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Running back Duke Johnson, a 3rd round pick from the University of Miami in 2015, currently leads the Browns in receiving yards.

No. Player Age Pos G GS Tgt Rec Yds
Y/R TD R/G Y/G Ctch%
29 Duke Johnson 24 12 0 69 52 456 8.8 2 4.3 38.0 75.4%
87 Seth Devalve 24 te 12 4 46 26 335 12.9 1 2.2 27.9 56.5%
85 David Njoku 21 te 12 2 49 28 332 11.9 4 2.3 27.7 57.1%
80 Ricardo Louis 23 WR 12 9 57 26 322 12.4 0 2.2 26.8 45.6%
18 Kenny Britt 29 wr 9 4 38 18 233 12.9 2 2.0 25.9 47.4%
81 Rashard Higgins 23 wr 11 3 40 20 214 10.7 0 1.8 19.5 50.0%
19 Corey Coleman 23 rt/wr 6 6 36 15 206 13.7 1 2.5 34.3 41.7%
34 Isaiah Crowell 24 RB 12 12 30 20 180 9.0 0 1.7 15.0 66.7%
12 Josh Gordon 26 wr 1 1 11 4 85 21.3 0 4.0 85.0 36.4%
82 Kasen Williams 25 wr 7 2 18 9 84 9.3 0 1.3 12.0 50.0%
11 Bryce Treggs 23 wr 6 1 18 5 79 15.8 0 0.8 13.2 27.8%
10 Sammie Coates 24 wr 8 1 10 5 62 12.4 0 0.6 7.8 50.0%
27 Matthew Dayes 23 12 0 5 4 29 7.3 0 0.3 2.4 80.0%
11 Jordan Leslie 26 2 0 1 1 26 26.0 0 0.5 13.0 100.0%
86 Randall Telfer 25 TE 12 11 2 2 24 12.0 0 0.2 2.0 100.0%
40 Dan Vitale 24 fb 12 4 4 2 18 9.0 0 0.2 1.5 50.0%
70 Kevin Zeitler 27 RG 12 12 1 1 -4 -4.0 0 0.1 -0.3 100.0%
Team Total 24.6 12 435 238 2681 11.3 10 19.8 223.4
Opp Total 12 262 2764 10.5 23 21.8 230.3

Suffice it to say, that’s not a good thing, at least in this case. The Browns rank last in ANY/A at 3.5 and last in passer rating at 59.8; Cleveland has the worst passing attack in the NFL, and the fact that Johnson is the team’s leading receiver probably speaks to that.

It’s also pretty rare. Excluding guys like Eric Metcalf or who played running back at times but wasn’t a running back in say, the 1995 Falcons, it’s only happened twice since 2000. Two years ago, with Keenan Allen limited to 8 games and Antonio Gates to 11, Danny Woodhead led the Chargers in receiving yards. And for the 2013 Chiefs, Jamaal Charles somehow led the team in rushing and receiving yards (something neither Johnson nor Woodhead did) as Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery fought for table scraps.

The table below shows every running back to lead his team in receiving yards since 1970: [click to continue…]


Here’s a look at the 2017 rushing leaders for the Seattle Seahawks:

No. Player Age Pos G GS Att Yds
TD Lng Y/A Y/G A/G
3 Russell Wilson 29 QB 12 12 71 432 3 29 6.1 36.0 5.9
32 Chris Carson 23 rb 4 3 49 208 0 30 4.2 52.0 12.3
27 Eddie Lacy 26 rb 9 3 69 179 0 19 2.6 19.9 7.7
21 J.D. McKissic 24 rb 9 1 33 143 1 30 4.3 15.9 3.7
34 Thomas Rawls 24 rb 9 3 50 129 0 23 2.6 14.3 5.6
39 Mike Davis 25 rb 2 2 22 82 0 22 3.7 41.0 11.0
16 Tyler Lockett 25 WR 12 7 8 46 0 22 5.8 3.8 0.7
22 C.J. Prosise 23  rb 5 0 11 23 0 8 2.1 4.6 2.2
Team Total 26.3 12 316 1233 4 30 3.9 102.8 26.3

You might have noticed that quarterback Russell Wilson actually leads the team in rushing yards.  Which is… pretty unusual.  Excluding situations when players who didn’t enter the NFL as a running back but played that position (like Ty Montgomery or Denard Robinson), only twice in the last 20 years has a non-RB led his team in rushing yards.  Do you know who and when?


Before them, the last player was Randall Cunningham – who did it for the 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990 Eagles. The only other time since the merger that a non-RB has led his team in rushing yards was Bears quarterback Bobby Douglass in 1972.

And before Douglass, you have to go back to 1960, when Lenny Moore led the Colts in rushing yards the year after moving to wide receiver (he still actually led the team in carries, too, but Alan Ameche was the fullback and Alex Hawkins was the running back; Moore finished with 936 receiving yards and 374 rushing yards). Also that year, Jets (well, Titans) quarterback Al Dorow led the expansion franchise in rushing yards.

Positional designations get a little tricky pre-1960, but a few other quarterbacks pulled off the feat in the ’50s. Tobin Rote led the Lions in rushing in 1958, and the Packers in rushing in 1951, 1952, and 1956. Charley Trippi led the Cardinals in rushing in 1951 and 1952, although the 1952 Cardinals had the greatest four-way race for a franchise rushing title you’ll ever see.

