Nfl offensive rankings 2013

Nfl offensive rankings 2013 DEFAULT

The NFL regular season is in the books. For twelve lucky teams, holds the promise of playoff games and the shot at the Lombardi Trophy. For the other 20, unfortunately, begins with a look back at what went wrong this season. The final edition of the Power Rankings gives a look ahead for those teams still in the hunt, as well as some New Year's Resolutions for those sitting at home.

1. Seattle Seahawks

NFC No. 1 seed (NFC West champ)

A vintage stomping of the Rams wrapped up a campaign and the NFC's top seed for DangerRuss and the Legion of Boom. Seattle should run riot on the New Orleans/Philly winner before needing every bit of the league's biggest home-field advantage to get past a surging Niners squad. From there, it's a well-timed cold weather Super Bowl date. The Seahawks may have the only pass defense capable of truly clamping down the Denver passing game, and General Winter should lend enough of an assist to bring the Lombardi Trophy to the Pacific Northwest. (Last week: 1)

2. Denver Broncos

AFC No. 1 seed (AFC West champ)

Like a boss, Peyton Manning broke the NFL's all-time single season passing mark by a single yard and then dropped the mic. He'll face stiffer resistance than what the Raiders had to offer come playoff time, but the return of Wes Welker should keep the passing game humming and allow Denver to out-shoot whatever a Von Miller-less defense surrenders - at least until they battle Seattle in the Super Bowl. (Last week: 2)

3. San Francisco 49ers

NFC No. 5 seed (NFC wild card)

The Niners needed every bit of fight they had to hold off a determined Cardinals squad, but it's still hard to peg a hotter team coming into the playoffs. While Michael Crabtree may only be running at 75%, San Francisco's offense is running hot while Aldon Smith and the defense are capable of wreaking plenty of havoc. As long as Jim Harbaugh is willing to use Colin Kaepernick's legs and arm in equal measure, the 49ers are fully capable of fighting through their first two opponents for a rubber match with the Seahawks. (Last week: 3)

4. Carolina Panthers

NFC No. 2 seed (NFC South champ)

The Panthers proved that they're much more than overgrown kitty cats this season, but that didn't prevent them from playing with their food and nearly squandering a first-round bye against the lowly Falcons. Cam and company took care of business, but a scant 21 points against Atlanta's pitiful D was a reminder that Carolina's offense isn't replete with weapons. Luke Kuechly and his mates can bring it as strong as any D in the league, but they may come up one possession short if they face the 49ers in the divisional round. (Last week: 4)

5. New England Patriots

AFC No. 2 seed (AFC East champ)

Betting against Tom Brady has proven to be a sucker's game over the years, but Tom barely had to lift a finger last week as LaGarrette Blount ran wild on a faux-formidable Bills defense. It's likely that the New England offense comes up one or two seven-yard outs short against the Broncos in the AFC title game. It's not like Brady dispatching Manning is without historical precedent. (Last week: 5)

6. Cincinnati Bengals

AFC No. 3 seed (AFC North champ)

QBs who throw four interceptions rarely walk out with a victory. It certainly helps when the defense snags three of their own. The theme of Cincy overcoming its quarterback was on display yet again in their win over Baltimore, but it's not a formula that betokens playoff success. The Bengals' D has acquitted itself admirably after losing Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. They'll need Andy Dalton to play above his head a la Joe Flacco to have any shot at hardware in the postseason. Or at least emulate another Ravens QB and serve as a Trent Dilfer-style bus driver. Anything but actively attempting to send the bus into the ravine. (Last week: 7)

7. Philadelphia Eagles

NFC No. 3 seed (NFC East champ)

The Cowboys gave Philly all they wanted and then some, but Chip Kelly's bunch survived to claim the East crown and the #3 seed in the NFC. They'll face a Saints squad that has them beat on paper, but playoff games aren't played on paper. And since they blew up Veteran's stadium, they aren't played on concrete, either. This game will be played on little rubber blades of fake grass, and since said fake grass isnt in New Orleans it's a good bet that Nick Foles and company will grab a victory - and the right to get slaughtered on the fake grass of CenturyLink field in two weeks. (Last week: 11)


8. New Orleans Saints

NFC No. 6 seed (NFC wild card)

The Superdome Supermen face the unenviable task of winning a game outside of Orleans Parish as they travel to Philadelphia to face Chip Kelly's Eagles. On a neutral field, Drew Brees and Rob Ryan's defense are simply better than what the Eagles have brought to the table this season. But outside of Canton, London and the Super Bowl, NFL games aren't played on neutral fields, and the Saint's tendency to play neutered in opponents' stadiums could spell doom against Philly. (Last week: 8)

9. Indianapolis Colts

AFC No. 4 seed (AFC South champ)

The Colts remain the league's toughest team to figure out, and it's not totally clear whether their own coaching staff has figured them out just yet. At least they've seemed to realize that Andrew Luck throwing for 8 yards a pop is a better option than Trent Richardson running for two yards a carry. It feels like the Colts' defense has been doing it with mirrors for the last few weeks, but mirrors may be sufficient to baffle Alex Smith. (Last week: 9)

Arizona Cardinals

New Year's Resolution - Run away from home. The Cards were just in the wrong division this season, and the effort they put forth in their die-hard loss to the 49ers would have thrashed most of the other teams in the NFC. While they won't get to move divisions in the off-season, throwing one or two more bodies at their snake-bitten OL and turning the backfield over to Andre Ellington could be enough to have the Cards playoff-bound next year. (Last week: 6)

Green Bay Packers

NFC No. 4 seed (NFC North champ)

Apparently Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb spent their down time watching old John Ford cavalry films. With a third-reel charge that would have done John Wayne proud, Rodgers and Cobb dragged the Pack past Chicago and hooked up for the game's clinching TD on 4th down. A half-crippled defense and a non-NFL left tackle probably spell doom against the 49ers, but don't bet too heavily against the game's deadliest QB. (Last week: 19)


Kansas City Chiefs

AFC No. 5 seed (AFC wild card)

The pseudo-Chiefs were one Succop f****p away from banishing the Chargers, and the genuine article gets to take the field against the Colts on Sunday. The genuine article got thrashed by those same Colts a short time ago, but the hope is that Justin Houston's return will get Kansas City's defense back to its destructive ways. Even if Houston rekindles a Twin Terror pass rush, in the playoffs it's usually smart to bet on the best QB. And Alex Smith isn't the best QB. (Last week: 10)

San Diego Chargers

AFC No. 6 Seed (AFC Wild Card)

The Chargers tried everything they could think of to get the Steelers into the playoffs, but the pseudo-Chiefs simply refused to cooperate. As a result, Philip Rivers and the Chargers' comical defense get to throw down with the Bengals on Wild Card Weekend. If you flipped the QBs in this matchup, the Bengals would win by As Rivers and Dalton are stuck on their respective teams, however, San Diego's weakness in the trenches will overcome its advantage under center. (Last week: 12)

Pittsburgh Steelers

New Year's Resolution - Stop procrastinating. The Steelers' slugabed ways ended up costing them a playoff berth this season, as their start proved too deep a hole to climb out from. They finished strong, though, and if they can get off to a faster start in they'll be a solid bet to reclaim the division crown. Of course, you can't get off to a fast start if you're carrying dead weight, and their offensive tackles and a few defensive graybeards could certainly stand to be jettisoned. (Last week: 13)

