Following are highlights from the first quarter of the 2012 NFL season:
SCORES GALORE: NFL teams in Week 4 scored 699 points, bringing the season total to 2,986 points. It marks the most points scored through the first four weeks of a season (2,916 in 2011) and the most of any four-week stretch (2,961 in 2004, Weeks 12-15) in NFL history.
Through Week 4, teams have combined to score 47.40 points per game, the highest average through Week 4 since 1970 (45.56 in 2011).
Teams have combined to score 327 touchdowns through Week 4, the most ever through the first four weeks of a season (321 in 2011).
FINE FINISHES: Eight games in Week 4 were decided by eight points or fewer. To date, 36 games in 2012 have been decided by eight points or fewer, tied for the third-most such games through the first four weeks of a season in NFL history (37 in 1988 and 2011).
IT’S STILL EARLY: In the first four weeks of 2012, 30 of the 32 clubs (93.8 percent) earned at least one win. The 30 teams with at least one victory through Week 4 ties 2005 (30 teams) for the most through four games since realignment in 2002.
UNPREDICTABLE NFL: There were 20 teams with a 1-1 record at the end of Week 2, the most in in a single season in NFL history. Since realignment in 2002, 70 of the 120 playoff teams (58.3 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including four teams which went on to win the Super Bowl that season (TAMPA BAY, XXXVII; NEW ENGLAND, XXXVIII; NEW YORK GIANTS, XLII and XLVI).
OT THRILLS: In Week 3, three games were decided in overtime on Sunday, September 23rd. That marked the first day since November 7, 2010 with three overtime games, one shy of the league record of four (October 8, 1995 and October 20, 2002). Additionally, Week 3 featured four other games in which the game-winning points were scored in the final minute. It is only the second time in NFL history (Week 6, 1995) that seven games had the winning points scored in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime in a single week.
PASS TIME: There were 14 300-yard passing performances in Week 4, bringing the season total to 40. The 40 individual 300-yard passing games are the second-most through the first four weeks of any NFL season (44 in 2011).
UNDEFEATED: Three NFL teams – ARIZONA, ATLANTA and HOUSTON – are undefeated through Week 4.
The Arizona Cardinals recorded the franchise’s 500th regular-season victory with a 24-21 overtime win on Sunday against Miami, becoming the ninth team in NFL history with 500 regular-season victories.
Arizona has won 11 of its past 13 games and has started 4-0 for the first time since 1974.
The Cardinals are the 11th team in the past nine years to start a season 4-0 after beginning 1-3 or 0-4 in the previous year. Nine of the previous 10 advanced to the postseason.
The Atlanta Falcons have started 4-0 for the first time since 2004 and only the third time in franchise history (1986, 2004).
The Houston Texans reached 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.
SLIMMEST MARGIN: PHILADELPHIA (3-1) has won three of its first four games by a combined score of four points. They are the first team in NFL history whose first three wins of a season were for a combined margin of four or fewer points. The Eagles were also the first team in NFL history to start 2-0 and win each of its games by one point.
PERSISTENT PASSERS: New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES passed for 446 yards and three touchdowns in the Saints’ 28-27 Week 4 loss at Green Bay. Brees has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHNNY UNITAS (1956-60) for the longest streak in NFL history. Unitas’ mark of 47 consecutive games with a TD pass stood alone for 18,291 days.
New England’s TOM BRADY threw three touchdown passes in the Patriots’ 52-28 win at Buffalo. Brady has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 36 consecutive games, tied with BRETT FAVRE (2002-04) for the third-longest streak in NFL history.
LEAD MANNING: Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING has passed for at least 300 yards in two of the Broncos first four games. In Week 3, Manning’s 330 yard performance marked his 64th career 300-yard game, passing Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback DAN MARINO (63) for the most in NFL history. In the Broncos 37-6 win over Oakland on Sunday, Manning threw for 338 yards to bring his career total to 65 such games.
Manning completed 19 of 26 passes (73.1 percent) for 253 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 129.2 passer rating in the Broncos’ 31-19 win over Pittsburgh on Kickoff Weekend. Manning (401) joined BRETT FAVRE (508) and Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (420) as the only players in NFL history to record 400 career touchdown passes. Manning reached the mark in the fewest games (209) in NFL history.
YOUTH IS SERVED: The average age of the 32 starting quarterbacks on Kickoff Weekend was 27-years, 354-days old, the youngest such group to open a season in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).
Five rookie quarterbacks – ROBERT GRIFFIN III of Washington, ANDREW LUCK of Indianapolis, RYAN TANNEHILL of Miami, BRANDON WEEDEN of Cleveland and RUSSELL WILSON of Seattle – started on Kickoff Weekend, the most rookie quarterbacks to start a team’s opening game since at least 1950 (three in 1968 and 1969).