NFL Myth-Busting: Reading Between the Headlines

Raider Card AddictSenior Writer IApril 18, 2008

For anyone who's familiar with the records for yardage, completions, TDs, and other game stats, you've seen some real gems. Take our picture above, for example. Jake Plummer, one time, had a game out of his mind. 499 yards. His previous best, came against the Cowboys, with 465 yards.

Know what was odd about both games? His team lost both times.

Now, let's look at the 499 yard game, on Oct 31st, 2004. Playing at home, against Atlanta. Plummer actually had 4 TDs, accounting for his team's 28 points. However, he also tossed 3 interceptions, which doesn't help. but as well, how do you throw for almost 500 yards, and only get 4 TDs? If you start an average of the 20 yard line, that's only 80 yards....Plummer must have had some drives die, at the worst possible places. Another fellow, to have a ton of yardage in a season, but fail to convert it into wins, is Kerry Collins.

In 2005, Kerry Collins, playing for the Oakland Raiders, passed for 3759 yards, 20 TDs, against only 12 INTs. Good, decent numbers, right?

Raiders went 4-12. Collins highest yardage game, came against the Eagles, losing the game by 3 points. 345 yards passing, two TDs. Some of it, is not always the QB's fault....if the defense can't hold a lead, or the QB can't get that put-away TD, then all that yardage looks like this, in the stats that matter:


Probably the king of confusion, on stats, was Warren Moon. Moon's first year, he had over 3000 yards....someone was doing a lot of catchwork. The only problem, was they apparently weren't catching it in the end zone, as he only had 12 TDs, 14 Interceptions, and a 3-13 record. In fact, the Oilers didn't have a better than .500 average, until 1987, Moon's 4th year. Granted, he did have great stats, on some seasons, including one when he challenged Marino's Yards record for a single season....only to fall short when injured late in the year, in a meaningless game.

The main point is pretty simple. Yards in a game, only become meaningful, if they involve the one yard, that turns into a Touchdown. Because, if you drive from the 1 yard line 97 didn't score.

And that's the name of the game.