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The Manning family and their many interceptions

Imagine if Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning ate two percent of all burritos consumed in the US, except instead of burritos it's NFL games with more interceptions than touchdown passes. Allow this week's Post-Mortem to explain ... along with bonus NFC South content!

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Last week, we observed that the NFC South was slowly slumping towards death; the outlook did not improve this week, as the Falcons now sit in first place despite being 4-6 without a win outside of the division. But rather than focus on the NFC South's low points, let's acknowledge two high ones - Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans. Both are on pace to finish with at least 1000 receiving yards, a feat accomplished by 16 rookies in NFL history. Two rookies haven't done that in the same year since 1986, and this year we might get three if Sammy Watkins also keeps up his current production.


On January 28, 1971, the New Orleans Saints drafted Archie Manning with the second overall pick. Since that fateful day, there have been 7,744 instances in which an NFL quarterback finished a game with more interceptions thrown than touchdowns. Both of Archie's sons, Peyton and Eli, did so this week. For the former, this was a somewhat unusual occurrence. Since he joined the Broncos, Peyton Manning has thrown more picks than TDs in two other games, his second Denver start and last year's Super Bowl. Eli, however, is far more used to this outcome. In the last five seasons, no quarterback has had more INTs > TDs games than Eli Manning's twenty.

As a family, the Mannings have had 155 NFL games that fit this profile - Archie has 64, Eli has 46, and Peyton has 45.

Two percent may not seem like a major contribution, but consider a) that the above chart includes 13 seasons in which no Manning was in the NFL and b) two percent is a lot when it comes from one family. Imagine if your family were responsible for two percent of anything in the United States - burritos consumed, parking tickets received, hours spent watching Netflix. Any of these would be frightfully insane, and it's no different here for the Mannings.


Many know Professor Herm Edwards for his groundbreaking work in determining the psychological relationship between playing the game and winning the game, but less attention is paid to his equally important study of how to win the game:

"Well, obviously you have to score some points..." - Prof. Herm Edwards

And, like any worthwhile science, this raises new questions. For instance, how many points?

The Arizona Cardinals have only scored 237 points in ten games but have the best record in the league at 9-1. Since 1980, five other teams have made it to 9-1 while scoring fewer than 240 points. All of them made the playoffs, but only two won a game once they got there.

On the other side of the spectrum, Green Bay has scored 330 points in their first ten games, a feat accomplished by only ten other teams since 1980. Likewise, all ten made the playoffs, and six went all the way to the Super Bowl, with two of them (New Orleans in 2009, Denver in 1998) winning it all.

Or should we be looking at point differential, not just points scored? Take the Oakland Raiders, the sixth team to start 0-10 since 2000, and compare them to their other winless comrades:

MIA 2007 -91
DET 2001 -99
SD 2000 -101
OAK 2014 -113
DET 2008 -135
IND 2011 -169

Thanks to the research generated by the bold thinking of Professor Edwards, we can confidently say that the 2014 Raiders (who don't have Curtis Painter, thankfully) are not the worst 0-10 team in recent memory.


- A Chicago quarterback hadn't finished a game without taking a sack since Week 6 of 2013, and you have to go back to Week 16 of 2012 to find the last time the Bears held an opponent under 250 yards. Both streaks ended against the Vikings.

- Houston was supposed to be in the midst of a rebuilding year, but the Texans are a respectable 5-5 and still in the playoff hunt. This is in part thanks to the improved play of kicker Randy Bullock, who has upped his field goal percentage to 81.8 percent this year from 74.3 percent last. Most importantly, Bullock's been much better from long distance; he only connected on 59 percent of his attempts from 40 yards or beyond in 2013 and is up to 88 percent this season.

- Time of possession often seems like an antiquated statistical measure, but it's hard to deny that the Steelers hung on to win against the Titans because they were able to hold the ball for eleven minutes in the fourth quarter, finishing with nearly 40 minutes of possession. This season, teams that hold the ball for at least 36 minutes in a game are 33-6-1.


- Seattle's second half defense in 2013 was nearly impenetrable, giving up 4.56 yards per play and forcing 18 turnovers against nine touchdowns allowed. After halftime in their 2014 games, the Seahawks have only been good on defense, with their yards per play allowed jumping to 5.14 and giving up ten touchdowns this season while collecting seven takeaways.

- Barring five straight victories to end the season, the Panthers will continue their streak of never following one winning season with another. Since Carolina joined the NFL in 1995, just two other franchises have failed to put two winning years back to back: the Lions and the Browns.

- GIving up six or more yards per play is not generally a recipe for success; teams that cross that threshold on offense are 80-56 this year. The 2013 Saints had three games in which an opponent averaged at least six yards per play, but they're up to four this year after the Bengals gained 405 yards on 59 plays.