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 10 of NFL play:
37.9: Jay Cutler's NFL-worst first quarter QB rating
First of all, on a day dedicated to the countless servicemen and women who have fought and died for our personal freedoms, it is appropriate that Chicago and Houston — a combined 15-3 overall this year — did battle at Soldier Field. The Sunday night showdown came 86 years to the day from the time the Bears played their first game at Soldier Field. It could not have been an enjoyable experience for the Bears fans, however. On a cold and very wet evening in the Windy City, Jay Cutler threw another first quarter interception before leaving the game at halftime with a head injury. Unfortunately, his NFL-best fourth quarter QB rating of 135.0 was never put into use and the Bears lost for only the second time this fall. The Bears now have to travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. It is the beginning of a tricky second half of the schedule and Cutler needs to be on the field if the Bears are to hold off the charging Packers.
28-7: Cowboys outscored the Eagles over the final 15 minutes
Dallas was trailing 17-10 to Philadelphia when Tony Romo hit a diving Dez Bryant in the end zone on the final play of the third quarter. The 30-yard scoring strike tied the game. The Cowboys scored 1:25 later when Dwayne Harris returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown. One minute later, Brandon Carr returned a Nick Foles interception — who took the place of a concussed Michael Vick — 47 yards for a touchdown. Then after Phily scored to cut the lead to 31-23, the Cowboys scored another defensive touchdown when it recovered a Foles fumble in the end zone. The Eagles allowed 10 points and had a lead after 44 minutes of play before crumbling in the final frame. Andy Reid's fate might have been sealed in that fourth-quarter collapse, marking the first five-game losing streak Reid has had as the head coach in Philadelphia.
22: Games the Dolphins went without allowing a 100-yard rusher
The Titans Chris Johnson rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown in the surprising rout over Miami. The Dolphins entered the game boasting the NFL's longest active streak without allowing an opposing player to rush for more than 100 yards. The Tennessee defense, which was on pace to break the all-time points allowed record, was excellent against rookie passer Ryan Tannehill. The Titans allowed three points and forced three Tannehill interceptions. The Green Bay Packers now boast the longest active streak without allowing a 100-yard rusher at eight games.
11-0: The Patriots record against Buffalo at Gillette Stadium
New England has yet to lose at home to their division rival from Buffalo since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002. The Patriots were tested more than most of the previous 10 meetings as the Bills racked up a team-record 35 first downs. It was also the most first downs a Pats team has ever allowed as well. Bill Belichick's defense surrendered 481 yards and 31 points in what has to be a concerning performance from the AFC East leaders.
Nov. 16, 2008: The last time an NFL game ended in a tie
The Rams and 49ers played 75 minutes on Sunday and determined absolutely nothing. For the first time in four years (Philadelphia-Cincinnati, 2008), NFL fans will wake up in the morning and check the divisional standings and see that mysterious third number in the Win-Loss column. Alex Smith was lost to a concussion and Colin Kaepernick played well in the second half to keep San Francisco in control of the division. The tie could play a huge role since it was a division game and will keep the West from ending up in a tie. The status of Smith will be a huge story to follow this week.
147: Yards the Bucs were outgained by the Chargers
The San Diego Chargers moved up and down the field against Tampa Bay on Sunday, outgaining the home team 426 to 279. The Bucs had just 12 first downs, 23:19 time of possession, converted on only three (of nine) third downs and averaged 3.4 yards per carry on the ground. Yet, the Bucs still managed to score 34 points and win the game for first-year head coach Greg Schiano. Tampa Bay has won three straight games and is now 5-4 and smack dab in the middle of the NFC Wild Card hunt. Frankly, with all four losses coming within one possession, this team could easily have six or seven wins.
101: Career TD catches for Tony Gonzalez
I already wrote about the greatness of Tony-G back when he played his final game in Arrowhead Stadium earlier in the season. Yet, even after missing only two contests in his extraordinary 247-game career, he continues to produce at an elite level — he caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. He passed Cris Carter for eighth all-time in NFL history with 13,955 yards and should pass James Lofton next week for 7th place. His 1,210 receptions rank behind only Jerry Rice all-time. And his 101st career receiving touchdown moved him into sole possession of sixth place all-time. He is a once-in-a-lifetime talent who fans need to enjoy for however much longer the tight end decides to play. More importantly, he has done it with class and grace the entire way. It's hard not to root for a guy like this to reach the Super Bowl, and on this Falcons team, he'll have as good a chance as ever before.
9-0: Home team's record in all-time series between Giants and Bengals
The Giants and Bengals have met nine total times in the long history of the two franchises. And the home team has won every game. The Giants entered the weekend on cruise control and in position to put a strangle-hold on the NFC East. Yet, despite outgaining the Bengals, Tom Coughlin's bunch never really looked competitive. Andy Dalton completed 70 percent of his passes and threw four touchdowns while not taking a sack or throwing an interception. The Cincy defense sacked Eli Manning four times and forced four Giants turnovers in the alarming win.
- by Braden Gall
Follow @bradengall