October 5, 2015

Highlighted Year: Mike Hollis, 1997

Placekicker, Jacksonville Jaguars

Age: 25
3rd season in pro football & with Jaguars
College: Idaho
Height: 5’7”   Weight: 176

Hollis made all 68 of his college extra point attempts and kicked a 56-yard field goal against Arizona in 1993. Undrafted by the NFL, he was with the San Diego Chargers during the 1994 preseason and then caught on with the expansion Jaguars in ’95. Hollis was successful on 20 of 27 field goal attempts and 27 of 28 extra point tries and improved in 1996 to 30 of 36 in field goals and made all 27 PAT attempts as the team reached the postseason, where he was successful on 8 of 9 field goal attempts in the three-game run through the AFC title contest.

1997 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Field goals – 31 [3]
Most field goals, game – 5 vs. Baltimore 11/30
Field goal attempts – 36 [5, tied with Gary Anderson, Olindo Mare & Jason Elam]
Most field goal attempts, game – 5 vs. Pittsburgh 9/22, vs. Baltimore 11/30
Field goal percentage – 86.1 [7]
PATs – 41 [3, tied with Doug Pelfrey]
PAT attempts – 41 [4]
Longest field goal – 52 yards vs. NY Giants 9/7, vs. Kansas City 11/9

Field Goals – 31
PATs – 41
Points – 134 [1]

Postseason: 1 G (AFC Wild Card playoff at Denver)
Field goals – 1
Field goal attempts – 1
PATs – 2
PAT attempts – 2
Longest field goal – 38 yards

Awards & Honors:
Pro Bowl

Jaguars went 11-5 to finish second in the AFC Central while ranking third in the NFL in scoring (394 points) and qualified for the postseason as a Wild Card. Lost AFC Wild Card playoff to Denver Broncos (42-17).

Hollis spent four more seasons with the Jaguars and had his best field goal percentage (92.3) in 2000 when he was successful on 24 of 26 attempts. While he sometimes had difficulty on kickoffs, he was generally accurate on field goals. After faltering in 2001, when he missed ten field goals and his accuracy dropped to 64.3 percent after never being below 80 percent since his first year with the team, Hollis departed for the Buffalo Bills in 2002. He made good on 25 of 33 field goal attempts (75.8 %) and all 40 tries for extra point. Hollis moved on to the New York Giants in ’03 but was placed on injured reserve with a back injury in the preseason and retired the following year. Overall, Hollis kicked 200 field goals out of 250 attempts (80.0 %), with 175 of 217 (80.6) coming with the Jaguars, and added 279 PATs for a total of 879 points scored (764 with Jacksonville). He added another 16 field goals, out of 18 attempts, and 22 extra points in eight postseason games, all with the Jaguars.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970

October 4, 2015

1992: Late Elway TD Passes Propel Broncos Past Chiefs

Two AFC Western Division rivals, the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, had 3-1 records as they met in Denver on October 4, 1992. The Broncos had won nine consecutive home games against Kansas City and hoped to keep the string going.

Denver was coached by Dan Reeves for the 12th year and had reached the AFC Championship game in ’91. As he had been for the past decade, QB John Elway (pictured above) was the key to the offense and he had a good group of receivers. The defense was strong at linebacker, led by the aging but effective ILB Karl Mecklenburg, and at safety with FS Steve Atwater and SS Dennis Smith. The Chiefs, under Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer, featured a conservative, ball-control offense operated by QB Dave Krieg and a solid defense with noteworthy performers in DE Neil Smith and OLB Derrick Thomas.

There were 75,629 fans in attendance at Mile High Stadium on a sunny afternoon. The teams exchanged punts through a scoreless first quarter. The Chiefs were deep in their own territory at the end of the period but put together a 94-yard drive in eight plays that concluded with Dave Krieg throwing to WR Willie Davis for a 50-yard touchdown. Nick Lowery added the extra point and the visitors held a 7-0 lead.

The Broncos responded with a long scoring drive of 60 yards that took 12 plays. Starting from their 17, RB Gaston Green ran for 11 yards and John Elway threw to WR Mark Jackson (pictured below) for another 12. Three plays later, facing a third-and-five situation, Elway connected with TE Shannon Sharpe for eight yards to keep the series going and another pass to Sharpe gained an additional 14 yards to the Kansas City 33. After a loss, Elway lateraled to RB Reggie Rivers for a pickup of 17 yards. The drive finally stalled at the KC 23 and David Treadwell kicked a 41-yard field goal.

