Thursday, March 05, 2015

Punting Before 4th Down: A Brief History

Punting prior to fourth down used to be a common tactic in American football in the days of the single wing and scoreless ties.  Rather than risk a game-changing turnover, a team pinned deep in its own territory or facing an unlikely-to-be-converted down and distance would often punt early in a series.  If the defense wasn't expecting a punt, a quick kick over the defense would have plenty of room to bounce and roll, flipping field position.

"Ball to Best Back" inside the 5?  Somebody tell the Seahawks.
Strategy chart, Dana X. Bible, Championship Football, 1947.


The era nadired with the infamous 1939 Texas Tech-Centenary game, which featured SIXTY-SEVEN first-down punts.



But by 1953, the early-down punt would be basically obsolete.  The new T formation moved the quarterback under center, eliminating his ability to quick kick, while related offensive improvements made teams less willing to surrender possession without exhausting their chances to make a first down.


72 degrees in Pittsburgh in late October?
The 1960-1961 49ers, inventors of the modern shotgun formation, punted on 3rd down at least once.


Future NFL developments didn't help.  Why use a quarterback to punt when kicking specialists are on the expanded roster?

And yet, under the right combination of circumstances, NFL teams will still punt before fourth down.  What follows are the details of every non-4th-down punt in the NFL in the last 30 years.

1. Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears, November 10, 1985: 


Coach
: Darryl Rogers, Detroit

Game Situation: 3rd & 15 at own 28, 0:10 1st quarter, trailing 7-0

Why: potentially the last play of the quarter before the teams switched ends, strong tailwind, facing one of the most dominant defenses in NFL history.

What had happened: The Lions' drive (starting with :28 left in the first quarter) went sack for -7, timeout, run for 2, timeout.

The punt: Unlike almost all of the teams in this list, the Lions used their regular punt unit.  Mike Black's 64-yard punt (with an 8-yard return) would have pinned the Bears at their own 16, but Dave Duerson was flagged for running into the kicker, which was an automatic first down at the time.

What followed: The Lions would have been better off declining the penalty, as they were intercepted three plays later.   The Bears eventually won the game 24-3.


2. Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins, September 7, 1986:




Coach
: Buddy Ryan, Philadelphia

Game Situation: 2nd & 40 at own 16, 11:15 2nd quarter, ahead 7-3

Why: quarterback who led the NCAA in punting average two years earlier, offensive line that would give up an NFL-record 104 sacks on the season, new coach with a fondness for oddball plays

What had happened: After gaining 5 yards on first down, the Eagles committed four consecutive penalties.

The punt: Randall Cunningham took the snap from shotgun formation and punted into right guard Ron Baker's back.  The ball deflected 15 yards downfield, where Redskins linebacker Rich Milot fielded it and returned it 3 yards to the Eagles' 28.

What followed: The Redskins scored the go-ahead touchdown three plays later and won in a rout, 41-14.

Note: Ryan emphasized in the 1986 preseason that the quick kick would be a part of his offense.  "And with Cunningham back there, we can also quick-kick. I know they'll boo it, but we don't really give a damn. If it's the thing to do, we'll do it. A 70-yard play is a hell of a play. If you've got 20 to go on your own 20, I'd rather kick it out of the shotgun, quick-kick it on third down. It'd be a 75-yard kick. That's a lot of grass."


3. Philadelphia Eagles at St. Louis Cardinals, November 2, 1986:

Coach
: Buddy Ryan, Philadelphia

Game Situation: 3rd & 21 at own 12, 9:25 4th quarter, ahead 10-0

Why: quarterback who led the NCAA in punting average two years earlier, offensive line that would give up an NFL-record 104 sacks on the season, new coach with a fondness for oddball plays

What had happened: The Eagles passed for -6 on first down, committed a penalty, then threw an incompletion on 2nd down.

The punt: Cunningham took the snap from shotgun formation and punted 39 yards with no return.

What followed: The Cardinals scored touchdowns on their final two possessions and won the game 13-10.


4. Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings, September 25, 1988:


Coach: Buddy Ryan, Philadelphia

Game Situation: 2nd & 18 at own 14, 7:20 2nd quarter, trailing 10-7

Why: quarterback who led the NCAA in punting average four years earlier, regular punter with an injured wrist from an earlier botched punt, coach with a fondness for oddball plays

What had happened: The Eagles ran for 2 on first down, then committed offensive pass interference on second.

The punt: Cunningham took the snap from shotgun formation and punted over the drawn-in defense.  The punt eventually rolled out of bounds 58 yards downfield.

What followed: The Eagles forced a 3-and-out, then drove for a touchdown on their next possession.

Note: This is the last second-down punt in NFL history.


5. New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, October 10, 1988:

Coach
: Buddy Ryan, Philadelphia

Game Situation: 3rd & 18 at own 28, 4:50 1st quarter, trailing 3-0

Why: quarterback who led the NCAA in punting average four years earlier, coach with a fondness for oddball plays

What had happened: Cunningham was sacked on first down, then threw incomplete on second.

The punt: Cunningham took the snap from shotgun formation.  His 55-yard punt was returned 8 yards.

What followed: The Eagles' next drive ended with one of Cunningham's most memorable plays.
  

6. New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers, November 25, 1990:

Coach
: Bruce Coslet, Jets

Game Situation: 3rd & 24 at own 16, 9:00 2nd quarter, ahead 7-0

Why: new coach with a fondness for oddball plays

What had happened: The Jets were sacked for -14 on second down.

The punt: Ken O'Brien took the snap from shotgun formation and punted just 23 yards downfield.  After muffing the ball, Rod Woodson returned it 12 yards to the Jets' 27.

What followed: The Steelers scored the tying touchdown seven plays later, while the Jets would not score again in the game.

Note: The notoriously-unathletic O'Brien had a 53-yard quick kick in the 1990 preseason.


7. Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys, October 16, 1994:

Coach
: Rich Kotite, Philadelphia

Game Situation: 3rd & 12 at own 4, 9:47 2nd quarter, ahead 7-0

Why: quarterback who led the NCAA in punting average ten years earlier, coach who'd go 8-35 over his next 43 games

What had happened: The Eagles ran for 1 on first down and -3 on second.

The punt: Cunningham's punt over the defense was downed 80 yards downfield.

What followed: Despite being pinned at their own 16, the Cowboys drove 84 yards for the tying touchdown.


8. Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns, October 23, 1994:

Coach
: Bill Belichick, Cleveland

Game Situation: 3rd & 12 at own 21, 9:40 3rd quarter. trailing 13-10

Why: punter who doubled as a third-string quarterback, struggling offense, coach with a fondness for oddball plays

What had happened: Starting quarterback Vinny Testaverde, hiding a concussion from a second-quarter hit, was sacked on second down for a 2-yard loss.

The punt: Tom Tupa's 44-yard quick kick from shotgun formation was returned 4 yards.

What followed: Though the Browns' other backup quarterback, Mark Rypien, was unable to move the offense, the Browns scored their next 17 points off special teams plays and won 37-13.


9. New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, December 28, 2008:


Coach
: Bill Belichick, New England

Game Situation: 3rd & 8 at own 41, 5:16 4th quarter, ahead 13-0

Why: extreme tailwind, coach with a fondness for oddball plays

What had happened: The Patriots, holding a two-touchdown lead midway through the fourth quarter in a game where downfield passing was near-impossible, ran for 1 on both first and second downs.

The punt: Matt Cassel's 57-yard quick kick from shotgun formation rolled all the way to the Bills' 2.

What followed: The Bills drove 64 yards without scoring, plus used half the clock and their final timeout in doing so.  See #10 for more.


10. New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills, December 28, 2008:


Coach
: Bill Belichick, New England

Game Situation: 3rd & 3 at own 40, 1:18 4th quarter, ahead 13-0

Why: extreme tailwind, coach with a fondness for oddball plays and rubbing things in, supposed fear of a blocked punt

What had happened: The Patriots ran for 5 on first down and 2 on second.

