Of the eight NFL teams that won divisional titles in 2012, six of them also won that division title in 2011. The two teams that went to the top of their division in 2012 (but not in 2011) were the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins.
The Falcons last won the NFC South in 2010. For the Redskins, this past season’s divisional title was a long time coming. The Redskins last won a division in 1999; that drought was tied for the fourth longest in the league.
There’s a good chance the Redskins and Falcons will not be repeating their division title in 2013 since the Redskins are five games out of first place with three games remaining, and the Falcons find themselves seven games back with three weeks left on the schedule.
Back in 2002, the NFL went to the current four division format in each of the two conferences. Of the 32 NFL teams, 28 have won at least one division title since ’02. The four that are still looking for their first division championship this century are: Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Jacksonville. Browns‘ fans have been waiting the longest as their team has not won a division championship since 1989.
The Lions are currently tied for first place in the NFC North with the Bears and may finally break that long drought without a division title.
Following is a look at when each NFL team last won a division title.
Year of last division title, team(s)
2002: N.Y. Jets, Oakland
2003: St. Louis
2007: Tampa Bay
2008: Carolina, Miami, Tennessee
2009: Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Minnesota, San Diego,
2010: Chicago, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle
2011: New Orleans, N.Y Giants
2012: Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Green Bay, Houston, New England, San Francisco, Washington
Darrel Young had three rushing touchdowns for the Washington Redskins in their 30-24 overtime win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. It was the second time this season that the Redskins had a running back score three rushing TDs in a game (Roy Helu did it earlier in the year versus the Bears).
In fact, of the last five times that an NFL running back scored three or more TDs’ via the run in a game, the Redskins have done it three times… with three different running backs. Washington feature back Alfred Morris had three rushing scores in a 28-18 win over the Dallas Cowboys last season in the regular-season finale.
If we go back to 1970, there have been 362 times when a running back had three or more TDs via runs. Teams are 324-38 in those games, a .895 winning percentage. But for the Redskins, having a running back score three-plus TDs via runs has been a golden path to success. The Redskins have had 20 such games since 1970 and have won all 20!
For Young, Morris and Helu, it was the first career game for each with three rushing touchdowns. That’s 11 games fewer than the player who has the most games with three-plus rushing TDs, LaDainian Tomlinson. His 12 games are three more than Priest Holmes and Emmitt Smith.
Here are the running backs with the most games with three or more rushing TDs since 1970.
12: LaDainian Tomlinson
9: Priest Holmes, Emmitt Smith
8: Marshall Faulk
6: Shaun Alexander, Marcus Allen, Earl Campbell, Joe Morris, Barry Sanders
5: Eric Dickerson, Edgerrin James, Walter Payton, Adrian Peterson
For Tomlinson, his team was a perfect 12-0 in those games when he had three or more rushing TDs.
One final note: The last player to score three or more rushing touchdowns in a loss was Chicago’s Matt Forte on October 20. If you haven’t guessed it already, that game was played against the Redskins.
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