The teams again traded punts. The Chiefs, regaining possession at their 22 with 1:25 left in the first half, moved methodically down the field and were significantly helped along by a 34-yard pass interference penalty. Lowery booted a 44-yard field goal on the final play before halftime to extend Kansas City’s lead to 10-3.

The Chiefs had the first possession of the third quarter and advanced 62 yards in seven plays. Krieg passed to RB Barry Word for a gain of 23 yards and twice to WR J.J. Birden for 19 and 17 yards. Lowery again finished the drive off with a field goal, this time from 36 yards for a 13-3 tally.

Denver went 75 yards in eight plays on its next possession, with Elway completing throws to WR Arthur Marshall for 21 yards and TE Reggie Johnson for 48 yards to the KC 11. The Broncos still couldn’t penetrate the end zone but came away with a 22-yard Treadwell field goal to narrow Kansas City’s lead to 13-6.

The Chiefs again drove into Denver territory as Krieg completed four passes, the longest to Birden covering 19 yards. Facing third-and-ten at the Broncos’ 26, Krieg was sacked by Karl Mecklenburg, thus setting up a long field goal attempt of 49 yards by Lowery that sailed wide to the right.

Getting the ball back with 1:15 remaining in the period, the Broncos immediately moved into scoring territory when Elway passed to Sharpe for a gain of 48 yards to the Kansas City 21. Elway was sacked on the next play by Neil Smith for a loss of nine yards but the Broncos were down to the 19 to start the fourth quarter. Treadwell attempted a 37-yard field goal that was unsuccessful, but the Chiefs were penalized for running into the kicker and it meant another try from five yards closer. This time the kick was blocked by DT Dan Saleaumua.

Kansas City proceeded to put together a 13-play, 60-yard drive that not only led to more points but used up 8:23 off the clock. The Chiefs converted a fourth down and a third down along the way and Lowery kicked a 26-yard field goal to put them ahead by ten points at 16-6 with 6:16 left in regulation.

It got worse for the Broncos on their first play from scrimmage following the kickoff when Elway fumbled while being sacked by Smith, and the defensive end recovered at the Denver 16. Lowery booted a 33-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, shortly thereafter and the visitors were now ahead by 19-6 with the clock down to five minutes remaining. Many of the home fans began to head for the exits.

Elway filled the air with passes on the next series that started from the Denver 20. Eight of them were complete as the drive covered 80 yards in 14 plays, with three of them caught by Jackson. That included the last one that he grabbed in the corner of the end zone and covered 25 yards for a touchdown. Treadwell added the point after and the Broncos were now down by six points at 19-13 with the clock showing less than two minutes to play.

With Denver using two timeouts, the Chiefs ran the ball three times from their five yard line following a short kickoff return and punted. Arthur Marshall came through with a big return of 28 yards to give the Broncos excellent field position at the KC 27. Elway threw to Marshall twice, for 11 and four yards, and then connected with WR Vance Johnson for a 12-yard TD. Treadwell added the all-important extra point and Denver had its first lead of the day with 38 seconds to go. The Chiefs had one last chance but, after reaching midfield, a fourth down pass that came up short effectively ended the game and the Broncos won in dramatic fashion by a final score of 20-19.    

The Chiefs had the edge in total yards (369 to 347) and time of possession (32:24 to 27:36), but were hurt by their inability to score more than one touchdown and thus settling for four field goals. Each team accumulated 20 first downs. Kansas City also accounted for five sacks, to three by the Broncos, and Denver suffered the game’s only turnover.

John Elway completed 23 of 38 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns while giving up no interceptions. Shannon Sharpe had 9 catches for 118 yards while Mark Jackson contributed five receptions for 59 yards and a TD. Reggie Rivers was Denver’s leading rusher with 34 yards on six carries and Gaston Green gained 23 yards on his nine attempts.

For the Chiefs, Dave Krieg was successful on 22 of 31 throws for 301 yards and a TD while also not giving up any interceptions. Willie Davis (pictured below) caught 5 passes for 127 yards and the club’s only touchdown. Barry Word ran for 84 yards on 21 carries.