Chicago Bears

New Year's Resolution - Don't be such a pushover. There are still monsters on the Midway, but now they come in the person of Chicago's twin terrors at wideout. Their defense was barely Monsters, Inc. against opposing ground games this season, as everyone from Dick Butkus to Brian Urlacher averted their eyes in shame at the sorry state of Chicago's run D. A healthy Henry Melton will help, but Chicago needs to re-stock the defensive front if they want to recapture the NFC North. (Last week: 15)

Baltimore Ravens

New Year's Resolution - Get back to basics.. The Ravens are wearing Super Bowl rings because Joe Flacco played over his head during last year's playoffs, but he'd never have had the chance to do so if not for a sturdy ground game. That ground game collapsed in , and the Ravens' offensive identity followed it into the ditch. Baltimore may have to make a tough decision on Ray Rice if they judge that his lateral movement is gone for good, but either way they'll need to get tougher up front to win the cold-weather wars that their division demands. (Last week: 17)

St. Louis Rams

New Year's Resolution - Prioritize. The Rams dealt the #2 pick in the draft for a haul and saw a potential franchise QB land in Washington. They find themselves holding the #2 pick in , courtesy of those selfsame Redskins, and have already declared themselves "open for business" and up for trading down. While capturing value in the draft is always a worthy goal, nothing is worth trading past the spot where you can grab your quarterback of the future. And make no mistake - Sam Bradford is not the quarterback of the future. (Last week: 16)

Detroit Lions

New Year's Resolution - I will be my best self every day. Bush-league personal fouls were a Lions watchword under fake-tough guy coach Jim Schwartz, but the real downfall for Detroit has been wildly inconsistent play from Matthew Stafford. A Marc Trestman/Mike McCoy-style QB Whisperer would be a fantastic fit as the Lions' next head coach - too bad they didn't fire Schwartz last year and actually hire one of those dudes. (Last week: 18)

Dallas Cowboys

New Year's Resolution - I'm perfect - why change? Cowboys fans could take heart in Dallas' gutty performance against the Eagles. Unfortunately, coming a couple of plays from the playoffs will simply help Jerry Jones deny the massive gulf between the Cowboys and the league's elite. He'll roll with a hole-filled roster and more of Jason Garrett's bottom-quartile 's offensive design in and go one more time. (Last week: 20)


Miami Dolphins

New Year's Resolution - Fix those cracks in the foundation. Miami didn't so much stumble at the finish line as they completely fell into a chasm and disappeared, and the fault lines were the offensive line's fault. It was an ugly show from the Dolphins' big uglies, and they'll need a big-time overhaul to help Ryan Tannehill live up to his first-round promise. Firing a bottom-decile offensive staff wouldn't hurt, either. (Last week: 14)

Tennessee Titans

New Year's Resolution - Don't throw good money after bad. No team has failed to embrace the Iron Law of Running Back Fungibility quite like the Tennessee Titans. They paid a yard back like a yard back after Chris Johnson rode Vince Young's backside zone-read constraint to an unrepeatable season, and they followed up their error by dropping $10 million on goal-line plodder Shonn Greene. It's time for the Titans' front office to cut their losses, cut those dudes and re-deploy their financial resources in the trenches to out-muscle the Colts and contend for the AFC South. Save those draft choices for cutting bait on Jake Locker. (Last week: 21)

New York Giants

New Year's Resolution - Remember what made you a star. Eli Manning's pick-prone ways were the headline of the season in New York, but that was largely due to sheer flukiness - at least, the Giants better hope so. What was more concrete was New York's shoddy play along both sides of the line of scrimmage, as Manning was constantly under siege while New York's pass rushers seldom got home. The Giants invested on both lines in last year's draft, but those investments brought little immediate return. They'll need to look hard at those bets and double down if need be if they want to re-establish the physical style that put rings on their fingers. (Last week: 22)

New York Jets

New Year's Resolution - Practice fire safety. The Jets' defense has brought the heat on opposing QBs during most of Rex Ryan's tenure, but they were the ones getting burned this season as the pass defense collapsed. Geno Smith is probably destined to fail, but no one is asking the Jets' front office to give up on him after one season. What Jets fans do need to ask for is better edge pass rush and quality secondary play - and no, bringing a crippled Ed Reed back in won't provide it. (Last week: 23)

Cleveland Browns

New Year's Resolution - Spend wisely. . With two first-round draft choices and a high pick in the second, Cleveland is in good shape to acquire their heart's desire in the upcoming draft. But what should they covet most? Pass rushers, receivers and lockdown corners will beckon, and if you assume that Brian Hoyer will pop up off of knee surgery and provide solid play then those could all seem like solid choices. But if there's ample evidence that God hates your franchise, is that a good assumption to make? No. No, it isn't. Get a quarterback, then get a second quarterback and give some though to landing a third. When the Man Upstairs is stacking the deck against you, get as many cards as you can. (Last week: 24)

Minnesota Vikings

New Year's Resolution - Strike while the iron is hot.. A record hardly demonstrated it, but the Vikings are sitting on an offensive powderkeg. Adrian Peterson's talents need little salesmanship, and Minnesota also boasts a strong offensive front and an admirable collection of deep threats with a potential dominator in Cordarrelle Patterson. None of that matters without a QB, though, and if the new Vikings regime is content to stagger around with Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder then they'll burn another year of of AP's prime. Get a real QB by whatever means necessary and unleash the hounds on your divisional foes. (Last week: 25)

Buffalo Bills

New Year's Resolution - One foot in front of the other. It may not have been totally reflected in their record, but the Bills did a lot of things right in They've assembled a defense with talent at all three levels and put together a solid cadre of weapons for E.J. Manuel, though his triple dose of knee injuries kept him from exploiting them for much of the season. Sticking to the plan will have the Bills in as good a position as anyone when Tom Brady finally falters. Of course, apportioning snaps with the realization that C.J. Spiller is one of the NFL's five most explosive players wouldn't be a bad idea either. (Last week: 26)

Atlanta Falcons

New Year's Resolution - Don't be so easy. The Falcons' defense gave up the goods to just about every offense that happened by this season, putting an injury-depleted offense in plenty of untenable situations. Some growth from a young secondary will make Atlanta a tougher customer in If they can't find a way to get more heat on opposing passers then they'll keep their rep as one of the league's easiest scores. (Last week: 27)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New Year's Resolution - I will work and play well with others. Oddly enough, employing an insecure jackwagon martinet as a head coach is not a pathway to NFL success. While there's something to be said for discipline, bringing in a coach who won't torpedo the QB, get crosswise with your elite free agent corner or demand bush-league tactics on game-ending kneel-downs is probably the way to go. (Last week: 28)

Oakland Raiders

New Year's Resolution - I will be smarter with my money. It sounds like Oakland will retain head coach Dennis Allen, and good on him. No coach has had to deal with a more absurd roster over the past two seasons thanks to Al Davis' late-career free agent shenanigans. With millions in dead money coming off the books, Oakland can address some trouble spots like OL and safety. While frugality might be the smart play, a dominator like Jairus Byrd would look really good in Silver and Black. (Last week: 29)

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Year's Resolution - I will stop counting the days until my big move and focus on the here and now. It's at least three years until Shad Khan can fulfill his appointed role and bring his fellow owners big-B billions in fees from L.A. or London (though it seems unlikely the team would ever leave Duval). In the interim, how about sprucing up the roster a tad? While Chad Henne was one of the least-embarrassing things about the Jags, Jacksonville is in a prime spot to grab a franchise QB. If they grab one that's not terrified to step into a throw and take a hit, they'll at least have improved on Blaine Gabbert. (Last week: 30)


