The joy of stats, Week 4

The Vikings’ 41-28 win over the Falcons on Sunday produced not one but two intriguing statistics.

1. In his first NFL start, the Vikes’ Teddy Bridgewater completed 19 of 30 passes for 317 yards and . . . that’s it. No touchdowns, no interceptions. You might say it’s unusual to throw for 300 yards, average 10 per attempt (league norm: 7.1), avoid getting picked off and not have any TD passes. In fact, Bridgewater is just the third quarterback since 1960 to have such a game.

300 PASSING YARDS, 10 YARDS PER ATTEMPT, 0 TD, 0 INT IN A GAME

Date Quarterback, Team Opponent Yds YPA TD Int Result
9-28-14 Teddy Bridgewater,Vikings Falcons 317 10.6 0 0 W, 41-28
11-4-12 Matt Ryan, Falcons Cowboys 342 10.1 0 0 W, 19-13
12-10-00 Kurt Warner, Rams Vikings 346 10.8 0 0 W, 40-29

A big reason Bridgewater didn’t throw for any scores — except for a two-point conversion, that is — is that Minnesota ran the ball well when it got near the goal line. Matt Asiata pounded it in from 1, 3 and 6 yards out, and Teddy scrambled 13 for another touchdown. The four rushing TDs equaled the franchise record, first set in 1965.

Anyway, that’s how Bridgewater wound up with his unusual 30-19-317-0-0 line. (And it’ll probably never happen again.)

2. In defeat, the Falcons’ Devin Hester caught a 36-yard scoring pass from Matt Ryan. That gave Hester touchdowns rushing, receiving and punt returning in the first four games. Only five players have done that since ’60. The list:

RUSHING, RECEIVING AND PUNT-RETURN TD IN FIRST 4 GAMES

Year Player, Team Rush TD Rec TD PR TD
2014 Devin Hester, Falcons 1 1 1
2011 Darren Sproles, Saints 1 1 1
2008 Reggie Bush, Saints 1 2 1
1966 Mike Garrett, Chiefs 1 1 1
1961 Bobby Mitchell, Browns 1 2 1

Finally, one other performance popped out at me in Week 4. Frank Gore, at the tender age of 31, racked up 119 yards rushing and 55 receiving against the Eagles in the 49ers’ 26-21 victory. Since 1960, just nine backs 31 or older have had a 100/50 game. Five are in the Hall of Fame, so the feat must mean something, right?

100 YARDS RUSHING, 50 RECEIVING BY A BACK 31 OR OLDER

Date Running back (Age), Team Opponent Rush Rec Result
9-28-14 Frank Gore (31), 49ers Eagles 119 55 W, 26-21
9-10-06 Tiki Barber (31), Giants Colts 110 61 L, 26-21
10-31-04 Priest Holmes (31), Chiefs Colts 143 82 W, 45-35
11-9-86 Tony Dorsett* (32), Cowboys Raiders 101 64 L, 17-13
11-9-86 Walter Payton* (33), Bears Bucs 139 69 W, 23-3
11-10-85 Walter Payton* (32), Bears Lions 107 69 W, 24-3
10-13-85 Tony Dorsett* (31), Cowboys Steelers 113 82 W, 27-13
9-25-83 Franco Harris* (33), Steelers Patriots 106 83 L, 28-23
9-10-78 O.J. Simpson* (31), 49ers Bears 108 56 L, 16-13
11-11-73 Floyd Little* (31), Broncos Chargers 109 76 W, 30-19
12-10-72 Wendell Hayes (32), Chiefs Colts 104 55 W, 24-10

*Hall of Fame

By the way, that was the last 100-yard rushing performance of Simpson’s career. He outrushed Young Sweetness that day, 108-62, and outgained him from scrimmage, 164-65. Think he might have been up for the game?

Gore, though, looks like he might still have a little mileage in him. So we might need to update this chart at some point in the future.

Source: pro-football-reference.com