Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of football. With that in mind, Athlon Sports rounded up the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from Week 17 of the NFL season.
Kansas City's wide receivers finished the 2014 season with zero touchdown receptions. That's the first time in at least 50 years that has happened to an NFL team. According to The Sporting News, the Chiefs are just the fourth team in league history to lay the receiver TD goose egg, the last being the 1964 New York Giants. Dwayne Bowe's Dec. 8 (2013) TD was the last for the Chiefs. He was thought to have caught a TD on Sunday but fumbled it and it was recovered by Travis Kelce for the score.
The Carolina Panthers defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-3 to win the NFC South Sunday and became the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs, despite having a winless streak of at least seven games during the season. The 7-8-1 Panthers became the second sub-.500 team to win a division since the 2010 Seattle Seahawks (7-9).
New York Giants rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. set a record for most catches (91) and receiving yards (1,305) in the first 12 games to start a career after catching 12 balls for 185 yards against Philadelphia Sunday. His nine straight games with at least 90 yards receiving tied Michael Irvin for the longest single-season streak in NFL history. Beckham missed the first four games of the year due to a hamstring injury.
Five teams that missed the postseason in 2013 – Dallas, Arizona, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore – advanced to the 2014 playoffs. Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.
Nine different quarterbacks threw at least 30 touchdown passes, the most ever in a season. The previous mark was five set multiple times. The nine quarterbacks with at least 30 touchdown passes this season: Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (40), Denver’s Peyton Manning (39), Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (38), Dallas’ Tony Romo (34), New England’s Tom Brady (33), New Orleans’ Drew Brees (33), Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (32), San Diego’s Philip Rivers (31), and the New York Giants’ Eli Manning (30).
The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Redskins at Washington to finish the regular season 8-0 on the road. They are the sixth team with a perfect 8-0 road record since the 16-game schedule was adopted in 1978. Four of the previous five teams to accomplish the feat advanced to the Super Bowl.
Houston defensive end J.J. Watt had three sacks and a safety in the Texans’ 23-17 win against Jacksonville, finishing the season with 20.5 sacks. Watt, who led the league with 20.5 sacks in 2012, is the first player with at least 20 sacks in two different seasons since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. He is the first player in NFL history with at least three offensive touchdowns, two touchdowns on takeaways and a safety in the same season.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a 139.6 passer rating in the Packers’ 30-20 win over Detroit. Rodgers finished the season with a 112.2 passer rating and is the only player in NFL history to register a 100+ rating in six consecutive seasons.
Rodgers threw two touchdowns and no interceptions in the win over Detroit to finish the regular season with 25 touchdowns and zero interceptions at home.
Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck had two touchdown passes in the Colts’ 27-10 win at Tennessee. Luck led the NFL with 40 touchdown passes in 2014 and is the eighth player in NFL history with at least 40 TD passes in a season. Since entering the NFL in 2012, Luck has 12,957 passing yards, the most of any NFL player in his first three seasons, and 86 TD passes, which ranks second only to Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (98) for the most in a player’s first three years.
Dallas running back DeMarco Murray ran for exactly 100 yards against Washington Sunday, and had 12 100-yard rushing games in 2014. Only Barry Sanders' 14 in 1997 is better in an NFL season.
With its 23-20 loss to New Orleans on Sunday, Tampa Bay earned the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. It is the first time since 1987 that the Buccaneers will select first overall. They took Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde then.
Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown had his third punt return for a touchdown since 2011 Sunday night against Cincinnati. Only Devin Hester and Patrick Peterson with four apiece have had more during that span.
New York Jets receiver Eric Decker had 221 yards receiving against Miami Sunday, becoming the first Jet with 200 yards receiving since Rich Caster in 1972.
Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri was 29-for-29 on field goal attempts this season before missing one in the third quarter against the host Tennessee Titans Sunday.
Miami running back Lamar Miller's 97-yard touchdown run Sunday is tied for the third-longest run in NFL history, and was the longest since Ahman Green had a 98-yard run for Green Bay against Denver in 2003. Miller's run was the longest in Dolphins history.