At one point in the third quarter of yesterday's Panthers-Ravens game, Mike Goodson had 101 yards from scrimmage. At that same time, Carolina had 101 total yards of offense. Because yardage lost due to sacks are deducted from team totals, it's possible for one player to actually outgain his own team. In this instance, Steve Smith had 12 yards on two catches, the Panthers had been sacked two times for -12 yards, and every other touch in the game went to Goodson. These events made me wonder: has any player actually outgained his own team?
Since 1960, seven players have done that. Another two exactly tied their team's production. Let's stroll down memory lane:
#9) Rickey Watts. The Chicago Bears were 3-8 when the Detroit Lions came to town in late November, 1981. The Lions had allowed 20 points in each of their past four games, and were a game under .500. On the surface, a generic late-season game between two bad teams. But on a cold day in Chicago, history would be made. Vince Evans completed just 4 of 19 passes for 21 yards -- with two interceptions. Bob Avellini relieved him, and went 3 of 10 for 20 yards, with a pick. Bob Parsons threw an incomplete pass, too. But Detroit's coverage skills were matched by their pass rushing ability, as the Lions registered 7 quarterback sacks. All told, Bears quarterbacks dropped back 37 times for -20 yards and 3 interceptions (ANY/A of -4.2). Chicago scored just 7 points, courtesy of a 92-yard interception return by Todd Bell. Throw in 44 rushing yards, and the Bears were held to just 24 yards on the day, a number equaled by Watts on two receptions. The 24 yards of total offense is still the 3rd lowest figure in NFL history, with only the "Water Polo" game in 1940 producing more ineptitude. The Bears gained just four first downs. But there will be more from this game in a bit.
#8) Clark Gaines. Gaines pops up in trivia questions and PFR queries every once in awhile thanks to a 17-catch game against the 49ers in 1980. But four years earlier, as a rookie, he shouldered even more of his team's load. By 4 PM on Sunday, December 12th, the Jets season was officially over. But the rest of the offense decided to end things three hours earlier. During the last week of the regular season, Lou Holtz stepped down as head coach, leaving former New England coach Mike Holovak as the lame duck for the season finale. With the 9-4 Bengals coming into Shea Stadium, the outcome of the game was never in doubt. Cincinnati won 42-3, and embarassed Joe Namath in his final game. Namath completed just 4 of 15 passes for 20 yards, with a long of six. And, of course, threw 4 interceptions. Richard Todd wasn't much better, going 3-13 for 23 yards with 2 interceptions and a safety. All told, on 32 dropbacks, Jets quarterbacks gained just 8 yards. Gaines rushed 18 times for 51 yards and caught 3 passes for 21 yards. His 72 yards from scrimmage exactly matched the Jets' output that day.
#7) Billy Stacy. Quarterback Sam Etcheverry set a ton of passing records for the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL in the '50s; in 1961, he headed to St. Louis to play in the NFL. As a 31-year-old rookie, he started the Cardinals' opener the Giants. St. Louis won, 21-10, and outgained New York 239-157. The next two weeks the Cards combined for over 550 yards and scored 47 points. Call it a mild shock, then, that on October 8th, the Giants visited Chicago for the rematch and held the offense to only 5 first downs. Etcheverry's day ended after seven passes; in came Ralph Guglielmi. Guglielmi, like Etcheverry, also starred in a different league in the '50s. He was the quarterback of two Notre Dame teams in '53 and '54 that began the season #1 but failed to go through the scheduled unscathed. Against the Giants, Gulielmi made the fun index proud. Of his 13 passes, 6 fell to the ground. Of the other seven, 3 were intercepted and four went for 178 yards, including an 80-yard strike to Stacy. Stacy had 3 catches for 161 yards, just outpacing the Cardinals' 160 total yards of offense. Outside of Stacy's three catches, the Cardinals had 26 dropbacks that netted -29 yards. Throw in 7 turnovers and just 17 carries for 28 yards, and you can say the Giants defense had a pretty good day. Except when it came to Stacy.
