When you think of 20-game winners in the majors, most of the time you probably think of a fireballin’ pitcher who strikes out a lot of batters. That is not, however, the case all the time. In fact, there have been several pitchers who have won 20 or more games in a season who did not depend on the strikeout for their success.
In MLB history, there have been 132 pitchers who have won 20 or more games in a season with fewer than 100 strikeouts that season. The interesting thing about this stat is that 125 of those pitchers accomplished this prior to 1970. Only seven pitchers have won 20-plus games with less than 100 strikeouts since 1970.
The all-time leader in this odd statistic is Cincinnati hurler Slim Sallee who had only 24 strikeouts in 1919 with 21 victories in the books.
Here are the seven pitchers who tallied fewer than 100 K’s when they were a 20-game winner.
Pitcher, team, year
Tommy John, NY Yankees, 1980, 78 strikeouts/22 wins
Ross Grimsley, Montreal, 1978, 84 strikeouts/20 wins
Dave McNally, Baltimore, 1971, 91 strikeouts/21 wins
Bill Gullickson, Detroit, 1991, 91 strikeouts/20 wins
Ed Figueroa, NY Yankees, 1978, 92 strikeouts/20 wins
Randy Jones, San Diego, 1976, 93 strikeouts/22 wins
Bob Forsch, St. Louis, 1977, 95 strikeouts/20 wins
Since 2000, there have been only three times where a 20-game winner had less than 130 strikeouts in that season. Jamie Moyer did it twice; in 2001 with Seattle when he had 119 strikeouts in a 20-win season, and two years later with the Mariners when he had 129 K’s in a 21-win season. The other pitcher on the list is Derek Lowe; he won 21 games in 2002 with Boston and had 127 strikeouts that season.
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This year’s Super Bowl will feature the Carolina Panthers, who lost one game this season, and the Denver Broncos, who lost four games in 2015. The three-loss difference is the 12th time in the 50 years of the Super Bowl that one team had three or more regular season losses than their Super Bowl opponent.
The greatest loss difference in Super Bowl history was in 2008 when the undefeated Patriots faced off against the six-loss Giants. Twice there was a four-loss difference between the Super Bowl teams: 2012 (New England, three losses versus vs. the Giants, seven losses) and in 1986 (one-loss Bears versus the five-loss Patriots).
Here’s a look at the 12 times there was a three-loss (or greater) difference in Super Bowl opponents (the team that won the Super Bowl that year is noted in bold).
2016: Carolina (1 loss) vs. Denver (4 losses)
2012: New England (3 losses) vs. New York Giants (7 losses)
2009: Pittsburgh (4 losses) vs. Arizona (7 losses)
2008: New England (0 losses) vs. New York Giants (6 losses)
2004: New England (2 losses) vs. Carolina (5 losses)
2002: St. Louis (2 losses) vs. New England (5 losses)
1990: San Francisco (2 losses) vs. Denver (5 losses)
1987: New York Giants (2 losses) vs. Denver (5 losses)
1986: Chicago (1 loss) vs. New England (5 losses)
1980: Pittsburgh (4 losses) vs. Los Angeles Rams (7 losses)
1973: Miami (0 losses) vs. Washington (3 losses)
1968: Oakland (1 loss) vs. Green Bay (4 losses)
In 12 of the 50 Super Bowls we have had two teams that had the same number of losses in the regular season; in the other 38 games one team had fewer losses than the other.
In the previous 10 Super Bowls prior to this year’s game, there have been eight times when one team has more regular season losses than their Super Bowl opponent (in the last two Super Bowls, in 2014 and 2015, the two teams had the same number of losses). That team has won seven times. That’s a good omen for the Broncos for this year’s game, although in the 37 Super Bowls where one team had more losses than their opponent, those teams were 15-22 in the big game (they were 8-21 from 1968 to 2005, 7-1 from 2006-13).
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The path to Super Bowl 50 was very different for the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, especially if you focus on the games that punched their tickets to this year’s Super Bowl.
The Panthers put a beat-down on the Arizona Cardinals, defeating them 49-15 in the NFC title game. The Broncos stopped a two-point conversion late in the game to preserve a 20-18 win over the defending champs, New England. So, we have a team that won by 34 taking on a team that won by two in the conference championship game in this year’s Super Bowl. Which team has the advantage?
Let’s take a look at previous conference championship games. First, let’s look at those conference title games that had a margin of victory more than 30 points. It has now happened eight times including Carolina’s win this year. Of the previous seven games where one of the Super Bowl teams won their previous game by 30-plus points, only two of those seven teams won the Super Bowl that year.
