NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each NFL fall weekend is a completely new and original experience for every player, fan and coach alike. New stories, new personalities, new winners and new losers. And new statistics.
Here are the most important, most intriguing and most bizarre statistics from Week 5 of NFL play:
9-4: Tom Brady's win-loss record against Peyton Manning
When it comes to raw football talent and overall ability, Peyton Manning may get the slight edge over Tommy Boy. But ask any quarterback who has ever taken a snap in the National Football League and they will tell you, winning is all that matters. Brady has clearly owned the head-to-head series with Mr. Manning after a dominating 31-21 performance this weekend. The former Michigan grad won the first six meetings, has won three of the last four and is 2-1 in playoff meetings all time against his rival. Brady's Patriots have never scored fewer than 20 points against the Tennessee grad while Manning has failed to reach the 20-point plateau four times. Sunday marked the first time in NFL history that a game featured two quarterbacks with at least 300 touchdown passes and was only the second meeting of two quarterbacks with at least 125 wins (Elway-Marino, 1998).
No. 12: Jersey number for Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck
These two quarterbacks put on a show on Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis. It's only fitting considering these two signal callers will likely be tethered to one another for the rest of their careers. Both got prestigious degrees from Pac-12 Bay Area programs. Both are first-round saviors replacing legends in Midwestern NFL strongholds. They are virtually identical in stature, athletic ability, arm strength and demeanor. And both wear No. 12. In their first career meeting, however, it was The Pupil who took The Master to school in what was the fourth battle of a reigning MVP and reigning No. 1 overall pick — and the first time the rookie won. Luck became only the second QB to throw for 300-yards in three of his first four career games (Cam Newton) and is the first rookie QB to ever throw for at least 1,200 yards and record two wins in his first four career games. He is averaging 302 yards passing per game, has two final-minute, game-winning drives and is leading all AFC quarterbacks in rushing (104 yards, TD). While Redskins fans are wondering how long RGIII will be out after a nasty smack from Sean Weatherspoon, Colts fans might be thinking Wild Card.
7-to-11: Michael Vick's total touchdown-to-total turnover ratio in 2012
Michael Vick lost his fourth and fifth fumbles on the season in the two-point loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday. It is the most lost fumbles for Vick in a season since 2005 (5) and is just two shy of his career-worst mark (7), which he set in 2004. That gives him 11 total turnovers in five games (really four games since he had none last week against the Giants) and only seven total touchdowns (6 pass, 1 rush). In 25 career starts with the Eagles prior to 2012, Vick turned the ball over only 27 times with 52 total touchdowns. Phily has played four of five games in which the final margin of victory was two points or less, so a quarterback who is turning the ball over 2.2 times per game isn't acceptable. Vick is on pace for 19 interceptions and 16 fumbles lost and just 22 total touchdowns.
5-0: The best start in Atlanta Falcons' franchise history
Matt Ryan moved to 15-0 when throwing for at least 300 yards with another stellar performance against Washington. It gives the Falcons their first-ever 5-0 start in franchise history. Ryan tossed it around for 345 yards and two touchdowns — including a gorgeous scoring strike to Julio Jones to take the lead in the fourth quarter. It was Ryan's 18th career game-winning drive, the most by a quarterback in his first five years in the Super Bowl era. Future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez posted his 29th career 100-yard receiving effort, as his 13 catches and 123 yards were personal bests as a Falcon. The Redskins fall to 2-3, but more importantly, lost Robert Griffin III to an injury after the young quarterback made a terrible decision to cut up field instead of throwing the ball away near the goal line.
35-27: The Bears defense has outscored its last three opponents
Chicago has scored five defensive touchdowns in the last three games against St. Louis, Dallas and Jacksonville. Those three teams combined to score 27 points against the Bears defense. Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs both scored again this weekend on INT-TDs, marking the first time in NFL history two teammates each returned an interception for a touchdown in consecutive games. Had the offense not scored a single point in any of the three games, the Bears would have finished 2-1 over that span with wins over the Rams and Jags. This unit is right there with San Francisco as the best in the NFC. Speaking of...
556: Rushing yards by the 49ers in the last two weeks
Jim Harbaugh is now 17-4 as a head coach in the NFL after the Niners posted its best two-game stretch in 50 years. No 49ers team has had back-to-back 30-point wins since 1961, but did so with wins over the Bills and the Jets the last two weeks by a combined 76 points (79-3). Buffalo entered the game leading the NFL in offensive touchdowns (16) and managed just three points in the crushing road loss. The Niners rolled-up a franchise record 621 yards of offense and have rushed for an absurd 556 yards rushing over the last two weeks (245 and 311). Alex Smith continues his evolution from first round bust to All-Pro as San Fran looks like the best team in the league right now.
212: Career-high receiving yards by Reggie Wayne
The former Miami Hurricane abused Charles Woodson all afternoon in Indy to the tune of 13 receptions, a career-high 212 yards and the game-winning touchdown. He showed toughness, heart and plenty of spring in his 33-year-old legs. It was a tremendous day for a historic player who is two catches shy of 900 for his career and scored his 75th receiving touchdown to give the Colts their second win of the year. It was a remarkable performance for a truly great player who has 12,214 career receiving yards in 12 NFL seasons. And by the way, his 506 yards this season is his best four-game start to any of those 12 years.
0: Seconds the Kansas City Chiefs have led in regulation
It's hard to believe, but the Chiefs have yet to hold a lead in regulation in 2012. The Ravens never trailed this weekend in the 9-6 victory that dropped KC to 1-4. Even in the overtime win over New Orleans last weekend, the Chiefs never held a lead in regulation. To make matters worse for one of the worst teams in the league, Arrowhead faithful were cheering when embattled starting quarterback Matt Cassel got hurt late in the game. It was ugly football, but have some class folks. Even if your team has played five football games and never has really been ahead at any point.
Bonus Super Stat!
48: Drew Brees consecutive games with a TD pass
I covered this in last week's stats, so I didn't want to dive too deep into Brees' record. It is an amazing accomplishment and congrats are due. But the most important number for the Saints is the "1" in the win column. As a side note, Brady moved into sole possession of third place with his 37th consecutive game with a touchdown pass.
- by Braden Gall