A lot of wacky stuff happens during the 17-week circus that we call the NFL regular season, some of which we can relay using numbers that are either amazing, unbelievable or both. Here’s a look at some of the strangest, wildest and most interesting statistics from the 2015 campaign.
1. The Kansas City Chiefs became the first team in modern NFL history (Super Bowl era) to win 10 consecutive games but not win their division.
2. The Buffalo Bills were penalized 1,249 yards, which is the fifth-highest total in NFL history.
3. The Philadelphia Eagles defense was on the field for 1,148 snaps. Only one other team this century has spent more time on defense, and that was the 2013 Eagles (1,150).
4. The New Orleans Saints defense allowed 6.6 yards per play, which is the highest average in NFL history. Second place? The 2012 Saints (6.5).
5. The Dallas Cowboys had just 11 takeaways on defense, which is tied for the lowest total in NFL history (2013 Houston Texans).
6. The New York Giants led in the fourth quarter 11 times, but won only six games.
7. The Indianapolis Colts converted a league-high 21 times on 3rd-and-10. However, they also surrendered a league-high 21 conversions in the same situation.
8. Despite the fact he missed four games, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the NFL with 17 completions of 40 yards or more.
9. Despite the fact he missed three games, rookie St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley led the NFL with seven rushes of 30 yards or more.
10. Gurley also became the fourth-youngest player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards.
11. Gurley also averaged an insane 8.0 yards per attempt on his 32 carries that came in the fourth quarter of one-score games. Altogether, 36 percent of his yardage came in the fourth quarter.
12. MVP front-runner Cam Newton ranked 28th among 35 qualified quarterbacks with a completion percentage of 59.7.
13. Blaine Gabbert had the NFL’s highest passer rating in the red zone (123.5).
14. One year after winning offensive player of the year, DeMarco Murray posted a 3.64 yards-per-attempt average, ranking 28th among 30 running backs who had at least 150 carries.
15. Often criticized for his accuracy problems, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 69.8 percent of his passes — the seventh-highest qualified total in NFL history.
16. Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints led the league with 4,870 passing yards, ensuring that the NFL leader in that category won’t win the Super Bowl for the 50th consecutive year.
17. Peyton Manning finished the season with a passer rating of 67.9, which ranked tied with Ryan Mallett for dead last among 35 qualified quarterbacks.
18. Poor Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles became the first player in NFL history to be sacked 50-plus times in each of his first two seasons. In fact, Bortles and Aaron Rodgers are the only active players who have been sacked 50 or more times in two separate seasons.
19. A 38-year-old Tom Brady became the second-oldest quarterback in NFL history to throw 35 touchdown passes (Peyton Manning, 2014), while the 23-year-old Bortles became the second-youngest quarterback in NFL history to do so (Dan Marino, 1984).
20. Antonio Brown and Julio Jones both caught 136 passes. Only one other player in NFL history has caught 130 or more.
21. Brown and Jones also went over 1,800 receiving yards, something only two other players have ever done.
22. Games averaged 487.6 passing yards, which is the highest total in NFL history.
23. For the first time ever, the league’s quarterbacks completed 63.0 percent of their passes.
24. And the NFL-wide interception rate reached an all-time low of 2.4 picks per 100 attempts.
25. Oh, and we had a league-record 842 touchdown passes.
26. The league-wide passer rating of 88.4 was by a wide margin the highest in NFL history. Ranking in second is 2014 (87.1), followed by 2013 (84.1), 2012 (83.8), 2011 (82.5) and 2010 (82.2). Notice a pattern?
27. Yet this marked the first year since 2006 in which no passes were completed for more than 90 yards.
28. Games averaged only 217.6 rushing yards, which is the lowest total this century and the fifth-lowest in NFL history.
29. Teams ran only 26.3 times per game, which is the lowest mark of all time.
30. With teams throwing 59 percent of the time, it was the most pass-happy season in NFL history.
31. Despite all of that, it wasn’t the highest-scoring season in NFL history. In 1948, NFL games had an average of 47.2 points. In 2013, the average was a modern-day record 46.8. The 2015 average of 45.6 ranks fifth all time.
32. A record 104 field goals were hit from 50 yards or more, breaking the 2013 record of 96. For some perspective on how much more common 50-yard field goals have become, consider that in 2001 there were only 38 50-yarders throughout the league. And at the time, that was the seventh-highest total in league history.