The punt: Chris Hanson's 41-yard punt with the regular punt team on the field was returned 30 yards by Fred Jackson.

What followed: The Bills drive lasted 4 plays before the clock expired.

Note: It's hard to find a scenario where this punt, especially with the regular punt unit, made sense.  Running for a first down would have ended the game; if Belichick feared a fumble, a kneeldown would have killed at least 40 of the remaining 78 seconds; if Belichick feared a fourth down block, he could have called for another kneeldown or an intentional safety.  Belichick claimed he punted on third down because he feared a 10-man rush and a potential punt block on fourth down, but the Bills rushed 10 on third anyway.  Plus, putting the regular punt unit out there meant the Bills could put Jackson, their only offensive player worth a damn that day, on the field to return it.


11. Denver Broncos at New England Patriots, January 14, 2012 (AFC Divisional Round):


Coach
: Bill Belichick, New England

Game Situation: 3rd & 10 at own 42, 3:10 4th quarter, ahead 45-10

Why: coach with a fondness for oddball plays and rubbing things in

What had happened: The Patriots, up five touchdowns late in the fourth quarter against a Tim Tebow-led offense, ran for 1 on first and -1 on second.

The punt: Tom Brady's 48-yard quick kick from shotgun formation was downed at the Broncos' 10.

What followed: While the punt was rolling, the Broncos' Von Miller cheapshotted Dan Connolly, sparking a brawl near the Patriots' sideline.

Note: There is no way in which the decision to punt on third down made in-game sense.  Maybe Brady needed punting practice.


12. Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, December 29, 2013:

Coach: Bill Belichick, New England

Game Situation: 3rd & 32 at own 46, 7:49 3rd quarter, ahead 16-3

Why: rain, cold, coach with a fondness for oddball plays

What had happened: The Patriots committed consecutive holding penalties to start the drive.

The punt: Tom Brady's 32-yard quick kick from shotgun formation was fair caught by Jim Leonhard.

What followed: The Bills went 3-and-out.


Note: Pro Football Reference's play index erroneously lists several other punts from 1999-2014 as occurring before fourth down.  In all of these cases, PFR is merely repeating typos from the original gamebooks, which either failed to account for loss-of-down penalties (i.e., intentional grounding) or mistakenly negated downs with post-play dead-ball penalties.

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Reader Mail: Longest Non-Scoring Plays in NFL History (updated 12/28/2014)

Is there a list of the longest plays that didn't result a touchdown?

Elias probably has a list (they verified that Percy Harvin's 104-yard punt return was the longest non-scoring play in NFL history), but I've never seen one published.

Both scrimmage (runs and passes) and non-scrimmage (returns) plays are included in the lists below of plays of 80 yards and longer that didn't result in touchdowns.

Notes:

The lists below should be complete for 1986-2014; nearly-complete for 1960-1985 or for anything that would be a record play in franchise history; mostly-complete for 1941-1959; and spotty for anything before 1941.

Everything that appears on the lists below has been confirmed via the actual play-by-play or contemporary articles with the exception of a few pre-1960 plays.

Longest non-scoring runs in NFL history:
RusherDateLengthTeamOpponentFromToNotes
Hap Moran11/23/193091*NYGGBNYG8GB1*disputed;
Giants accept this as 91-yard run
but other sources have it as 84.
NY Times on 11/24/30 details a play
starting from NYG15 with Moran
receiving snap in punt formation.
Johnny Johnson9/25/199490NYJCHINYJ3CHI7
Bo Jackson12/16/199088L.A.
Raiders
CINLA11CIN1
Barry Sanders10/2/199485DETTBDET10TB5
Barry Sanders10/23/199484DETCHIDET3CHI13
Jess Phillips11/2/196983CINOAKCIN7OAK10
Billy Sims9/30/198481DETSDDET18SD1
Le'Veon Bell9/21/201481PITCARPIT8CAR11
Wilbur Jackson11/27/197780SFNOSF1NO19
Leroy Harris11/25/197980PHIGBPHI1GB19
Larry Moriarty9/11/198380Houston
Oilers
L.A.
Raiders
HOU7LA13
Jessie Clark9/29/198580GBSt. Louis
Cardinals
GB10STL10
Troy Hambrick9/30/200180DALPHIDAL5PHI15
Jamaal Charles12/19/201080KCSTLKC18STL2



