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Browns linebacker David Bowens returns his second interception of Saints quarterback Drew Brees for a touchdowns Sunday. ((Chris Graythen/Getty Images))

When Brett Favre found the familiar colours worn by Desmond Bishop on Sunday night it wasn't just interception No. 326 for the all-time record books or one of the countless number the old graybeard's seen go all the way back.

It fit into one of the main themes of the day, the astounding number of interception returns for touchdowns in the 13 games played.

There were 12 heading into Sunday, and by the end of the night that number had ballooned to 21.

Sunday by Division

AFC East 1-2
AFC North 3-1
AFC South 1-1
AFC West 2-2
NFC East 1-1*
NFC North 1-2
NFC South 3-1 
NFC West 1-3

*Will be 2-2 barring Monday night tie

The nine were highlighted by a pair courtesy of David Bowens of the Cleveland Browns, victimizing Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.

Brees, meanwhile, has thrown eight interceptions in his last three games after throwing just 11 all of last season.

Running away

Whither the rookie running back?

After six weeks, Chris Ivory leads all first-year backs with 325 yards. The undrafted Ivory has been an unlikely leader in the rookie category, thrust into action due to the Saints' injuries.

Ivory leads over a rookie group that includes seven players taken in the first two rounds. Two of those, Jahvid Best of Detroit and San Diego's Ryan Mathews are not too far behind in yards. Both have enjoyed some impressive flashes, and both have been nicked up.

Usually there's at least one rookie each season who rushes for over 1,000 yards. Just two years ago, there were three who went over 1,200 - Steve Slaton, Matt Forte and Chris Johnson — although that was a bit atypical.

There is also usually at least one rookie back in the top 20 of all rushers at season's end, including last year when Knowshon Moreno of Denver ran for 947 yards.

If the current rate of production remains the same, this year's rookie leader will probably end up with about 800 and change. That probably won't be enough for the top 15, and it'd mark the first time since 1992 that there was no rookie back with at least 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

A few possible reasons: Obviously, the NFL is more and more a passing league. As recently as the first half of the last decade, there were reliably at least 10 teams at year's end who averaged more than 30 rushes per game. This season, as with most recent years, that figure will likely fall between six and eight.

From Miami to Kansas City to Seattle and many points in between, a two-man rotation is in effect, curtailing carries. The running backs who are ensconced as workhorses - guys like Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson - are either in their prime or not far removed from it.

Meanwhile, a darkhorse candidate to be in the thick of the top rookie rushers at season's end is big load LaGarrette Blount of Tampa Bay. Blount, most famous for punching a collegiate opponent, rumbled for 70 yards on 11 carries for the Bucs on Sunday.

Firing line

Hot seat power rankings

COACH TEAM
Norv Turner San Diego
Marvin Lewis Cincinnati
Josh McDaniels Denver
Mike Singletary San Francisco
Jack Del Rio Jacksonville

Why rank the teams when it's more fun to take a look at the coaches who should be shown the door with the most impunity. The ranking is based on a mix of execrable performance on Sunday and the complete body of work with their team.

Wade Phillips gets a reprieve by dint of not playing on Sunday. You gotta give the man at least one break this season.

Pass it up

Every week, sports sites list the top statistical performers of the NFL week. For quarterback, the strange barometer that is always chosen is passing yards.

Maybe it's not the most meaningless stat in sports, but it's certainly vies for the title of most misleading. I've been trying to come up with something analogous from another sport that would be inappropriate to measure the standard for excellent performance at a position. Pitches thrown by starters in baseball, maybe?

The top yard earners in the air Sunday were Carson Palmer, Brees, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Philip Rivers. All of them lost, and as is typical, at least three of them reached 300 yards passing because their teams trailed pretty much all game.

After seven weeks, the won-loss record of quarterbacks who throw for more than 300 yards is 12-23.

Admittedly, that winning percentage is a tad lower this season than it has been in recent years due to the mind-bending exclusion of one name from that list of quarterbacks — Tom Brady.

Brady has yet to throw for 300 in a game this season for New England. In the 32 previous regular season starts he completed - we're throwing out the blown knee game two years ago - he did it 15 times.

Perhaps the most meaningless of the 300-plus games this season? Chad Henne in Miami's 41-14 spanking by New England.

Looking ahead

Here are four of the biggest games of Week 8:

Pittsburgh (5-1) at New Orleans (4-3): A matchup of the past two Super Bowl champions. They've each dealt with issues this season.…

Green Bay (4-3) at N.Y. Jets (5-1): Intriguing because both are in the top half of teams in the NFL.

Houston (4-2) at Indianapolis (4-2) : Will it be another chapter in showing how resourceful Peyton Manning is, left without the services of Dallas Clark and Austin Collie? Or has Indy been too gravely wounded by injuries? The Colts will fall to 0-3 in the division with a loss against Houston, which beat them in Texas opening weekend.

Tampa Bay (4-2) at Arizona (3-3): There are more sparkling games (Green Bay at New York Jets tops that list), but probably only Miami at Cincinnati in the AFC rivals this NFC battle as being most critical for the teams involved. The Bucs are 2-0 on the road and the Cards are 2-0 at home.

Corrections

  • In the Look Ahead section, we've deleted the information regarding the Eagles' quarterbacks in the Green Bay-N.Y. Jets matchup.
    Oct 25, 2010 11:58 AM ET