The Rams won on Thursday night while Sam Bradford completed only seven passes. How common is that? Well, let’s put it this way: The only other time it happened in the last two seasons was during Tebowmania in Denver.
The last time an NFL team won a game while completing seven or fewer passes was in Week Ten of 2011, when Tim Tebow went 2-for-8 for 69 yards, and the Broncos beat the Chiefs 17-10. Compared to Tebow in that game, Bradford was a reincarnation of the Greatest Show on Turf by completing seven of his 21 passes for 141 yards on Thursday night.
But winning a game while completing seven or fewer passes might not be as rare as you think: According to Pro Football Reference, 361 teams have won a game while completing seven or fewer passes since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It has become a lot less common in recent years (only once last year and only once so far this year), but in the 1970s teams regularly won games while completing a half-dozen or fewer passes.
Winning a game while completing two passes, however, is quite rare: Tebow’s Broncos are one of only three teams in the last 30 seasons to do it. And no team in the last 30 seasons has won a game with less than two completions.
The last team to win a game without completing a single pass was the 1974 Bills, who got 117 rushing yards from O.J. Simpson on the way to beating the Jets 16-12 in a game in which Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson went 0-for-2 passing on a windy, rainy day in Buffalo. (Here are the NFL Films highlights.) The Bills’ strategy of running on virtually every play turned out to be wiser than the Jets’ strategy of trying to throw in the elements: Jets quarterback Joe Namath went 2-for-18 for 33 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions.
Those numbers make Bradford going 7-for-21 look pretty good.