NFL

Brady and Gronk connection returns in year of the comeback - NFL Week 6 in numbers

By Sports Desk October 19, 2020

Tom Brady got the better of Aaron Rodgers in the most high-profile game of an NFL Sunday that also saw the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans move to 5-0.

The Seattle Seahawks are the only undefeated team remaining in the NFC after Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recovered from a poor start to earn an emphatic 38-10 win over the Green Bay Packers.

Pittsburgh crushed divisional rivals the Cleveland Browns, while the Titans needed overtime to win a wild encounter against the Houston Texans in an AFC South battle.

With all but two Week 6 games now played, we reflect on the best statistics from another thrilling slate.

Brady and Gronk connection is back

The Bucs defense played its part against the Packers, but it was also a decent game from Brady, who had a 104.9 passer rating (166 yards, two TDs).

Rob Gronkowski had a slow beginning to his 2020 NFL return, but he was targeted on eight occasions this time, hauling in five catches for 78 yards (47 per cent of Brady's total) and a touchdown.

Brady and Gronk have now combined for 91 TDs, including postseason play, with this score seeing them surpass Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates for third on the all-time list for a QB-receiver pairing.

Steve Young and Jerry Rice (92) are next in their sights, though they have some way to go to catch Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison (114).

With starting tight end O. J. Howard out for the season, a resurgent Gronk in addition to star receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin should keep Brady and the 4-2 Bucs firing.

Rivers bounces back

Philip Rivers had made an underwhelming start with the Indianapolis Colts, so he needed a big performance and duly delivered one as his team rallied to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 31-27.

The 38-year-old recorded 371 passing yards and three touchdowns with one interception as receiver Marcus Johnson (five catches, 108 yards) enjoyed a big game.

It was the 30th time Rivers produced a 300-yard game with at least three TDs, only the sixth player to reach that milestone behind quarterback greats Drew Brees (67), Brady (51), Manning (46) and Rodgers (36).

Titans make history

The Titans' thrilling 42-36 win over Houston saw Ryan Tannehill throw for 364 yards (four TDs and one INT), while Derrick Henry rushed for 212 yards (two TDs), including an epic 94-yard score.

As a result, they became the first team in NFL history with a 350+ yard passer and a 200+ yard rusher in the same game.

Henry's 264 yards from scrimmage (he had 52 receiving yards) was a career-high and he became the first player to record a 200+ yard rushing game in three consecutive seasons.

He also equalled the record for rushing touchdowns of at least 90 yards (two), as well as drawing level with O.J. Simpson and Barry Sanders with five rushing scores of 70+ yards.

Only Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson (both seven) have more in that category.

Patriots stumble without Brady

Life after Brady was never going to be easy for the New England Patriots, but few would have expected them to lose 18-12 at home to the Denver Broncos.

They lost despite the returning Drew Lock throwing two poor interceptions in the fourth quarter, while the victorious Broncos did not score a touchdown in the game.

Lock became only the second QB to defeat the Pats under Bill Belichick in a road game while throwing multiple interceptions, joining Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, who did so in Week 10 of the 2001 season when he won the MVP award.

New England dropped to 2-3, so are now below .500 through five games for the first time since 2001, the year Brady went on to win his first Super Bowl.

The Pats' streak of 18 straight seasons above .500 after five weeks of play had been the longest in NFL history.

Year of the comeback

The Colts' win saw them come from 21-0 down, while the Bucs were in a 10-point hole before recovering to beat the Packers.

Those games continued a 2020 trend of dramatic fightbacks and this is the first-ever NFL season where at least one team has won after being at least 16 points down in each of the first six weeks.

Nineteen games have seen comebacks of 10 or more points, tying the records set through Week 6 from the 2011 and 1987 campaigns.

The Colts' remarkable victory, though, was the first time since Week 1 of the 2016 season that a team has recovered from as many as 21 behind. 

The last occasion had seen the Kansas City Chiefs trail 24-3 before fighting back to win 33-27 in overtime against the Chargers, who then represented San Diego.

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