Here’s a look at those seven games.
1967: Oakland over Houston 40-7 (33-point margin)… lost in the Super Bowl
1968: Baltimore over Cleveland 34-0 (34-point margin)… lost in the Super Bowl
1975: Dallas over Rams 37-7 (30-point margin)… lost in Super Bowl
1990: Buffalo over Raiders 51-3 (48-point margin)… lost in the Super Bowl
1991: Washington over Detroit 41-10 (31-point margin)… won Super Bowl
2000: New York Giants over Minnesota 41-0 (41-point margin)… lost in the Super Bowl
2014: New England over Indianapolis 45-7 (38-point margin)… won Super Bowl
2015: Carolina over Arizona (49-15 (34-point margin)… ?
Let’s now look at the conference title games that were decided by only a couple of points. In fact, Denver’s 20-18, two-point win over New England in the AFC Championship Game was only the third time since 1966 (the Super Bowel era) that a conference title game was decided by two or fewer points. Of those two occasions, both teams went on to win the Super Bowl.
Here’s a look at those two games.
1981: San Francisco over Dallas 28-27 (one-point margin)… won Super Bowl
1990: New York Giants over San Francisco (two-point margin)… won Super Bowl
2015: Denver over New England 20-18 (two-point margin)… ?
It certainly appears that Denver may have the advantage based on the history of conference championship game blowouts vs. nail-biters. We’ll see if history remains true to form.
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Here are several stats you may not know from the Packers 26-20 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals in their divisional playoff game on January 16, 2016 (the stats all reflect playoff games unless otherwise noted).
- Green Bay is now 16-9 in Saturday games (regular season and playoff) since 1966. They are now 9-3 in Saturday playoff games.
- Packers are now 2-3 in games that have ended with the score 26-20.
- Mason Crosby is one of the most accurate playoff kickers in post-season history. He is now 23-for-25 in playoff games in his career, a 92 percent accuracy rate. That ranks tied for third of all kickers in the post-season (minimum of 10 playoff game field goal attempts). He is one of only seven kickers with a field goal made percentage of 90 or better in playoffs. Seattle kicker Steven Hauschke tops the list at 93.8 percent (15-of-16).
- With their OT loss, Green Bay becomes the first team in NFL history to lose back-to-back OT playoff losses in consecutive years. The Pack’s five OT playoff losses since 1966 are the most all-time (second are the Colts with four).
- Green Bay did not score in the first quarter and are now 6-7 since 1966 in playoff games where they do not score in the first quarter.
- Julius Peppers had a sack in the game. He is one of 28 players age 35 or older to have a playoff sack. His 2.5 playoff sacks at age 35+ is tied for sixth all-time.
- Arizona had a 7-6 lead over the Packers at halftime. The Packers are now 3-14 when they are behind at halftime of a playoff game (since 1966).
- Green Bay had one turnover to two for the Cardinals. The Pack have now lost their last three playoff games when they have fewer turnovers than the opponents. The Packers are 17-7 in playoff games since 1966 when they have two or more takeaways.
- Aaron Rodgers was sacked only once in the game while the Pack defense sacked Carson Palmer three times. Green Bay is now 14-8 in playoff games when they allow one or no sacks in a game; they are 15-6 when the defense sacks the opposition QB three times or more in a playoff contest.
- Green Bay had a three-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The team is now 23-4 in playoff games since ’66 when they have a three-point lead or more going into the final period.
- The Pack defense had two interceptions and is now 11-4 in playoff games when they intercept the opponents two or more times.
- Rookie Demarious Randall had one of the two picks. The first-year player became the sixth Packers rookie to have an interception in a playoff game since 1966. The others: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Sam Shields, Tyrone Williams, Craig Newsome and George Teague.
- Rodgers had a QB Rating of 77.9 for the game. In his 13 playoff starts, the Pack is 5-1 when Rodgers has a QBR of 100 or more, 1-2 if his QBR was between 80-99.9, and is 1-3 if Rodgers QBR was below 80.
- Green Bay is 1-5 in playoff games when Rodgers has an interception (he had one interception on Saturday). They are 6-1 in playoff games when he does not throw an interception.
- Jeff Janis became the ninth Green Bay Packers player to have two or more receiving TDs in a playoff game since 1966. The last was Greg Jennings in the 2011 Super Bowl.
- Janis had seven receptions for 145 yards. The 145 yards is the third highest for a Packers receiver in a playoff game. Jermichael Finley (159) and John Jefferson (148) are 1-2 on the list. Janis is one of five receivers for the Pack to have 140 or more receiving yards in a playoff contest.
