The Bears ran 35 plays in the 4th quarter in last week’s game against the Titans.  Is this a record?

No, but it’s close.  Most of the following, like the Bears, were failed comebacks from large deficits.

Most plays in a quarter, since 1983

All in the 4th quarter unless noted

Team Date Plays* Opponent Non-plays** Notes
St. Louis Rams 12/10/1995 40 BUF 3
San Diego Chargers 11/30/1997 40 DEN 8 began with final 23 plays of record 25-play drive
New England Patriots 11/12/1989 38 NO 4
Minnesota Vikings 10/14/2012 38 WAS 3
Washington Redskins 11/4/1990 37 DET 1 Redskins came back from 38-21 down entering 4Q;
record 112 plays and then-record 39 first downs for game
Pittsburgh Steelers 11/19/2006 37 CLE 1 Steelers came back from 13-3 down to win 24-20
Cincinnati Bengals 1/5/2014
AFC WILD CARD
37 SD 1
Buffalo Bills 11/14/1994 36 PIT 2
Green Bay Packers 10/14/1996 36 SF 2 twice rallied from 3-point deficits; won in OT
Baltimore Ravens 9/23/2001 36 CIN 3
San Francisco 49ers 11/25/2002 36 PHI 0
Indianapolis Colts 1/18/2004
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP
36 NE 0
Denver Broncos 10/31/2004 36 ATL 2 Jake Plummer 499 passing yards for the game
New Orleans Saints 11/9/2008 36 ATL 3
Indianapolis Colts 11/2/2015 36 CAR 1 came back from 23-6 down to force OT at 23-all;
lost 29-26
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10/28/1984 35 KC 7
Kansas City Chiefs 11/24/1991 35 CLE 4
Chicago Bears 11/16/1997 35 NYJ 2
Miami Dolphins 11/23/1997 35 NE 3
St. Louis Rams 12/11/2006 35 CHI 5
Detroit Lions 9/23/2012 35 TEN 3 recovered onside with 0:16 left;
tied game on Hail Mary; lost in OT
Tennessee Titans 10/7/2012 35 MIN 2 Titans called timeouts while the Vikings were attempting to kneel out the clock with 2:00 left up 30-7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9/25/2016 35 LA Rams 4 70-minute lightning delay with 2:00 left
Chicago Bears 11/27/2016 35 TEN 2
New York Giants 12/22/2016 35 PHI 1

* “Plays” by NFL definition include runs, passes (including sacks), and field goals.  Punts, kickoffs, and plays nullified by penalty are not included.

** “Non-plays” as used here includes punts and plays nullified by penalty.

Other records

Most plays per quarter (since 1983)

  • 1st quarter: 33, Dallas Cowboys, 10/16/1983 vs. Eagles
  • 2nd quarter: 33, five teams (Denver Broncos, 10/20/1985 vs. Seahawks; Dallas Cowboys, 10/17/1993 vs. 49ers; Houston Oilers, 9/17/1995 vs. Browns; Indianapolis Colts, 12/7/2003 vs. Titans; Arizona Cardinals, 10/7/2007 vs. Rams)
  • 3rd quarter: 33, Cleveland Browns, 10/4/1987 vs. Patriots REPLACEMENT GAME
  • 4th quarter: (above)
  • 1st overtime: 29, St. Louis Cardinals, 10/24/1983 vs. Giants (missed 3 field goals in 10-10 tie)
  • 2nd overtime: 4, Cleveland Browns, 1/3/1987 vs. Jets AFC DIVISIONAL
    • All time record: 9, Miami Dolphins, 12/25/1971 vs. Chiefs AFC DIVISIONAL

Most plays in a game (since 1983)

  • 112, Washington Redskins, 11/4/1990 vs. Lions
  • Regulation game: 98, three teams (San Diego Chargers, 10/19/1986 vs. Chiefs; Green Bay Packers, 10/26/1986 vs. 49ers; Pittsburgh Steelers, 12/8/2002 vs. Texans)

Fewest plays in a quarter (regulation, since 1983)

  • 1, San Diego Chargers, 1/11/2009 vs. Steelers (3rd quarter) AFC DIVISIONAL (intercepted on only play from scrimmage and muffed a punt)
  • 1st quarter: 3, many teams
  • 2nd quarter: 2, New York Jets, 11/20/2005 vs. Broncos (fumbled on second play of only drive; also punted to open quarter and later fumbled kickoff)
  • 3rd quarter (regular season): 2, Denver Broncos, 9/9/2012 vs. Steelers (71-yard TD pass on only drive)
  • 4th quarter: 2, Pittsburgh Steelers, 12/26/1987 vs. Browns (field goal on first play of quarter, intercepted on only other play)

Fewest plays in a game

  • 28, Cleveland Browns, 9/12/1999 vs. Steelers (first game for expansion Browns; lost 43-0)

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