“There’s more to that football team than John Elway, like that defense that kept us without a first down before their final possession,” said Kansas City’s Coach Schottenheimer of the Broncos.

Denver lost badly the next week but then won three of four and had a 7-3 record before losing Elway for four games, all of which were losses. The Broncos finished at 8-8 and third in the AFC West. The Chiefs were ahead of them in second with a 10-6 tally, ending the regular season by pummeling Denver at home. Kansas City qualified for the playoffs as a Wild Card and lost to San Diego in the first round.

October 3, 2015

1999: Redskins Overcome 21-Point First Quarter Deficit to Defeat Panthers

The Washington Redskins had a 2-1 record, but had not yet won at home, as they hosted the Carolina Panthers on October 3, 1999. Washington had a new owner in Daniel M. Snyder but Norv Turner was back for a sixth season as head coach. Only two of those years had yielded winning records, and they were 6-10 in 1998. There was a new starting quarterback in Brad Johnson (pictured above), obtained from the Vikings, and he was off to a good start with five TDs and no interceptions among his first 89 passes. RB Stephen Davis was over a hundred yards in two of the first three games and gained 93 the previous week, with a total of eight touchdowns scored while playing behind an improved line. The biggest concern was the defense, which had shown a tendency to give up significant yardage.

Carolina was at 1-2 under first-year Head Coach George Seifert, twice a NFL title winner with the 49ers, and had just won for the first time a week before. Conservative offensively in their first four years, the Panthers were now more willing to go to the air with QB Steve Beuerlein. RB Tshimanga “Tim” Biakabutuka provided breakaway speed when healthy. But like the Redskins, they had concerns regarding the defense.

There were 76,831 fans in attendance at Redskins Stadium. The teams exchanged punts to start the game before the Panthers struck quickly on the third play of their second series. Tim Biakabutuka (pictured below) ran around end for a 60-yard touchdown, John Kasay kicked the extra point, and the visitors were in front by 7-0.

Carolina got the ball back in short order when RB Brian Mitchell fumbled the kickoff return and CB Michael Swift recovered at the Washington 28. Steve Beuerlein immediately threw to WR Muhsin Muhammad for a 27-yard gain to the one and, two plays later, Biakabutuka scored from that distance for his second TD. With Kasay’s point after, the Panthers were up by 14-0 and the game was barely five minutes old.

The Redskins had to punt following their next series and Carolina took just two plays to cover 60 yards. Beuerlein threw to Muhammad for 15 yards and then it was Biakabutuka running up the middle for a 45-yard TD, his third of the game. Kasay again converted and Carolina was ahead by a formidable 21-0, still in the opening period.

Washington responded with a long drive of 14 plays that covered 78 yards and extended into the second quarter. Brad Johnson completed five passes, three of them to FB Larry Centers, the longest of which covered 19 yards. Stephen Davis ran effectively, as did Brian Mitchell, who gained nine yards on a third-and-three play, and it was Davis running for a one-yard touchdown to get the home team on the scoreboard. Brett Conway added the PAT.

On the first play of Carolina’s next possession, Beuerlein connected with WR Rae Carruth for 43 yards to the Washington 35. The Panthers picked up another ten yards before the drive stalled and Kasay kicked a 43-yard field goal to give the visitors a 24-7 advantage.

The Redskins responded with a big first down play of their own as Johnson passed to WR Michael Westbrook (pictured below), who broke away from CB Eric Davis on a 47-yard gain to the Carolina 33. Three plays later, Johnson went to Westbrook again for a 17-yard TD and Conway added the extra point.

A short possession by the Panthers ended with a punt and the Redskins picked up 37 yards on a pass interference penalty on CB Doug Evans. Runs by Johnson and Davis advanced Washington to the Carolina eight, but a loss on a running play and incomplete pass had the home team facing a third-and-11 situation. Once again it was Johnson to Westbrook for a touchdown. Conway’s extra point made it a three-point margin of 24-21 with 6:51 to go in the first half.

The Panthers had to punt again and it didn’t take the Redskins long to reach the end zone. On the next play Johnson threw to WR Albert Connell for a 62-yard TD and, adding Conway’s point after, the Redskins were in front by 28-24 at halftime. The 28 points in a single quarter set a club record.

