First and only


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It’s Thursday and that means NFL football is just three days away. If Week 4 provides anything like we’ve seen in the first three weeks, then Sunday is going to be absolutely exciting. After all the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and Detroit Lions are a combined 8-1. In these parts, that’s reason for great celebration. How about this fact? Twelve of the 16 games in last weekend’s action were decided by six points or less. Fun stuff.

I imagine we’ll see some history rewritten again in Week 4 just like we’ve seen countless times thus far this season which brings me to the subject of this week’s blog.

I used to often recite this line, “we stay away from using the words ‘first’ and ‘only’” when I referenced what we do inside the Hall of Fame’s archives. That’s because we invariably uncover some instance of a history-making moment that had actually already occurred at some point in the long history of the NFL.

But, this week’s blog will focus on many “firsts” and “onlys” all of which have taken place in the first three weeks of the 2011 NFL Season. I always find “firsts” and “onlys” really incredible considering that the NFL has been around for 91 seasons. I have a hard time grasping that these types of first-time occurrences keep happening at the pace they do. Yet, somehow they do.

So here’s a quick rundown of some of what I think are the most amazing “firsts” and “onlys” that have taken place in the first three weeks of the season.

• Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has become the first player ever to have two or more TD catches in each of his team’s first three games to start a season.
• Ted Ginn led the San Francisco 49ers to a win in Week 1 when he ran back a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns. He is the first and only player ever to do that in the same game during Kickoff Weekend.
• New England Patriots Tom Brady threw for a career-high 517 yards in the season opener and then followed that by throwing for 423 yards in Week 2. He became the first and only player ever to follow a 500-yard game by throwing for 400 or more yards.
• Rookie Cam Newton set a record, albeit for just a few hours, when he became the first player to throw for more than 850 yards in the first two weeks of the season. Brady surpassed that total by the completion of the Patriots game later that day.
• The Baltimore Ravens Torrey Smith is the first rookie to have three TD catches in the first quarter of the game. His scoring frenzy helped the Ravens down the Rams 37-7 last week.
• The Buffalo Bills’ stunning comeback against Patriots in Buffalo last Sunday made them the first team ever to win back-to-back games after trailing by at least 18 points in each game. Buffalo came back against the Raiders in Week 2.

Now, I invite you to be the “first” but please not the “only” person to comment on this blog by sharing your favorite moment from the NFL’s first three weeks.

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