#6) Clarence Peaks. In 1960, Buck Shaw's Philadelphia Eagles handed Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr the only playoff loss of their careers. The two weren't on each other's schedules in 1961, so Lombardi and the Packers were forced to wait nearly two years to exact revenge. By the time the teams were set to square off in '62, the Eagles were 1-6-1 while the 8-0 Packers were in the middle of one of the most dominant seasons in league history. Through eight games, Green Bay allowed just 61 points. But don't think Lombardi and the Packers would take things easy on a rival that had fallen on hard times; Green Bay was up 35-0 at halftime; Jim Taylor rushed for his third and fourth touchdowns of the game in the third quarter. Taylor's four rushing scores eclipsed Philadelphia's three first downs. Having gotten his pound of flesh, Lombardi called off the dogs, and Green Bay won 49-0. The Packers outgained the Eagles 628-54, despite the Eagles commiting just one turnover. Sonny Jurgensen and King Hill were helpless against the Packers stingy defense. Fullback Clarence Peaks didn't do much, but his 7 carries for 27 yards and 4 receptions for 29 yards meant that he outgained his offense by two yards.
#5) Natrone Means. A few years ago we mentioned Ryan Leaf's horrific 1-of-15-for-4-yards game, the third start of his career. San Diego turned the ball over 6 times; the Chiefs' offense didn't do much, but it didn't need to. The Chargers passed for -19 yards; Terrell Fletcher had two carries for 5 yards and Leaf gained a yard on the ground. So how did San Diego end up with 152 rushing yards? Natrone Means had a career high 165 yards on 22 carries, including the team's only score on a 72-yard run in the 3rd quarter.
#4) Wayne Patrick. The 1970 Bills lost their last five games of the season. They started the year against the defending NFC Champs and soon-to-be Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys. Dennis Shaw passed for 353 yards in a shootout, with Buffalo ultimately falling 49-37. It was the highlight of the Bills season. Buffalo lost 29-14 the next week to Miami, and then were shutout in Minnesota in week three. Buffalo would end the season last in the league in both points and points scored. In two games against the defending champion Colts, Buffalo was outscored 67-0. The first of those games came in week four at War Memorial Stadium. Shaw, magnificant three weeks earlier, went 2 of 9 for 30 yards with 3 interceptions before being pulled for James Harris. Buffalo quarterbacks were sacked 9 times and completed just 10 passes; for the day, Bills quarterbacks gained 45 yards on 30 dropbacks, and threw four interceptions. One running back shined for Buffalo, but it wasn't the Juice. O.J. Simpson had the worst game of his career, rushing 7 times for -10 yards. Wayne Patrick has two yards on the ground but gained 55 yards through the air, making him the team's most valuable player of the day. Buffalo had just 49 total yards and 4 first downs against the Colts.
#3) Antonio Bryant. In week 12 of the 2004 season, the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns played in the second highest scoring game in league history. The Browns gained 462 yards and scored 48 points; unfortunately for Cleveland, the Bengals scored 58. After the game, coach Butch Davis resigned. The next week, playing under interim coach Terry Robiskie, the Browns lost at home to the Patriots, 42-15. In those two games, Antonio Bryant caught 15 passes for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns; but his best work would come the next week. Playing in Buffalo, Bryant torched the Bills with 4 catches for 37 yards, recording 42% more yards on offense than the Browns that day. The Browns were limited to just 46 plays -- five of them ended with a turnover and eight went down in the game book as sacks. After the first 50 minutes, the Browns had gained just 2 yards; they ended the game with 17. Coach Robiskie thought the game was "too big" for his team. Cleveland had -3 passing yards; William Green had 11 carries for 5 yards, leaving Adimchinobe "Joe" Echemandu as the leading rusher with 13 yards.
