant for a decade with the Denver Broncos, Gary Kubiak accepted the head coaching position in Houston in 2006. In just his second year, he posted the team’s first non-losing season and by Year 6, Kubiak had won the franchise’s first division crown and delivered the team’s first postseason berth. Kubiak was 22-10 in 2011-12 before starting this season 2-11. He was fired on Friday as the head coach of the “worst” team in the NFL and finished his eight-year tenure with a sub-.500 (61-64) overall record. He had three losing seasons, three winning seasons and two 8-8 campaigns.