One number from each game that stuck out above all others.
Saints v. Panthers – ½ - The first game all season the Saints have not had one pass play of over 20 yards in the first half. In fact, New Orleans didn’t complete one until 3:50 left in the third, when Drew Brees connected with Jeremey Shockey for 25 yards (the score was 27-7 at the time). Over ½ of Brees’s passing yards came in the 4th quarter. He had only 104 passing yards through three quarters (finished with 231). Of the 21 completions for Brees, nine of the tackles were made by the Carolina D-Line and linebackers. 14 of those completions were for less than 10 yards.
Cowboys v. Rams – 3 – first quarter touchdowns for the Rams, in the process scoring more points in one quarter than they had in an entire game up to this point. Dallas QB Brad Johnson also had 3 picks, two of which led to ten points, and the last two were used to drain nearly eight and a half minutes off the clock in the 4th quarter. This was also the Cowboys third loss of the season matching last year’s total. DeMarcus Ware had another tremendous effort for the Cowboys, picking up another 3 sacks (bringing his season total to 9). TO was held to just two catches for the 3rd time this season. Averaging just over 3.5 receptions per game, TO is on pace for his lowest reception total since his rookie year when he caught 35 balls (excluding 2005 when he caught 47 passes, but played in only 7 games).
49ers v. Giants – 6 – Sacks for the Giants, the third time this season they’ve had six (the Bengals and Chiefs have five and three, respectively, for the season). They had zero in their loss last Monday night to the Browns. There were six total fumbles in the game (4 by JT O’Sullivan), but only one was recovered by the defense. The teams combined for 24 penalties, or an average of 6 per quarter. Three players: Nate Clements, Plaxico Burress, and Shaun O’Hara each had two penalties on a single drive (not the same drive).
Chargers v. Bills – 1 – crucial interception in the 4th quarter for QB Philip Rivers. Down only six with just over six minutes to go with the Chargers on the Buffalo nine yard line, Rivers was picked off, leading to a game-icing field goal. Now seven weeks into the season, LaDainian Tomlinson still only has 1 100-yard rushing game, after a whopping 41 yards on 14 carries Sunday. The Bills had only 1 drive shorter than two and a half minutes, while every Charger drive was shorter than 2:30 with the exception of their two scoring drives and the late drive where Rivers was picked. The result was a eleven minute advantage in time of possession for Buffalo.
Vikings v. Bears – 3 – Three balls recovered in the end zone for the Bears. Each quarter of this game featured at least 3 scores. 3 of Gus Frerotte’s four interceptions were in the second half. Every stat points to a Viking win except for INTs (4-0) and Balls recovered for TDs (0-3).
Steelers v. Bengals – 3 – The Steelers scored on their final 3 drives to extend the lead on a game that was actually tied in the 3rd quarter. It’s hard to blame the Steelers for becoming apathetic after building a quick 10-0 lead because the Bengals offense was inept in the first half going 3 and out on their first five drives, before scoring a TD in their final drive of the first half. The Steelers had seven sacks, with 3 players racking up two apiece: LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons, and James Harrison.
Titans v. Chiefs – 53 – The combined numbers of Tennessee RBs Chris Johnson and LenDale White. They rushed for a combined 317 yards, over nine yards per carry and 4 TDs. Conversely, the Chiefs RBs rushed for a total 37 yards. Another bad sign for KC, they ended with more penalty yards than rushing yards.
Ravens v. Dolphins – 4 – For the first time since week 13 of last season, Baltimore scored in every quarter. 4 of the last five weeks Joe Flacco has completed more than 2/3 of his passes. Baltimore averaged 4 yards per carry rushing the ball, compared to 2.1 for Ronnie Brown, who had his worst game since the debut of the Wildcat formation against the Patriots in week 3.
Lions v. Texans – 3 – The Texans scored on their first three drives to open up a 21 point lead. Then the Lions had TD drives of 1 and 3 plays. Finally, three Houston penalties led to Detroit points. The first allowed the Lions a 2nd chance on a 2-point conversion and the other two extended the Lions 4th quarter scoring drive that brought the game back to a score game. The most glaring stat was time of possession with the Texans enjoying a 20 minute advantage.
Jets v. Raiders - 2 – Critical interceptions for Bret Favre. The first was in the second quarter and short-circuited a drive on the Oakland eight-yard line. The second was at the two-minute warning and set up the game-tying field goal. Favre defenders will point out it was 3rd and 18 and he threw the ball to midfield, but after a ten yard return, it netted only 27 yards and virtually guaranteed the Raiders a shot at a field goal. 2 is also the number of the quarterback who played better in the game, JaMarcus Russell.
Colts v. Packers – 14 – Points scored by the Packers on Peyton Manning passes. Coming out in the second half, Manning was intercepted for a TD by Nick Collins, pushing the score to 24-7. In the 4th, Manning gave up a 99-yard INT return for a TD. Aaron Rodgers also needed 14 fewer attempts to complete 21 passes, the same number as Manning. Every scoring drive was added with at least one penalty. The most egregious offender: Indy DB Tim Jennings (4-40 yards), with one penalty one each GB offensive scoring drive.
Seahawks v. Buccaneers – 1992 – For the first time in sixteen years, Seattle had successive games with fewer than 100 passing yards. The 1992 team was quarterbacked by Stan Gelbaugh and was the worst offense in team history.
Browns v. Redskins – 3.6 – Average gain per offensive play for the Browns, both passing and rushing. Washington averaged 6.9 yards in the air and 5.4 on the ground. The most important offensive player was Clinton Portis. He had 175 rushing yards, often gashing the Browns, but did fumble late setting up the Browns only TD drive.
Broncos v. Patriots – 3,4,5,6 – 3 TD passes for Matt Cassell. 4th straight week the Broncos have failed to score 20 or more points after averaging 38 through the first three weeks. 5 Denver turnovers. 6+ yards per offensive play for the Patriots. Of note, the Pats averaged 6.8 yards per rush and 6.1 per pass.