Stats & Info: Marshall Faulk

Charles in charge after the catch

December, 15, 2013
Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY SportsJamaal Charles set personal and franchise records against the Raiders on Sunday.
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders 56-31 on Sunday, and Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles did a number on both the franchise and NFL record books, and did so while only playing three quarters.

Charles’ final line – 195 receiving yards, four touchdowns catches, 20 rush yards, one rushing touchdown – was remarkable for a number of reasons. Charles became the first player in NFL history to have four touchdown receptions and a touchdown run in a single game, and also became the first running back in NFL history with four touchdown receptions in a game.

Charles became the fifth player in the last 50 seasons with five touchdowns and 200 yards from scrimmage in a game, joining Gale Sayers (1965), Jerry Rice (1990), Shaun Alexander (2002) and Clinton Portis (2003). He is also the second player in Chiefs franchise history to score five touchdowns in a game against the Raiders, joining Abner Haynes in 1961, when the franchise was known as the Texans.

Charles set a career-high for receiving yards with 195, the most by a running back in a game since Week 16 of 1999, when Marshall Faulk tallied 204. That mark was achieved thanks in large part to his work after the catch. His 172 yards are the most since the start of 2006, and 48 more than any other player in a game this season.

Charles is the first player this season with three touchdowns of at least 35 yards. He joins Doug Martin, Darren McFadden, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson as players with three rushing or receiving touchdowns at that length since the start of 2001. From a fantasy perspective, Charles’ 51 points in ESPN standard leagues is tied for the sixth-most in a game since 1960 according to Tristan H. Cockcroft, tying Doug Martin from last season and Corey Dillon in 1997.

It wasn’t all Charles, though. Alex Smith set a career-high with five touchdown passes, the third quarterback in Chiefs history with a five-touchdown, zero-interception game, joining Len Dawson (1967) and Trent Green (2002).

Smith also became third quarterback since 2000 to complete 85 percent of his passes while also throwing for five touchdowns in a game, joining Tom Brady and Drew Brees, the latter of whom did so twice. Smith is also the only quarterback to throw three 35-yard touchdown passes in a game this season. Not surprisingly, Charles caught the ball all eight times he was targeted by his quarterback.

Bigger picture; The Chiefs as a team clinched a playoff spot, and became the third team in NFL history to win 11 games a season after winning two or fewer. The 56 points scored is tied for the second-most in Chiefs franchise history, while the 56 points allowed is a new franchise record for the Raiders.

Sanders, Faulk headline Hall of Fame class

February, 5, 2011
A pair of players elected in their first year of eligibility, Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk, were included among the seven members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2011 announced Saturday night. Sanders and Faulk are the 64th and 65th members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame elected in their first year of eligibility. Sanders is just the eighth defensive back to earn the honor, while Faulk is the 13th running back elected to Canton on the first try.

Few doubted Sanders, arguably the best cover cornerback in league history, would be entering Canton this summer. Over his 14 NFL seasons, Sanders scored a total of 19 return touchdowns, the most in NFL history. Over the duration of his career (1989-2005), only fellow Hall-of-Famer Rod Woodson had more interception returns touchdowns (11) than Sanders (9), despite the fact that Sanders didn't play in 2001, 2002 or 2003. Woodson and Sanders have another connection: prior to Saturday, Woodson was the last defensive back elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

The 1994 Defensive Player of the Year earned a pair of spots on the league's All-Decade Team of the 1990s, getting the nod at cornerback and punt returner. He was also named as the punt returner on the NFL's All-Time Team selected in 2000. A phenomenal athlete, Sanders was a threat to reach the end zone each time he touched the ball. He scored 12 career touchdowns of 70 or more yards. No other player has more since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

Sanders spent his offseasons roaming Major League Baseball outfields, appearing in 641 games with four different franchises. However, he is not the first member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to have played in the majors. Chicago Bears founder/owner/coach George Halas was a member of the Hall's inaugural class in 1963. 44 years before his induction, Halas played 12 games for the 1919 New York Yankees.

Faulk ranks as perhaps the best dual-threat running back in league history and is the only player to accumulate 12,000 rushing yards and 6,000 receiving yards in a career. Faulk eclipsed 2,000 yards from scrimmage in an NFL-record four straight seasons from 1998-01, earning four Pro Bowl trips, three Offensive Player of the Year Awards and the 2000 MVP Award during that span. Over that four-year period, Faulk totaled 8,992 yards from scrimmage, more than 2,000 yards ahead of any other player.

The much-decorated Faulk is one of just four players to win the AP's Offensive Rookie of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and MVP Awards along with Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen and Earl Campbell. Following Faulk's induction this summer, all four players on that list will have a bust in Canton.

D-Gaps: Beware of Woodley

February, 4, 2011
With Troy Polamalu earning the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award on Monday and Clay Matthews finishing a close second, the defensive player who has had arguably the greatest start to a postseason career in NFL history has slipped under the radar in the leadup to Super Bowl XLV. He may not have earned any hardware over the past week (and the merits of his hair style have yet to be debated) but LaMarr Woodley is primed to have a big impact Sunday.

LaMarr Woodley
Woodley set an NFL record in the AFC Championship by recording his 10th career playoff sack in just his sixth postseason game. Since sacks became an official statistic in 1982, he’s the first player to reach 10 sacks in fewer than seven career playoff games. Woodley passed Super Bowl XX MVP Richard Dent, who registered his 10th playoff sack in his seventh postseason game.

With a sack Sunday, Woodley will earn another spot in the NFL record book. He is currently tied with Mark Gastineau for the most consecutive postseason games with at least one full sack, with six. Gastineau's streak started in the 1982 wild card playoffs and stretched all the way to the 1986 Divisional Playoffs, where he registered 1.5 sacks in a loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Can Packers keep Big Ben in the pocket?
It’s tough to find a weakness in the Packers' fifth-ranked pass defense, but Green Bay was average at best when it allowed quarterbacks to escape the pocket during the regular season.

The Packers allowed 7.3 yards per pass attempt to quarterbacks outside the pocket during the regular season, which ranked 26th in the NFL.

That number dropped to 6.4 yards per attempt when the Packers were able to keep quarterbacks between the tackles, second best in the league.

Polamalu’s trophy a good omen for Steelers
Troy Polamalu
Throughout the season, this column has aimed to address the giant gap between the volume of offensive and defensive analysis and statistics. This gap is all the more perplexing when you consider that the NFL’s best teams are often the ones that allow the fewest points as opposed to the ones that score the most (as evidenced this season by four of the league’s top six scoring defenses reaching the conference title games and numbers one and two facing off in the Super Bowl).

Therefore, what better way to end the 2010 season than by pointing out that teams featuring the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, as the Steelers will on Sunday, are 11-1 in Super Bowls. The only Defensive Player of the Year to lose in the Super Bowl the same season he was honored was Bruce Smith, who was a Scott Norwood field goal away from winning Super Bowl XXV with the Bills following the 1990 season.

The reigning Offensive Player of the Year is just 3-9 in the Super Bowl. Since Marshall Faulk led the Rams to a win in Super Bowl XXXIV following the 1999 season, every Offensive Player of the Year to play in the league’s biggest game has come up empty: Faulk in Super Bowl XXXVI, Shaun Alexander in Super Bowl XL and Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLII.