BRADY AND BREES APPROACH ALL-TIME

PASSING MILESTONES AS NFL ENTERS WEEK 5

The NFL heads into the second quarter of the regular season after an exciting Week 4 which saw seven games decided by three points or fewer, including three games in overtime. At least one game has gone to overtime in each of the first four weeks of the 2018 season, joining the 1979, 1983 and 2002 seasons as the only campaigns to feature at least one overtime game in each of its first four weeks since the regular-season overtime rule was adopted in 1974.

Five teams – DALLASHOUSTONOAKLANDSEATTLE and TENNESSEE – scored game-winning points on the final play of their respective contests last week. Additionally, CINCINNATI scored a go-ahead touchdown with seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Bengals a 37-36 win over Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last week. This is the first time since Week 3 of the 2012 season (six) that at least six games had the game-winning points scored in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime.

Close games and high-powered offenses have highlighted a thrilling first four weeks. Week 5 promises more of the same.

Two of the NFL’s all-time greats at the quarterback position – New England’s TOM BRADY and New Orleans’ DREW BREES – enter Week 5 with their eyes on history.

With 201 passing yards on Monday night against Washington (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Brees (71,740 passing yards) can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (71,838) and PEYTON MANNING (71,940) to become the NFL’s all-time leading passer. In Week 3, Brees (6,344 completions) passed Favre (6,300) for the most completions in league annals.

PLAYER TEAM(S) PASSING YARDS  
Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 71,940  
Brett Favre^ Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota 71,838  
Drew Brees San Diego, New Orleans 71,740  
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Brady, who ranks third in NFL history with 497 career touchdown passes, and Brees, whose 496 touchdown passes are the fourth-most in league history, can become the third and fourth quarterbacks to throw for at least 500 career touchdown passes, joining Manning (539) and Favre (508). Brady will aim to reach the milestone on Thursday night (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon) against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium.

PLAYER TEAM(S) PASSING TOUCHDOWNS
Peyton Manning Indianapolis, Denver 539
Brett Favre^ Green Bay, New York Jets, Minnesota 508
Tom Brady New England 497
Drew Brees San Diego, New Orleans 496
^Pro Football Hall of Famer

Through Week 4, passing figures league-wide continue to trend at historic rates, as the marks for completions (2,999), completion percentage (65.4 percent), net passing yards (32,215), touchdown passes (228) and passer rating (94.5) are all the highest in NFL history through the first four weeks of a season.

SEASON COMPLETIONS   SEASON COMPLETION PCT.   SEASON TD PASSES
2018 2,999   2018 65.4   2018 228
2016 2,903   2014 64.3   2013 205

 

SEASON NET PASSING YARDS   SEASON RATING
2018 32,215   2018 94.5
2016 31,616   2014 91.5

Veteran signal callers and young quarterbacks on the rise have been performing at a high level from the onset this season.

Steelers quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER, in his 15th season, leads the NFL with 1,414 passing yards, while Rams quarterback JARED GOFF, who is in his third season, ranks second with 1,406 yards. Kansas City’s PATRICK MAHOMES, who has made five career starts, leads the NFL with 14 touchdown passes through Week 4 with Cincinnati’s ANDY DALTON, Tampa Bay’s RYAN FITZPATRICK, Goff and the Los Angeles Chargers’ PHILIP RIVERS tied for second with 11 touchdown passes apiece. Goff (127.3) and Mahomes (126.5) rank first and second, respectively, in passer rating this season with Brees (115.3) following closely behind.

Collectively, 11 quarterbacks have thrown for at least 1,200 yards through Week 4, the most in league history through the first four weeks of a season, surpassing the previous high of seven in 2011. Five quarterbacks – Goff (465 passing yards), Indianapolis’ ANDREW LUCK (464), Oakland’s DEREK CARR (437), Minnesota’s KIRK COUSINS (422) and Atlanta’s MATT RYAN (419) – passed for at least 400 yards last week. There have been 12 individual performances with at least 400 passing yards this season, the most in NFL history through the first four weeks of a sea­son. The five individual 400-yard passing performances in Week 4 were the most in a single week in league annals.

Seven quarterbacks have thrown at least 10 touchdown passes in the first four weeks of the 2018 season, the most in league annals through Week 4. No other season has featured more than four such QBs through Week 4. Ten quarterbacks have a passer rating of at least 100 (minimum 80 attempts), tied with the 2015 season for the most through the first four weeks of a season in NFL history.

Below are highlights of the Week 5 schedule:

Week 5 kicks off on Thursday as the INDIANAPOLIS COLTS take on the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS at Gillette Stadium (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon). Indianapolis rookie linebacker DARIUS LEONARD leads the NFL with 54 tackles and is the only player since 2000 with at least 50 tackles (54) and four sacks (four) in his team’s first four games of a season. The Patriots have won five of their past six at home on Thursday night. New England, which stands at 2-2 entering Week 5, has had a winning record through the first five games of the season in 16 consecutive seasons dating back to 2002.

The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS have the NFL’s highest-scoring offense (36.3 points per game) through the first four weeks of the season and welcome the JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS and the league’s top scoring defense (14 points allowed per game) to Arrowhead Stadium (1:00 PM ET, CBS).

A rematch of the 2017 NFC Championship Game between the MINNESOTA VIKINGS and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at Lincoln Financial Field (4:25 PM ET, FOX) features two teams looking to rebound from close losses last week.

Sunday’s nightcap at NRG Stadium features the fifth-overall meeting between the DALLAS COWBOYS and HOUSTON TEXANS (8:20 PM ET, NBC). Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, who leads the league with 426 rushing yards this season, is the only player with at least 3,000 rushing yards (3,040) since entering the league in 2016. Texans wide receiver DE ANDRE HOPKINS is one of two players (ANTONIO BROWN) with at least 300 catches (315), 4,000 receiving yards (4,296) and 30 touchdown catches (30) since 2015.