Week 6 notes and observations

With the help of ace NFL Network researcher Dave Carabello, we’ve uncovered some numbers that could provide a hint as to what fans will see this weekend.

  • Nobody outside Jessica Simpson is a bigger booster of Tony Romo than me, but looking at the numbers, something is a bit off. Romo now has has thrown an interception in nine straight games including playoffs (11 INT in those 9 games); He has committed at least one turnover in 19 of his last 20 games including playoffs (23 INT, 4 fumbles lost during span). For Dallas to be a Super Bowl contender, Romo needs to be smarter with the football.
  • The anti-Romo story is unfolding in Washington, where kudos go to Redskins head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn for the work he has done with Jason Campbell, and more kudos go to Campbell for adjusting to yet another offense. Campbell has yet to throw an interception this season and, dating back to last season, now has gone 175 consecutive passes without throwing a pick.
  • If it seems like scoring is up, it’s because it is. Through five weeks, NFL games are averaging 45 points per game –- the second highest total at this time of the season since 1970, when games averaged 45.7 points per game.
  • We haven’t seen this many nail-biting, can-you-believe-that, come-from-behind wins in almost 20 years. So far this season, 23 of the 73 games –- a whopping 31.5 percent — have seen one team come from behind in the fourth quarter to win the game. Since 1954 –- and without Carabello, I never could track these sort of things -– the only other season with such a high fourth-quarter comeback percentage was 1989, in which 33.3 percent of the games saw a fourth-quarter comeback.

Here’s a look at the fourth-quarter comebacks since 2000:

2000: 57 fourth-quarter comebacks, 235 total games = 24.3 percent
2001: 67 fourth-quarter comebacks, 238 total games = 28.2 percent
2002: 65 fourth-quarter comebacks, 248 total games = 26.2 percent
2003: 56 fourth-quarter comebacks, 244 total games = 23.0 percent
2004: 57 fourth-quarter comebacks, 252 total games = 22.6 percent
2005: 54 fourth-quarter comebacks, 250 total games = 21.6 percent
2006: 60 fourth-quarter comebacks, 241 total games = 24.9 percent
2007: 54 fourth-quarter comebacks, 251 total games = 21.5 percent
2008: 23 fourth-quarter comebacks, 73 total games = 31.5 percent

  • At some point soon, preferably Sunday versus Baltimore, tax-paying Colts fans are going to want a return on their investment. Since helping to build Lucas Oil Stadium, Colts fans have watched their team go 0-4 at home — with two losses in the preseason and two in the regular season.
  • If Eastern Illinois is the home of NFL head coaches –- Sean Payton, Brad Childress and Mike Shanahan all attended school there -– then Northern Illinois is the home of running backs. Both Atlanta’s Michael Turner and Chicago’s Garrett Wolfe attended Northern Illinois. And Turner is off to quite a start this season, comparable to the one Jamal Anderson had for the Cowboys in 1998. Take a look:

Turner 2008: 103 rushes, 543 yards, 6 TDs, 5.3 yards per rush
Anderson 1998: 121 rushes, 512 yards, 3 TDs, 4.2 yards per rush

  • Beware, Chicago. Early in the season, Atlanta has restored its home-field advantage. So far this season, the Falcons are 2-0 at home and have outscored opponents 72-35.
  • Somehow, someway, Houston is going to have to improve its defense before it turns around its season. In each of their four games this season, the Texans defense has allowed at least 30 points.
  • Paging Calvin Johnson, paging Calvin Johnson. After catching 13 passes for 236 yards in the first two games, Johnson has caught six passes for 56 yards in the past two games.
  • Look for Seattle to run the ball heavily against Green Bay on Sunday for two reasons. No. 1, the Packers have allowed a 100-yard rusher in four of their first five games this season; they allowed only three a season ago. And No. 2, Seattle has been listless in the air with Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck failing to pass for at least 200 yards in any game this season. Through Week 5, Hasselbeck has averaged 164.0 passing yards per game compared to the 247.9 he averaged last season.
  • The last time the Cardinals were in sole possession of first place, as they are now, was way back in 1988, when the team had a 4-2 record, played in the NFC East and was known as the Phoenix Cardinals.
  • It would be nice if San Diego could open a game in rapid-fire fashion. In the past two games, it hasn’t happened. In the first half of their past two games, the Chargers have been outscored 32-3. But here’s a chance to get that back on track, as well as extract a little revenge. Chargers Philip Rivers is 0-3 in his career as starter vs Patriots including playoffs (2 TD, 5 INT).
  • Want to know one reason why Tennessee is undefeated as it heads into its bye week? The Titans have gone three straight games without allowing a sack.
  • Those road-warrior Giants are back on the road Monday night in Cleveland. No need to remind the Browns that the Giants now have won 11 straight road games, including the playoffs, and eight straight games overall.
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