Washington Redskins

New Year's Resolution - I will stop fighting with my significant other. The weird three-way war between Mike Shanahan, Dan Snyder and Robert Griffin III was one of many factors casting a pall over Washington's dismal season. Catering to RGIII by bringing in Art Briles may be going a bit too far, but a head man who can clean up the dysfunction and get the franchise QB's head in the right place - and his front foot stepping into throws again - is critical for getting out of the NFC East cellar. BONUS RESOLUTION - just change your name to the Washington Warriors and get it over with. (Last week: 31)

Houston Texans

New Year's Resolution - I will tone up my unsightly QB position. With Matt Schaub a goner and Case Keenum having been wildly overexposed, there's no reason for Houston to outsmart themselves with the #1 pick - just take Teddy Bridgewater (or Carr, or whoever tickles their fancy at QB). Likely new head man Bill O'Brien is a sharp offensive mind who could get things back on track quickly in Houston. Let's face it - compared to what he walked into at Penn State, this turnaround could be a breeze. (Last week: 32)

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Current NFL Rankings: (NFC South)

his Week






7 (↓1)



26 (↓1)


12 (↓1)











17 (↓3)


18 (↑3)

Despite losing to the Jets, New Orleans stands among the Top Ten league-wide in both offense and defense. Meanwhile, Atlanta has the worst rushing game in the NFL for a second consecutive week, while Tampa Bay continues to sport the second-worst offense in the league.

Saintshelmet_mediumNew Orleans Saints ():

After their rout of the Buffalo Bills in Week 8, the Saints were not pleased with their own performance, which included multiple penalties, wasted timeouts, sacks, and missed field goals. One week later: penalties, wasted timeouts, sacks and a missed field goal contributed to their loss at the hands of the New York Jets. Although the Redskins managed to overtake them in the rankings for offensive yardage gained, the Saints climbed back into the Top Ten defensively only trailing the Seahawks, Panthers and 49ers in the NFC.

With two interceptions, and no takeaways, the Saints have fallen to a +6 turnover differential. Athough nobody in the NFC has given the ball away fewer times than New Orleans, plenty of teams are scoring more takeaways than the fifteen garnered by the Saints defense thus far. The Dallas Cowboys, who travel to New Orleans this week, lead the NFC in both takeaways (21) and overall turnover differential (+10).

This week's episode of Sunday Night Football will pit two NFC Division leaders against each other, as the Cowboys () currently lead the NFC East. Both teams have records of over the past five weeks, are among the best in the NFC in terms of turnover differential, and have had comparable success in running the ball this year. However, the Saints have been more successful on offense this year, and have a much better defense than the Cowboys who were ranked last in the NFL a week ago. Even though New Orleans was expected to beat the Jets last week, the crowd in MetLife Stadium seemed to affect the Saints at times. This Sunday night, the home-team advantage should work in their favor, solidifying a Saints win against the Dallas Cowboys.

[Current Cowboys Rankings: Offense - 17th; Defense - 31st; Passing - 9th; Rushing - 27th]

Falconshelmet_mediumAtlanta Falcons ():
While the Atlanta Falcons quickly went from "the team to beat in the NFC" to another year of "second fiddle to the Saints," they haven't widely been considered worse than the Carolina Panthers. After their loss in Carolina, however, Atlanta seems to be solidifying "thank goodness for Tampa Bay" as their motto for the season. An unlikely win against the Seahawks could regain them some amount of respectability, though it would do much more for a New Orleans team that has fallen one loss behind Seattle in the race for the NFC's top seed. Even those Saints fans who could not bring themselves to pull for Atlanta against the Panthers should be hoping for a Falcons win this weekend. The Seahawks are a better team than the Panthers, overall; but their past couple of games may have exposed some chinks in their armor for the Falcons to exploit at home this Sunday.

[Current Seattle Rankings: Offense - 13th; Defense - 2nd; Passing - 27th; Rushing - 5th]

Panthershelmet_mediumCarolina Panthers ():
Last week, Carolina added yet again to the list of poorly-performing teams it has beaten. The Panthers have now achieved convincing wins over the Giants, Vikings, Rams, Buccaneers, and Falcons. Although they managed to pull within one game of the Saints with a win over Atlanta, this week they head to San Francisco. Many Saints fans find themselves looking forward to the loss the Panthers will likely suffer at the hands of the 49ers. However, looking at the schedules ahead for each team, a Panthers win on Sunday should help New Orleans in the long run. Despite the recent run of Carolina wins, New Orleans should have a solid lead over the division at the end of the season, and will likely face San Francisco and/or Seattle in the playoffs. Any Saints fan less interested in immediate gratification than long-term success should be hoping for any result which makes the road to the Super Bowl lead through the Crescent City.

So while a Carolina win is unlikely this weekend, it could help the Saints almost as much as a Falcons win against Seattle. For that to happen, however, the Panthers will need to change gears. While last week they faced the worst rushing game in the NFL, and a Top Five passing game, this week they face the best rushing game in the league, paired with a league-worst passing game. The No.6 defense Cam Newton will face in San Francisco is also a big change from the poor defense the Falcons have sported this year.

[Current San Francisco Rankings: Offense - 16th; Defense - 6th; Passing - 32nd; Rushing - 1st]

Bucshelmet_mediumTampa Bay Buccaneers ():
The Buccaneers are officially the worst team in the NFL. While their record is no worse than the Jaguars, at least everyone expected Jacksonville to do poorly in a rebuilding year. Tampa Bay gave its fans hope, and then pulled the rug out from under everyone who thought the Buccaneers could accomplish something this year. After surprising the Seahawks with an early lead in Seattle this past weekend, the Buccaneers were outscored in the second half, and lost the game in overtime. If the Buccaneers are going to win one game this year, it will likely be the meaningless game against the Dolphins this coming Monday night.

[Current Dolphins Rankings: Offense - 28th; Defense - 23rd; Passing - 21st; Rushing - 22nd]

Saints Week 9 Performance:
(Saints 20, Jets 26)

(Time of Possession: NO - , BUF - )

Had the New Orleans Saints managed to convert their final third down, they likely would have won the Time of Possession battle. Would doing so have equated to a win? There's no way to know. However, for the second time this season, the Saints controlled the ball for less than half of the game; and for the second time, they lost said game.

The loss of Darren Sproles to a concussion on the first possession of the game really threw a wrench into the game plan for New Orleans. Sproles was exactly the sort of weapon that could have given the Saints a win against the Jets, and his absence had a huge impact on the game. Not only was he not available as a player who could move the ball down the field effectively; but Brees found himself under pressure more than he would have, had his favorite release valve been on the field with him throughout the game.

The Saints really couldn't get anything going offensively in the second half, and were only able to convert one of their seven third downs into a first down. The Jets managed to hold New Orleans to two field goals in the second half, in which Hartley mostly redeemed the one he missed in the first half. They also traded the two first-half interceptions for two second-half sacks, one of which produced a Brees fumble, which was recovered by Jimmy Graham.

Aside from the drops and interceptions, perhaps the most discouraging aspect of the Saints offense was the fact that they had to burn all three timeouts in the first quarter, and still had a delay of game penalty coming off of one of those timeouts. The crowd noise was indeed loud, hitting near decibels on several occasions while Drew was trying to get his squad on track, but the multiple game delays and wasted timeouts hurt the Saints both tactically and mentally.