This is a long way of saying it’s going to be pretty noteworthy if Wilson leads the Seahawks in rushing, which seems very likely to happen.


One of the best champions in Cleveland sports history.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are facing off in the NBA Finals for the third straight season. That’s never happened before in NBA history, and it only happened once in pro football history… and it also involved Cleveland.

In 1952, the Browns won the American with an 8-4 record, while the Detroit Lions won the National division with a 9-3 record (after defeating the defending-champion Rams in the National tiebreaker game). Otto Graham and Bobby Layne were the two top quarterbacks in the NFL that year according to both the AP and the NY Daily News. Detroit traveled to Cleveland on December 28th and defeated the Browns 17-7, with Doak Walker’s 67-yard touchdown providing the biggest blow.

The next season, Graham had a season for the ages by any measure.  You’d be hard-pressed to argue for a better regular season by any quarterback from World War II to 1983, when a Graham-led Browns passing game finished with a Relative ANY/A of +5.00.  The Browns began the 12-game season with 11 straight wins, while Detroit finished 10-2 with both losses coming against the 8-3-1 Rams.  Cleveland lost the season finale in Philadelphia, and then traveled to Detroit for an NFL Championship rematch.

The Browns and Lions were tied 10-10 after three quarters, and Cleveland was up 16-10 late in the game.  But in the final minutes, Layne found an unlikely hero in Jim Doran for a 33-yard game-winning touchdown (video here), with Walker’s extra point providing the margin of victory. The bigger story? Graham having one of the chokiest games in football history, finishing with 2 of 15 for 20 yards with 2 interceptions. [click to continue…]


The Jay Schroeder Index

Yesterday, I looked at the quarterbacks who were the biggest checkdown artists: i.e., which players had the best completion percentages and lowest yards per completion averages. I measured this by calculating how many standard deviations above/below average each quarterback was in those two categories in each year.

Today, the reverse. And the big winner is rookie Terry Bradshaw. We all know Bradshaw stunk as a rookie. He had a whopping 11.0% interception rate, which was horrible even for 1970. In fact, he has the second most attempts in history by a player with an 11% or worse interception rate. And since Bradshaw also ranked dead last in completion percentage, he ranked 2nd to last in ANY/A that year.

Of course, you might wonder: how could someone with the worst completion percentage and by far the worst interception rate not rank last (by a mile) in ANY/A? Well, it’s because Bradshaw ranked 2nd in the NFL in yards per completion as a rookie. He was your ultimate boom/bust passer, finishing 2.75 standard deviations below average in completion percentage and 2.18 standard deviations above average in yards per completion.

The top of the list features a bunch of interesting names, but I’m calling this the Jay Schroeder Index for a reason.  Schroeder only had 8 seasons where he threw at least 200 passes, but he makes the top 200 in 6 of those 8 seasons!  Schroeder made the list in ’86, ’87, and ’88 (despite moving from the Redskins to the Raiders this year), and then in ’90, ’91, and ’92.  He only missed the list in 1989 during this run, and that’s because he threw just 194 passes.  But in 1989, of the 34 quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts, Schroeder had the lowest completion percentage (46.9%) and by far the highest yards per completion average (17.0, the best of his career).  In other words, Schroeder had a top-200 season in 6 out of 7 straight years, with the lone exception being perhaps his most Schroeder-esque season! Of course, Schroeder’s love of the deep ball isn’t new to readers of this site.

The table below shows the top 200 seasons based on the Schroeder Index, using the same formula as yesterday: [click to continue…]


As it turns out, drafting Mark Sanchez brings with it a form of Draft PTSD. Since selecting the USC quarterback with the 5th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Jets have used 8 consecutive picks on defensive players.  That includes four busts (Wilson, Coples, Milliner), two hits (Wilkerson, Richardson), and three players where it’s probably still too early to evaluate.  Richardson has been great at times, but has also been frustrating on and off the field; in any event, his tenure with the team is likely coming to an end soon.  Pryor and Lee are still works in process, so it’s been mostly a mixed bag for the Jets over the last seven years:

Drafted Players Table
Rk Year Rnd Pick Pos DrAge From To AP1 PB St CarAV G GS Int Sk College/Univ
1 2016 1 20 Darron Lee OLB 21 2016 2016 0 0 1 4 13 9 1 Ohio St. College Stats
2 2015 1 6 Leonard Williams DE 21 2015 2016 0 1 1 19 32 31 10 USC College Stats
3 2014 1 18 Calvin Pryor DB 22 2014 2016 0 0 3 14 44 38 2 0.5 Louisville College Stats
4 2013 1 9 Dee Milliner DB 21 2013 2015 0 0 1 6 21 14 3 Alabama College Stats
5 2013 1 13 Sheldon Richardson DT 22 2013 2016 0 1 2 26 58 55 18 Missouri College Stats
6 2012 1 16 Quinton Coples DE 22 2012 2015 0 0 2 20 62 32 16.5 North Carolina College Stats
7 2011 1 30 Muhammad Wilkerson DT 21 2011 2016 0 1 5 60 92 89 1 41 Temple College Stats
8 2010 1 29 Kyle Wilson DB 23 2010 2015 0 0 1 15 95 32 4 1 Boise St. College Stats

Will that streak end tonight? If not, the Jets will set a record by becoming the first team to use 9 consecutive draft picks on players on one side of the ball. Right now, New York shares the distinction with three other franchises who have used eight consecutive first round picks in the NFL draft on efforts to rebuild one side of the ball. [click to continue…]


In 22 team games in the 2016 playoffs, just four times did a rusher crack the 100-yard mark — or even exceed 75 rushing yards.  In the Patriots three wins, their leading rusher never cracked 50 yards, and James White was three yards away in the Super Bowl from giving New England three different leading rushers in three games.

