Remember When Archived

10/07/2011

 

Week 4

Pick 6 x 4

Oct. 1, 2011

The 2011 National Football League season is headed into its fourth week. That means when the final whistle blows on Monday night's game a quarter of the season will be over. So far this year much of the talk has focused on offense and more specifically the quarterback play. Entering Week 4, NFL passers have helped fuel a total of 2,157 points scored. The corral of QBs in just three weeks of action has thrown for more than 23,000 yards and 153 touchdowns. Already this season, an astonishing 34 different 300-yard games have been recorded.

So what about defense?

While production on offense has somewhat overshadowed the play of defense thus far into the season, the fact remains that defenses are creating their own highlights. So far defenses have created 157 total turnovers on 93 interceptions and 64 fumble recoveries. This proves that while scoring is up in the NFL, offenses aren't achieving this feat alone. Defenders are doing their part to set up offenses to score points off of turnovers, and in some instances they're putting six on the board all by themselves.
 

CB Dave Brown had 8 interceptions and 2 TDs in 1984.

The Buffalo Bills' 21-point come-from-behind victory over the New England Patriots last week was attributed in a large part to the Bills' stingy defense. Buffalo intercepted Tom Brady four times, including Drayton Florence's 27-yard return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that gave the Bills their first lead of the day. While any defense would be more than happy with four interceptions and ecstatic with returning one for a touchdown that doesn't come close to matching an incredible performance by the Seattle Seahawks in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 1984.

Do you remember when? The Seahawks and Chiefs were bitter AFC Western Division rivals who met in Seattle's Kingdome on Nov. 4, 1984 for a Sunday afternoon showdown. Unfortunately for the Chiefs it was a one-sided beating by the Seahawks who came away with a 45-0 win. Seattle's defense ruled the day with six interceptions of Kansas City passes, four of which were returned for touchdowns. The four "pick- sixes" in one game is an NFL record that still stands today.

The game started slowly with Seattle owning a 3-0 lead after the first quarter. However, early in the second quarter left cornerback Dave Brown intercepted Chiefs QB Bill Kenney and returned it 95 yards to pay dirt putting the Seahawks up 10-0. During Kansas City's very next possession Kenney was picked off once again, this time by Keith Simpson who raced 76 yards for a score. By halftime the score was 28-0 and a woozy Chiefs team had given the ball to second-year thrower Todd Blackledge. Seattle's secondary, however, wasn't finished.

The Chiefs opened the second half with the ball and after four consecutive pass completions Blackledge was picked off by Brown who returned that interception 58 yards for his second TD of the game. Finally with time winding down in the fourth quarter Kansas City's third string QB Sandy Osiecki threw the final interception of the game to safety Kenny Easley, who returned it down the right sideline 58 yards to put the exclamation point on one spectacular day of defense.

The shutout victory lifted the Seahawks to an 8-2 record and thrust them team into the record books. Aside from the record number "pick-sixes," the total of 325 yards on interceptions remains the most by one team in a single game in NFL history. To put the yardage figure in perspective, Seattle's defensive backfield racked up more yardage than the Chiefs offense that day.


Week 3

Over the Top in Overtime

Sept. 24, 2011

An astonishing 66.8 percent of all National Football League games (171 of 256) during the 2010 regular season were within one score at some point during the fourth quarter. The trend appears to continue into 2011 as already through two weeks of action, 15 of 32 games were decided by eight points or less.

Multiple games have come down to a last-second score while last week's matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers was the first overtime game of the season. It ended in excitement when Dallas QB Tony Romo hit receiver Jesse Holley on a 77-yard pass to set up the game-winning field goal. While Holley's game-changing reception was long it wasn't the longest in an overtime period. In fact, the longest play from scrimmage in an NFL overtime is one record that can never be broken. That's because the play covered 99 yards.

On Sunday, Nov. 10, 1985, the Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Atlanta Falcons at Veterans Stadium. The Week 10 matchup pitted the (4-5) Eagles against the (1-8) Falcons. Philadelphia had opened the season with veteran quarterback Ron Jaworski as their starter. However, he sustained an injury late in the season opener and then split time with rookie Randall Cunningham. By Week 6, Jaworski had reclaimed the top spot on the Eagles' depth chart. Four weeks later, he had the Eagles back in the playoff hunt in the ultra-competitive NFC Eastern Division.

The game presented itself as a must-win for Philadelphia as they tried to keep pace with the (6-3) New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys and the (5-4) Washington Redskins. The Eagles came out firing by scoring the first 17 points of the game and taking a commanding 17-0 lead into the final quarter.

