NFC South: Steve Largent

We’ve talked a lot about how Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez seems ageless.

At 36, he leads the NFL with 39 receptions through five games. With some help from ESPN Stats & Information, let’s put some historical perspective on that.

The 39 receptions through five games are the most in NFL history -- by far -- by a player 36 or older.

Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens are tied for the next spot on the list with 31 catches. Rice did that in 2002, when he was 39. Owens did it in 2010, when he was 36. The fourth-best start in history, also belongs to Rice -- 25 receptions to start the 2001 season. The top five is rounded out by Tim Brown, who had 24 catches through five games in 2002.

Gonzalez also is one touchdown short of becoming the eighth player in NFL history with 100 receiving touchdowns. He currently is tied with Don Hutson with 99 touchdown catches. The next touchdown catch by Gonzalez will put him into a tie with Brown and Steve Largent.

Superlatives on the Falcons

October, 8, 2012
10/08/12
9:24
AM ET
With some help from ESPN Stats & Information and Atlanta’s media-relations team, let’s take a run through the statistical highlights of the Falcons’ 24-17 victory against the Washington Redskins.
  • Washington did a good job keeping Atlanta’s passing game in check inside the numbers. But Matt Ryan was able to carve up the edges of the field. On throws outside the numbers, Ryan was 19 of 25 (76 percent) for 184 yards and both of his touchdowns.
  • Tight end Tony Gonzalez had a huge day, catching 13 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Gonzalez was targeted 14 times, the most he’s been targeted since joining the Falcons. Gonzalez’s touchdown was his 24th catch on an end-zone target since the start of the 2008 season -- the most by any tight end during that span.
  • Gonzalez’s 13 receptions were the second-highest total of his career. He had 14 catches while playing for Kansas City on Christmas Day 2004.
  • Coach Mike Smith now has a 48-21 record. With a win next week, he’ll tie Dan Reeves for most victories in franchise history. Reeves was 49-59-1.
  • Gonzalez tied Don Hutson for eighth place on the NFL’s all-time touchdown receptions list. Tim Brown and Steve Largent, who each had 100 touchdown catches, are the next players ahead of Gonzalez.
  • Ryan led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter Sunday. He also did that the previous week against Carolina. In his five-year career, Ryan now has 18 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.
  • Ryan has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 20 straight games. He also has thrown two or more touchdowns in each of his last six games.
  • The Atlanta defense held the Redskins to 12 first downs and allowed Washington to convert on one of nine third-down attempts.
  • Matt Bryant now has made a 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, the longest road field goal of his career. Bryant also has made 23 straight field goals. He set the franchise record with 30 straight between 2010 and '11.
  • Roddy White had four catches for 68 yards. He now has 561 career receptions. He needs 13 more to pass Terance Mathis as the franchise’s all-time leader.

Superlatives on Falcons' victory

November, 28, 2011
11/28/11
6:34
AM ET
Let’s take a look at some of the statistical superlatives from Atlanta’s 24-14 victory against Minnesota on Sunday.
  • The Falcons now are 8-2 against NFC North opponents since coach Mike Smith arrived in 2008.