Rk Date Tm Opp Result G# Week Att Yds
1 Le’Veon Bell 2017-01-15 PIT @ KAN W 18-16 18 19 30 170 5.67 0
2 Le’Veon Bell 2017-01-08 PIT MIA W 30-12 17 18 29 167 5.76 2
3 Thomas Rawls 2017-01-07 SEA DET W 26-6 17 18 27 161 5.96 1
4 Ezekiel Elliott 2017-01-15 DAL GNB L 31-34 17 19 22 125 5.68 0
5 Devonta Freeman 2017-02-05 ATL NWE L 28-34 19 21 11 75 6.82 1
6 Lamar Miller 2017-01-14 HOU @ NWE L 16-34 18 19 19 74 3.89 0
7 Lamar Miller 2017-01-07 HOU OAK W 27-14 17 18 31 73 2.35 1
8 Tevin Coleman 2017-01-14 ATL SEA W 36-20 17 19 11 57 5.18 0
9 Russell Wilson 2017-01-14 SEA @ ATL L 20-36 18 19 6 49 8.17 0
10 LeGarrette Blount 2017-01-22 NWE PIT W 36-17 18 20 16 47 2.94 1
11 Christine Michael 2017-01-08 GNB NYG W 38-13 17 18 10 47 4.70 0
12 Ty Montgomery 2017-01-15 GNB @ DAL W 34-31 18 19 11 47 4.27 2
13 Aaron Rodgers 2017-01-22 GNB @ ATL L 21-44 19 20 4 46 11.50 0
14 Devonta Freeman 2017-01-14 ATL SEA W 36-20 17 19 14 45 3.21 1
15 Devonta Freeman 2017-01-22 ATL GNB W 44-21 18 20 14 42 3.00 0
16 Dion Lewis 2017-01-14 NWE HOU W 34-16 17 19 13 41 3.15 1
17 Latavius Murray 2017-01-07 OAK @ HOU L 14-27 17 18 12 39 3.25 1
18 Spencer Ware 2017-01-15 KAN PIT L 16-18 17 19 8 35 4.38 1
19 Thomas Rawls 2017-01-14 SEA @ ATL L 20-36 18 19 11 34 3.09 0
20 DeAngelo Williams 2017-01-22 PIT @ NWE L 17-36 19 20 14 34 2.43 1
21 Zach Zenner 2017-01-07 DET @ SEA L 6-26 17 18 11 34 3.09 0
22 Jay Ajayi 2017-01-08 MIA @ PIT L 12-30 17 18 16 33 2.06 0
23 LeGarrette Blount 2017-01-14 NWE HOU W 34-16 17 19 8 31 3.88 0
24 LeGarrette Blount 2017-02-05 NWE @ ATL W 34-28 19 21 11 31 2.82 0
25 Jonathan Grimes 2017-01-07 HOU OAK W 27-14 17 18 4 30 7.50 0
26 Paul Perkins 2017-01-08 NYG @ GNB L 13-38 17 18 10 30 3.00 0

White’s Super Bowl heroics aside — you know, he scored a record 20 points and caught a record 14 passes — New England certainly didn’t get much production from the ground game in the playoffs. Even as a team, the Patriots averaged only 86.3 yards per game in the postseason. Among the 51 Super Bowl champions, that slots in just between two other Patriots teams, giving New England three of the four Super Bowl champions that failed to crack the 90 rushing yards mark in the playoffs. But one team averaged just 37 rushing yards per game in the postseason. Can you guess? Scroll to the bottom of the table to see. [click to continue…]

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Bill Belichick and the Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl on Sunday. For a number of reasons, that brings up some good trivia tidbits.

Most Championships

Belichick, of course, is now the only coach with five Super Bowl rings. However, three other coaches have won more titles. Paul Brown won 7 championships, although only three NFL titles (the remaining four were in the AAFC). George Halas and Curly Lambeau each won 6 NFL titles, while Belichick is now tied with Vince Lombardi at five.

Oldest Coach

Belichick is 64 years old, making him the third oldest head coach to win it all. In 2011, Tom Coughlin and the Giants beat Belichick’s Patriots in the Super Bowl, and Coughlin was 65 years old that season. George Halas won his final title in 1963, at the age of 68. Meanwhile, Dick Vermeil was 63 years old when he won the Super Bowl with the Rams to conclude the 1999 season.

Longest Run Between Titles

Belichick’s first title came in 2001, which means he’s now won championships 15 years apart. That’s tied with Curly Lambeau for the third longest stretch: Lambeau won his first championship in 1929, and his last in 1944, with both coming with the Packers. Jimmy Conzelman won as head coach of the Providence Steam Roller in 1928 and then 19 years later with the Chicago Cardinals in 1947. The longest reign, of course, goes to George Halas at 42 years; he won championships with the Bears in both 1921 and 1963. The only other coach to win titles at least 10 years apart? Weeb Ewbank, who won with the Colts in ’58 and ’59, and then as head coach of the Jets (and against the Colts) in 1968.

