Scattered Clouds 35° Good Evening
Scattered Clouds 35° Good Evening

Milestones, Records and Quirks of the '09 season

It's already been a memorable reguar season in the NFL, with two teams going undefeated through 13 games (14 weeks) — the latest that's ever happened — including one which gave up its shot to become the third team to complete an undefeated regular season (joining the '72 Dolphins and '07 Patriots) in Week 16.

We've also seen eight quarterbacks — in order: Matt Schaub (pictured), Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger — throw for over 4,000 yards, which would be the most ever (the next closet was seven in 2007).

Schaub, who leads the league with 4,467 passing yards, would be the first QB to lead that category and not make the Pro Bowl since Brett Favre in 1998 (Jeff George, who led the league with 3,917 in '97, also didn't make it. Neither did Dan Marino in '88, Lynn Dickey in '83, Fran Tarkenton in '78, Joe Ferguson in '77, Ken Anderson in '74, John Hadl in '71 or John Brodie in '68 during the Super Bowl era). Joe Namath became the first player to throw for over 4,000 yards in 1967 — no QB did it again until Dan Fouts 12 years later.

Favre (3,886) and Eli Manning (3,880) are likely to join the 4,000-yard club this week, while Kurt Warner (3,722) has a decent chance if he plays the whole game against Green Bay on Sunday. For Favre, it would be his sixth 4,000-yard season, tying Marino for second most all-time (P. Manning has 10). Joe Montana never did it.

With that, let's get into some more funky stats about this 2009 season:

-Rivers, who is 45-18 in his career as a starter (not including a 3-3 postseason mark), has never lost in December, a span of 18 games. 

-With 128 rushing yards Sunday at Seattle, Titans running back Chris Johnson will become the sixth player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season (O.J. Simpson was the only one to do it in a 14-game season). Johnson is averaging 124.8 yards per game.

-This is the first year since 2005 that no 9-7 team (or worse) won an NFC division title or made the postseason as a wild card.

-Four teams (Detroit, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Kansas City) can all finish with three or fewer wins, which would be the most since 1991. In 2003, no team finished with less than four wins.

-Andre Johnson joined Marvin Harrison as the only two players in history to record back-to-back 1,500-yard receiving seasons. Jerry Rice had four 1,500-yard seasons (and one 1,499 yard campaign), but they came in 1986, 1990, 1993, and 1995. Johnson, Harrison (3), Rice (4), Charley Hennigan (1961, 1964), Michael Irvin (1991, 1995) and Torry Holt (2000, 2003) are the only players to reach the mark more than once. 

-Bills rookie Jairus Byrd is tied for the league lead with nine interceptions (though he won't play on Sunday because he was placed on the IR with a groin injury), including picks in five consecutive games. Both are Buffalo Bills team records.

-Raiders punter Shane Lechler could break one of the oldest NFL records this Sunday against Baltimore. He is just 0.3 yards per punt behind Sammy Baugh's single-season record of 51.4 set in 1940. Lechler, who has had 70+ yard punts in five of his 10 seasons as a pro, averages just over six punts per game for Oakland. He would need to average 58 yards per punt on Sunday to average 51.5 for the season ... better eat his Wheaties that morning.

-The Lions have lost 20 straight games on the road, which is just four away from the all-time mark of 24 ... set by, you guessed it, the Lions (from 2001-03).

-The Colts, which had won an NFL-record 23 straight regular season games before Sunday's loss to the Jets, became the winningest team in any single decade Week 14 against Denver with their 114th win of the 2000s. San Francisco won 113 games in the 1990s, while New England has 112 since 2000.

If you've got any interesting stats or milestones from '09, be sure to post them in the comments section. I'd love to hear them.

New York Sports