One of our three highlighted matchups for Sunday lived up to the hype.
Drew Brees and Eli Manning combined for 13 touchdown passes in the New Orleans Saints’ 52-49 win over the New York Giants on Sunday, the most touchdown passes in a single game in NFL history, breaking the record of 12 set in 1969 by the Saints and Cardinals, who had six each.
The 101 combined points in the game was the third-most in NFL history and the most in the last decade (the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns combined for 106 in 2004). The Giants tied the NFL record for most points by a losing team (Houston Oilers, 1963), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Brees tied the single-game record with seven touchdown tosses and Manning posted a career high with his six. It was Brees’ 10th game with at least five touchdowns, the most in NFL history after breaking his two-way tie with Eli’s brother, Peyton Manning. And Brees tied Ben Roethlisberger as the only players in NFL history with two 500-yard passing games to their credit.
Another of the three games we highlighted on Friday also delivered, but it wasn’t a high-scoring affair. Instead, the Bengals got the best of the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 16-10 win to move Cincinnati to 7-0 for the first time in franchise history. It was the first time since 2013 that Roethlisberger threw two fourth-quarter interceptions and the first time since 2012 that he threw a single fourth-quarter interception in a one-possession game.
As mentioned Friday, the Bengals win gives QB Andy Dalton his 23rd road win, tying him with Dan Marino, Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan for most road wins in a quarterback’s first five seasons in the Super Bowl era.
The other matchup we featured on Friday was the Green Bay Packers at Denver Broncos. While the Broncos delivered the blowout win, 29-10, it was the way the game unfolded that was a major surprise. It was the first game in NFL history in which each quarterback entered with a career average of more than two touchdowns per game and neither of them threw a touchdown.
Other essentials from Sunday
- Four different Kansas City Chiefs rushed for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions in the third and final game of this year’s NFL International Series in London, the first time that has happened in franchise history since 1960, when the Chiefs were the Dallas Texans. Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, Alex Smith and De'Anthony Thomas all had a rushing touchdown.
- That game also featured an odd stat unearthed by Elias: It was the 15th straight loss for the Detroit Lions on the first day of a month. The last time the Lions won a game on the first of a month was Oct. 1, 1973.
- Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson moved into a fifth-place tie all-time with his 65th interception, getting one against the New York Jets in a 34-20 win Sunday.
- St. Louis Rams rookie Todd Gurley became the first rookie in NFL history to rush for at least 125 yards in four consecutive games when he had 133 yards in a 27-6 Rams win against the San Francisco 49ers. Gurley has 566 yards rushing in his four starts, the most through four starts by an NFL player since 1966 (the start of the Super Bowl era), and his 575 yards in his first five games played is more than anyone except Eric Dickerson (645) and Adrian Peterson (607).
- Speaking of Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings star represented the old guard of running backs with his 45th career 100-yard game, tying him for 13th on the all-time list with Tony Dorsett. The Vikings got a 23-20 the win over the Chicago Bears by scoring 10 points in the final two minutes, only the second time in the 96-year history of the Bears that they lost a game in regulation after leading by at least seven points inside the 2-minute warning, according to Elias. The other one was also against the Vikings in 1965.
- The Arizona Cardinals continued their impressive first half of the season in a 34-20 win over the Cleveland Browns. Carson Palmer now has 20 touchdowns, the most ever by a Cardinals QB through eight games, after throwing four on Sunday. Chris Johnson also rushed for 109 yards, becoming the first Cardinal with four 100-yard rushing games in a season since 1985.
- Philip Rivers became to the third player in NFL history to have four consecutive losses while throwing for at least 300 yards, joining Bill Kenney (Chiefs, 1983) and Matt Schaub (Texans, 2010).
- The Raiders set a franchise record by having their second 300-100-100 game of the season. Derek Carr passed for 333 yards, Latavius Murray rushed for 113 yards and Michael Crabtree had 102 yards receiving in the 34-20 win over the New York Jets. Carr, Murray and Amari Cooper did it in a September win over Cleveland.