Most Common Record

There have been 8 Super Bowl champions with 14-2 records, and three of them (’03, ’04, ’16) were coached by Belichick. That’s tied for the second most common record for a Super Bowl champion behind 12-4. There were 11 teams that won with that record, including Belichick’s 2014 squad. The other record to win it all 8 times was 13-3. [click to continue…]


A couple of years ago, I wrote a detailed breakdown about Super Bowl squares. Well, it’s that time of year again, so I’m going to repost that article here to help you cheat to win at your Super Bowl party.

Every Super Bowl squares pool is different, but this post is really aimed at readers who play in pools where you can trade or pick squares (surely no pool has a prohibition on this!) I looked at every regular season and postseason game from 2002 to 2013.1 The table below shows the likelihood of each score after each quarter, along with three final columns that show the expected value of a $100 prize pool under three different payout systems. The “10/” column shows the payout in a pool where 10% of the prize money is given out after each of the first three quarters and 70% after the end of the game; the next column is for pools that give out 12.5% of the pool after the first and third quarters, 25% at halftime, and 50% for the score at the end of the game. The final column is for pools that give out 25% of the pot after each quarter — since I think that is the most common pool structure, I’ve sorted the table by that column, but you can sort by any column you like. To make the table fully sortable, I had to remove the percentage symbols, but “19, 6.7, 4.1, 2” should be read as 19.0%, 6.7%, 4.1%, and 2.0%. [click to continue…]

  1. Yes, this means your author was too lazy to update things for the 2014, 2015, or 2016 seasons. I suppose the rule change moving back the extra point would probably change things ever so slightly, given the small increase in missed extra points. []

In the wildcard round last season, all four road teams won.  It isn’t unusual to see a lower seed win in the wildcard round, as often you have the stronger team being on the road against a weak division winner.  That was probably the case when we saw KC beat Houston and Green Bay win in Washington last year; in addition, the Steelers upset the Bengals and Seahawks beat the Vikings.

Since then? Not a single road team has won a playoff game.  The four teams with bye last year — Carolina, Arizona, New England, and Denver — all won in the division round of the playoffs.  Then the #1 seeded Broncos and Panthers won, too, marking six straight home wins.  We skip the Super Bowl, although for trivia fans, the champion Broncos were in fact the designated home team.

In the first round of the playoffs this year, all four home teams won.  The “weak division winner” Texans were aided by a QB injury and beat the Raiders, while the 4 seed in the NFC (the Packers) rode a hot end-of-year streak to beat the Giants.  In addition, Seattle and Pittsburgh won as 3 seeds.

Then, yesterday, the 1 seeded Patriots and 2 seeded Falcons beat the Texans and Seahawks, respectively.  That runs the streak up to 12 straight wins by home teams in the playoffs.  That’s easily the most in NFL history.

In addition, if we include last year’s Super Bowl, that means the last 8 playoff games have been decided by at least 13 points.

Tm Year Date
Time Opp Week Day Result PF PA PD
CAR 2015 2016-01-24 6:42 ARI 20 Sun W 49-15 49 15 34
DEN 2015 2016-02-07 6:39 CAR 21 Sun W 24-10 24 10 14
HOU 2016 2017-01-07 4:35 OAK 18 Sat W 27-14 27 14 13
SEA 2016 2017-01-07 8:15 DET 18 Sat W 26-6 26 6 20
PIT 2016 2017-01-08 1:05 MIA 18 Sun W 30-12 30 12 18
GNB 2016 2017-01-08 4:40 NYG 18 Sun W 38-13 38 13 25
ATL 2016 2017-01-14 4:35 SEA 19 Sat W 36-20 36 20 16
NWE 2016 2017-01-14 8:15 HOU 19 Sat W 34-16 34 16 18

There had never even been six straight games decided by at least 13 points, so this is also an NFL playoff record.


The Lions began the season 9-4, but have now lost the team’s last two games headed into a winner-takes-the-NFC North showdown with the Packers. Detroit’s success — and failures — have been SOS-related. Detroit’s last two losses came to the two best teams (by record) the Lions have faced all year: the 13-2 Cowboys and 10-5 Giants. And the 9-4 start came with Detroit going 8-1 against teams with a losing record and 1-3 against teams with a winning record. To date, the only wins for the Lions this year against a team with a winning record was a 20-17 home victory over 8-6-1 Washington where Detroit had the ball, down 4, at its own 25, with 1:05 remaining. The Lions have done well by beating bad teams, but if Detroit loses to Green Bay, that unlikely win over the Redskins will be the only impressive win the team has all year.

Eight teams have finished with a winning record, missed the playoffs, and also lost at least their last three games.