1st Downs

3rd Down Conv


Fmbl / Lost


First Half




2/4 (50%)




Second Half




1/7 (14%)

2 (16 yds)







3/11 (27%)

2 (16 yds)



The Saints offense seemed to be affected by crowd noise from the beginning, and were unable to accomplish much of anything in the second half of the game. Had one or two plays happened differently, the Saints would have been victorious; but the Jets defense earned their Week 9 win over the Saints.

The Jets were only the second team this year to post more than eighteen points against New Orleans; and almost half of their 26 points came from four field goals. The Saints defense was able to hold them to passing yards, though the home team was able to post yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Even with the New Orleans offense giving up two interceptions in the first half, Rob Ryan's defense fought hard and was able to keep their team in the game throughout the entire match. They simply couldn't overcome the turnovers and lack of production on the offensive side of the ball.

The first time New Orleans gave up an interception, it was on their third play of the drive. The defense -- which had just forced a Jets punt -- returned to the field, and managed to hold the Jets to a field goal. The second interception came on the second play of another Saints drive; and a defense which had already fought through two long Jets drives in the second quarter had to retake the field, and gave up a Jets touchdown. The Saints defense gave up way too many yards to the Jets running game; though the offense didn't give them much time to rest, before asking them to go back out and stop their opponent again.

Unfortunately, the Saints defense was unable to create any turnovers, and did not seem to have as much success with the blitz as Rob Ryan undoubtedly had hoped. David Hawthorne and Junior Galette each managed to tally one sack, though neither was for a loss of yardage. Although there are several areas in which the defense could have improved, their performance was enough to elevate them back into the ranks of the Top Ten defenses in the NFL. Had the offense performed as has become expected of the Saints, the defense should have been able to seal the win for New Orleans.





1st Downs

3rd Down Conv.


Forced /Rec



First Half




2/6 (33%)

1 (0 yds)




Second Half




2/8 (25%)

1 (0 yds)








4/14 (29%)

2 (0 yds)




The New Orleans defense performed fairly well on the road against the Jets, though not quite well enough to reel in a win for the Saints. Had they been able to create any turnovers, the black and gold could have emerged victorious.

Drew Brees and his squad seemed to have a great deal of trouble clicking, throughout the game. Early on, Drew had to waste all three of the Saints first-half timeouts, and still managed to be called for delay-of-game penalties. His receivers had trouble catching the ball, and tipped a couple of interceptions right into Jets hands in the first half. And in the second half, Brees managed to avoid interceptions -- with his one interception being called back due to defensive holding -- and delay-of-game penalties, but was sacked twice.

Drew Brees passed for over yards for the second game in a row this past Sunday. In New Jersey, Jimmy Graham led the Saints in targets (12), receptions (9), and receiving yards () against the Jets, and scored both of the team's touchdowns. The star tight end also had the second-longest reception (51yds) behind Robert Meachem (60yds), whose 93 yards on four receptions (of 5 targets) accounted for the second-most yards gained by any Saints player on Sunday. Running back Pierre Thomas (7 rec, 66 yds) and receiver Lance Moore (6 rec, 70 yds) were each targeted ten times by Brees. Kenny Stills added 35 yards on his three receptions (of 5 targets); and Sproles gained two receiving yards on the one play which knocked him out of the game. Despite Drew Brees targeting eleven different players, five of them were unable to reel the ball in. Most notable of these was Nick Toon, who failed to make anything of his four targets. Tight ends Ben Watson and Josh Hill, running back Mark Ingram, and fullback Jed Collins were each targeted once, to no avail.

Colston Countdown: After having three games with significantly declining performances, the Quiet Storm was kept inactive for the Week 9 game against the Jets. Currently sitting at 7, career receiving yards Colston trails the all-time Saints leader in receiving yards (Eric Martin, ) by yards. Even if he returns to his previous productivity, he is unlikely to set the record in Week 10; but the Saints will likely attempt to help him set another record in the Superdome, either against San Francisco or later this season.








1st Downs


First Half


15 (65%)





Second Half


15 (54%)


2 (16 yds)





30 (59%)


2 (16 yds)



Although the Saints passed for fifty more yards against the Jets than they gained against the Bills a week prior, the end result of the Week 9 game was much different.

While the twenty-three rushing attempts against the Bills in Week 8 was a sharp decline from previous weeks, the Saints dropped even further in Week 9. New Orleans ran the ball only twelve times against the New York Jets, gaining only 42 yards on the ground throughout the entire game.

After Khiry Robinson's unimpressive performance (7att, 9yds, ypc) against the Bills in Week 8, the Saints benched him in favor of returning Mark Ingram to service. Although Ingram performed fairly well in his limited rushes, he was only asked to carry the ball four times, and gained nineteen yards (ypc, long of 13). Brees also threw the ball near Ingram's feet once, to avoid a sack; there wasn't anything Mark could have done to make a play out of that one. Pierre Thomas gained 24 yards on six rushing attempts (ypc, long of 9), and was one of the team's top receivers. Jed Collins picked up seven yards on his one carry which wasn't erased by a Rex Ryan timeout, and Josh Hill lost eight yards on a fourth down double-reverse with one yard to go. Darren Sproles was undoubtedly a big part of the Saints game plan against the Jets, and was sorely missed after suffering a concussion on the third play of the game.





Longest Run

Fmbl / Lost

1st Downs


First Half



7 yds (J. Collins)




Second Half



13 yds (M. Ingram)







13 yards




The Saints did not perform poorly against the Jets run defense; they simply ran the ball fewer times than they ran it in any other game this season. If Mark Ingram can maintain his same level of performance over the course of a greater load, perhaps Sean Payton will be able to start running the ball more to balance out the New Orleans offense.

Lagniappe: The Best and the Worst in the NFL

Who currently holds the best and worst ranks in the NFL in each category?

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NFL season

This article is about the American football season in the United States. For the Gaelic football season in Ireland, see National Football League (Ireland).

National Football League season

The NFL season was the 94th season in the history of the National Football League (NFL) and the 48th of the Super Bowl era. The season saw the Seattle Seahawks capture the first championship in the franchise's 38 years in the league with a lopsided 43–8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, the league's championship game. The Super Bowl was played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday, February 2, It was the first Super Bowl hosted by New Jersey and the first to be held outdoors in a cold weather environment. The Seahawks scored 12 seconds into the game and held the lead the rest of the way on the back of their Legion of Boom defense.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was named the regular season's Most Valuable Player (MVP) by the voters of the Associated Press (AP) for a record fifth time after compiling passing stats which included regular season records for passing yards and passing touchdowns. Manning also was named the Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career. Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly earned Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Scoring reached historic levels throughout the league in As a whole the league set records for total points scored, points scored per game and the number of both touchdowns and field goals scored. The Broncos set a new standard for team scoring in the regular season with points. In addition to the Broncos, ten other teams each scored over points, the greatest number of teams to surpass that benchmark in a single year.

The regular season got underway on Thursday, September 5, , with the Broncos hosting the defending Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens in the annual kickoff game. The game presaged the Broncos' historic offensive production with a strong performance by Peyton Manning in which he tied a league record in throwing seven touchdown passes and led the Broncos to a 49–27 win. The game was the start of a disappointing season for the Ravens in which they would finish out of the playoffs with an 8–8 record, thus ensuring that there would be no repeat Super Bowl winner for a tied record ninth straight season. The regular season wrapped up on Sunday night, December

The playoffs began with the wild card round which took place the first weekend of January The league's propensity for scoring did not abate in the post-season, as exemplified by the Indianapolis Colts' wild come-from-behind 45–44 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs' opening game. The Conference Championship games featured the top seeded teams in each conference, the Seahawks in the NFC and the Broncos in the American Football Conference (AFC), hosting the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots respectively. Both home teams prevailed to set up just the second Super Bowl matchup of #1 seeds in the past 20 seasons.

