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Grounded, NFL-Style

The Cincinnati Bengals attempted only 9 passes in last week’s game against the Browns. This is only the 14th time since passing rules were liberalized in 1978 that an NFL team has attempted fewer than 10 passes in a game. Needless to say, most of these games were played in poor conditions and/or featured terrible quarterbacks.

At least two NFL teams did not attempt an official pass in a game – the Steelers against the Los Angeles Rams on November 13, 1949 (with the players “wallowing like water buffalos in mud as thick as paste” [New York Times]) and the Browns against the Eagles on December 3, 1950 (played in a hard rain). The Browns actually completed a pass, but it was nullified by an illegal motion penalty.

Fewest team pass attempts in a game, NFL, 1978-2008:

Team Date Comp Att Yards TD Int Sacked-Lost Opponent Result Possible reason
New Orleans 10/15/1978 2 4 31 1 0 0-0 San Francisco W, 14-7
New England
12/12/1982 2 5 13 0 1 0-0 Miami W, 3-0 “Snow Plow” game
San Diego 12/19/2004 4 6 85 1 0 1-2 Cleveland W, 21-0 30 mph wind, snow
Houston Oilers 10/4/1981 1 6 3 0 0 1-7 Cincinnati W, 17-10
Carolina 12/24/2006 4 7 32 1 0 3-21 Atlanta W, 10-3 Chris Weinke
Chicago 11/26/1978 4 7 62 0 1 1-12 Tampa Bay W, 14-3
Chicago 10/7/1979 4 8 22 0 0 1-4 Buffalo W, 7-0
Chicago 10/19/1980 5 8 172 1 1 1-1 Detroit W, 24-7
Dallas 12/10/2000 5 8 89 0 0 3-17 Washington W, 32-13 Troy Aikman concussed
New England 12/28/2008 6 8 78 0 0 1-5 Buffalo W, 13-0 35-55 mph winds
Green Bay
9/3/1978 3 9 31 0 0 0-0 Detroit W, 13-7
New York Giants 10/25/1992 5 9 94 1 0 1-9 Seattle W, 23-10 Ray Handley
Cleveland 11/24/1985 5 9 102 1 0 0-0 Cincinnati W, 24-6
Buffalo 10/29/1989 6 9 123 1 0 2-9 Miami W, 31-17
Houston Texans
10/23/2005 6 9 48 1 1 5-42 Indianapolis L, 20-38 David Carr
Cincinnati 12/21/2008 5 9 55 1 0 0-0 Cleveland W, 14-0 26 mph wind, Ryan Fitzpatrick

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2 thoughts on “Grounded, NFL-Style

  1. Please post an article about any pro or college teams who went entire games without a run or, failing that(I can’t imagine an NFL team ever didn’t run), teams with the fewest runs

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