Defensive Streak Search: (Not) Surrendering 400 Yards Passing

After each week of the NFL season one column I always read is Don Banks’ “Snap Judgments” over at SI. He breaks things down into nice bullet points that cover full games or simply interesting stats. His recent column covering the AFC and NFC Championship games dropped this nugget:

“In his 14-season stay in New England, Bill Belichick’s Patriots have never given up more yards (507) yards in a game, and Manning’s 400 yards passing was the first time Belichick’s New England defense has surrendered that many.”

At first I thought that this was pretty phenomenal. How can a team go 14 seasons (249 games if you count the postseason) without ever surrendering 400 or more passing yards in a single game? I took a quick look at the list here and found that 141 games have been played with individual QBs passing for 400 or more yards since the start of the 2000 season (Belichick’s first as head coach in NE). This means that each team should have averaged around four games against a single 400-yard passer.

Noting that, it doesn’t seem as far-fetched that New England could just have pushed their 400-yard surrenders onto the 31 other teams in the league. However, a closer look at the list reveals that the Patriots actually gave up 400 yards to Ben Roethlisberger and 421 yards to Matt Ryan earlier in the 2013 season. They also gave up 400 yards to Vince Young and 416 yards to Chad Henne in 2011, as well as 401 yards to Kurt Warner in 2001. Along with Manning, that’s six games in 14 years, or “worse” than average.

Then I realized it was my “mistake” and not Banks’. In calculating¬†TEAM¬†passing yards allowed/gained, yardage lost from sacks counts against the total. That may be a no-brainer, but sometimes I have no brain.

Putting aside the argument about whether or not sacks should count as negative passing yards, and why they don’t count against the individual, but do against the team (something to do with O-line failure?), the “pure” passing stat still interested me.

It made me wonder which team has the longest current stretch without giving up 400 yards passing, not counting sacks. Continue reading