- The Packers held the Cards to only 40 yards rushing in the game. It was the ninth time since 1966 that the Packers held their opponents under 50 yards rushing in a playoff game, but it was their first loss.
- Green Bay allowed 10 points in the fourth quarter. They are 2-9 in playoff games since ’66 when they allow 10 or more points in the fourth quarter. It is interesting to note that in the Packers last five playoff losses (this year and the previous four years of playoffs) the Pack allowed 10 or more points in each of those fourth quarters.
- Larry Fitzgerald had eight catches for 176 yards. That was the most receiving yards by an opposing player in a playoff game versus the Pack in the Super Bowl era.
- Eddie Lacy had 89 yards on 12 rushing attempts in the game. In the four playoff games that Lacy had 70 or more yards rushing, the Packers are 1-3.
- In their 18 playoff losses since 1966, the Packers have lost five of those games at home, one at a neutral site, and 12 on the road. The Cowboys have the most playoff wins over the Pack since 1966 with four. The 49ers are next with three. The Cardinals and Giants follow with two apiece.
Here are several stats you may not know from the Packers 35-18 win over the Washington Redskins in their first-round playoff game on January 10, 2016 (the stats all reflect playoff games unless otherwise noted).
- The 35-18 final score was only the second time in NFL history that score was the final tally of a game. Ironically, the other time was also a playoff game; it happened on January 1, 1995 when the Chicago Bears defeated the Minnesota Vikings 35-18 in a Wild Card game.
- The Packers are now 4-8 in playoff games versus the NFC East, 2-6 on the road. In all road playoff games since 1966 (start of the Super Bowl era), the Pack is now 8-11. Prior to yesterday’s win over the Redskins, they had lost three of their last seven road playoff games in overtime.
- Yesterday was the second time in Green Bay playoff history that they gave up a safety. The other time was in 1994 to Detroit in a 16-12 win over the Lions.
- The Pack had zero points at the end of the first quarter. They had lost four of their last six when they were scoreless at the end of the first period. They are now 6-6 in such playoff games since 1966.
- Aaron Rodgers had a pair of TD passes in the game. The Packers are 5-3 in games when Rodgers has two or more TD passes in a playoff contest.
- Green Bay had a six-point lead at halftime; they are now 19-3 since 1966 in playoff games when they hold the lead at half; they are 6-3 in road games with the lead at halftime.
- There is logic to giving the ball to Randall Cobb as a running back… of all players with 50 or more rushing attempts (in all games, regular season and playoff), Cobb ranks 15th all-time with a per attempt average of 6.9 yards. Curtis Conway tops this list with a 9.3 yards per carry average.
- James Jones became the 12th Green Bay receiver to have seven or more catches in a playoff game since 1960. Robert Brooks, Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson top the list with three playoff games each with seven or more catches.
- The Pack had the lead going into the fourth quarter and is now 23-3 in playoff games since 1966 when they are ahead going into the final period.
- Green Bay had 141 yards rushing in the game. They had been 4-7 in their last 11 playoff games when they accumulated 100 or more rushing yards. They are 17-9 all-time in playoff games with 100 or more yards rushing.
- The Pack is now 13-2 in playoff games when they score 30 or more points; they are 16-1 in post-season contests when they allow under 20 points to their opponents. The only loss was in 1972 when they were defeated in the playoffs 16-3 to the Redskins.
- Since 1966 the Packers are 9-1 in playoff games where they have two or more rushing TDs.
- Dom Capers’ defense had six sacks in the game. The team is 6-2 in playoff games when the defensive unit collects five or more sacks.
- The Packers had only one turnover (a fumble late in the game by Eddie Lacy). They are now 18-4 in playoff games since ’66 when they have one or no turnovers.
- Rodgers had a QBRating of 93.5 in the game. In his 12 post-season starts, he has had a QBR over 90 in nine games; the Packers are 6-3 in those games.
- Green Bay is now 6-1 in playoff games where Rodgers does not throw an interception (he had zero yesterday).
- The offensive line allowed only one sack of Rodgers in the game. In playoff games since 1966, the Packers are now 14-7 when they allow one or no sacks.
- Washington had only 84 yards rushing on 18 carries in the game. The Pack is 15-2 in the last 17 playoff games when they keep the opposition under 100 yards rushing.
- Eddie Lacy had 63 yards on 12 carries and James Starks had 53 yards on 12 carries. It was the first time since a playoff game in 1997 when the Packers had two players amass over 50 yards apiece rushing in a playoff game. It has happened five times since 1960… the Pack is 5-0 in those games.