Longest non-scoring passes in NFL history:
ReceiverPasserDateLengthTeamOpponentFromToNotes
Bobby Moore
(Ahmad Rashad)
Jim Hart12/10/197298St. Louis
Cardinals
L.A. RamsSTL1LA1
Walter RobertsBilly Kilmer11/19/196796NOPHINO2PHI2
Vincent JacksonJosh Freeman10/21/201295TBNOTB4NO1
Herschel WalkerRandall Cunningham9/4/199493PHINYGPHI6NYG1
Marcus AllenMarc Wilson10/7/198492L.A.
Raiders
SEALA3SEA5
Derrick AlexanderEric Zeier12/7/199792BALSEABAL7SEA1
Richard CasterJoe Namath10/26/197591NYJBaltimore
Colts
NYJ8BAL1
Dwight StoneBubby Brister10/14/199090PITDENPIT6DEN4
Alvin HarperTroy Aikman11/13/199490DALSFDAL6SF4
Byron ChamberlainBrian Griese10/17/199988DENGBDEN10GB2
Milt MorinBill Nelsen11/24/196887CLEPHICLE10PHI3
Calvin JohnsonMatthew Stafford10/27/201387DETDALDET10DAL3Johnson finished the game
with 329 receiving yards.
Steve WatsonCraig Morton12/6/198186DENKCDEN9KC5
Vance JohnsonJohn Elway9/26/198886DENL.A.
Raiders
DEN13LA1
Emmitt SmithBernie Kosar11/14/199386DALPhoenix
Cardinals
DAL12PHX2
Marcus PollardJoey Harrington10/16/200586DETCARDET9CAR5
Wes ChandlerArchie Manning9/23/197985NOSFNO13SF2
Emery MooreheadMike Tomczak11/16/198685CHIATLCHI14ATL1
Homer JonesFran Tarkenton9/15/196884NYGPITNYG12PIT4
Ken BurrowBob Berry12/19/197184ATLNOATL13NO3not to be confused with
fellow 70's WR Ken Burrough
Alvin GarrettJoe Theismann10/23/198384WASDETWAS5DET11
Eric MartinBobby Hebert9/14/198684NOGBNO9GB7Martin's second catch of the game;
the first went for 72 and a TD.
Malcolm KellyJason Campbell1/3/201084WASSDWAS12SD4
Jerome SimpsonAndy Dalton9/18/201184CINDENCIN7DEN9
Sammy WatkinsKyle Orton10/26/201484BUFNYJBUF11NYJ5Watkins started 
celebrating at the 15.
Koren RobinsonTrent Dilfer10/20/200283SEASTLSEA15STL2
Kevin JohnsonKelly Holcomb1/5/200383CLEPITCLE16PIT1AFC Wild Card game.
Santonio HolmesBen Roethlisberger12/20/200783PITSTLPIT4STL13
Ed MarshallJoe Pisarcik10/23/197782NYGWASNYG3WAS15
Leonard ThompsonScott Hunter10/7/197982DETNE??
Terry KirbySteve Young10/19/199782SFATLSF17ATL1
Armanti EdwardsCam Newton11/4/201282CARWASCAR9WAS9
Jackie SmithGary Hammond10/13/197481St. Louis
Cardinals
DALSTL13DAL6pass thrown by wide receiver
Jessie HesterJack Trudeau11/22/199281INDPITIND18PIT1
Pat ColemanCody Carlson9/25/199481Houston
Oilers
CINHOU14CIN5
Terence MathisJeff George12/4/199481ATLSFATL10SF9
Corey BradfordDavid Carr10/13/200281HOUBUFHOU10BUF9
Devery HendersonDrew Brees9/28/200881NOSFNO17SF2
Johnny KnoxCaleb Hanie11/27/201181CHIOAKCHI10OAK9
Johnny PerkinsPhil Simms10/25/198180NYGATLNYG18ATL2
Jimmie GilesJack Thompson10/9/198380TBDALTB11DAL9
Todd PinkstonDonovan McNabb12/12/200480PHIWASPHI16WAS4
Reggie WayneAndrew Luck12/28/200480INDTENIND19TEN1


