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What to Look For - Week 6

What to Look For - Week 6

10/15/2020
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Milt Plum had the unfortunate fate of following Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham with the Cleveland Browns in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

And while Plum could not replicate Graham’s results with the team, he was no slouch at the position. Three times he led the NFL in completion percentage, and in a magnificent 1960 season he and the Browns came up just short of the eventual NFL champion Eagles for first place in the East Division.

Plum passed for 2,297 yards – third in the League – and his 21 touchdowns (also third that year) against only five interceptions left him with a league-best passer rating and All-Pro recognition.

Plum’s name, now largely unknown outside of Cleveland, comes up again this week as Aaron Rodgers looks to pass him in an efficiency category. Plum threw 16 TD passes in 1960 before his first interception, the fourth-highest number to start a season in NFL history. Going into this weekend’s game in Tampa, Rodgers stands at 13 TDs with zero interceptions.

If Rodgers catches Plum, then only Peyton Manning (Denver, 2013, 20), Nick Foles (Philadelphia, 2013, 19) and Alex Smith (Kansas City, 2017, 18) would remain ahead of him on that list.

Here are some other things to watch for this weekend:


NOT CATCHING L’S: Through Week 5, scoring has been at an unprecedented level throughout the NFL, as seven teams are a​​​veraging at least 30 points per game, the most in a single season through Week 5 since 1970.

Three of those teams – the GREEN BAY PACKERS (38.0 points per game, 4-0), SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (33.8, 5-0) and TENNESSEE TITANS (30.5, 4-0) – are unbeaten entering Week 6. The PITTSBURGH STEELERS (4-0) are averaging 29.5 points per game and also have yet to lose this season.

If Green Bay (at Tampa Bay; 4:25 PM ET, FOX), Tennessee (vs. Houston; 1:00 PM ET, CBS) and Pittsburgh (vs. Cleveland; 1:00 PM ET, CBS) are all victorious in Week 6, 2020 will be the third season since 1970 (not including the shortened 1982 season) in which at least four teams are unbeaten through six weeks. Seattle has a bye in Week 6.

The seasons with the most unbeaten teams through six weeks since 1970 (not including the shortened 1982 season):

SEASON

TEAMS (RECORD THROUGH WEEK 6)

2015

5: Carolina (5-0), Cincinnati (6-0), Denver (6-0), Green Bay (6-0), New England (5-0)

2009

4: Denver (6-0), Indianapolis (5-0), Minnesota (6-0), New Orleans (5-0)

 

 

2020*

4: Green Bay (4-0), Pittsburgh (4-0), Seattle (5-0), Tennessee (4-0)

*Through five weeks

 
 
THROW PACK THROW: Last season, Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS passed for 26 touchdowns, while throwing only four interceptions, tied for the fewest among qualified quarterbacks in 2019. Through his first four games in 2020, Rodgers is tied for third in the league with 13 touchdown passes, while being the only qualified passer to not throw an interception.​
 

With at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions on Sunday at Tampa Bay (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Rodgers will tie MILT PLUM (16 touchdown passes before throwing his first interception in 1960) for the fourth-most touchdown passes by a player to begin a season before his first interception in NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes before throwing an interception to begin a season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning

Denver

2013

20

Nick Foles

Philadelphia

2013

19

Alex Smith

Kansas City

2017

18

Milt Plum

Cleveland

1960

16

 

 

 

 

Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay

2020

13*

*Active streak

 

With at least two touchdown passes and zero interceptions on Sunday, Rodgers would become the first player in NFL history with at least two touchdown passes and zero interceptions in each of his team’s first five games of a season.


FIRE THE CANNONS: Tampa Bay wide receiver MIKE EVANS ties for the league lead with six touchdown receptions in 2020, while being the only player with at least one touchdown reception in five games this season.

With a touchdown reception on Sunday against Green Bay (4:25 PM ET, FOX) Evans will become the fourth player with at least one touchdown reception in each of his team’s first six games of a season since 1970.

The players with a touchdown reception in the most games to begin a season since 1970:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES

 

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Cincinnati

2007

8

 

Plaxico Burress

New York Giants

2007

6

 

Wes Welker

Denver

2013

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Evans

Tampa Bay

2020

5*

 

*Active streak

 
 
CHASING HISTORY: Last week, Pittsburgh wide receiver CHASE CLAYPOOL recorded seven receptions for 110 yards and scored four touchdowns (three receiving, one rushing), becoming the third rookie wide receiver to record four touchdowns in a single game in NFL history. Entering Week 6, Claypool leads all rookies with five touchdowns this season.
 

With a touchdown on Sunday against Cleveland (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Claypool will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (1998), MARTAVIS BRYANT (2014), WILLIE GAULT (1983) and CALVIN RIDLEY (2018) for the most touchdowns by a rookie wide receiver in his first five career games since 1970.

The rookie wide receivers with the most touchdowns in their first five career games since 1970:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWNS

Martavis Bryant

Pittsburgh

2014

6

Willie Gault

Chicago

1983

6

Randy MossHOF

Minnesota

1998

6

Calvin Ridley

Atlanta

2018

6

 

 

 

 

Chase Claypool

Pittsburgh

2020

5*

*Through four games

 

DONALD DOMINANCE: Last week, Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman AARON DONALD registered four sacks and a forced fumble in his team’s victory, his second-career game with four sacks. Entering Week 6, Donald leads the NFL with 7.5 sacks this season.

Since entering the league in 2014, Donald has 79.5 career sacks, tied with CHANDLER JONES for the most in the NFL over that span. With at least a half a sack at San Francisco on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Donald will become the fourth player with at least eight sacks in each of his first seven seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers DERRICK THOMAS and REGGIE WHITE, as well as DEMARCUS WARE.

The players with at least eight sacks in each of their first seven seasons since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

Derrick ThomasHOF

Kansas City

1989-1995

DeMarcus Ware

Dallas

2005-11

Reggie WhiteHOF

Philadelphia

1985-91

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams

2014-2020*

*7.5 sacks in 2020

 
 
STEEL CURTAIN: Entering Week 6, the PITTSBURGH STEELERS tie for the league lead with 20 sacks and tie for third with six interceptions. Last week, Pittsburgh registered five sacks and two interceptions in its victory, becoming the fourth team since 2000 to register at least three sacks and an interception in each of its first four games of a season.
 

With at least three sacks and an interception on Sunday against Cleveland (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Pittsburgh will join the 1985 NEW YORK GIANTS as the only teams in NFL history to record at least three sacks and an interception in each of their first five games of a season.

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