- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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With some help from ESPN Stats & Information and the individual NFC South teams, let’s take a look at some interesting numbers and facts after Sunday’s games.
The New Orleans Saints now have started the past three seasons at 3-1 or better.
New Orleans’ Drew Brees now has thrown a touchdown pass in 31 straight games. That broke his tie with Dan Marino and gives Brees the third-longest streak in NFL history. Johnny Unitas (47) holds the record and Brett Favre (36) is second.
New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham caught 10 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown Sunday. That makes him the first primary tight end (not including wide receivers who sometimes lined up at tight end) to catch 10 passes in a game for the Saints since Cam Cleeland on Dec. 27, 1998.
New Orleans’ win was the first regular-season victory ever for an NFC South team in Jacksonville. Prior to Sunday, the four NFC South teams were a combined 0-8 in Jacksonville.
Carolina’s run defense continued to struggle against Chicago. Matt Forte rushed for a career-high 205 yards on 25 carries. That’s the most by a Chicago player since Walter Payton ran for 275 yards in Week 10 of the 1977 season.
Carolina rookie quarterback Cam Newton completed 27 of 46 passes for 374 yards with one passing touchdown and two rushing touchdowns. He and Steve Young (Week 3 of the 1994 season) are the only players since the AFL-NFL merger to have 350 passing yards, a passing touchdown and two rushing touchdowns in a game.
Newton has 1,386 passing yards in the first four games of his career. That’s 286 more yards than Billy Volek, who held the previous record.
Carolina receiver Steve Smith had 181 receiving yards Sunday. He is the first player since Tim Brown in 1997 to have at least 150 receiving yards in three of his team’s first four games.
Atlanta’s Michael Turner carried 26 times against Seattle. The Falcons now are 23-1 in games in which Turner has at least 25 carries.
Julio Jones had his second straight 100-yard receiving game. He’s the first Atlanta rookie receiver to have multiple 100-yard receiving games in a season since Alfred Jackson in 1978.
The Falcons scored a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time this season.
Atlanta now has forced a turnover in 23 consecutive regular-season games, the longest such streak in the league.
The Falcons now are 5-0 in regular-season West Coast games since Mike Smith took over as coach in 2008.
Under Smith, the Falcons are 13-3 following a loss.