Longest non-scoring kickoff returns in NFL history:
ReturnerDateLengthTeamOpponentFromToNotes
Percy Harvin11/27/2011104MINATLMIN-7ATL3
Jalen Saunders12/21/201499NOATLNO0ATL1
Adam Jones10/12/201497CINCARCIN0CAR3
Joe Arenas12/16/195696SFBALSF2BAL2
Art Powell10/4/195995PHINYGPHI4NYG1
Ken Jenkins11/24/198595WASPITWAS2PIT3
Tim Brown11/28/198895L.A.
Raiders
SEALA2SEA3
Kevin Faulk11/15/199995NENYJNE-3NYJ8
Eddie Royal11/2/200895DENMIADEN0MIA5
Leon Washington12/8/201395TENDENTEN2DEN3
Tom Watkins11/21/196594DETCHI??
Dick Gordon9/16/196694CHIL.A. Rams??
Doug Cunningham10/22/196794SFNO??
Tim McGee11/23/198694CINMINCIN1MIN5
Tab Perry12/4/200594CINPITCIN3PIT3
Leon Washington9/22/200894NYJSDNYJ1SD5
Kyle Williams9/23/201294SFMINSF-8MIN14
Gary Ballman11/3/196393PITGBPIT5GB2
Glyn Milburn9/26/199993CHIOAKCHI-2OAK9
Brock Marion10/4/199993MIABUFMIA3BUF4
Tom Farmer?/?/194692L.A. Rams???unverified
Dave Osborn10/4/196592MINL.A. Rams??
Billy Lefear11/23/197592CLECINCLE6CIN2Lefear broke his leg when tackled;
Lefear's last play in NFL
Leeland McElroy10/27/199692ARINYJARI0NYJ8
Jerious Norwood12/28/200892ATLSTLATL0STL8
Darren Sproles12/26/201192NOATLNO-6ATL14
Lynn Chandnois9/30/195691PITWASPIT-5WAS14
Mel Blount10/3/197091PITCLEPIT4CLE5
Reggie Barlow10/25/199891JAXDENJAX5DEN4
Terry Fair9/19/199991DETGBDET1GB8
Desmond Howard10/28/200191DETCINDET0CIN9
Eddie Drummond12/15/200291DETTBDET4TB5
Antonio Cromartie11/26/200691SDOAKSD-3OAK12
Bryan McCann12/24/201191OAKKCOAK-5KC14
Don Shy11/17/196890PITCLE??
Kendall Williams10/2/198390Baltimore
Colts
CINBAL1CIN9
James Dixon10/8/198990DALGBDAL4GB6
Donnie Elder12/30/199090SDL.A.
Raiders
SD3LA7
Jason Tucker10/15/200090DALNYGDAL8NYG2
Allen Rossum11/6/200090GBMINGB8MIN2
Brad Pyatt10/6/200390INDTBIND-2TB12first play of Colts comeback
from down 21 with 5:09 left
Reggie Swinton11/20/200590ARISTLARI5STL5
Dwayne Harris10/13/201390DALWASDAL-5WAS15
Floyd Little11/10/196889DENOAKDEN-2OAK13
Ike Thomas11/12/197289GBCHIGB0CHI11
Larry Brunson10/14/197989OAKATLOAK5ATL6
Rod Hill1/16/198389DALGBDAL2GB9NFC Divisional game
Ron Brown11/10/198589L.A. RamsNYGLA0NYG11
Mel Gray10/25/199289DETTBDET7TB4
Herschel Walker10/20/199689DALATLDAL0ATL11
Veryl Switzer10/30/195488GBPHIGB2PHI10
Walter Roberts11/7/196588CLEPHICLE2PHI10
