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Brees, Brady, Rodgers closing in on Marino's passing record

  • By Pat Kirwan NFL.com
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AP/US Presswire
Drew Brees (left), Tom Brady (middle) and Aaron Rodgers are on pace to break the single-season passing mark.

Dan Marino owns the NFL record for passing yards in a season, with 5,084 in 1984. He averaged 23 completions and 35 attempts per game. It is amazing to me the record has stood for 27 years given the steady growth of the passing game.

QBs On Pace To Break Dan Marino's Record
Name Yds. Yds. to go Avg. needed per game Att./Comp. Avg. Opposing pass defense rank
Brees 4,031 1,053 264 41/29 15/31/17/30
Brady 3,916 1,168 292 38/26 20/28/22/25
Rodgers 3,844 1,240 310 34/24 5/12/8/7

Three quarterbacks -- Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers -- are on pace to break Marino's mark. Will any of them finally eclipse the 5,084 yard mark over the remaining four games of the season? (See box, right.)

Note that only Rodgers attempts less passes per game than Marino did, and take a look at the pass defense ranking of the final four opponents for each quarterback. On paper, Brady has the easiest pass defenses to face in the final four games. Brees throws the ball the most and completes the most passes. Rodgers throws it the least and clearly faces a much tougher group of pass defenses.

Another interesting note: Marino threw 48 touchdowns that year. Rodgers has 37, and Brees and Brady have 30 each. It doesn't look like any of the three will match Marino there, especially if their teams shut things down in the last week of the season if there's nothing to play for.

The 200 Club

The NFL is a passing league and every head coach would love to have a consistent 300-yard passer who can drop an occasional 400-yard game on an opponent. But in Week 13 there were eight QBs who threw for less than 200 yards … and won.

Matt Hasselbeck, Tyler Palko, Joe Flacco, T.J. Yates, Matt Moore, Ben Roethlisberger, Tarvaris Jackson and Mark Sanchez all recorded a win. Interestingly enough, Tim Tebow threw for more yards than all eight.

In Week 12, there were seven quarterbacks who won a game while throwing for less than 200 yards. Hasselbeck, Sanchez, and Roethlisberger were in that group both weeks. In Week 11, there were five. It's interesting to note in a league that has become so dependent on the pass.

The money quarter

Third down widely is known as the money down. It's time to acknowledge the fourth quarter as the money quarter. And nobody has been more money in the final 15 minutes than Eli Manning.

Manning is No. 1 in the league with 1,315 fourth-quarter passing yards. That is 35.4 percent of his entire passing yardage. The next closest QB in fourth-quarter yards is Cam Newton with 1,044, which is impressive for a rookie. But Manning leaves all of the other NFL quarterbacks in the dust with 13 fourth-quarter touchdown passes. The next closest is Tom Brady with 10.

The two quarterbacks with the most fourth-quarter attempts are Colt McCoy and Matt Ryan. They have 285 attempts and only 11 touchdowns between them to Eli's 13 in 137 attempts. When it comes to completion percentage, Eli tops the list with a 67.2 percent rate. Finally, Manning has the best fourth-quarter QB rating in the league with a 120.5. Aaron Rodgers is the next in line at 112.6. Tim Tebow is third at 109.7.

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