The teams traded punts to start the third quarter before the Redskins added to their lead. It took just four plays to travel 60 yards as Johnson completed passes to Connell for nine yards and Westbrook for 16, with a three-yard run by Davis in between. Johnson’s third pass of the series was to Connell for a 32-yard touchdown and, with Conway’s conversion, the home team was now up by 35-24.

The Panthers drove into Washington territory on the next possession as Beuerlein completed three passes and Biakabutuka had a 16-yard run. But the drive stalled at the 34 as three straight throws fell incomplete and Kasay missed on a 52-yard field goal attempt.

The Redskins reached the Carolina 35 on their next series, but attempting to convert a fourth-and-five situation, Johnson was sacked by LB Michael Barrow. Beuerlein immediately threw to Muhammad for a 31-yard gain but the Panthers were backed up by a holding penalty, and while they got the ten yards back, they ended up with a Kasay field goal from 43 yards to narrow Washington’s lead to 35-27.

The Redskins punted on their next possession and the Panthers started off the fourth quarter with the ball at midfield. Beuerlein completed three passes and the visitors came away with another field goal by Kasay, this time from 42 yards, to make it a 35-30 tally.

Washington went three-and-out and the Redskins punted again from deep in their own territory. Taking over at the Washington 47, the Panthers took six plays to score. Beuerlein converted a third-and-ten situation with a pass to WR Patrick Jeffers that picked up 13 yards and a throw to Muhammad gained 31 yards. TE Wesley Walls caught a six-yard TD pass, and while the try for two points failed, Carolina was back on top by 36-35 with 10:28 to play.

The teams exchanged punts once more and the clock was down to 4:19 as the Redskins took over at their 19, and after Coach Turner successfully challenged a ruling that Mitchell had fumbled the ball away on his punt return. Johnson threw to Westbrook for nine yards and Davis ran for 12, but four plays later Washington was facing fourth-and-one. Davis kept the drive alive with a three-yard run and Johnson completed a pass to WR Irving Fryar for 16 yards to the Carolina 32. Two plays after that, Johnson threw to Westbrook for 19 yards and, after two runs into the line, Conway came on to kick a 31-yard field goal with six seconds to play. Washington won by a final score of 38-36. 

Carolina outgained the Redskins (483 yards to 418) and had the edge in first downs (23 to 22) although Washington had the longer time of possession (31:40 to 28:20). The teams were close in net passing yards with the Panthers leading by 328 to 308, and the visitors gained 155 yards on the ground, to 110 for the Redskins. Each team turned the ball over once.

Brad Johnson completed 20 of 33 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns while giving up no interceptions. Michael Westbrook had 8 catches for 140 yards and two TDs and Albert Connell (pictured at right) had five receptions for 134 yards and two scores as well. Stephen Davis topped Washington’s rushers with 72 yards on 21 carries that included a TD.

For the Panthers, Steve Beuerlein was successful 23 of 47 throws for 334 yards and a TD while giving up an interception. Tim Biakabutuka ran for 142 yards on 12 carries that included three touchdowns, with 123 of those yards and all of the scores coming in the first quarter. Muhsin Muhammad caught 8 passes for 151 yards.

The Redskins raised their record to 3-1 and, while they slumped at midseason, they went on to top the NFC East at 10-6 and reach the postseason for the first time since 1992. Washington defeated Detroit in the Wild Card round before falling to Tampa Bay at the Divisional level. The Panthers finished at 8-8, which was an improvement for them after consecutive losing years in 1997 and ’98. That placed Carolina second in the NFC West.

Brad Johnson and Steve Beuerlein remained among the leaders in most passing categories, with Beuerlein topping the NFL in pass completions (343) and yards (4436) and ranking second to Kurt Warner of the Rams in TD passes (36) and passer rating (94.6). However, the immobile Beuerlein also ranked first in the NFC in being sacked (50). Johnson placed fifth in pass attempts (519), completions (316), yards (4005), yards per attempt (7.7), and passer rating (90.0), and was third in completion percentage (60.9) and tied for fourth with Oakland’s Rich Gannon in touchdown passes (24).

Michael Westbrook and Albert Connell remained an effective receiving tandem, with Westbrook catching 65 passes for 1191 yards (18.3 avg.) and nine touchdowns and Connell accounting for 62 receptions for 1132 yards (18.3 avg. also) and seven TDs. The totals all represented career highs for both receivers (although Connell averaged 19.5 yards on 39 catches in 2000).