Clarence Childs12/8/196888CHIL.A. RamsCHI10LA2
Randy Montgomery10/22/197288DENOAKDEN-4OAK16
Steve Odom10/3/197688GBDETGB10DET2
Jimmy Rogers11/24/198088NOL.A. RamsNO-3LA15
Carl Roaches9/13/198188Houston
Oilers
CLEHOU1CLE11
Buster Rhymes12/22/198588MINPHIMIN4PHI8broke rookie record for KR yards
in a season on this return;
not that Busta Rhymes
Mel Gray10/6/199688Houston
Oilers
CINHOU2CIN10
Anthony Marshall 
(lateral from Bobby Engram)
11/24/199688CHIDETCHI-3DET15Engram returned the kickoff 13 yards
then lateraled to Marshall for next 75
Eddie Drummond12/22/200288DETATLDET-3ATL15
Terrence McGee11/12/200688BUFINDBUF0IND12
Pierre Thomas12/7/200888NOATLNO4ATL8
Rod McNeill12/21/197588NOCHI??
Joe McKnight10/9/201188NYJNENYJ-8NE20
Willie West10/16/196087St. Louis
Cardinals
PITSTL-7PIT20tripped over teammate
Earl Christy9/29/196887NYJBUFNYJ6BUF7
Jerry LeVias11/9/196987Houston
Oilers
CIN??
Don Bessillieu9/21/198087MIAATLMIA-5ATL18
Jamie Holland11/11/199087L.A.
Raiders
GBLA11GB2
Kevin Williams11/24/199487DALGBDAL8GB5
B.J. Sams12/11/200587BALDENBAL3DEN10
Jerome Mathis12/3/200687HOUOAKHOU10OAK3
Rock Cartwright12/14/200887WASCINWAS0CIN13
Aaron Brown9/13/200987DETNODET1NO12
Courtney Roby10/25/200987NOMIANO-3MIA16
Chris Owusu12/28/201487NYJMIANYJ1MIA12
Fred Morrison?/?/195186CHI???unverified
Joe Geri10/1/195186PITNYGPIT13NYG1
Emlen Tunnell11/1/195386NYGChicago
Cardinals
NYG2CHI12
Gene Howard11/2/196986NOSt. Louis
Cardinals
??
Keith Wright10/22/197886CLEKCCLE-4KC18
Brian Mitchell9/11/199486WASNOWAS-1NO15
Glyn Milburn11/19/199586DENSDDEN1SD13
Steve Broussard9/15/199686SEAKCSEA3KC11
Herschel Walker11/3/199686DALPHIDAL8PHI6Walker's third appearance on these lists.
Allen Rossum11/14/199986PHIWASPHI0WAS14
Aaron Stecker12/23/200186TBNOTB0NO14TB wouldn't score the first kick return TD
in franchise history for another 6 years.
Brad Smith10/11/201086NYJMINNYJ-5MIN19
Travis Benjamin10/20/201386CLEGBCLE-6GB20
Tommy Wilson?/?/195985L.A. Rams???unverified
Jug Girard11/1/195385DETL.A. Rams??
Barry Redden12/18/198285L.A. RamsL.A.
Raiders
LARM-2LARD17
Don Beebe11/5/198985BUFATLBUF7ATL8
David Dunn11/23/199785CINJAXCIN12JAX3
Adam Jones11/20/200585TENJAXTEN4JAX11
Josh Cribbs9/16/200785CLECINCLE4CIN11
Jerious Norwood10/12/200885ATLCHIATL-2CHI17