Player movement[edit]

The league year began at 4&#;pm EST on March 12,[1] which marked the start of the league's free agency period.[2] The per-team salary cap was set at US$,,[3] For the first time the league instituted a negotiating period prior to the start of free agency during which time agents representing prospective unrestricted free agent players (though not the players themselves) were allowed to have contact with team representatives with the purpose of determining a player's market value and to begin contract negotiations. This period, which was referred to by some as the "legal tampering" period, began at midnight on March 9.[4]

Free agency[edit]

A total of players were eligible for some form of free agency. Among the high-profile players who changed teams via free agency included:

  • Quarterbacks Matt Cassel (Kansas City to Minnesota), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo to Tennessee), Matt Hasselbeck (Tennessee to Indianapolis), Brian Hoyer (Arizona to Cleveland) and Kevin Kolb (Arizona to Buffalo)
  • Running backs Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants to Indianapolis), Reggie Bush (Miami to Detroit), Shonn Greene (New York Jets to Tennessee), Steven Jackson (St. Louis to Atlanta) and Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh to Arizona)
  • Wide receivers Danny Amendola (St. Louis to New England), Darrius Heyward-Bey (Oakland to Indianapolis), Greg Jennings (Green Bay to Miami), Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh to Miami) and Wes Welker (New England to Denver)
  • Tight ends Martellus Bennett (New York Giants to Chicago), Jared Cook (Tennessee to St. Louis), Dustin Keller (New York Jets to Miami) and Delanie Walker (San Francisco to Tennessee)
  • Offensive tackles Jermon Bushrod (New Orleans to Chicago), Gosder Cherilus (Detroit to Indianapolis) and Jake Long (Miami to St. Louis)
  • Guards Andy Levitre (Buffalo to Tennessee) and Louis Vasquez (Denver to San Diego)
  • Defensive ends Cliff Avril (Detroit to Seattle), Michael Bennett (Tampa Bay to Seattle), Elvis Dumervil (Denver to Baltimore), Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis to San Diego) and Osi Umenyiora (New York Giants to Atlanta)
  • Defensive tackles Desmond Bryant (Oakland to Cleveland), Ricky Jean-Francois (San Francisco to Indianapolis), Jason Jones (Seattle to Detroit) and Sammie Lee Hill (Detroit to Tennessee)
  • Linebackers Connor Barwin (Houston to Philadelphia), James Harrison (Pittsburgh to Cincinnati), Paul Kruger (Baltimore to Cleveland) and Philip Wheeler (Oakland to Miami)
  • Cornerbacks Brent Grimes (Atlanta to Miami), Keenan Lewis (Pittsburgh to New Orleans), Dunta Robinson (Atlanta to Kansas City), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Arizona to Denver) and Sean Smith (Miami to Kansas City)
  • Safeties Patrick Chung (New England to Philadelphia), Dashon Goldson (San Francisco to Tampa Bay), LaRon Landry (New York Jets to Indianapolis) and Glover Quin (Houston to Detroit).[5]

Eight players were assigned the non-exclusive franchise tag by their teams, which ensured that the team would receive compensation were the player to sign a contract with another team. These players were Brandon Albert (Chiefs), Jairus Byrd (Bills), Ryan Clady (Broncos), Michael Johnson (Bengals), Pat McAfee (Colts), Henry Melton (Bears), Anthony Spencer (Cowboys) and Randy Starks (Dolphins).[6] None of these players changed teams.

Major trades[edit]

The following trades are notable as they involved Pro Bowl-caliber players and/or draft picks in the first three rounds:



Further information: NFL Draft

The NFL Draft was held April 25–27, , in New York City.[17] Prior to the draft the NFL Scouting Combine, where draft-eligible players were evaluated by team personnel, was held in Indianapolis on February 20–[1] In the draft, the Kansas City Chiefs made Central Michigan University offensive tackle Eric Fisher the first overall selection.[18]

Officiating changes[edit]

Dean Blandino was named as the league's new Vice President of Officiating, succeeding Carl Johnson.[19] Referee Alberto Riveron was then promoted to the league's Senior Director of Officiating, a newly created position as a second-in-command under Blandino.[20]Bill Vinovich, who worked the previous season as a substitute referee, was then assigned to head Riveron's former on-field officiating crew.

Rule changes[edit]

The following rule changes were approved at the NFL owners' meeting on March 20, [21][22][23]

  • The "no-challenge" rule adopted prior to the season was modified to eliminate the automatic "no-review" penalty when a coach challenges a play that is subject to automatic review by the replay booth (turnovers, scoring plays, and any play inside of the two-minute warning). This change was prompted after last season's Thanksgiving Day game when Detroit Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag on a play where replay clearly showed Houston Texans' running back Justin Forsett's knee touched the ground, but was able to get up and score a touchdown. Due to the way the rule was written at the time the penalty for the errant challenge prevented the play from being reviewed.[24] Under the revised rule teams will be charged a time-out (or an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if the team is out of time-outs) when a coach throws a challenge flag on a booth-reviewable play, but the play will still be reviewed if the replay booth believes a review is necessary.[22] This change has been referred to as the "Jim Schwartz rule".[25]
  • Making it a fumble when a player loses possession of the football while in the act of trying to bring it back to his body. This abolishes the so-called "tuck rule" which was adopted prior to the season. Under the revised rule it will be ruled a fumble when a quarterback loses possession of the ball after a pump fake while bringing the ball back to his body.[22]
  • Tight ends and H-backs will now be permitted to wear uniform numbers as well as 80– Previously the two positions were treated separately with tight ends allowed to wear only and H-backs limited to wearing 40–[22]
  • "Peel-back" blocks will now result in yard personal foul penalties anywhere on the field. Previously, these type of blocks were permitted within the tackle box.
  • On field goal and extra point attempts, long snappers will now be considered defenseless players. In addition, defensive players are prohibited from blocking low at the snap of a scrimmage kick.[22]
  • For field goal and extra point attempts the defensive team can have no more than six players on either side of the ball at the snap (5 yard penalty), and players cannot push teammates into blockers (15 yard penalty).[22]
  • Any player at least three yards downfield or outside of the "tackle box" who leads with his helmet on a hit will be penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. If both offensive and defensive players lead with helmets on the same play, both will be penalized.[22]
Player safety changes
  • Upon recommendation by the league's Head, Neck and Spine safety committee, the NFL notified teams in August that clubs would no longer be allowed to use alternate helmets for throwback uniforms or third jerseys as they had been allowed to do since throwbacks were introduced in Once players start the season with properly fitted helmets that they are comfortable wearing, the league's Head, Neck, and Spine Committee recommended that players should not switch helmets in mid-season, especially to ones that have not been broken in yet. To comply with these new rules, teams will be allowed to change or remove the decals on their regular helmets for such uniforms.[27]
  • All players (except for punters and kickers) were required to wear thigh and knee pads. It was previously mandatory to wear these pads from through [28]:&#;7&#;


Training camps for the season opened in late July. The Buccaneers camp was the first to open with rookies reporting on July The Cowboys were the first to open camp to veteran players on July All teams were in camp by July [29]

Prior to the start of the regular season, each team played at least four preseason exhibition games. The preseason schedule got underway with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, August 4. The Hall of Fame game is a traditional part of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend celebrating new Hall of Fame members. It was played at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, which is located adjacent to the Hall of Fame building. In the game, which was televised nationally on NBC, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Miami Dolphins 24–[30] The Hall of Fame class of Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Dave Robinson and Warren Sapp was honored during the game.[31] The game preseason schedule concluded on Thursday, August [32]