Tim Biakabutuka characteristically missed five games and rushed for a career-best 718 yards on 138 carries (5.2 avg.) and six touchdowns. As the game against the Redskins showed, he could be outstanding on occasion, but injuries were a chronic problem.

October 2, 2015

Highlighted Year: Dean Biasucci, 1987

Placekicker, Indianapolis Colts

Age: 25
3rd season in pro football & with Colts
College: Western Carolina
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 191

An undrafted free agent out of college, Biasucci beat out four other placekickers to be signed by the Colts in 1984 after Raul Allegre was injured in the opening game. While Allegre returned, Biasucci was retained for kickoffs. He was cut during the ’85 preseason and sat out the year, but came back to beat out Allegre in 1986 and was successful on 13 of 25 field goal attempts and 26 of 27 extra points.

1987 Season Summary
Appeared in 12 of 15 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Field goals – 24 [2, tied with Jim Breech, 1st in AFC]
Most field goals, game – 4 at NY Jets 11/1, at Miami 11/15
Field goal attempts – 27 [6, tied with Gary Anderson & Raul Allegre]
Most field goal attempts, game – 5 at NY Jets 11/1
Field goal percentage – 88.9 [1]
PATs – 24
PAT attempts – 24
Longest field goal – 50 yards vs. Miami 9/20

Field Goals – 24
PATs – 24
Points – 96 [4]

Postseason: 1 G (AFC Divisional playoff at Cleveland)
Field goals – 0
Field goal attempts – 0
PATs – 3
PAT attempts – 3

Awards & Honors:
2nd team All-NFL: AP, NEA
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Colts went 9-6 in the strike-shortened season (three games were played with replacement players) to finish first in the AFC East and reach the postseason for the first time since moving to Indianapolis. Lost AFC Divisional playoff to Cleveland Browns (38-21).

Effective in clutch situations and with a strong leg, Biasucci went on to play seven more seasons with the Colts and was a first-team All-NFL selection by The Sporting News after scoring a career-high 114 points in 1988. Having kicked 176 field goals and scored 783 points with the Colts, which were franchise records at the time, Biasucci signed with Pittsburgh in 1995, was released, and finished his career with the St. Louis Rams. Overall, he was successful on 185 of 262 field goal attempts (70.6 %) and added 268 PATs for a total of 823 points.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970

October 1, 2015

1967: Raiders Outlast Chiefs in AFL Western Division Showdown

The Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, two rivals in the Western Division of the American Football League, met in Oakland on October 1, 1967 in a key early-season matchup of teams that had both started off at 2-0.

The Raiders were coming off of an 8-5-1 record in 1966 and had taken steps in the offseason to try and move up. Acquired was QB Daryle Lamonica (pictured at right), a strong-armed backup in Buffalo who had shown great promise in limited action, plus star CB Willie Brown from Denver. 39-year-old QB/PK George Blanda had also been added, having been discarded by the Oilers, providing a veteran backup quarterback and dependable placekicker, and there was an outstanding rookie in guard Gene Upshaw. Added to the talent already on hand, Oakland, under the guidance of managing partner Al Davis and Head Coach John Rauch, had come out of the gate in impressive fashion by defeating the Broncos and Patriots by a combined score of 86-7.

Kansas City, coached by Hank Stram, was the team that Oakland was seeking to displace. The Chiefs were the defending AFL Champions, losing to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers in the first Super Bowl. They had an excellent and experienced quarterback in Len Dawson, a dangerous receiver in flanker Otis Taylor, a productive running game led by HB Mike Garrett, and a good defense.   

There were 50,268 fans in attendance at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. It was raining as the game started, although it eventually cleared. The first quarter was scoreless, but a clip on a punt return had the Chiefs starting inside their ten yard line late in the period and a pass by Len Dawson that was deflected was intercepted by SS Rodger Bird to give Oakland possession at the Kansas City 16. On the first play of the second quarter, Daryle Lamonica tossed a one-yard touchdown pass to HB Clem Daniels. George Blanda added the extra point and the Raiders were ahead by 7-0.

The Chiefs had to punt following their next series and the Raiders, starting from their 37, drove to another score. Lamonica completed passes to split end Bill Miller for 12 yards, FB Hewritt Dixon for five, and TE Billy Cannon for 12 yards to the KC 23, but the next three tosses were incomplete and Blanda kicked a 31-yard field goal.