Leodis McKelvin11/9/200885BUFNEBUF1NE14
Andy Farkas10/25/194384WASChicago
Cardinals
WAS0CHI16fumbled OOB
Tom Moore12/4/196084GBCHI??
Ozzie Clay10/4/196484WASSt. Louis
Cardinals
??
Ken Ellis11/4/197384GBCHI??
James Hunter12/11/197684DETL.A. Rams??
Mike Nelms11/1/198184WASSt. Louis
Cardinals
WAS4STL12
Dennis Gentry11/3/198684CHIL.A. RamsCHI11LA5
Herman Fontenot10/30/198884CLECINCLE7CIN9
Thomas Lewis8/31/199784NYGPHINYG8PHI8
Dante Hall9/9/200784STLCARSTL-1CAR17
David Reed11/21/201084BALCARBAL-2CAR18
Danny Amendola12/26/201084STLSFSTL4SF12
Jerry Davis?/?/194883Chicago
Cardinals
???unverified
Howard Stevens12/4/197683Baltimore
Colts
St. Louis
Cardinals
BAL7STL10
Jimmy Edwards11/25/197983MINTBMIN-3TB20
Tyrone Hughes11/26/199583NOCARNO4CAR13
Adrian Madise12/28/200383DENGBDEN5GB12
Domenik Hixon11/23/200883NYGARINYG0ARI17
Clifton Smith11/8/200983TBGBTB0GB17
Stefan Logan12/6/200983PITOAKPIT-2OAK19
LeGarrette Blount12/29/201383NEBUFNE-3BUF20
Billy Baggett11/16/195282Dallas
Texans
(NFL)
DETDAL5DET13
Joe Arenas9/27/195382SFPHISF2PHI16
Abner Haynes11/6/196082Dallas
Texans
(AFL)
BUF??
Charlie West12/8/196882MINSFMIN7SF11
Jim Butler11/22/197182ATLGBATL-1GB19
Steve Davis10/29/197282PITBUFPIT0BUF18
Mark Logan12/6/199282SFMIASF10MIA8
Steve Smith12/2/200182CARNOCAR6NO12
Brandon Bennett11/17/200282CINCLECIN11CLE7
Terrence McGee10/2/200582BUFNOBUF15NO3last play of 2Q
Travaris Cadet11/17/201382NOSFNO-3SF21
Charlie Sumner?/?/195581CHI???unverified
Clancy Williams11/6/196681L.A. RamsSFLA1SF18
Len Walterscheid10/1/197881CHIOAK??
Steve Brown11/27/198381Houston
Oilers
TBHOU10TB9
Herman Fontenot12/15/198581CLEHouston
Oilers
CLE3HOU16
Kevin L. Williams9/26/199981NYJWASNYJ3WAS16fumbled OOB
Charlie Rogers10/15/200081SEAINDSEA-2IND21
Troy Edwards11/25/200181PITTENPIT2TEN17
Ellis Hobbs9/21/200881NEMIANE-4MIA23
Danny Amendola11/23/201481NEDETNE-3DET22
Dave Grayson10/11/196480KCDENKC2DEN18KC's drive after the return: 
1-10-DEN18: holding for -15;
1-25-DEN33: sack for -14;
2-39-DEN48: run for -5;
3-44-KC47: run for 19;
4-25-DEN33: pass for 33 and TD
Gary Ballman11/8/196480PITSt. Louis
Cardinals
??
Ron Smith11/27/196680ATLCHIATL14CHI6
Devin Hester9/15/201380CHIMINCHI-3MIN23
Pacman Jones12/22/201480CINDENCIN-7DEN27