Regular season[edit]

The season featured games played out over a seventeen-week schedule which began on the Thursday night following Labor Day. Each of the league's 32 teams played a game schedule which included one bye week for each team between weeks four and twelve. The slate featured seventeen games on Monday night including a doubleheader in the season's opening week. There were also seventeen games played on Thursday, including the National Football League Kickoff game in prime time on September 5 and three games on Thanksgiving Day. The regular season wrapped up with a full slate of 16 games on Sunday, December 29, all of which were intra-divisional matchups.[33]

Scheduling formula

Under the NFL's scheduling formula, each team played each of the other three teams in their own division twice. In addition, a team played against all four teams in one other division from each conference. The final two games on a team's schedule were against the two teams in the team's own conference in the divisions the team was not set to play who finished the previous season in the same rank in their division (e.g. the team which finished first in its division the previous season would play each other team in their conference that also finished first in its respective division). The pre-set division pairings for were as follows:[34]

The regular season schedule was released on April 18, [35]

Regular season highlights

The regular season began on Thursday, September 5, with the NFL Kickoff Game in which the Denver Broncos hosted the Baltimore Ravens. The game was a rematch of a two-overtime playoff game of the previous season and broadcast on NBC. The Ravens, as the reigning Super Bowl champions, would normally have hosted the kickoff game, however, a scheduling conflict with their Major League Baseball counterparts, the Baltimore Orioles, forced the Ravens to start the season on the road (the Ravens' and Orioles' respective stadiums share parking facilities).[36] The Ravens became the first Super Bowl winner since to open their title defense on the road.[37] The Broncos defeated the Ravens 49–27 on the strength of a record-setting performance by quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning completed 27 of 42 pass attempts for yards and seven touchdowns. Manning set or tied numerous league records in the game including most touchdown passes in a game (tied with five others) and records for most career games with at least six, five and four touchdown passes.[38]

There were two NFL International Series games held at Wembley Stadium in London. On September 29, the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 34– On October 27, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 42– This season was the first of a four-year agreement for the Jaguars to play a home game in London (an agreement which was later extended an additional four years).

The Chargers and Raiders played an unusual late night game in the season's fifth week on October 6. The game, originally scheduled to start at &#;pm PDT, had to be moved to the evening to accommodate stadium schedules — Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics, co-tenants of Coliseum, had hosted the Game 2 of the American League Division Series the previous night and stadium crews needed nearly 24 hours to convert the stadium from a baseball to a football configuration.[39] Coliseum was only multi-purpose stadium which hosted both an NFL and an MLB team in [40] Although the stadium conversion was complete by &#;pm local time, an &#;pm kickoff was necessary to avoid conflict with NBC's Sunday Night Football, where the 49ers hosted the Texans at Candlestick Park across the San Francisco Bay. The Chargers-Raiders game was the latest start time for a game in NFL history and was broadcast nationwide on the NFL Network.[41]

The league's traditional slate of Thanksgiving Day games was played on Thursday, November The Lions hosted the Packers in the early game at &#;pm EST, marking the Packers' 21st Thanksgiving game in Detroit. The Raiders visited the Cowboys in the late afternoon game at &#;pm CST. The evening game featured the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens hosting their AFC North rival Steelers at &#;pm EST.[35]

The Bills hosted the Falcons in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on December 1. The game was played at Rogers Centre one week after the st Grey Cup ended the Canadian Football League season. On January 9, the Bills and Rogers Communications had announced a five-year extension of the Bills Toronto Series.[42][43]

In-season scheduling changes[edit]

The following regular season games were moved either by way of flexible scheduling, severe weather, or for other reasons:

  • Week 5: The Chargers–Raiders game was moved from &#;p.m. ET to &#;p.m. ET. The Raiders' Major League Baseball counterparts, the Oakland Athletics, hosted Game 2 of the American League Division Series on the previous night (October 5), and officials at Coliseum needed almost 24 hours to convert the stadium from a baseball to a football configuration ( Coliseum was the last venue to host both an NFL and an MLB team before the Raiders moved to Las Vegas).[44][45] The later start time also avoided a conflict with NBC's Sunday Night Football, where the 49ers hosted the Texans at Candlestick Park across the San Francisco Bay at &#;p.m. ET. Additionally, the Chargers–Raiders game was televised on the NFL Network instead of CBS.[46]
  • Week 7: The Texans–Chiefs game was moved from &#;p.m. ET to &#;p.m. ET.[47][48]
  • Week 11: The Chiefs–Broncos game, originally scheduled as CBS's only late &#;p.m. ET singleheader game, was flexed into the &#;p.m. ET slot on NBC Sunday Night Football. CBS originally selected this matchup as one of their "protected games" from flex-scheduling, but later allowed the league to flex it so it could be seen by a national audience.[49] The original Sunday night contest, the Packers–Giants game, was then moved back to the &#;p.m. ET doubleheader time slot on Fox, while the Chargers–Dolphins game was moved from &#;p.m. ET to the &#;p.m. ET singleheader slot.[50]
  • Week The Broncos–Chiefs game was moved from &#;p.m. ET to &#;p.m. ET, while the Patriots–Texans game was switched from &#;p.m. ET to &#;p.m. ET.[51]
  • Week The Panthers–Saints game, originally scheduled at &#;p.m. ET on Fox, was flexed into the &#;p.m. ET time slot on NBC. The original Sunday night contest, the Falcons–Packers game, was then changed to &#;p.m. ET on Fox.[52] It was the second time the Packers were stripped of a prime-time appearance this season.
  • Week The Saints–Rams and Cardinals–Titans games were moved from &#;p.m. ET to &#;p.m. ET.[53]
  • Week The Bears–Eagles game, originally scheduled at &#;p.m. ET on Fox, was flexed into the &#;p.m. ET time slot on NBC. Although the original Sunday night contest, the Patriots–Ravens game, featured two playoff contending teams, it was moved to &#;p.m. ET to allow CBS to also air a more competitive game.[54][55]
  • Week The Eagles–Cowboys game, originally scheduled at &#;p.m. ET, was selected as the final NBC Sunday Night Football game, which for the third consecutive season decided the NFC East division champion. The Bills–Patriots game was moved to the &#;p.m. ET time slot on CBS while the Packers–Bears game (which decided the NFC North division champion) and Buccaneers–Saints game were moved to &#;p.m. ET on FOX.[56]

Regular season standings[edit]




Main article: –14 NFL playoffs

Wild card round

The wild card round of the playoffs featured the two wild card playoff qualifiers from each conference being hosted by the two lowest seeded divisional winners. The top two seeds in each conference — the Seahawks, Panthers, Broncos and Patriots — all had first-round byes. The games were played January 4–5,

The weekend's first game on Saturday featured the Colts staging the second biggest comeback in playoff history to defeat the Chiefs by a score of 45– The point second half deficit the Colts overcame is exceeded only by the Bills–Oilers playoff game from January which has become known simply as "The Comeback."[59] It was the first time in any NFL game (regular or postseason) that a team won in regulation play (i.e. not overtime) after having trailed by as many as 28 points.[60] The game was also the highest scoring postseason game to have been decided by a one-point margin[60] as well as the first game in league history to finish with a 45–44 result.[61] The Colts and Chiefs combined to gain 1, total yards which established a new single-game postseason record, breaking the record of 1, yards that was set by the Bills–Dolphins first-round game on December 30, , and matched in a Saints–Lions first-round matchup on January 7, [60] The loss was the Chiefs' eighth straight in the playoffs which broke an NFL record for consecutive playoff losses the franchise had previously shared with the Lions.[62]