  • The final season of Dan Fouts’ career was an odd one. The 1987 Chargers lost their first game, but went 3-0 during the replacement games with Rick Neuheisel and Mike Kelly at quarterback. Then, with Fouts and the regular starters back, the Chargers ran their record to 8-1… before losing their final seven games of the season. San Diego went from 8-1 to eliminated from the playoffs even before the final game of the year, and ended with an 8-7 record.
  • The 1993  Dolphins began 9-2, even though Dan Marino was lost for the season after five games with a torn achilles.  But the 9th win came in the Leon Lett game, and Miami didn’t win another game the rest of the year, while the Cowboys didn’t lose another game that season.  A 5-game losing streak to end the season was particularly painful for the Dolphins, who lost a tiebreaker at 9-7 to two other AFC teams to miss the playoffs.
  • The 2008 Bucs collapsed down the stretch, which resulted in Jon Gruden  losing his job. Tampa Bay began 9-3, but lost their final four games in embarrassing fashion. The Bucs allowed three 4th quarter touchdowns to Carolina to lose 38-23, lost a heartbreaking in overtime to Atlanta, lost by 17 to the Chargers, and then blew a 10-point 4th quarter lead as 10.5-point favorites to the Raiders.
  • The 2002 Saints, 2000 Jets, 1996 Chiefs, 1971 Lions, and 1970 Cardinals all lost their final three games and missed the postseason.  New Orleans, New York, and Kansas City all started 9-4, while Detroit was 7-3-1 and St. Louis was 8-2-1.

[click to continue…]


I highly recommend the Bill Barnwell podcast, and this week’s episode previewing the NFC South was a good one. When hearing about the Saints terrible defense last year, Barnwell noted that it seemed like the Saints defense was always allowing big touchdowns.

Well, that’s true: New Orleans gave up a whopping ten touchdown passes of 40+ yards last season; Washington was second with 7 such touchdowns, and that included three touchdowns of exactly 40 yards. By contrast, the Saints allowed six touchdown passes of 50+ yards! The last pass defense to allow 10 touchdowns of 40+ yards was the 1989 Houston Oilers, a 9-7 team that made the playoffs.

The most long (i.e., 40+ yards) passing touchdowns allowed in a season? That sad place in history belongs to another Oilers team. In 1966, Houston allowed 15 such touchdowns in a 14-game season. The 1961 Bills allowed 14 touchdown passes of 40+ yards, the 1950 Rams allowed 12 such scores, and the ’83 Cowboys, ’68 Dolphins, ’65 Browns, and ’52 Texans allowed 11 long touchdowns.

Last year’s Saints allowed, on average, 7.9 yards on every opposing dropback last year. That’s the largest average gain since the 1981 Colts defense (8.2), and it was obviously inflated by all those long touchdowns. But the good news for Saints fans is that regression to the mean has to help New Orleans… right? [click to continue…]


Bad Teams Doing Well In Good Divisions

In 2012, the Rams went 4-1-1 in the NFC West, but 3-7 against the rest of the NFL. The NFC West was pretty good that year, which made that even more remarkable: St. Louis had the best record in intradivision games of any NFC West team, but the worst interdivision record.

Then, last year, the Rams did it again, going 4-2 against the NFC West (best record, tied with Arizona) but a division-worst 3-7 against the rest of the NFL.

How often does it happen that a team does this? Perhaps more frequently than you might think. The Bills swept the Dolphins and Jets last year, but were swept by New England. Meanwhile, the Patriots dropped a game to both Miami and New York. But while the Patriots (8-2), Jets (7-3), and Dolphins (5-5) fared better against non-AFC East competition last year, the Bills went 4-6 outside of the division.

Since 2002, it has happened 24 times. Take a look:

YearTmDivIntra W%Inter W%Div Strength

The standard bearer for the most Rams team of the post-2002 era? All four AFC East teams won at least 7 games, and the division was 65% (24-16) of its interdivision games that year, the 2nd best season in AFC East history (1999). In those games, the Bills, Dolphins, and Patriots all went 7-3, while the Jets (with Brett Favre) went 5-5. You might think that means the Jets would have struggled in division games, but New York went 4-2, as did New England and Miami, while Buffalo went 0-6.


Tony Galbreath, A Forgotten Record Holder

Galbreath with the Saints

Galbreath with the Saints

Throughout his playing career, Walter Payton was chasing the ghost of Jim Brown.  At the end of the 1981 season, Payton was in 5th place on the career rushing list.  By ’82, he was in 4th; after ’83, he was up to 3rd place. Then, in 1984, Payton passed both Francos Harris and Brown to move into the top spot on the career rushing yards list.

But at the same time that he was chasing a much more flesh-and-blood figure: Saints/Vikings/Giants running back Tony Galbreath. Let’s jump in a time machine back to 1982. At that time, just seven players had at least 75+ career rushing attempts and 375+ career receptions. Three were Hall of Famers Bobby Mitchell, Charley Taylor, and Elroy Hirsch, but all three players made the HOF in large part because of their work as wide receivers. All three players entered professional football as running backs.

Crazy Legs switched after four years (and just one with the Rams) to become a wide receiver on the high-flying Rams of the early ’50s. Taylor was a running back his first two seasons — and a Pro Bowl one at that — but switched positions midway through the 1966 season and remained at wide receiver the rest of his career. Mitchell was stuck behind Brown in Cleveland, but it wasn’t until he was traded to Washington after his fourth season that he become a receiver.

A fourth member of the 75/475 list was Bobby Joe Conrad. who played with the Cardinals in the ’60s. He also switched positions early in his career, and turned into a star receiver almost immediately. As a result, only three true running backs were on the list: Lydell Mitchell, Rickey Young, and Joe Morrison. A star with the Giants in the ’60s, Morrison retired in 1972; he was still the career leader in receptions by a running back a decade later, with 395 receptions. Mitchell, a borderline HOF running back with the Colts, got up to 376 before retiring. Through age 29, he had 355 receptions and had topped 55 catches in each of his last five years; while he would have seemed like a lock to break Morrison’s record, he caught just two more passes the rest of his career.

