San Antonio.- This month, everything is pink in the National Football League to bring attention to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Colors aside, teams with losing streaks still have a shot at the playoffs – so we are still at the anything-can-happen stage. And New Orleans Saint Drew Brees is poised to break Johnny Unitas/s cord. Thanks to the NFL and Terence Malangone for all the stats and info. Photo: Drew Brees courtesy of NFL.com
By Angela Covo, firstname.lastname@example.org
STILL IN THE MIX:History shows that a losing record at this point in the season does not negate a team’s chances of making the playoffs. Since the current playoff system (12 teams) was instituted in 1990, 23 teams rebounded from a losing record after four weeks to qualify for the postseason, including the Denver Broncos last season. Four of those clubs advanced to their Conference Championship Games, including the 2001 New England Patriots (1-3) en route to their Super Bowl XXXVI victory. In fact, since 1990, teams that started 1-3 or worse and made the playoffs:
ONE TO GO: Last Sunday, New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES threw for three touchdowns at Green Bay and extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 47, tying Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHNNY UNITAS for the longest streak in NFL history. With a touchdown pass against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night Football, Brees will surpassUnitas for the most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Unitas surpassed the previous mark held by CECIL ISBELL (22 games) on November 30, 1958 and held sole possession of the record for 19,663 days before Brees tied the mark last Sunday. Brees has thrown 114 touchdowns during his streak, 12 more than Unitas (102) had during his streak. During their streaks, Unitas threw a TD pass to seven different players, while Brees has connected with 15 players. Meanwhile in New England, with a touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, quarterback TOM BRADY (36) will surpass BRETT FAVRE for the third-most consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
HIGH FIVE: In 2012, teams have combined to score 2,986 points and 327 touchdowns. Meanwhile, quarterbacks have recorded 40 individual 300-yard passing games.Teams can add to these totals this week: With 658 points in Week 5, 2012 will feature the most points of any five-week span in NFL history(3,643 in 2011, Weeks 13-17). With 70 touchdowns in Week 5, 2012 will feature the most touchdowns through the first five weeks of any NFL season (396 in 2011). With 11 individual 300-yard passing games in Week 5, 2012 will feature the most 300-yard passing games through the first five weeks (50 in 2011).
DOWN TO THE WIRE: Close games have been a staple of the 2012 season with 36 games decided by eight points or fewer, tied for the third-most such games through the first four weeks of a season in NFL history. In the past two weeks, there have been 10 games in which the game-winning points were scored in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime. If 10 games in Week 5 are decided by eight points or fewer, 2012 will feature the most such games through the first five weeks of a season in NFL history.
ROOKIES ROCK! Last Sunday, rookie quarterbacks ROBERT GRIFFIN III (1,070) of the Redskins and RYAN TANNEHILL (1,046) of the Dolphins joined CAM NEWTON as the only rookie quarterbacks to pass for 1,000 yards in their team’s first four games. Griffin and Tannehill need 180 and 204 passing yards, respectively this Sunday to join Newton(1,610 in 2011) as the only rookies in NFL history with at least 1,250 passing yards through a team’s first five games. Following a bye week, Indianapolis rookie quarterback ANDREW LUCK (846) will play his fourth game on Sunday and can join Griffin, Newton and Tannehill as the only rookie quarterbacks to pass for 1,000 yards in their team’s first four games.
THE TEN THOUSAND CLUB: Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD (9,860) needs 140 receiving yards on Thursday Night Football to reach 10,000 career receiving yards. Fitzgerald will be 29 years, 34 days old on Thursday night and can become the second youngest to reach 10,000 career receiving yards and only the second player to reach the milestone before turning 30. Houston wide receiver ANDRE JOHNSON (9,924) needs 76 receiving yards on Monday Night Football to reach 10,000 career receiving yards. Johnson will be 31 years, 89 days old on Monday night and could join the list. So far,Randy Moss is the youngest players to reach 10,000 career receiving yards.
CATCHING ON: With eight catches this Sunday against Miami, wide receiver A.J. GREEN will become the eighth player – and fourth wide receiver – in NFL history to reach 100 career receptions in 20 or fewer games, tying for the third-fastest on the all-time list. In his first 19 career games, Green has already garnered.92 receptions.
SEVENTH HEAVEN:There have been seven punt-return touchdowns through Week 4, the second most through four weeks since 1970 (eight in 1998). The seven PR-TDs through Week 4 are already tied for the second most through Week 5 since 1970 (eight in 1998; seven in 1996 and 2002).
The NFL goes PINK! The League and the NFL Players Association will support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their fourth-annual national breast cancer screening initiative and fundraising campaign called “A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives.” The initiative reminds women 40 and older about the importance of having an annual mammogram. The partnership raised more than $3 million for the American Cancer Society and the majority of the donations come from the sale of pink items at retail and on NFL Auction. Beginning this year, money raised through A Crucial Catch will support the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment (CHANGE) program. This program provides outreach and breast cancer screenings to women who need them.
Beginning tonight and continuing throughout the month, NFL breast cancer awareness games will feature:
- Game balls with pink ribbon decals used for every down and pink kicking tees
- Pink equipment for players including cleats, wristbands, gloves, sideline caps and more. Pink coins used for the coin toss
- Pink caps, wristbands, whistles and pins for game officials
- On-field pink ribbon stencils and A Crucial Catch wall banners and pink goal post padding in end zones