#2) Wendell Hayes. When Floyd Little was chosen for the Hall of Fame, much was made of how little talent was on those old Broncos teams. There was even less talent on offense in 1966, the year before Floyd was drafted. Week 1 of the '66 season probably felt like another pre-season game for the Oilers, 45-7 winners. Houston's George Blanda and Don Trull threw for 277 yards and 4 touchdowns; Denver's passing game was less prolific. Starter Mickey Slaughter was a clean 0-for-7. Backup John McCormick threw 13 passes; he completed one to Abner Haynes for 7 yards, 11 to Rice Stadium grass, and one for -8 yards to Charley Mitchell. The Broncos -7 passing yards wasn't the only negative; Abner Haynes had 6 carries for -1 yards; McCormick had a rush that went for -5 yards. By that measure, Wendell Hayes' 8 carries for 38 yards was downright Ruthian. Hayes ended up with 46% more offensive yards than Denver that day, good enough for the second best ratio in league history. Most amazing? In the rematch just four weeks later, Denver beat Houston, 40-38, and gained 362 yards of offense.
#1) Walter Payton. Remember that putrid game by the '81 Bears offense against the Lions? They couldn't pass -- 37 dropbacks, -20 yards, 7 completions and 3 interceptions -- but Walter Payton still managed to eke out 37 yards on 13 carries. Add in his 7 receiving yards, and Payton produced 83% more yards of offense than the Chicago Bears.
#0) Steve Largent and Wendell Hayes. Having trouble wrapping your head around #0? Try figuring out what percentage of their team's yards Largent and Hayes had in two spectacular games. Only two teams in league history have ever recorded negative yards for an entire game. 53 weeks after the opening day stinker against Houston, the Broncos lost 51-0 to the Raiders in Oakland. Steve Tensi went 2/12 for 17 yards and an INT; all four of Scotty Glacken's passes fell incomplete. The Raiders dominant pass rush recorded 7 sacks on only 23 dropbacks, and embarrassed Denver to the tune of -53 passing yards, another league low. This Raiders team was one of the best of all-time, and had 67 sacks in just 14 games. They unleashed their full fury on the rival Broncos on this day, and Denver essentially quit trying to pass. Despite losing 51-0, Denver called 24 runs to just 23 passes. Bo Hickey led the team with 13 yards, while Floyd Little was unimpressive with 7 carries for 4 yards. Wendell Hayes gained 7 yards on 7 carries but made the "big play of the day," a 19-yard reception. Hayes' 26 yards from scrimmage far outpaced Denver's -5 yards of offense.
The 1979 Seattle Seahawks had a good offense, ranking 4th in points scored. In week 8, they won 34-14 and gained 391 yards. The following week they won on the road, 31-28, and gained 411 yards. Two weeks after that, they won 29-24 and gained 427 yards. The next week? A 38-24 victory and 531 yards of offense. In the middle of that 5-week run? 0 points, 1 first down and -7 yards in a home loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Conditions at the Kingdome were, presumably, perfect. Jim Zorn's performance was anything but: he went 2 for 17 for 25 yards, with both receptions coming via Steve Largent's hands. Largent had the two biggest plays of the day, a 14- and a 9-yard reception. Next up? Jeff Moore's 8 yard run, followed by Sherman Smith's 5 yard scamper. The Seahawks only committed one turnover, but were sacked 6 times for 55 yards. As a result, a league-worst -7 yards of offense were recorded by the Seahawks. The Rams pounded out 303 rushing yards and 29 first downs. The game ignited the Los Angeles offense, which had scored just 36 points in their last three games, all losses. After clubbing Seattle, the Rams rushed for at least 125 yards in all of their future games, up until their loss in Super Bowl XIV to the Steelers.
Here's a list of the top 25 performances as measured by percentage of team yards:
|John L. Williams||sea||1988||14||nwe||10||20||0||5||5||37||0||16||57||65||87.7%|
Minimum 150 yards of offense:
Minimum 300 yards of offense:
This entry was posted on Sunday, November 21st, 2010 at 10:23 pm and is filed under Statgeekery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.