Last week we shared a bit of history about five games in NFL history that had a team play the entire 60 minutes without throwing a pass. Well, probably not surprising, there has never been a game in which a team has simply thrown the ball without ever handing off.
But, perhaps surprising is the record for fewest running attempts in a NFL game. The mark stands at six and while it was first established in 1933, the first year the NFL officially kept statistics, the record has been matched twice in the 2000s.
CHICAGO CARDINALS vs. Boston Redskins, Oct. 22, 1933
The Boston Redskins traveled to Chicago’s Fenway Park and handed the host Cardinals a 10-0 defeat. Boston’s defense honed in on stopping the running of Chicago’s star back Joe Lillard (pictured above). Forced to abandon the ground game, Lillard’s passing moved the Cardinals throughout the day but three serious scoring threats ended with Boston intercepting him. The last ditch effort was thwarted when Lillard’s long bomb in the final minute of regulation was picked off by Steve Hokuf in the end zone and returned 65 yards in what newspaper accounts described as “the most spectacular play of the game.”
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Oct. 31, 2004
With starting running back Corey Dillon watching from the sidelines with a foot injury, the Patriots rushed for a mere five yards on six carries. The Pittsburgh Steelers controlled the day and handed the Patriots a 34-20 defeat to end New England’s NFL record 21-game winning streak. For the record, the Patriots leading rusher on the day was Kevin Faulk with five carries for four yards.
ARIZONA CARDINALS vs. Minnesota Vikings, Nov. 26, 2006
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The Cardinals didn’t showcase much of a ground game but nevertheless provided great excitement. Arizona nearly scored a last-minute victory but fell 31-26 on the road to the Vikings. Arizona had two 99-yard returns in the game – one on the opening kickoff and another on a fourth quarter fumble return. Arizona’s offense was led by QB Matt Leinart who threw 51 times and racked up 405 yards on 31 completions. His deep throw to the end zone was picked off on the final play of the game. Edgerrin James led the Cards “rushing” attack with four carries for 15 yards.