That leaves Young, a fullback with the Chargers and Vikings. He caught a league-high 88 passes in ’78, and was at 387 receptions as of 1982. He turned 30 in 1983, his final season in the NFL, but caught another 21 passes, breaking Morrison’s record and retiring as the running back catch king, with 408 grabs. But Morrison didn’t retire with an easy stomach: both Payton and Galbreath were hot on his tails.

As of 1983, Payton, who entered the league in 1975, had 328 receptions. But Galbreath was already at 364 receptions, despite entering the NFL a year later. In ’84, Galbreath became just the second pure running back to hit the 400-catch mark; by ’85, Payton had become the third, and Galbreath had supplanted Morrison as the running back catch king. After ’86, Payton had really narrowed the gap: he had 459 career receptions, while Galbreath was at 464. Who would win up as the all-time running back catch king? That left the 1987 season as the battle ground for the highest of stakes: both Payton and Galbreath would retire after the season.

In the season opener, the duo squared off, with all eyes watching the race with a secondary battle between the Giants and Bears taking place. Payton caught three passes, giving him 462 for his career; Galbreath had just one, upping his total to 465.

By November 8th, Payton had closed the gap entirely: both players stood with 475 career receptions. The next week, Payton had a Pyrrhic victory: his Bears lost in Denver, but he became the running back catch king with the first of his three receptions that day (Galbreath had none). [click to continue…]


In 2013, Brandon Marshall caught 100 passes and 12 touchdowns for the Chicago Bears and made the Pro Bowl. His teammate, Matt Forte, also made the Pro Bowl on the basis of 1,933 yards from scrimmage and 12 scores of his own.

Marshall had 109 receptions and tied for the league-lead with 14 touchdowns last year as a member of the Jets, and earned another Pro Bowl nod. Forte had a down year, but is only one year removed from an 1,846 yards from scrimmage season. With Forte now in New York, the players are teammates again. And, if both make the Pro Bowl this year, they will join a pretty rare group: teammates who made the Pro Bowl for multiple franchises. In fact, only four players of teammates have ever done it.

Reggie White made the Pro Bowl 13 times in his career, including in 1988, 1989, and 1990 for the Eagles.  In those years, his teammate, tight end Keith Jackson, also earned trips to Honolulu.  White went to Green Bay in ’93 and made the Pro Bowl in each of his six seasons with the Packers.  In ’95, Jackson reunited with White in Green Bay, and the duo made the Pro Bowl together again in 1996.

Guard Randall McDaniel made 12 Pro Bowls in his career; every year of his 14 year career, in fact, other than his first and last seasons. In ’98 and ’99, he was joined by the man playing next to him on the line, Vikings center Jeff Christy. After the ’99 season, both players left for Tampa Bay, and the duo made the Pro Bowl their first season with the Bucs, too. [click to continue…]


Trivia: Home/Road Wins in Division Games

Assume Team A and Team B are in the same division. In the first regular season matchup, Team A plays Team B at home, and wins. If this is all you know, how likely would you say Team A is to win in the rematch?

On one hand, we now know that Team A has to travel on the road for the rematch, and road teams win about 43% of the time. But we also have some evidence that Team A is better than Team B, so how does that impact things? And what about the idea that it’s hard to sweep a team — does that play into things?

I looked at all division matchups from 1970 to 2015. There were 1,297 times when the home team won the first matchup among division opponents — let’s call that team, Team A. What was Team A’s record in the rematch on the road at Team B?

Take a second to think about it.


[click to continue…]


Brad Oremland noted in his last post that Stanley Morgan is the only player in history to average more than 19 yards per catch in a career with at least 500 receptions, and that such distinction will probably stand forever. Brad’s likely right: given today’s environment, Vincent Jackson and Calvin Johnson are the two preeminent deep threats of the last decade with at least 500 catches, and Jackson (16.97) and Johnson (15.89) were far shy of that mark.

That’s a fun bit of trivia, but let’s expand it. You can use reception cut-offs to come up with lots of Yards per Catch Kings. Here’s an exhaustive one:

  • Jerry Rice is the all-time leader in yards per reception (14.78) among players with at least 1,079 receptions.
  • Terrell Owens (14.7811 to Rice’s 14.7805) is the all-time leader in yards per reception among players with at least 1,025 receptions.
  • Isaac Bruce is the career leader in YPR, at 14.85, among players with at least 983 receptions.
  • Randy Moss (15.57) is the only player to average 15 yards per reception and record 820+ receptions.

[click to continue…]


Who Is The Most Jeff Fisher Coach of All-Time?

It’s easy to make fun of Jeff Fisher, who has a reputation for being the very definition of mediocre. A search for “Jeff Fisher 7-9” on Twitter will send you down the rabbit hole. But do the numbers back it up? Is Fisher as average as it gets?

He has won 6 or 7 games in his last five seasons, and went 8-8 in the season before that. In 10 of his 20 full seasons as a head coach, he’s won 7 or 8 games. But Fisher did go 13-3 three times, and won double digit games three other times. So how do we measure how “Jeff Fisher” a coach is?

