5 NFL Facts to Know for Week 7
What else should you know before Week 7 starts? Keep reading for some facts about historical NFL ties, polar opposites in the backfield, and yet another record that could be shattered this year.
Tie Games Don't Always Mean a Low Score
Week 6 marked the first tie of the young 2014 season after the Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers deadlocked at 37 apiece. It was also the 20th overtime game since 1974 (when the overtime rules were first adopted) that ended in a tie. Both teams were evenly matched throughout the game and Mike Nugent's missed field goal at the end of overtime denied the Bengals a victory. It was the highest scoring overtime tie in the NFL (37-37) but not the highest scoring tie in NFL history.
The highest scoring tied-game in NFL history belongs to the Boston (New England) Patriots and Oakland Raiders, which also happened in Week 6. But this particular Week 6 was 50 years ago. The Raiders had a 10 point advantage after halftime, but the Patriots came back with 22 points in the 4th quarter to tie it up. The second-highest scoring tied-game in the NFL was a tilt between the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos in 1960. The Broncos' comeback was even more impressive as they racked up 24 points in the 4th quarter to tie the game.
The Curious Case of Antone Smith
If you saw that a running back had only 23 touches (13 rushes, 10 receptions) through the first six weeks of the season, you may think that back is a rookie. You may also think that he would not have a lot of fantasy points. However, Antone Smith (and head coach Mike Smith) are bucking the normal trends.
Smith is actually 29 years old and has been with the Falcons since 2010. So he's not a rookie. He's just been buried on the depth chart. But the talent is there as he has 346 yards on those 23 touches. If you add in his five - yes, five - touchdowns, that means he has scored on almost 20% of his touches. Smith has had touchdown runs of 38 and 48 yards. He has also had touchdown receptions of 54, 41, and 74 yards. Smith has a lot of big plays in him and has scored in every game but one. Now we are just waiting to see if he can get consistent touches each week.
His 346 yards and 5 touchdowns also make him a fantasy football RB1 in standard scoring formats - on only 23 touches! That's 2.7 fantasy points per touch if you're a math geek. And if you're in leagues that award bonuses for long rushes and receptions, you have a great fantasy asset. Mr. Smith, keep toting that ball well and fantasy footballers everywhere will keep petitioning your head coach for more involvement in the Falcons' offense.
Murray Watch Continues
Looks like DeMarco Murray may be starting to show wear and tear! I kid, but after gaining "only" 115 yards on the ground against the defending champs, Murray has fallen slightly off Eric Dickerson's pace of 2,105 rushing yards in a single season. Murray is currently on pace for 2,093 yards. Murray only needs 132 rushing yards per game to stay on pace for Dickerson's record - and he's exceeded that mark three times already this season.
The single-season record for total yards from scrimmage could be in jeopardy too. In CJ1K's only good season in 2009, he accumulated 2,509 yards rushing and receiving. Murray is currently just three yards off that pace.
To top it all off, Murray joined an elite list of running backs who have rushed for over 100 yards in six consecutive games. Of the 21 backs that have hit that mark, many are or will be Hall-of-Famers. In NFL history, 13 running backs have rushed for 100 yards or more in 7 straight games and only 3 have done it 10 or more games in a row. Murray could break two of the biggest single-season records and join the upper echelon of running backs - and this is just his fourth season in the league.
The Current Leader in Receptions ... is a Running Back?
Murray isn't the only running back threatening big records. Matt Forte is doing work as well and already has 46 receptions on the season. That might not seem unusual at first, but he happens to be leading the league in receptions through six weeks. In fact, there are two non-receivers in the top 10 of receptions and both are from the Bears: Forte and tight end Martellus Bennett.
Forte's receptions also put him on track for over 120 receptions on the season. Only two other running backs have ever finished with over 100 receptions: Larry Centers in 1995 for the Cardinals and LaDainian Tomlinson in 2003 for the Chargers. Not only would Forte have the most receptions in one season for a running back, but if he hits his currently projected 123 receptions, he would tie Herman Moore (1995 for the Lions) and Wes Welker (2009 for the Patriots) for the second-most receptions ever in a single season.
Another Record Being Threatened
We've touched on multiple quarterback, receiver, and running back records during the last couple of weeks, but the tight end position deserves some love, too. One of the six things that JJ Zachariason learned in Week 6 is that Julius Thomas has scored in each of his five contests for a total of nine touchdowns.
Rob Gronkowski currently holds the record for all tight ends with 18 touchdowns (17 receiving) in a single season. At Thomas' rate, that record could be broken in Week 11 with the potential of Thomas hitting 30 touchdowns by season's end. Regression will be expected, but Thomas is catching touchdowns at an alarming rate. So much so that he could challenge LaDainian Tomlinson's total touchdown record of 31 in 2006.
Could 2014 be the season a lot of major records get broken? We'll find out in 11 more weeks!