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 4 of NFL play:
47: Drew Brees' NFL record consecutive games with a touchdown 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 on Sunday in Green Bay that much more impressive. He tied Johnny Unitas' NFL record for consecutive games played with a touchdown pass that has stood since 1960. In fact, Brees and Unitas are the only two to even crack 40 straight while names like Elway, Montana, Young, Aikman and Eli never even got to 20. Brett Favre, who went 36 straight from 2002-2004, and Tom Brady's active streak are tied at 36 for the third longest string of games with a touchdown pass. Congrats to a fellow Westlake Chaparral. However, the only number on Sunday bigger than Brees' remarkable accomplishment is the Saints 0-4 mark. Anyone still think the punishment for Bounty Gate fit the crime?
2,903: Miles from San Francisco to East Rutherford, N.J.
The San Francisco 49ers traveled roughly 2,900 miles and crossed three times zones to face the NFL's biggest circus (yes, I know, technically, they just never went home). At what was 9:00 AM San Fran time, Jim Harbaugh's bunch picked apart the New York Jets 34-0, making a mockery of the "long journey" theory. The Niners rushed for exactly 100 more yards (245) than the total offense allowed by their defense (145). They forced four turnovers, scored on defense and return the Bay after a long two-week stint away from home at 3-1. I have a better theory for the fans: Great teams roll out of bed ready to win.
Dec. 24, 2011: The date the Vikings won their third game last year
It took until Week 16 for the Minnesota Vikings to win their third game of the year in 2011. They have matched their win total from last fall in just four short weeks and they have done so against two NFC playoff teams. The Vikes gained just 224 total yards and neither Christian Ponder nor Matt Stafford threw a touchdown pass in the 20-13 divisional road win — which snapped his 21 game streak with at least one TD pass. Yes, winning a game on two special teams touchdowns is a bit of a fluke, but through the quarter pole of the season, there is no bigger story than the Minnesota Vikings.
14-0: Matt Ryan's record when he throws at least three touchdown passes
The Falcons moved to 4-0 on the year behind a 369-yard, 3-TD performance from their franchise quarterback. According to the NFL, only Daryle Lamonica had a better record in such 3-TD circumstances (19-0). He also completed 3-of-4 passes on the final drive in which he moved his team from their own one yardline to Carolina's 22, setting up the game-winning field goal, in just 45 seconds. His career starting record as an NFL quarterback is now a remarkable 47-19.
300: Receiving yards for A.J. Green in his last two games
The second-year wide receiver from Georgia is quickly making a case that he is the best wideout in the NFL. In two key road wins for the Bengals, Green has 14 receptions, including two touchdowns, for 300 yards receiving — 183 in Week 3, 117 in Week 4. This team has quietly won three straight since losing to Baltimore on opening weekend due in large part to Green's play. Cincinnati has already played three road games (2-1) and will get four of the next five at home in Paul Brown Stadium. In fact, the Bengals won't leave the state of Ohio again until Week 11 as the only road trip in the next five games is North up 71 a few miles to Cleveland.
Minus-17: Eagles point differential in 2012
Philadelphia is off to a 3-1 start having been outscored by 18 points in four games. It means they have won three extremely close games — by one, one and two points — and were blown out in their loss to Arizona. Most importantly, Michael Vick and the team didn't turn the ball over one time in the big Sunday night win over the rival Giants. After leading the NFL with 12 turnovers through three weeks, the Eagles protected the ball and Vick drove his team for the game-winning field goal. Although, Andy Reid nearly gave the Giants the game by icing the kicker and giving Lawrence Tynes a second shot at a 54-yard field goal. I've never been a fan of the obnoxious end game strategy.
6:52: Total time Houston has trailed since first quarter of the year
The Texans trailed 3-0 after the first quarter of the 2012 season. But once the Texans took the lead over Miami in the second quarter of Week 1, they have trailed a total of 6:52. The Broncos got a safety and a field goal to lead Houston for a few minutes in the first quarter of Week 3. Otherwise, Gary Kubiak's bunch has looked like the class of the league. No t has been more complete thus far and I see no reason to change my 49ers-Texans Super Bowl pick.
7: Penalties needed on MNF to make Dallas the most penalized team
Considering the Cowboys are the only team averaging more than 10 yellow hankies per game, one has to think Dallas will become the most penalized team in the NFL sometime in the third quarter on Monday night. Baltimore and Seattle currently lead the league with 37 total penalties each through four games. Oakland has been the most flagged team in each of the last two seasons, but strangely enough, the Raiders have only 19 penalties through four games. The Atlanta Falcons are actually the least penalized team per game with only 3.5 per contest.
- by Braden Gall
Follow @bradengall