The Los Angeles Rams are having a Super Bowl hangover unlike any other.
The defending champions are assured of being the eighth team to have a losing record the year after winning it all and are one loss shy of the most losses ever for a team defending a Super Bowl title.
The injury-plagued Rams (3-9) have the worst record ever through 12 games for a defending champion and are the first of those teams to lose six straight the year after winning a Super Bowl.
With a loss on Thursday night against the Raiders, Los Angeles can tie the 1999 Broncos (6-10) for the most losses ever by a defending champion.
Denver’s falloff came after quarterback John Elway retired. The other defending champions with losing records were the 1968 Packers, who went 6-7-1 after coach Vince Lombardi retired; the 1981 Raiders (7-9); the 1982 49ers, who went 3-6 in a strike-shortened season; the 1987 Giants (6-9), who lost all three games with replacement players; Washington (7-9) in 1988 and Tampa Bay (7-9) in 2003.
The Rams can be officially eliminated from playoff contention this week, which will extend the longest stretch ever without a repeat Super Bowl champion.
There were eight repeat winners in the first 39 Super Bowls, with the longest gap without one coming between Pittsburgh’s titles in the 1978-79 seasons and San Francisco’s in 1988-89.
No team has repeated since the Patriots in 2003-04.
In all, out of the first 55 Super Bowl winners, eight won it all the following season, six others lost in the Super Bowl, 25 more made the playoffs and 16 missed out.
KINGS OF THE HILL
The Green Bay Packers ended Chicago’s century-long run as the NFL’s winningest team.
The Packers beat the Bears on Sunday for their 787th regular-season win, breaking a tie with Chicago for the most ever. This is the first time since 1921 that a franchise other than the Bears has the most regular-season wins in NFL history.
The victory also improved Aaron Rodgers’s career record against Chicago to 25-5, including one playoff win. That’s tied for the fifth-most wins for one player against one team, trailing only Tom Brady’s 33 against the Bills, Brady’s 31 against the Jets, Brett Favre’s 28 against the Lions and Ben Roethlisberger’s 26 against the Bengals.
RETURN TO SENDER
The Cleveland Browns scored 27 points in unusual fashion last week against Houston.
The Browns scored touchdowns on a punt return, interception and fumble return, becoming the 10th team since the merger to score at least three TDs with none coming on offense. The last to do that was Philadelphia in a 26-21 loss to San Francisco on Sept. 28, 2014.
The only teams in the Super Bowl era to score more points without an offensive touchdown are the Bears in a 30-27 win over the Packers in 1993 and the Seahawks in a 29-10 win over the Steelers in 1999.
The Las Vegas Raiders’ offense has been a two-man show this season.
With Josh Jacobs dominating on the ground and Davante Adams through the air, the Raiders have won three straight to get into the fringe of playoff contention in the AFC.
Jacobs leads the NFL with 1,635 yards from scrimmage and Adams is tied for eighth with 1,175. The Raiders are the only team with two players in the top 10 and the duo has combined for 61.6 per cent of Las Vegas’ yards from scrimmage – the biggest for the franchise since Clem Daniels and Art Powell had 61.8 per cent of the Raiders’ yards from scrimmage in 1963.
Jacobs has joined some exclusive company with 1,303 yards rushing, 10 TD runs and 5.38 yards per carry. The only other players to hit those marks through 12 games are a trio of Hall of Famers: Walter Payton (1977), O.J. Simpson (1973) and Jim Brown (1958, 1963, 1965).
Adams has had at least 120 yards receiving and two TD catches four times this season, tying a record he previously reached in 2020. The only others to do it are Cooper Kupp (2021), Terrell Owens (2002), Roy Green (1984) and Bobby Mitchell (1962).
Chicago quarterback Justin Fields is running into history.
Fields scored on a 55-yard run against Green Bay for his third rushing TD of at least 50 yards this season. No other QB in NFL history has three TD runs in the regular season of at least 50 yards. Colin Kaepernick had two in the regular and one in the playoffs.
Fields has scored on a TD run in six straight games, the longest streak for a QB since Johnny Lujack did it in 1950.