NFL

Which QB has the most 400 yard passing games in the NFL?

As Tom Brady quietly broke the NFL three and four touchdown game records, it is worth looking at the hallowed benchmark, the 400 yard passing game

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Which QB has the most 400 yard passing games in the NFL?
Chuck Cook USA TODAY Sports

The forward pass came to the game 37 years after rugby decisively morphed into a game recognizable as American football. After a bloody 1905 season where there were 19 deaths in the game, President Teddy Roosevelt intervened to prevent the banning of the nascent sport by calling for extensive rule changes. The 1906 season saw the first forward pass, and St Louis coach Eddie Cochems immediately made use of it, outscoring opponents 407-11 on the way to an undefeated 11-0 season.

With longer and more risky passes slow to come into fashion, it took until 1943 before anyone passed for more than 400 yards in a game. It would take nearly two decades before the feat became common, with only eight instances before 1961.

In the modern game, the 400 yard passing mark is seen as a testament to an offense’s, and more to the point the quarterback’s, dominance and control of an opponent. To date, the achievement has been seen by 115 quarterbacks in the NFL with several of them repeating the accomplishment.

The king of the 400 yard passing game is Drew Brees with 16. At the time of his retirement, Brees held nearly every quarterback record and one by one he has seen them fall to Tom Brady. Brady is currently tied for fourth with 12 on the 400 yard game list, and while he still has a way to go to take this record as well, only a fool would bet against him getting there.

Peyton Manning has fourteen 400 yard passing games to see him into second place and the third quarterback on the all-time list is Dan Marino, the quarterback with possibly the most beautiful release ever seen in football, racking up 13 games. Along with Brady, Ben Roethlisberger has accomplished this 12 times.

Cam Newton is one of only three rookies to have thrown for 400 yards in a game, the only one to have done it twice in a season, and the only one to do it in his very first career start. Kurt Warner is the only quarterback to throw for 400 yards in a Super Bowl.

Top Ten list of quarterbacks with most 400 yard games

  • 16 Drew Brees
  • 14 Peyton Manning
  • 13 Dan Marino
  • 12 Ben Roethlisberger
  • 12 Tom Brady
  • 11 Philip Rivers
  • 10 Matthew Stafford
  • 9 Dak Prescott
  • 9 Eli Manning
  • 9 Aaron Roders
  • 8 Carson Palmer