- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Five nuggets of knowledge about the Week 11 games:
Piece of history: The Falcons have a chance to be a part of history that would be nice for them, but it would put Arizona quarterback John Skelton in some pretty bad company. Skelton has thrown an interception in each of his past 12 games. Who was the last quarterback to throw an interception in 13 straight games? Ryan Leaf, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Numbers game: We’re about to find out if nine really is an unlucky number for the Falcons. Last week, they had a chance to start 9-0, but lost to New Orleans. On Sunday, they’ll have a chance to run their home winning streak to nine consecutive games. That would be the longest streak since the Falcons won 10 straight at home between the 1997 and ’98 seasons.
Who needs Nicks? A lot of people thought Tampa Bay’s offensive line would crumble when All-Pro guard Carl Nicks went out with a season-ending injury. Surprisingly, the loss of Nicks doesn’t seem to be having a negative impact on rookie running back Doug Martin. In the two games since Nicks went out, Martin has averaged 8.3 yards per carry when running up the middle or to his left.
Missing the deep ball: You can put some of the blame for this on a battered and struggling offensive line, but Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, who showed a big arm as a rookie last year, hasn’t had much success throwing downfield this season. Newton has 31 pass attempts of more than 20 yards without a touchdown. That’s the most in the league, by far. Minnesota’s Christian Ponder is next with 16 downfield attempts without a touchdown.
Rally cry: The Saints have become just the 10th team since 1966 to start 0-4 and rally to win at least four of their next five games. But their playoff chances remain slim. Of the nine other teams to rally like that after an 0-4 start, only the 1992 San Diego Chargers made it to the playoffs.