The key, I think, is being average. Mike Mularkey has a 4-21 record over the last 10 years. He went 2-14 with the Blaine Gabbert/Maurice Jones-Drew/Justin Blackmon Jaguars in 2012, and then 2-7 as the interim head coach for the Titans last year. We don’t want to count that as being “Jeff Fisher-like.” [click to continue…]


We’ve been talking a bit about Charlie Joiner over the past few days. Here’s a good comment from Brad O, where he called Joiner “the best receiver on the best passing team this side of Dan Marino.”

Brad is right in that Joiner generally played on very good passing teams. That wasn’t the case during his years in Houston, but beginning in 1974, Joiner generally played on top-5 passing teams for over a decade. With the Bengals and Ken Anderson, Joiner’s team ranked 4th in value added over average in 1974, defined as (ANY/A minus league-average ANY/A) multiplied by team pass attempts. The next year, his Bengals led the league in passing Value. [click to continue…]


Torry Holt and 700+ Receiving Yards in Every Season

In yesterday’s post, Torry Holt played in the NFL for 11 seasons. His rookie year, he gained 788 yards for the ’99 Rams; his last year in St. Louis, he gained 796 yards. In fact, Holt’s 2007 season remains the last time any Rams receiver had 800 yards in a season.

In Holt’s final year, 2009, he gained 722 yards with the Jaguars. Holt was never a compiler: his 13,382 career receiving yards has very little “junk” in them. So here’s some Sunday trivia: he’s the only player in NFL history to have retired with at least 10 seasons with 700+ receiving yards and zero seasons without 700+ receiving yards.

Some other notable players:

  • Sterling Sharpe only played for seven seasons, but his minimum year was even better; Sharpe gained 791 yards as a rookie, 961 in 1991, and over 1,000 yards in every other season.  Ditto Calvin Johnson who had 756 yards as a rookie, 984 in 14 games in 2009, and over 1,000 yards in his other seven seasons.  Holt, Sharpe, and Johnson are the only retired players with at least 700 yards in 7+ seasons, and zero seasons below that threshold.
  • Keyshawn Johnson played for 11 years, and had 600+ yards in each of them. Rob Moore played for ten seasons, and had at least 600 receiving yards in each of them.  Eddie Brown hit that mark for each of his seven seasons. No other retired player but those three, Holt, Sharpe, and Johnson played multiple seasons and had at least 600 receiving yards each year.1
  • Larry Fitzgerald had played for 12 seasons, and never fallen below 780 yards.  His former teammate, Anquan Boldin has played for 13 seasons, and never fallen below 623 yards.
  1. Yes, Art Weiner played for one season and had 722 receiving yards, and Sylvester Morris had 678 yards in his lone season. []

I’ve got no time today, so just a fun checkdown. Here is a look at the franchise record-holders in rookie receiving yards.

Oakland RaidersAmari Cooper20151070
Carolina PanthersKelvin Benjamin20141008
Buffalo BillsSammy Watkins2014982
New York GiantsOdell Beckham20141305
San Diego ChargersKeenan Allen20131046
Jacksonville JaguarsJustin Blackmon2012865
Cincinnati BengalsA.J. Green20111057
Atlanta FalconsJulio Jones2011959
Baltimore RavensTorrey Smith2011841
Denver BroncosEddie Royal2008980
Philadelphia EaglesDeSean Jackson2008912
Kansas City ChiefsDwayne Bowe2007995
New Orleans SaintsMarques Colston20061038
Detroit LionsRoy Williams2004817
Tampa Bay BuccaneersMichael Clayton20041193
Arizona CardinalsAnquan Boldin20031377
Houston TexansAndre Johnson2003976
Miami DolphinsChris Chambers2001883
Cleveland BrownsKevin Johnson1999986
Minnesota VikingsRandy Moss19981313
New England PatriotsTerry Glenn19961132
New York JetsKeyshawn Johnson1996844
St. Louis RamsEddie Kennison1996924
Seattle SeahawksJoey Galloway19951039
Indianapolis ColtsBill Brooks19861131
Washington RedskinsGary Clark1985926
San Francisco 49ersJerry Rice1985927
Dallas CowboysBob Hayes19651003
Tennessee TitansBill Groman19601473
Pittsburgh SteelersJimmy Orr1958910
Chicago BearsHarlon Hill19541124
Green Bay PackersBilly Howton19521231

Please leave your thoughts in the comments.


Are the Cardinals in Their Glory Years, Too?

Over the weekend, I wrote that the Bengals are currently in their glory years. Is the same true of the Cardinals? Last year, Arizona outscored opponents by 176 points, even after being outscored by 30 points in the meaningless season finale. That mark narrowly edged the ’48 team (+169) for the best margin in franchise history (of course, it did not win on a per-game basis):

cards pd [click to continue…]


This tweet, sent out on Monday by Jimmy Kempski, caught my eye:

Entering last season, the Cowboys had Greg Hardy (34 career sacks prior to 2015) and Jeremy Mincey (26).  Both players are now free agents, although it is possible one or both returns to Dallas in 2016.  But if the Cowboys don’t add anyone, that would mean inside linebacker Rolando McClain — who has 9.5 career sacks — would be the Cowboy with the most career sacks. The same goes for cornerback Orlando Scandrick, also stuck on 9.5 [click to continue…]


Yesterday, I looked at the players with the most yards from scrimmage in a season among players who had just one-game seasons. Today, let’s do the same but for quarterbacks.  The table below shows all players with at least 150 passing yards, and is sorted by AY/A: [click to continue…]


Star Players for 1 Game Seasons

Catchy title, I know. Bill Barnwell sent out a pair of tweets on Cleveland Cavs player Dahntay Jones, who played in just one game this season but logged 42 minutes. Barnwell used the Basketball-Reference Play Index to note that it was the most time any player had seen in a single game, among the group of players who played in exactly one game in a season.

