NFL football is the greatest reality TV program of all time. The Giants and Colts made sure of that back in 1958. Each and every 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 the first half of the 2012 season:
0:00: Time Kansas City has held a lead in 2012 in regulation
Technically, the 1-7 Kansas City Chiefs haven't held a lead for any amount of actual game time because the game-winning overtime field goal against New Orleans stopped the clock the millisecond it went through the uprights. Otherwise, the Chiefs have never held a lead at any point in regulation of eight football games thus far in 2012. Matt Cassel's league-leading 18 turnovers (11 INTs, 7 fumbles in seven games) certainly haven't helped his team in this respect.
547.2: NFL record total points the Titans are on pace to allow
The 1981 Baltimore Colts allowed an NFL record 533 points to set the low water mark for defensive performance in a 16-game schedule over 30 years ago. The Titans are allowing 34.2 points per game and would finish well ahead of the Colts' ignominious record should things continue at this pace in the Music City.
433: NFL single-game rookie passing record set by Andrew Luck
Any excuse to get the No. 1 overall pick into an article is a good one. By throwing for 433 yards in the win over Miami in Week 9, Andrew Luck locked up another rookie record by topping Cam Newton's previous NFL single-game passing record of 422 yards from a year ago. He is 5-3 as a rookie starter who wins on big fourth-quarter drives and poised pocket play. He is one of the single-most, game-ready, first-year players this writer has ever seen. Luck has now toppled two of his fellow four rookie starters (Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden), the only two such meetings of first-year signal callers to date. His 2,404 passing yards trail only Eli Manning and Tom Brady on the season, his 148 yards rushing leads all AFC quarterbacks and his three rushing touchdowns trail only Robert Griffin III and Newton. Speaking of...
8-8: Consecutive completions for Robert Griffin III to start his career
The No. 2 overall pick in April's draft made his debut in New Orleans by completing his first eight passes for 149 yards and an 88-yard scoring strike. The long touchdown pass was the second-longest scoring strike by any quarterback making their debut, trailing on Charlie Batch's 98-yard scoring throw to Johnnie Morton back in 1998 for the Lions. Griffin III took a 20-14 road lead over New Orleans into halftime with a perfect 158.3 QB rating, something that has never been done (10 att.). By the game's end, Washington had defeated the Saints on the road and scored the most points, 40, of any Mike Shanahan-coached team in D.C. He threw for 320 yards as one of an NFL-record five rookie quarterbacks starting on Sunday. He and Andrew Luck, who threw for 309 yards in his debut, were only the third and fourth players in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in Week 1 of their rookie season (Peyton Manning, Cam Newton).
754: Jason Witten's Dallas Cowboys career record for receptions
Jason Witten has 58 catches for 538 yards and one touchdown in 2012. But his seven-catch performance Sunday evening against the Falcons in Week 9 made him the Dallas Cowboys' all-time leading receiver with 754 career receptions, passing Michael Irvin's 750. His 8,447 career yards rank No. 2 all-time behind Irvin and his 42 touchdown catches rank No. 6 all-time in Cowboys' history. All of this from a tight end who has missed one game in his 151-game NFL career. He is an extraordinary talent who looks to be headed to Canton.
51: Drew Brees' record consecutive games with a TD pass
Not too many records in sports stand for more than 50 years. Hitting streaks and Major championships are the types of things that last more than five decades. That makes what Brees accomplished that much more impressive. He broke Johnny Unitas' NFL record for consecutive games played with a touchdown pass that has stood since 1960 in Week 5 against San Diego. In fact, Brees and Unitas are the only two to top 40 straight while names like Elway, Montana, Young, Aikman and Eli never even got to 20. Tom Brady's active streak is at exactly 40 and the Patriots QB should become No. 3 to top 40 in Week 10. Brett Favre, who went 36 straight from 2002-04 is the fourth longest string of games with a touchdown pass. Congrats to a fellow Westlake Chaparral on a remarkable record.
39-5: Gary Kubiak's record when Houston runs at least 30 times
The Texans ran the ball 32 times for 118 yards in the not quite as easy as expected win over Buffalo and the NFL's worst rushing defense in Week 9. When Houston runs the ball at least 30 times under Coach Kubiak, the Texans win 88.9 percent of the time (39-5). Arian Foster scored for the fifth straight game and carried the ball 24 times for 111 yards. It was Foster's 20th career 100-yard effort in 43 career games and his fourth trip over the century mark this season.
6-1: Houston Texans AFC-best record after Week 7
With the franchise's first-ever win over Baltimore (1-6 all-time) back in Week 7, the Texans claimed the best record in the AFC. Why is it so important to have the best record in the AFC after Week 7? Well, the team with the best record in the AFC after the seventh weekend of action 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.
17: NFL record consecutive games the Patriots have topped 350 yards of offense
With 473 yards of offense in the 45-7 Week 8 win over the Rams (3-5) in London, the Patriots passed the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams for the all-time record for consecutive games of at least 350 total yards of offense. Tom Brady threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the easy win across the pond. It marked the 50th time Brady has thrown at least three touchdowns in a game, good for fourth all-time behind Brett Favre (72), Peyton Manning (69) and Dan Marino (62). Strangely enough, it was also his 50th career 300-yard passing game, good for seventh all-time.
957: NFL-leading rushing yards from Adrian Peterson
Peterson is the planet's most physically gifted running back and his recovery from ACL surgery to lead the NFL in rushing is nothing short of miraculous. He has carried 168 times and has caught 26 passes in nine games — putting him on pace for roughly 300 carries and a career-high 46 receptions. His 106.3 yards per game average is his second-best per-game average to date (110.0 per game, 2008) and would put him on pace for 1,700 yards. Peterson has never rushed for fewer than 10 touchdowns in a season and with four more in 2012, he would keep that streak alive. It's safe to say A.D. is back. As a public service announcement, his given nickname for his entire life — All-Day Peterson — is why he should be called "A.D" not "A.P." So national talking heads, stop calling him A.P.
251: Doug Martin's Bucs single-game rushing record
After gaining just 31 yards in the first half against Oakland, Martin exploded for 220 and four touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters in Week 9. Martin finished with 251 yards on 25 carries (10 ypc), the most in a single game in Tampa Bay franchise history and the third-most by a rookie in NFL history. Only Adrian Peterson (296, 2007) and DeMarco Murray (253, 2011) have had more rushing yards as a rookie in a game. Martin, who scored on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards, joined Denver's Mike Anderson as the only backs in NFL history with at least 250 yards rushing and four scores in a single game. This record-setting performance comes on the heels of last week's game in Minnesota, in which Martin compiled 214 total yards of offense (135 rush, 79 receiving) and two touchdowns in the Bucs' win over the Vikings. For those keeping score at home, that's 486 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in two games for Martin, who was taken by Tampa Bay with the 31st overall pick in April's draft.
Some Streaks to Consider:
15-0: Falcons record when Matt Ryan throws at least three TD passes.
17-0: Packers record (including playoffs) when Jordy Nelson has at least 75 receiving yards.
10-0: Giants record when Ahmad Bradshaw rushes for 100 yards.
- by Braden Gall