The Denver Broncos had only a single completion pass while they threw 2 interceptions against the New Orleans Saints in week 12 of the 2020 season. The low completion count was due to all the Broncos quarterbacks being deemed ineligible to play the day before the match, after one of them tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, and the other 3 (including the practice squad QB) being in high contact with him. And due to the NFL protocols regarding the pandemic, the Broncos weren't able to sign a free agent quarterback and have him ready to start in time for the game.

The Broncos ended up starting a wide receiver from the practice squad as their QB, who went 1/9 for passes with 2 interceptions. This made the first NFL match in 20+ years where a team had thrown more interceptions than completions. Since the NFL/AFL merger, what are all the games that had at least one side with as many or more thrown interceptions than completions?

1 Answer 1


It happened 15 times in total; mostly in the early days (twelve times in the 1970s, then once in the 1980s and once in the 1990s). Many early post-merger teams didn't pass much, after all, and so when they tried sometimes it worked out poorly.

A particularly fun case is 1974's Jets @ Bills game, which featured Broadway Joe Namath for the Jets, against a Bills team featuring Joe Ferguson who led the league in attempts and passing yards just three years later. The line?

Joe Namath:   2 completions (on 18 attempts), 3 INTs
Joe Ferguson: 0 completions (on  2 attempts), 0 INTs

You can be forgiven for looking at the "@ Bills" part of that and assuming this game was played in a snowstorm; no, it was actually in the mid 60s that day, though perhaps with some wind.

More impressively, some of these teams actually won their games! See for example the match in that same year, 1974, between John Madden's Raiders and Hank Stram's Chiefs, a real barnburner of a game; the Raiders won, 7-6, on 181 rushing yards, 3 completions (including a TD!) and 3 interceptionss. The Chiefs on the other hand featured the great Len Dawson, and managed 12 completions for 126 yards and 2 INTs, but unfortunately for them never broke the plane, and George Blanda's kick sailed through the uprights to seal the win for the Raiders. This game might have been more likely to have been affected by the weather of course, at 23 degrees (wind chill 9!).


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