The Falcons however fought back and rallied with 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter which set up a dramatic overtime period for the restless Eagles fans.

The extra period began with Atlanta winning the coin toss and electing to receive. The kickoff was returned to the Falcons' 30-yard line, but the Eagles defense stiffened and forced a three-and-out. Unfortunately for Philly, Falcons punter Rick Donnelly boomed a punt 62 yards out of bounds at the Eagles' 1-yard line. After an incomplete pass intended for wide receiver Kenny Jackson, Philadelphia went back to the air. Jaworski this time connected with receiver Mike Quick to put a "sudden death" to the Falcons. Quick got behind the Atlanta secondary and hauled in Jaworski's delivery at the 20-yard line and raced the remaining 80 yards for the winning score with just 1:49 off the clock in overtime.

Jaworski to Quick became just the sixth player tandem in NFL history to combine for a 99-yard touchdown pass. They were the first, and remain today the only, duo to hook up on a 99-yarder in overtime.
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Week 2  

High Flying Aerial Attack

Sept. 17, 2011

The 2011 NFL Kickoff Weekend is in the books. From the first kickoff on Thursday night to the final play from Monday’s doubleheader the excitement was at an all-time high. There were multiple individual and team records set. During the 2011 season’s first week there were 14 quarterbacks who passed for 300 or more yards in a game, four of whom eclipsed the 400-yard mark and one, New England Patriots’ QB Tom Brady, who passed for 517 yards. Brady’s passing yardage was the second most ever on Kickoff Weekend.


Most certainly football’s passing game has evolved in a big way. The ruling on January 12, 1906 forever changed the game. For it was on that day that football legalized the forward pass. The first pass attempt in the pro game came on a Thursday night game on Oct. 25, 1906.

George “Peggy” Parratt of the Massillon (Ohio) Tigers threw the first authenticated pass completion in a professional game when he hooked up with end Dan “Bullet” Riley against the combined Benwood-Moundsville, W. Va. team. The game was a 61-0 blowout by the Tigers and the historic pass was overshadowed in the game account by the fact that Parratt also had a 65-yard run from scrimmage and a 100-yard kickoff return. But nevertheless the pass was completed and the evolution of the game had begun. It took another 10 years or so before the pass became more popular in the game.

The forward pass has come a long way from its modest beginnings 105 years ago. Year after year it becomes more and more integral to the strategy of the game while captivating fans interest from every screen pass and check down to every long bomb and “Hail Mary.” The NFL has seen passing yardage soar in every decade of its existence. From the 69,444 passing yards that were gained from 1933-39 (Note: the NFL didn’t start officially compiling statistics until 1933) to the 1,135,331 yards gained 2000-09.

As Hall of Famer and Green Bay Packer founder, player and coach “Curly” Lambeau once said, “I’d rather pass. I figured it was the easiest way to pick up yards.”


Week 1 

Ameche hits the ground running

Sept. 10, 2011

Kickoff Weekend is upon us and year after year players work tirelessly in the offseason to put themselves in the best possible situations to succeed in Week One. The results vary, but in the end the hope for every team is a breakout game to start a breakthrough season for a future National Football League star.

Remember when, in 1955, the Baltimore Colts opened the season against the Chicago Bears at Memorial Stadium? Baltimore's fullback Alan Ameche, the third overall selection in that year's NFL draft, recorded a memorable pro debut. Ameche or "The Horse" as he was affectionately known carried the Colts to an upset victory over the favored Bears 23-17 on September 25, 1955.

Ameche, an All-American and Heisman Trophy winner out of Wisconsin, wasted no time in making his mark in the NFL. On his very first carry of his career he broke through Chicago's defensive line, cut to the sideline and raced 79 yards for a touchdown. "The Horse" displayed his excellent speed, power and agility and finished the game with 194 yards rushing on 21 attempts for a 9.2 yards-per-carry average and one TD.

He and the Colts continued their stellar play the following week in another upset win over the Detroit Lions 28-13. Alan ran like a seasoned veteran as he gained 153 yards on 21 carries and scored two rushing touchdowns (2, 57 yards). The quick start to his rookie season paved the way for Ameche to become the first player in Colts' history to win the NFL rushing title and the first rookie to do so since the New York Giants' Bill Paschal in 1944.

In all, Ameche amassed 961 rushing yards on 213 carries and scored nine touchdowns in his first season. His three-game total of 410 rushing yards to begin a career was an NFL mark that stood for 50 years until Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams broke it in 2005. Williams recorded three consecutive 100-yard performances to amass 434 yards to begin his career.
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