So, naturally, I started wondering about one-game superstars in the NFL. Courtesy of PFR, the table below shows all players with at least 60 yards from scrimmage in a season in which they played in just one game: [click to continue…]


Yesterday, I looked at the career leaders in fourth quarter/overtime game-winning field goals. It’s fun — in a purely trivial way — to see which kickers have made the most game-winners, but that’s only half the story. What about which kickers have missed the most key field goals?

I looked at all field goal attempts since 1994 that came when the game was tied or the kicking team was trailing by 1 or 2 points. I did not make any adjustments for era, or distance, or weather, since this is a trivia post on a Sunday in May. That said, man was Todd Peterson good at missing key field goals. Like, really, really good.

He missed 17 of his 34 field goal attempts in this situation; not only was that 50% rate the worst for any kicker with more than five misses, but his 17 misses truly lapped the field. [click to continue…]


On Thursday, I looked at the quarterbacks with the most game-winning touchdown passes that came in the fourth quarter or overtime. Yesterday, I did the same for all touchdowns scored, either as a running touchdown, receiving touchdown, or otherwise. Three years ago, I looked at the same concept but for field goals: today, we revisit that post.

At the time, Morten Andersen was the career leader with 35, while Adam Vinatieri was hot on his trails with 30. Well, Vinatieri didn’t have a single game-winning field goal after the third quarter of any game in 2013 or 2014, but he then did it three times in two months last year (against Jacksonville in overtime from 27 yards, a 55-yarder against the Broncos with 6 minutes left, and a 43-yarder in the final minute against Atlanta.

Of his 33 game-winning field goals, 16 have been from 40+ yards away, with five of those being from 50+ yards, while his average game-winning field goal has come from 37.1 yards: [click to continue…]


Three years ago, I looked at the players who have scored the most game-winning touchdowns in NFL history. Let’s be clear: tracking things like game-winning touchdowns is only interesting in a trivial sort way, but hey, it’s May.

Yesterday, I looked at which players had the most game-winning touchdown passes, so today we look at all other scores (whether rushing, receiving, via fumble recovery or later, or even non-offensive TDs). I looked at all games, regular and postseason, in all leagues, from 1940 to 2015 (and playoff games from pre-1940), and counted all touchdowns scored that put the player’s team ahead for good (with one exception: I did not count touchdowns scored when down by 7 and the team successfully went for two afterwards).

The table below lists all players with at least four such touchdowns. As he was three years ago, Marcus Allen stands alone with 10 game-winning touchdowns, including one via fumble recovery. [click to continue…]


Three years ago, I looked at the career leaders in 4th quarter (and overtime) game-winning touchdown passes. That post is ready for an update, and there’s been some interesting movement at the top of the charts.

As a reminder: tracking things like game-winning touchdowns is only interesting in a trivial sort way. I looked at all games, regular and postseason, in all leagues, from 1940 (and before 1940 for postseason games) to 2015, and counted all touchdowns scored that put the player’s team ahead for good (with one exception: I did not count touchdowns scored when down by 7 and the team successfully went for two afterwards). The table below shows all players with at least 4 such game-winning touchdown passes.

Incredibly, Johnny Unitas is still the record-holder in this category. In 23 games, Unitas threw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to win the game for the Colts. His first came against Washington in 1956, with his last coming 14 years later against the Bears. The table below provides a link to all 23 such fourth-quarter, game-winning touchdown throws by Unitas: [click to continue…]


Tom Brady and Drew Brees ended the 2015 season in a pretty remarkable place: both have 428 touchdown passes, tied for the third most in NFL history.  Both threw their first touchdown pass in 2001, which makes it easy — and fun! — to compare the two players.  The graph below shows the number of career touchdown passes for each player over every week since 2001:

brady brees td

Brady took an early edge, both because he started earlier (he had 18 touchdowns in 2001; Brees had 1) and played better earlier (Brees had 28 touchdowns in ’02 and ’03 combined; Brady had that many just in ’03).  And, of course, Brady’s scorched-earth 2007 season helped see him take his biggest lead.  Consider that through 2007, Brees had thrown fewer than 30 touchdown passes in each of his first seven seasons. Since then? Brees has thrown more than 30 touchdowns in all eight seasons! [click to continue…]


Consecutive Playoff Losses For a Franchise

From 1993 to 2015, the New York Islanders lost eight consecutive playoff series, beginning with a loss in the conference finals to Montreal in 1993, and culminating in a heartbreaking, 7-game series loss last year to Washington. Last night, the Isles came from behind and defeated Florida, to win the series, four games to two.

So the streak stopped at eight for the Islanders; as it turns out, the longest streaks for consecutive playoff losses in NFL history is also at eight, with two of those streaks being active. [click to continue…]

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