Oakland got the ball right back when flanker Noland Smith fumbled at the end of a 35-yard kickoff return and the Raiders recovered at the Kansas City 34. A swing pass to Dixon picked up 17 yards but the home team came up empty when the drive stalled at the nine and Blanda’s 16-yard field goal attempt hit the goal post.

Given a reprieve from falling deeper into a hole, the Chiefs advanced 80 yards in six plays. Mike Garrett (pictured at left) ran three straight times for 12 yards and Dawson then threw long to Otis Taylor for a pickup of 46 yards to the Oakland 22. Following another short run by Garrett, Dawson passed to HB Gene Thomas for a 20-yard TD. Rookie Jan Stenerud converted to narrow Oakland’s lead to 10-7, and that remained the score at halftime.

The Chiefs had the first possession in the third quarter, again starting deep in their own territory, and Dawson was hit by DE Ike Lassiter as he was throwing and LB Gus Otto intercepted to give the Raiders the ball at the Kansas City 23. That led to a Blanda field goal from 33 yards and a 13-7 advantage for the home team.

Kansas City had to punt following a short series, once again from deep in Chiefs territory, and the resulting return by Bird for 11 yards plus a 15-yard face mask penalty put Oakland on the KC 35. The Raiders again couldn’t move on offense and this time Blanda was wide on a 42-yard field goal try.

The teams exchanged punts once again, with the Raiders gaining the advantage in the battle for field position. Early in the fourth quarter Blanda was successful on a 42-yard field goal and Oakland opened up a 16-7 lead.

Noland Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards to the KC 46 and the Chiefs came alive on offense. Garrett again ran effectively and finished the series off with an option pass to Taylor that resulted in a 17-yard touchdown. Stenerud’s extra point narrowed the margin to two points at 16-14.

The Raiders responded with an 80-yard drive in ten plays. Lamonica threw to split end Warren Wells for 11 yards and HB Clem Daniels had a 12-yard run, but a penalty and sack backed them up and they were facing a third-and-44 situation. The Chiefs were flagged for a personal foul that gave the home team a first down and two plays later Lamonica connected with Cannon for a 29-yard TD. Blanda added the point after and it was a 23-14 score with a little over eight minutes to play.

The Chiefs were far from finished and the diminutive Smith came through with another long kickoff return, this time going 54 yards to the Oakland 48. A short pass was followed by Garrett losing ground on a pitchout, but facing third-and-14, Dawson (pictured at right) completed a pass to split end Chris Burford for a 45-yard gain and Garrett ran for a six-yard touchdown on the next play. Stenerud converted to once again make it a two-point contest.

The Raiders punted on their next series and Kansas City regained possession with the clock down to 2:08. Dawson threw to a wide-open Taylor on first down who dropped the ball, and after another incompletion and a sack, the Chiefs had to punt. They had one last shot in the final 33 seconds of the game, but time ran out for them on their own end of the field and Oakland held on for a 23-21 win.

The Raiders had the edge in total yards (306 to 243) and first downs (16 to 12). The Chiefs recorded five sacks, to three for Oakland, but also turned the ball over three times while the Raiders suffered two turnovers.

Daryle Lamonica completed 23 of 38 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Clem Daniels rushed for 72 yards on 16 carries and also caught three passes for another 23 yards and a TD. Hewritt Dixon gained 28 yards on 13 rushing attempts but led the Raiders with 8 catches for 60 yards.

For the Chiefs, Len Dawson was successful on 12 of 25 throws for 160 yards and a TD with one picked off. Mike Garrett gained 50 yards on 19 rushes that included a touchdown and also tossed a scoring pass. Otis Taylor had 5 catches for 79 yards and a TD.

“It was a tremendous win for us,” said Coach Rauch of the Raiders. “It gives us the opportunity to get up on top. I’m glad we did it before the Eastern trip which has always been tough.”

The win put the Raiders in a tie for first in the Western Division with San Diego, and while they lost the first game of the Eastern trip to the Jets, they didn’t lose again on the way to a 13-1 record. Oakland easily defeated Houston for the AFL Championship but came up short in the Super Bowl against the Packers. Kansas City lost the rematch between the teams and finished second in the division at 9-5.