  • Cornerback Christopher Owens stopped Percy Harvin at the Atlanta 3-yard line on a fourth-quarter kickoff return. Owens followed that by sacking Christian Ponder on the next play.
  • Second-year linebacker Sean Weatherspoon continues to emerge as one of the defense’s brightest spots. He had a team-high 10 tackles, one sack, three tackles for a loss and one quarterback hit.
  • Speaking of emerging players, receiver Harry Douglas had his first touchdown catch of the season. In the past three games, Douglas has 14 catches for 229 yards.
  • Roddy White moved into sole possession of third place in team history in career touchdown catches. White has 41 touchdown receptions. He’s behind only Terance Mathis (57) and Andre Rison. White finished with 120 yards on a season-high 10 catches. He now has had over 100 receiving yards in each of the past two games.
  • Quarterback Matt Ryan, who passed for three touchdowns, now has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 10 straight games. He has thrown for more than one touchdown in three of the past four games.
  • Ryan’s 128.2 NFL passer rating was a season best. It also was the fourth-highest rating of Ryan’s career. The Falcons are 20-0 when Ryan has a rating over 100.
  • Tight end Tony Gonzalez had a season-high nine catches for 69 yards. He now has 13,093 yards, which moved him past Steve Largent (13,089) and into 12th place on the league’s all-time list for receiving yards.
  • Defensive end Lawrence Sidbury had perhaps the best day of his career. Sidbury recorded two sacks. That gives him four for the season and he’s tied for the team lead.
  • Minnesota rushed for just 64 yards on 24 carries. The Falcons now are allowing 83.5 rushing yards per game, which would qualify for the second-best average in franchise history. The Falcons have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 14 consecutive games, dating back to last season.

Statistical superlatives for Falcons

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
9:03
AM ET
ATLANTA – Since the Atlanta Falcons were the only NFC South team to get a win (a 23-17 victory against Tennessee) on Sunday, they’re the only team that will get a list of statistical superlatives Monday.

Here it is:
  • Since coach Mike Smith arrived in 2008, the Falcons are 11-3 against AFC opponents.
  • Since 2008, the Falcons are 23-6 in the Georgia Dome. Only New England and Baltimore have won more home games in that span. The Patriots and Ravens each have won 24 times.
  • Atlanta’s 432 yards of total offense tied for the team’s second-best output of the season. The Falcons also had 432 yards against the Colts in Week 9.
  • The defense held Tennessee’s Chris Johnson to just 12 yards on 13 carries. The Titans only had 41 net rushing yards. The Falcons haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 13 consecutive games, a streak that stretches back to last season. The Falcons are allowing 85.4 rushing yards per game this season.
  • Tight end Tony Gonzalez continues to defy age. He caught his seventh touchdown pass of the season, which is a team high. Those seven touchdown catches are the most since Gonzalez had 10 in 2008, his final season in Kansas City. Gonzalez now has had at least seven touchdowns in seven seasons.
  • Early in the second half, Gonzalez became the 13th player in NFL history to pass the 13,000-yard receiving mark. He now has 13,024 career receiving yards. Gonzalez needs only 66 yards to pass Steve Largent to move into 12th place on the all-time list. Gonzalez now has 14 seasons in which he has had at least 50 receptions. The only other player in NFL history to do that is Jerry Rice.
  • Quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown at least one touchdown pass in eight straight games and has had at least one in 24 of his last 25 games.
  • Ryan finished with a 110.9 NFL passer rating. Since his arrival in 2008, the Falcons are 19-0 when Ryan’s passer rating is at least 100.
  • Ryan threw for 316 yards. That gives him back-to-back 300-yard games for the first time in his career. Ryan had a career-best 351 yards in last week’s loss to the Saints. Ryan has four 300-yard passing games this season. That ties Jeff George’s franchise record for a single season.
  • The Falcons have won seven of their last eight games in the month of November. There's a lot to be said for piling up wins in November and December.
  • Running back Michael Turner scored his eighth rushing touchdown of the season and has 47 since joining the team in 2008. Turner needs only two more rushing touchdowns to pass Gerald Riggs’ franchise record. Turner also has scored seven touchdowns in his last seven games.
  • With his 24th 100-yard rushing game, Turner tied Riggs’ franchise record. Turner has had five 100-yard games this season.
  • Defensive end John Abraham recorded his fourth sack of the season. Abraham has 106.5 career sacks and has moved ahead of Trace Armstrong and into 18th place on the NFL’s all-time list.
  • After missing his first field-goal attempt since last season in last week’s loss to the Saints, Matt Bryant hit all three attempts Sunday. Bryant has made 18 of 19 attempts this season.
  • The Falcons snapped a five-game losing streak against the Titans. Prior to Sunday, the Falcons hadn’t won against Tennessee since 1993.

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