Longest non-scoring punt returns in NFL history:
ReturnerDateLengthTeamOpponentFromToNotes
Brady Keys9/20/196490PITNYGPIT9NYG1
Skeets Quinlan?/?/195288L.A. Rams???unverified
T.J. Houshmandzadeh11/25/200186CINCLECIN9CLE5
Leon Washington12/5/201084SEACARSEA14CAR2
Eddie Dove9/29/196383NYGPHINYG14PHI3
Brady Keys9/22/196382PITNYGPIT17NYG1
Ray Buchanan11/3/199682INDSDIND9SD9
Bob Grim11/5/196781MINNYGMIN17NYG2
Dennis Northcutt11/5/200681CLESDCLE9SD10
Mel Gray12/6/198780NOTBNO16TB4
Desmond Howard10/29/200080DETINDDET18IND2


Longest non-scoring interception returns in NFL history:
ReturnerDateLengthTeamOpponentFromToNotes
Champ Bailey1/14/2006100DENNEDEN-1NE1AFC Divisional game;
fumbled OOB just before reaching end zone
Brandon McDonald12/15/200898CLEPHICLE-5PHI7last play of half
Julius Peppers10/10/200497CARDENCAR0DEN3lost fumble into end zone,
but overturned on replay
Dennis Thurman9/6/198196DALWASDAL0WAS4
Bob Neff9/14/196895MIAHouston
Oilers
??
Charles Tillman12/4/200595CHIGBCHI-2GB7next-to-last play of 2Q
Nolan Cromwell12/14/198194STLATLSTL3ATL3
LeRoy Irvin12/26/198394STLDALSTL3DAL3NFC Wild Card game
Chad Williams10/24/200494BALBUFBAL0BUF6
Andy Studebaker11/22/200994KCPITKC-2PIT8
Ross Fichtner 
(lateral from Erich Barnes)
10/1/196793CLENOCLE5NO2Barnes returned the interception 5 yards
then lateraled to Fitchner for next 88
Jack Hinkle10/9/194391PHI/PIT
Steagles
NYG?? NY Times on 10/10/43
credits interception to Ernie Steele
Booker Edgerson11/1/196491BUFHouston
Oilers
??
Leslie Duncan12/6/196491SDNYJSD5NYJ4
Ryan Mundy9/8/201391NYGDALNYG8DAL1
Bob Smith11/9/195290DETPITDET0PIT10
Bob Neff11/13/196690MIAKC??
Rick Volk10/13/196890Baltimore
Colts
SFBAL3SF7
Mike Richardson9/29/198590CHIWASCHI9WAS1
Bruce Maher11/10/196889NYGDALNYG5DAL6
Charlie West12/19/197189MINCHIMIN6CHI5
Lawrence Timmons11/30/200889PITNEPIT10NE1tackle made by Ben Watson,
who also tackled Bailey on the non-TD above
Dave Robinson12/12/196587GBBaltimore
Colts
GB3BAL10
Ron Hall9/18/196687NEDENNE6DEN7
Joe Blahak12/9/197387HOILPITHOIL8PIT5
Victor Green12/13/199887NYJMIANYJ4MIA9
Mike Gaechter11/3/196386DALWASDAL1WAS13
Dick Anderson12/20/197086MIABUF??
Brice McCain10/8/201286HOUNYJHOU5NYJ9
Raymond Clayborn10/7/198485NECLENE8CLE7next-to-last play of 4Q;
CLE trailed 17-16 and was in FG territory
Aaron Beasley9/12/200485ATLSFATL1SF14
Al Harris12/19/199984PHINEPHI5NE11fumbled, recovered by PHI
Joey Porter9/15/200284PITOAKPIT1OAK15illegally lateraled forward for TD
reversed on replay
Sabby Piscitelli12/28/200884TBOAKTB5OAK11
Fred Marion11/17/198583NESEANE2SEA15
Lloyd Burruss10/28/199183KCL.A.
Raiders
KC2LA15
Carlton Williamson11/25/198582SFSEASF12SEA6
Rolland Lawrence10/21/197381ATLSD??
Paul Krause11/23/197581MINSD??
Leroy Irvin11/16/198080STLNESTL11NE9last play of half
John Holt11/30/198680INDSDIND7SD13
Cortland Finnegan9/10/200980TENPITTEN0PIT20last play of half
Ralph Brown1/3/201080ARIGBARI13GB7
Antoine Cason10/12/201480CARCINCAR10CIN10




Other 80+ yard non-scoring plays (non-comprehensive):
PlayerDateLengthTeamOpponentFromToNotes
Dale Dodrill12/14/195283PITL.A. RamsPIT8LA9blocked FG return
Andre Waters11/30/198681PHIL.A.
Raiders
PHI15LA4fumble return;
overtime

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