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The Saddest NFL Stats of Week 8 You Didn't Know

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It couldn't be more appropriate that Halloween falls on a Sad Stats Tuesday. If you're still looking for a costume, consider going out and depressing everyone around you as a Viking, Bear, Giant, or Caribbean pirate as it was another spooky week for these regulars to this blog. 

These teams just can't help themselves. No matter what they do. No matter what they try different. I mean...

These are your Week 8 NFL Sad Stats.

Sad Stat #1: Baker Mayfield threw the saddest, loneliest Hail Mary of all time

This was undeniably a PERFECT throw. Baker Mayfield might be in the 60s or 70s in overall Madden ratings but he's got a Hail Mary of 99. Everything was perfect. Avoiding the rush. Stepping up in the pocket. Throwing at the right time. And putting it right on Chris Godlose. 

I set off to search if this has happened before. If a Hail Mary pass ever hit the ground in play without any player on either team touching it. Looking at this particular play description, it reads: "(:04) (Shotgun) 6-B.Mayfield pass incomplete deep middle. Hail Mary fell incomplete."

"Fell incomplete". If that's not a sad Hail Mary, I don't know what is. There's no sadder feeling than putting your ball out there without it getting even a fleeting caress. With play descriptions of every NFL play going back to 1999, this is the only end of game Hail Mary out of a total of 90 qualifying that just… "fell incomplete". 

Sad Stat #2: The Chicago Bears are on the Falcons wings in surrender kneels since 2021

What's the polar opposite of a failed Hail Mary pass? I move to submit it's the successful surrender kneel. While Baker failed at throwing a ball deep at the end of his game in an effort to win, Tyson Bagent was successful in kneeling in effort to lose vs the Chargers on Sunday Night Football. 

I went to my bookshelf to pull out the ole "Surrender Kneel" encyclopedia to see where things stand since 1994 when surrender kneel data was available.  The Falcons have the all-time lead with 12 Succussful kneels (Suc-K) while losing with under a minute to play in a game. The Rams and Titans are right on their heels with nine Suc-Ks. The Bears are in the 6th spot with six Suc-Ks, but they're gaining some suction now in the past few years if we just look at Suc-Ks since 2021:

Much of the Bears Suc-K success is owed to surrender kneel god Tim Boyle who had more surrender snaps (2) in 2022 than games played (1). But to put some respect in his name, Boyle is versed in victory formation kneels too as he has 21 total kneels in his career. Fair to say this guy gets down on one knee more than Larry King. And all of them were done with success. The Tim Boyles ones anyway. 

And for anyone scoffing at the idea of a calling the execution of taking a knee a "successful" kneel - as if it's impossible to fuck up - I'll raise you this Eli Manning. 

Sad Stat #3: The Giants and Jets DID NOT set an NFL record for most punt yards in a single game (they got #2)

Disclaimer: This run was for games in which both teams punted 10 or more times, so it's possible the list isn't complete, but I can't imagine #1 would be overtaken. 

You might have thought the Giants vs Jets was the biggest punt off in NFL history. But let's put some respect in the names of quarterbacks Ryan Leaf and Craig Whelihan of the San Diego Chargers and Donald Hollas and Wade Wilson of the Oakland Raiders in 1998. I think I speak for all of us in saying I'm one out of four in ever hearing these names in my life. 

But #2 all-time is still no joke. BOTH punters INDIVIDUALLY punted more times than anyone else since Bandon Colquitt in 2018. And no game has seen double digit punts from both teams since Pat McAfee vs Thomas Morstead in Week 7 of 2015. 

But hang on a second. Let's go back to that Chargers/Raiders game at the top of the graph. It needs to breathe like a fine wine to be fully appreciated. Take a look at the complete drive summary for the Oakland Raiders. Remember, this was team that won the game. 

This might look like a Raiders drive summary, but it's really an all-time Chargers Chargering moment. Out of 19 total Raiders drive, their second best drive ended in a kneel down. That might be the most Charger stat of all time. 

Sad Stat #4: Tommy DeVito is only the second quarterback to have negative total air yards thrown in a game (min 7 attempts) since that stat started being tracked in 2006

And yes - DeVito's is dead last with a total of -7. People joke about having a fan come in to play for a team with a shitty quarterback. Now we know how that would play out. The only other quarterback to throw for negative air yards with 7+ attempts in a game was P.J. Walker last year with -1. 

Of all possible quarterback types who throw the ball down the field the LEAST - Here are the top four types: 

4. P.J. Walker

3. Tim Boyle

2. Any quarterback ever, but only on halfback-sweeps

1. Tommy DeVito

Sad Stat #5: The San Francisco 49ers are officially on fraud watch

Yeah - I said it. A team that looked unstoppable and complete in all three phases through five unblemished weeks are on a slippery slope track to fraud town. I looked back at the last few teams to start the year 5-0 before losing their next three. Show some class and try to put on your best "oh wow, that's surprising…" face. 

2021 Steelers

We all remember mummified Ben Roethlisberger's final year strapping up the knee brace. While the Steelers managed to get in the playoffs at 9-7 it was only to get absolutely whomped by the Chiefs in the first round. 

2016 Vikings

The Vikings! Involved in a fraud stat? Just shocking. They would end the season 8-8 missing out on the playoffs.

2009 Giants

Same story and just as shocking as the 2016 Vikings in every way. 8-8. No playoffs. 

Sad Stat #6: 5 out the last 13 teams to start 1-4 and win their next three games made the playoffs!

This sounds like a happy stat for a team that started 1-4, but any Vikings fan knows exactly why this stat is so sad. There was legitimate reason for optimism. It wasn't just homerism gone wild. Kirk Cousins was playing out of his mind even after losing the best wide receiver perhaps in the league who may have came back later in the season. But that dream is now dead. Instead of the Jets possibly trading for Kirk Cousins to replace their achilles injured quarterback, one could argue the Vikings might now consider trading for the Jets achilles injured quarterback. I mean - that would officially complete Aaron Rodgers' Brett Favre reincarnation right?

I feel for Vikings fans. I know I gave them a lot of shit last year pretty much every week for being a fraud, but this sucks. I was even ready to proclaim the 2023 Vikings as a fraudulent bad team. Going 1-4 to set the persona to make everyone think they're nobodies. But Jesus. I guess with Cousins gone now, that makes them a fraud of a fraudulent fraud team. 

That's it for Week 8. It's been a long season. The good news is it's almost half-way over. The bad news is it's not even half-way over. We'll get through this. Together. See you next week.

Have a Sad Stat tip? DM me @statholesports

- Jeffro