Highlighting the most important, intriguing and bizarre stats of the weekend.
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 7 of NFL play:
6-1: Houston Texans AFC-best record
With the franchise's first-ever win over Baltimore (1-6 all-time), the Texans alone have the best record in the AFC. Why is it so important to have the best record in the AFC this weekend? Well, the team with the best record in the AFC after Week 7 has made it to the Super Bowl in five of the last six seasons. New England (2011, 2007), Pittsburgh (2010) and Indianapolis (2009, 2006) all claimed the top mark in the AFC after seven weeks and each time made it to the Super Bowl. The 2008 Tennessee Titans, who started the season 6-0, are the only team in the last six seasons to have the AFC's best record after seven weeks and not make it to the final contest. That's the good news for the Texans. The bad news for the Texans? The last four have lost the big game. So Houston is going to the Super Bowl but it will come up short. If I could promise this situation to you fans in Houston, would you take it?
0:19: Seconds the Redskins led in the second half against the Giants
Robert Griffin III put together a truly remarkable drive to give the Redskins the lead with 1:32 left against the Giants. He converted on a fourth down deep in his own territory with PlaySstation-like moves that made Jason Pierre-Paul look foolish. Then he ripped-off a 24-yard run and tossed a 30-yard lob wedge to Santana Moss. It was a beautiful 7-play, 77-yard compilation that appeared to have flipped the entire NFC East on its head, putting Washington in first place. But Eli Manning needed only two plays and 14 seconds to go 77 of his own yards to retake the lead and put a stranglehold on the division. The 77-yard scoring strike was the longest game-winning touchdown pass in the final two minutes of a game in Giants history. The building was electric as Victor Cruz caught his seventh touchdown of the season and the Giants moved to 5-2.
3: Total TDs scored by the Cardinals since starting 4-0
Arizona wasn't scorching the earth on offense during its four-game winning streak to start the year. But it scored at least 20 points in each game and was one of only three unbeatens left in the league. Since Week 4, the Cards have lost three straight to three teams that combined to go 11-37 last season by scoring three total touchdowns — two of which came in the loss to Minnesota this weekend. This team has scored 33 total points in the three losses as quarterback play, be it Kevin Kolb or John Skelton, has been a major question mark. What is worse for Arizona? Its next three opponents are San Francisco, Green Bay and Atlanta. A 4-6 record would be an absolute failure for a team that started with four straight wins. By comparison, the guy they will face in two weeks, Aaron Rodgers, has accounted for 12 touchdowns all by himself over that same span. Speaking of Mr. Discount Double Check...
76: Games it took Aaron Rodgers to reach 150 passing TDs
With three more scoring strikes this weekend in an impressive win over St. Louis, Rodgers' career passing touchdown total now sits at 151. It took him only 76 games to reach the plateau — the second-fewest games ever needed to reach 150 touchdowns. Dan Marino is the only quarterback to reach this milestone quicker than Rodgers (62 games). However, Rodgers only threw one touchdown pass in seven games played in his three seasons as the backup for Brett Favre, so he technically has 150 touchdowns in his first 69 games as the starter. That is an average of 2.2 touchdown passes per game and makes Marino's record look all the more impressive.
71%: Percent the Cowboys ran the ball on its final two drives
Dallas ran the ball 31 times and threw 34 passes in the tough road win over Carolina on Sunday. On the final two drives of the game that both ended in field goals, however, Dallas ran the ball 10 times in 14 plays (71.2 percent), including the final six plays. Not only did the two methodical drives win the game by ending in points each time, but it also meant Dallas held the ball for 5:22 of the final 7:32. Yes, the rushing statistics against Baltimore might have been a bit inflated due to major injuries. And yes, this team will have to improve on the 2.7 yards per carry it posted against the Panthers. But fans in Big D have to be comforted by the renewed commitment to the running game — DeMarco Murray or not.
52-51-1: The all-time series mark between the Jets and Patriots
The 29-26 overtime win for New England over New York on Sunday gave the Pats the all-time series lead in the long-standing AFC East rivalry. Not only did the win untie the all-time mark but it also broke the current tie atop the AFC standings. The Jets fell to 3-4, tied with Buffalo for last in the division, while the Patriots are now in sole possession of first place. Additionally, Bill Belichick now boasts a 5-3 overall record against Rex Ryan.
83: Chris Johnson's NFL record fourth TD run of at least 80 yards
CJ2K has looked reinvigorated of late and his 195 yards rushing on Sunday helped the Titans pull off an improbable road win. It was his third-highest single-game rushing total and it pushed the Titans to 7-1 in games in which he tops the 150 yards mark. He scored two touchdowns in Buffalo, one from 16 yards away and the other from 83 yards out. It was his NFL record fourth touchdown run of at least 80 yards, passing Barry Sanders, OJ Simpson, Ahman Green and Hugh McElhenny (all tied with 3) for first place. It was his 29th career 100-yard rushing effort, and after 45 combined yards through his first three games, Johnson has averaged 112.8 yards per game in his last four. And the Titans have won two in a row.
1988: Last time a Colts QB scored two rushing TDs in one game
My unabashed, unadulterated love affair with Andrew Luck is no secret. He has all sorts of rookie passing records, starting his career in extraordinary fashion. He has led his team, without its head coach for the last three weeks, to a 3-3 mark — or one more win than they had last fall. He is the first QB in NFL history to throw for at least 1,500 yards (1,674) and post three wins in his first six games. He is also leading the AFC in rushing yards by a quarterback and he got into the end zone on the ground twice against Cleveland. He has 115 yards and three scores on the ground. The win over Cleveland also featured the first meeting of the five rookie quarterbacks to date as Brandon Weeden threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Robert Griffin III has been electrifying and efficient for the Redskins, but I will take Luck to have the better career.
- by Braden Gall