Daryle Lamonica had a MVP year for the Raiders as he topped the AFL in touchdown passes with 30 while throwing for 3228 yards. George Blanda led the league in scoring with 116 points and 57 extra points while placing second (behind Kansas City’s Jan Stenerud) with 20 field goals. Just as he did against the Chiefs, Hewritt Dixon (pictured above) led the Raiders in pass receiving with 59. The converted tight end gained 563 yards as a receiver and 559 on the ground for a total of 1122 yards from scrimmage, which ranked seventh in the circuit.

September 30, 2015

Highlighted Year: Matt Schaub, 2009

Quarterback, Houston Texans

Age: 28
6th season in pro football, 3rd with Texans
College: Virginia
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 234

Schaub set multiple school passing records in college and was the ACC Player of the Year in 2002. He was chosen by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the ’04 NFL draft and backed up Michael Vick for three seasons. Schaub started two games and showed enough promise to attract the attention of other teams. He was traded to the Texans in 2007 and moved into the starting lineup. With a strong and accurate arm, he played well when healthy, but injuries kept him out of ten games in his first two years with the team, and he was prone to fumbles and interceptions. Still, he completed 66.1 percent of his passes in 2008 for 3043 yards and 15 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.

2009 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 583 [1]
Most attempts, game – 50 at Arizona 10/11
Completions – 396 [1]
Most completions, game – 35 at Arizona 10/11
Yards – 4770 [1]
Most yards, game – 392 at Cincinnati 10/18
Completion percentage – 67.9 [4]
Yards per attempt – 8.2 [4]
TD passes – 29 [5]
Most TD passes, game – 4 at Tennessee 9/20, at Cincinnati 10/18
Interceptions – 15 [9, tied with Jason Campbell]
Most interceptions, game – 2 at Buffalo 11/1, at Indianapolis 11/8, vs. Indianapolis 11/29
Passer rating – 98.6 [7]
300-yard passing games – 9
200-yard passing games – 15

Attempts – 48
Most attempts, game – 8 (for 3 yds.) at Buffalo 11/1
Yards – 57
Most yards, game – 21 yards (on 3 carries) at Indianapolis 11/8
Average gain – 1.2
TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
Pro Bowl

Texans went 9-7 to finish second in the AFC South, the first winning record in franchise history, while leading the NFL in passing yards (4654).

Schaub again started every game in 2010 and passed for 4370 yards and 24 TDs with a passer rating of 92.0 while his interceptions dropped to 12. Both he and the team were off to a good start in ’11 before a foot injury knocked him out for the last six games of the regular season as well as the club’s first postseason appearance. Schaub returned in 2012 and had a Pro Bowl year as he passed for 4008 yards and 22 TDs and won in his first playoff appearance. However, he had a disastrous year in 2013, throwing for more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (10) and he was benched, leading to his being traded to Oakland in the offseason. He saw scant action as a backup to Derek Carr, was released, and signed with the Baltimore Ravens for 2015. Through 2014, Schaub has passed for 24,311 yards and 130 touchdowns, giving up 86 interceptions, with a 63.9 completion percentage and 89.5 passer rating. Of those totals, 23,221 yards with 124 TD passes and 78 INTs with a completion percentage of 64.6 and passer rating of 90.9 came during his seven years with Houston. He has been named to the Pro Bowl twice.   


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970

September 29, 2015

2002: Dawkins Stars as Eagles Defeat Texans

On September 29, 2002 the Houston Texans made their first visit to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in a Week 4 contest. While the result yielded no surprises, Philadelphia’s star free safety Brian Dawkins distinguished himself in multiple ways, one of which was unique in his outstanding career.

The Eagles, coached by Andy Reid, had a pass-oriented offense directed by QB Donovan McNabb with a running game that had been only fair thus far in the young season. The defense was good at pressuring opposing passers as well as in coverage. In addition to Dawkins, key players included DE Hugh Douglas, LB Shawn Barber, and cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor. Philadelphia reached the NFC Championship game in 2001 and was 2-1 thus far in ’02, having won decisively in the previous two games after losing to Tennessee in the season opener.

Houston was a first-year team under Head Coach Dom Capers and carried the usual expansion club problems into the season. QB David Carr, a rookie who was the first overall selection in the NFL draft, was placed directly into the starting lineup behind a makeshift line. The Texans upset the Dallas Cowboys in their first regular season contest but had scored a total of six points in losing their next two games to come into Philadelphia at 1-2.

