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 1 of the NFL season:
11 Amazing Pro Football Stats from Week 1
17: Jacksonville has largest lead in over a year; Philadelphia turns it into a comeback only two teams have matched since 1940
On the way to a 17-0 halftime lead on the road, Jacksonville quickly surpassed the largest lead it had all of last season (14), and the largest halftime lead it has had since Week 7 in 2012. However, the homestanding Eagles went on to mount a second-half comeback that had only been accomplished one other time since 1940. As part of its 34-17 victory, Philadelphia's 17-point comeback and 17-point win helped the Eagles join Buffalo as the only two teams since 1940 to pull off such a feat. Buffalo also trailed by 17 against Cincinnati in 2010 before winning 49-31. The comeback win also pushed Philadelphia to 2-39 since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger when trailing by at least 17 at half. The other win was DeSean Jackson's electrifying punt return for the game winner against the Giants (2010).
49: Darren Sproles' 49-yard score starts Eagles' comeback and is third-longest fourth-down score for Philadelphia since 2000
Darren Sproles' 49-yard scoring run on fourth down got the Eagles on the scoreboard and kickstarted their comeback run against Jacksonville in Week 1. The 49-yard score was the third-longest fourth-down play for Philadelphia since 2000. LeSean McCoy had a 50-yard TD run against the Giants in 2010, and Brian Dawkins had a 57-yard score as part of a potpourri day against Houston in 2002, when he became the first player in NFL history to record a sack, recover a fumble, intercept a ball, and catch a touchdown in one game; the touchdown was the 57-yard reception from Brian Mitchell on a fake punt.
278: Roethlisberger's 278 yards pass in first half are a career high for the first 30 minutes
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for a 278 yards in the first half — a career high for an opening half — and helped the Steelers build a 27-3 halftime lead. The 278 yards are the most in the first half of a season opener in the NFL since Donvan McNabb in 2008 (297). All those yards nearly went for naught, as the Steelers needed a last-second field goal to score a 30-27 victory. Roethlisberger finished with 365 passing yards for the game.
3: Tennessee scores 20+ points on the road for just the third time since 1998 in a road opener
Since moving to Nashville in 1998, the Tennessee Titans have opened on the road 11 times, losing seven of those Week 1 contests. And in eight of those contests, the Titans have failed to score 20+ points. However, in the three in which they have reached 20 points, they are 3-0. Tennessee hit 3-0 on Sunday with a 26-10 victory in Kansas City, reeling off 23 unanswered points in one stretch. The Titans average 24 PPG in the three Week 1 road wins and 13.3 PPG in the eight road losses.
25: Dallas' halftime deficit was its largest ever in a season opener
In a meeting of two depleted defenses, it was San Francisco collecting four first-half turnovers on the way to a 28-3 lead en route to a 28-17 victory. The 25-point deficit was the largest halftime deficit for Dallas in a season opener, and only the fourth time in team history the Cowboys have trailed by 25+ at home a the half. The team fell to 0-15 all time when trailing by at least 25 points at intermission.
4: New England is alone in fourth place in AFC East for first time in Tom Brady era
OK, it's only Week 1, but Tom Brady and the New England Patriots find themselves residing in a rare place — last in the AFC East. A 33-20 loss to division rival Miami Sunday left the Pats alone in last place for the first time since Brady became the starting quarterback (2001).
14: Oakland loses 14th straight game in Eastern time zone
This has always been one of those fun (read: ridiculous) stats to follow, but the Raiders keep adding to the total. On Sunday, they made it 14 straight losses in the Eastern time zone with a 19-14 loss against the New York Jets. If you're tired of hearing about Oakland's inability to win in the East, buckle up, because its next two road games are in the Eastern time zone (New England and Cleveland).
92: Carolina's Benjamin has more receiving yards (92) in debut than Steve Smith had in any 2013 game
In a little over three quarters, Carolina rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin had already collected more yards in his NFL debut than the now-departed Steve Smith had in any one game all of last year. Benjamin had six catches for 92 yards and a score (26) as the fourth quarter began, and finished 6-for-92 yards in the Panthers' 20-14 win over host and NFC South rival Tampa Bay. Smith's season high was 74 in the 2013 Divisional playoff game for the Panthers. Of note, Smith played with Cam Newton all season, while Benjamin did his damage with Derek Anderson filling in for the injured Newton (ribs) on Sunday.
100: Patterson becomes first Viking to rush for 100 yards in a game in which Peterson also played
Minnesota wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson became the first Vikings player to rush for 100 yards in a game in which running back Adrian Peterson also played with a 102-yard effort Sunday. Patterson carried the ball three times, and his 67-yard touchdown run made him the first wide receiver with 50-plus-yard TD runs in consecutive games since Buffalo's Elbert Dubenion did so in the AFL days (1961).
2: Hurns first to debut with two receiving touchdowns in first quarter of first NFL game
Allen Hurns was a name known to those with deep fantasy rosters long before Week 1 began, but he debuted to the rest of the world with a Week 1 performance that included two touchdown receptions (34 and 21) in the first quarter on Sunday in Philadelphia. The Jacksonville rookie receiver became the first player in NFL history with two receiving touchdowns in the first quarter in his league debut. It helped the Jaguars jump out to a 17-0 halftime lead before falling 34-17. Hurns finished with four catches for 110 yards.
75: Two teams had a 75-yard touchdown pass in the same season-opening game for the first time since 1971
Sunday's Baltimore-Cincinnati marked the first season-opening game since 1971 in which each team had a 75-yard touchdown pass (Dallas vs. Buffalo, Sept. 19, 1971). Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green had a 77-yard touchdown catch for the game-winner in the fourth quarter of Cincinnati's 23-16 win. In his Ravens’ debut, wide receiver Steve Smith had an 80-yard touchdown reception, tying for the longest of his 14-year career.
- Corby A. Yarbrough
@Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter