"What people love about the NFL," says New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, "is that every game, every week, no matter who is playing, anything can happen. So many games come down to that last possession."
That has certainly been the case this season.
Through the first three weeks, there have been eight games in which a team was trailing and scored the game-winning points in the final minute of the fourth quarter. That is the most such games through the first three weeks of a season since at least the 1970 merger.
|Week||Winning Team||Opponent||Game-Winning Score||Time Remaining||Final Score|
|1||New England||Buffalo||Field goal||0:05||W 23-21|
|1||New York Jets||Tampa Bay||Field goal||0:02||W 18-17|
|2||New Orleans||Tampa Bay||Field goal||0:00||W 16-14|
|3||Tennessee||San Diego||Touchdown||0:15||W 20-17|
In six of those eight games, the winning points were scored in the final 10 seconds.
"That's football," says Brees, whose team came from behind to defeat Tampa Bay in Week 2 with a field goal as time expired. "That's why we love it. And that's why we never give up. We always feel like we have a chance to win."
Adding to the excitement is that in five of the eight contests, the game-winning points were scored via touchdown.
"A lot of games in this league come down to the end," says Buffalo Bills running back FRED JACKSON, whose team scored the game-winning touchdown with two seconds remaining in the Bills' Week 2 victory over Carolina.
A look at the five games this season in which a team was trailing and scored a game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter:
Week 2: Buffalo 24, Carolina 23.
Trailing 23-17, Bills rookie quarterback EJ MANUEL throws a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver STEVIE JOHNSON with two seconds remaining.
Week 2: Chicago 31, Minnesota 30.
Trailing 30-24, Bears quarterback JAY CUTLER throws a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end MARTELLUS BENNETT with 10 seconds remaining.
Week 3: Cleveland 31, Minnesota 27.
Trailing 27-24, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer throws a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end JORDAN CAMERON with 51 seconds remaining.
Week 3: Miami 27, Atlanta 23.
Trailing 23-20, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill throws a one-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end DION SIMS with 38 seconds remaining.
Week 3: Tennessee 20, San Diego 17.
Trailing 17-13, Titans quarterback Jake Locker throws a 34-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver JUSTIN HUNTER with 15 seconds remaining.