There were 64,867 fans in attendance at Veterans Stadium. The teams traded punts to start the game before the Texans drove 69 yards in six plays that was helped along by a pass interference call on Troy Vincent in a third-and-six situation. David Carr completed passes to WR Corey Bradford for 26 yards to ignite the series and 23 yards to conclude it with a touchdown. Kris Brown added the extra point.

Houston got the ball back on the next play from scrimmage when SS Eric Brown intercepted a Donovan McNabb pass, thus giving the visitors excellent field position at the Philadelphia 34. However, DE Brandon Whiting sacked Carr for an eight-yard loss and two incompletions forced the Texans to punt. The Eagles moved methodically down the field in response as McNabb completed six passes and WR James Thrash ran for 19 yards on a reverse. The drive finally stalled at the Houston seven and David Akers kicked a 25-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 contest.

On the next series, Carr fumbled after running for nine yards on a third down play. Brian Dawkins recovered and, in a series that extended into the second quarter, the Eagles advanced 58 yards in nine plays. McNabb threw to FB Cecil Martin for 16 yards to the Houston 26 and a sack was nullified by a face mask penalty. RB Duce Staley ran for a one-yard TD and, with Akers kicking the point after, the home team was in front by 10-7.

The Texans were forced to punt following their next series that included two sacks of Carr and the Eagles, taking over from their own 36, advanced to another score. McNabb connected with Staley and Martin for completions of 13 and eight yards, respectively, and a sack was followed by a defensive holding penalty on Houston. A short run was followed by a McNabb pass to WR Todd Pinkston that picked up five yards and another throw to Pinkston gained 34 yards to the Houston six. Two plays later, Staley scored his second touchdown from a yard out. Akers converted and Philadelphia extended its lead to 17-7.

The Eagles got the ball back on the next series when Dawkins intercepted a Carr throw and returned it 27 yards to the Houston 30. It resulted in a short possession that ended with Akers kicking a 41-yard field goal and the score remained 20-7 at halftime.

The Eagles had the first possession in the third quarter and reached their 43 before lining up to punt. However, RB Brian Mitchell tossed a shovel pass to Dawkins instead, and the safety-now-receiver raced 57 yards for a touchdown (pictured at top). McNabb threw to TE Chad Lewis for a two-point conversion and big 28-7 lead.

Houston put together a series that ended with Carr throwing to Bradford for a 29-yard TD and Brown added the PAT to cut Philadelphia’s lead in half, but other than a 48-yard field goal by Brown later in the period, the Texans were finished with scoring for the day. McNabb threw to Thrash for a 38-yard TD in the fourth quarter to cap the 35-17 win for the Eagles.

Philadelphia easily held the lead in total yards (391 to 242) and first downs (21 to 12) while running sixteen more plays than the Texans (76 to 60). The Eagles also accumulated seven sacks to three by the Texans. Each team turned the ball over three times while Houston was penalized 11 times, to four flags thrown on Philadelphia.

Brian Dawkins had a noteworthy day as he recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, recorded a sack, and caught a pass for a 57-yard touchdown. Donovan McNabb completed 24 of 42 throws for 259 yards and a TD while giving up one interception, and also ran the ball seven times for 23 yards. Duce Staley rushed for 33 yards on 12 carries that included two short touchdowns and had three pass receptions for another 39 yards. Todd Pinkston led Philadelphia’s receivers with 6 catches for 70 yards.

For the Texans, David Carr (pictured at right) completed 16 of 29 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. Corey Bradford had 7 receptions for 97 yards and both TDs. RB James Allen was the leading rusher with 41 yards on 14 attempts.

The Eagles lost their next game but only twice more the rest of the way in compiling a 12-4 record to once again top the NFC East, and despite the loss of Donovan McNabb to a broken ankle in the tenth game, although he returned for the postseason. Philadelphia again advanced to the conference title game and again came up short, losing to Tampa Bay.

Houston lost its next two contests and ended up at 4-12 to place fourth in the AFC South. David Carr was sacked a record 76 times through the course of the year but the rookie took every snap.

Brian Dawkins went on to achieve consensus first-team All-NFL honors for the second straight year as well as a third Pro Bowl selection. He intercepted two passes, recovered four fumbles, and was credited with three sacks. The touchdown catch against the Texans remained the only pass reception of his 16-season career.