The Saints beat the Eagles 26–24 in the Saturday night game. It was the Saints' first ever road playoff victory. The Saints built an early 20–7 lead before the Eagles bounced back to take a 24–23 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game. However, the Saints worked their way down the field while also working the clock on the game's final drive before Shayne Graham kicked the game-winning field goal from 32 yards out as time expired.[63]

The early game on Sunday was the only game of the weekend not decided by three or fewer points with the Chargers defeating the Bengals, 27– Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton committed three second-half turnovers which led to the Chargers scoring 20 unanswered points to overcome a 7–10 halftime deficit. The Bengals loss marks a league record third straight year in which the team has lost its playoff opener, and extended the Bengals' streak of playoff futility to 23 seasons. Every other current NFL team has won a playoff game since the Bengals' last playoff victory in January [64]

In the late afternoon game on Sunday the 49ers defeated the Packers 23–20 on a brutally cold day at Lambeau Field. The temperature at game time was just 5&#;°F (−15&#;°C) with a wind chill of −10&#;°F (−23&#;°C). Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who eschewed sleeves and gloves despite the chilly conditions, passed for yards and rushed for 98 more to lead the 49ers to victory in a back-and-forth game. Phil Dawson kicked the winning field goal as time expired. This was the second straight year that the Packers' season had both started and ended with losses to the 49ers.[65]

Divisional round

The divisional round games were played on January 11–12, and three of the four were rematches of regular season games — only the Patriots and Colts had not met in [66]

In the early game on Saturday, the Seahawks defeated the Saints 23– The Seahawks held a 16–0 lead at halftime, but the Saints came back in the second half to make the game interesting. The Seahawks were able to hold on after a late Saints comeback effort, including an onside kick recovery, fell short. The Seahawks' offense centered around a 28 carry, yard rushing effort from Marshawn Lynch, who also scored on a yard run in the fourth quarter.[67]

Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount and the Patriots defense were the stars of the Patriots 43–22 victory over the Colts in the Saturday night game. Blount rushed for yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns while Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was intercepted four times.[68] Patriots quarterback Tom Brady broke a league record for most playoff games for a starting quarterback with 25 (a record he had previously shared with Brett Favre) and extended his own record of 18 career playoff wins.[69] The victory allowed the Patriots to reach the AFC Championship game for the third straight year as well as the eighth time with Brady and head coach Bill Belichick.[68] Belichick moved into a second-place tie with Don Shula on the all-time postseason head coaching wins list, one victory behind Tom Landry.[70][71]

The 49ers defeated the Panthers by a score of 23–10 in the early Sunday game. The 49ers defense twice stopped the Panthers one yard short of the end zone and also recorded two interceptions and five quarterback sacks. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for one touchdown and ran for another in the game. The win put the 49ers into their third straight and fifteenth overall conference championship game, matching the Pittsburgh Steelers for most conference championship appearances.[71]Jim Harbaugh became the first head coach in NFL history to take his team to the conference championship game in each of his first three seasons.[72]

In the final game of the divisional round the Broncos beat the Chargers 24– It was only the fourth time in the season to date that the Broncos had been held to fewer than 30 points (three of which were against the Chargers), but the Chargers offense could not capitalize.[73] The Broncos held a 17–0 lead in the fourth quarter before the Chargers launched a comeback that was too little and too late.[74] The win put the Broncos into the AFC championship game for the first time since the season.[75]

Conference championships

The conference championships took place on Sunday, January 19,

The early game featured the Broncos hosting the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The game was referred to by many as Manning-Brady XV as it was the fifteenth meeting (the fourth in the playoffs) of the two starting quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.[76] The Broncos defeated Brady and the Patriots 26–16 behind a yard passing performance by Manning. Manning led the Broncos on two long touchdown drives where each used over seven minutes of game time and were the two longest drives in terms of game time of the Broncos season.[77] This was Manning's third career postseason game with or more yards passing, equaling Drew Brees for the most such playoff games in league history.[78] Broncos head coach John Fox, who previously led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII in , became the sixth head coach in NFL history to take two different franchises to the Super Bowl.[79]

The NFC Championship Game had the Seahawks hosting the 49ers in the late game. The Seahawks defense forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter which proved to be the difference in the game. The last of these was a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the endzone which was intercepted by Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith off a deflection by cornerback Richard Sherman with just 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. The interception preserved a 23–17 Seahawks victory.[80] In an on-field interview immediately after the game with Foxsideline reporterErin Andrews, Sherman famously directed a rant at Crabtree whom Sherman called a "sorry receiver."[81]

Super Bowl XLVIII[edit]

Super Bowl XLVIII featured the top seeded team from each conference for just the second time in twenty years. The Broncos possessed the league's best offense (in terms of both scoring and yards) while the Seahawks had the league's top defense (also in both scoring and yardage).[82] The game was played on February 2, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, just outside New York City and was televised in the U.S. by Fox with kickoff at &#;pm EST. This was the first ever Super Bowl to be staged outdoors in a cold weather environment[28]:&#;46&#; although the temperature was a mild 49 degrees at kickoff.[83]

The game started disastrously for the Broncos who, despite losing the coin toss, received the opening kickoff. On the game's first play from scrimmage from the Broncos' 14 yard line, Broncos center Manny Ramirez sent a shotgunsnap over the head of quarterback Peyton Manning. The ball traveled into the endzone where it was covered by Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno who was touched down for a safety with just 12 seconds of game time elapsed. This was the quickest score ever in a Super Bowl. The Seahawks did not relinquish the lead in a 43–8 victory.[83]

This was the Seahawks first ever league championship since entering the NFL in Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, who scored on a yard interception return plus had a fumble recovery and tallied 10 tackles, was named the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP).[83]

This was the fifth Super Bowl loss for the Broncos, the most for any franchise.[84] Even in defeat, though, Peyton Manning's record-breaking year continued. He set a record for most passes completed in a Super Bowl with [84] He also moved ahead of Tom Brady into first place on the career playoff passing yardage list with 6, yards.[85][86][87] In addition, Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught 13 passes to set a single-game Super Bowl record.[84]

Playoffs bracket[edit]

Pro Bowl[edit]

Main article: Pro Bowl

The Pro Bowl is the league's all-star game. The league had raised doubts about the future of the exhibition due to concerns over the game's competitiveness in recent years,[88] but on March 20, it was announced that the Pro Bowl would indeed take place, receiving a one-year reprieve. As in recent years, the game was held the week before the Super Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was played on Sunday, January 26, and broadcast in the U.S. on NBC.[89]

The format for the game was considerably altered in an effort to improve competitiveness. The biggest changes included an "unconferenced" format in which players would be selected regardless of the conference in which their team competes, a draft format to select the teams and various tweaks to increase the excitement of the game itself. Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice served as the non-playing captains for the two competing squads.[89]

Notable events[edit]

Some NFL-related events that made headlines throughout include:

Harris Poll tabs professional football as America's favorite sport

A nationwide poll conducted by Harris Interactive in December concluded that pro football is the favorite sport of Americans. Of the respondents asked the question, "If you had to choose, which ONE of these sports would you say is your favorite?", 35% chose pro football. That is up by one percentage point over the results of the previous year. Football has taken the top spot in the annual poll each year since it was first conducted in Baseball finished second, with 14% naming it as their favorite, followed by college football at 11%.[90]

Aaron Hernandez charged with murder

In August, former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd.[91] Hernandez was released by the Patriots following his arrest in the murder investigation in June.[92] In an effort to further distance themselves from the troubled Hernandez, the Patriots offered fans an opportunity to trade-in Hernandez jerseys for another jersey of comparable value.[93] Hernandez would be convicted of the murder charge and sentenced to life imprisonment in April [94]

Riley Cooper incident

Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper was caught on video using a racial slur during a music concert. After the video went viral during the team's training camp, Cooper was briefly sent away from the team to seek counseling. The Eagles also levied an undisclosed fine.[95]

Concussion litigation brought by former players

In August, just prior to the start of the season, a US$,, settlement proposal was announced in a class-action lawsuit brought against the league by former players who contended that the league concealed a link between head injuries sustained by players and traumatic brain injury which may only become apparent later in life.[96][97] The judge in the case later rejected the settlement on the grounds that the amount may not be large enough to cover the needs of all the plaintiffs.[98]

Buccaneers release quarterback Josh Freeman in mid-season

In October, the Buccaneers released quarterback Josh Freeman after trying unsuccessfully to trade him. Freeman had been considered one of the league's best young quarterbacks after leading the Bucs to a 10–6 record in , but he clashed with head coach Greg Schiano (who took over in ) and was benched earlier in the year. Despite being just 25 years old, Freeman held franchise records for touchdowns and completions and was second in passing yardage. It had come out earlier in the week that Freeman had been in the league's substance abuse program; Freeman described his participation as voluntary and a result of prescription drugs he was taking to treat ADHD.[99] Shortly after his release, Freeman was signed by the Vikings.[] Freeman started for the Vikings in week seven, but he posted a passer rating of just in that game and did not play another down during the season. He was inactive for nine of the Vikings' final ten games.[]

Tampa Bay MRSA outbreak

Three Buccaneers players — kicker Lawrence Tynes, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Johnthan Banks — were diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections during the season.[] The potentially deadly strain of staph had been encountered by other NFL teams including the Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns in previous seasons.[] After the third infection was confirmed there was brief discussion as to whether the Bucs' week six home game against the Eagles would be played, but the decision was made to continue with the scheduled game.[] The Falcons even took the step of bringing in a hazardous materials crew to disinfect the visitor's locker room after the Bucs' visited Atlanta in week seven.[]

Dolphins bullying scandal

Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito was suspended by the team in November after allegations surfaced that he bullied fellow lineman Jonathan Martin who left the team earlier in the season due to the impact of Incognito's actions.[][]

The league's official investigation into the matter concluded that Martin and other Dolphins employees had been subjected to a "pattern of harassment" at the hands of Incognito as well as fellow linemen John Jerry and Mike Pouncey. The page report, written by league-appointed investigator Ted Wells, called the situation a "classic case of bullying".[] The report also implicated Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner in some of the abuse; Turner was fired by the team shortly after the report's release.[]

Redskins shut down quarterback Robert Griffin III for season's final three games

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan made a decision to bench the team's franchise quarterback, Robert Griffin III for the team's final three games of the season. Griffin had undergone knee surgery after being injured the previous season in which he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after being selected second overall in the draft. Griffin was much less productive in his second season. Shanahan stated that the decision to start Kirk Cousins over Griffin was made to protect Griffin from sustaining another injury, although there was speculation that Shanahan was unhappy about Griffin's friendly relationship with team owner Daniel Snyder.[] Shanahan was fired after the season ended.[]

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson leads all players in licensed product sales

Russell Wilson the second-year quarterback of the Super Bowl champion Seahawks led all NFL players in terms of total licensed product sales (jerseys, T-shirts, figurines, photos, etc.) made from March through February The top six players on the list were quarterbacks, including, in order, Peyton Manning (who held the top spot the previous year), Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. The only non-quarterback in the top 10 was Wilson's Seahawks teammate, running back Marshawn Lynch.[]

Deacon Jones' death

Legendary Hall of Fame defensive lineman Deacon Jones died in June.[] Shortly thereafter the league honored Jones' legacy by creating the "Deacon Jones Award" to be given annually to the player who records the most quarterback sacks.[]Colts linebacker Robert Mathis was the inaugural winner of the honor.[]

Bud Adams' death

Tennessee Titans owner Kenneth S. "Bud" Adams died in October. He was the only owner the franchise, which began in as the Houston Oilers in the AFL, has ever had. Adams was a second-generation oil tycoon who made his home in Houston, Texas.[] The team was inherited in equal parts by the families of Adams' three children with Adams' son-in-law Tommy Smith succeeding Adams as the president and CEO of the franchise.[][]

Other deaths

Aside from those mentioned above, the following people associated with the NFL died in

Records and milestones[edit]

For a more comprehensive list, see List of NFL records and milestones.

The season saw a number of league records set, most notably:

  • A record 11, points were scored during the season, with games averaging points, the highest average in NFL history ( in ).[]
  • A total of 1, total touchdowns were scored, surpassing the league-wide record of 1,, which occurred last season.[]
  • A record field goals were made this year, surpassing the record set last year with Also, kickers converted a record % of their field goal attempts breaking the record of % set during the season.[]
  • With 5, passing yards, Peyton Manning broke Drew Brees' record for passing yards in a season by a single yard.[]
  • Peyton Manning also finished with a season record 55 touchdown passes, surpassing the mark of 50 set by Tom Brady in [][][]
  • In scoring points during the regular season, the Denver Broncos surpassed the NFL record for most points (previously held by the Patriots who scored points) and became the first team to eclipse the point threshold.[] The Broncos outscored the next highest scoring team (the Chicago Bears) by points, or more than ten points per game.[]
  • Punter Johnny Hekker of the St. Louis Rams set a single season record with an average of net yards per punt, besting the mark of yards set by Andy Lee in []

Regular season statistical leaders[edit]

Scoring leaderStephen Gostkowski, New England ()
Most Field Goals MadeJustin Tucker, Baltimore and Stephen Gostkowski (38 FGs)
TouchdownsJamaal Charles, Kansas (19 TDs)
RushingLeSean McCoy, Philadelphia (1, yards)
Passing yardsPeyton Manning, Denver (5, yards)
Passing touchdownsPeyton Manning, Denver (55 TDs)
Passer ratingNick Foles, Philadelphia ( rating)
Pass receptionsPierre Garcon, Washington ( catches)
Pass receiving yardsJosh Gordon, Cleveland (1, yards)
Combined tacklesVontaze Burfict, Cincinnati ( tackles)
InterceptionsRichard Sherman, Seattle (8)
PuntingBryan Anger, Jacksonville (4, yards, average yards)
SacksRobert Mathis, Indianapolis ()

Awards and statistics[edit]

Individual season awards[edit]

Further information: 3rd Annual NFL Honors

The 3rd Annual NFL Honors, saluting the best players and plays from season, was held on February 1, , at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.[]


Fall a meter away from you. Hands were shaking with excitement and excitement. And what do you think she calmed down on this. Of course not.

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My name is Anastasia, but for you it's just Mistress, so call me. She ordered sharply, grabbing my hair. Okay, I said, continuing to lie on the floor. And she began to cry either from pain, or from despair. - Not Good, but Good, Lady.

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Probably it was. We get up with Marina on the platform in front of the entrance. - So cool. Did you do that last year. I ask.

Similar news:

This place was not as good as a clearing with an oak tree, fishermen used to sit there - it was very overgrown, so you couldn't get. To the water. I didn't like it.

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