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The passing yardage insanity, in one stat

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates with fans after defeating the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 34-31. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

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Ross Tucker wrote something last week that has stuck in my head since. Which means it must be true.

“Yards passing [are] quickly becoming the most overrated stat in the NFL,” he wrote.

We couldn’t agree more. This is like the steroid era in baseball, except yards are inflated instead of home runs. We need to re-calibrate what is truly an exceptional quarterback performance.

300 yards, so long a clean benchmark for a big game, means so much less.

Despite Monday night’s defensive struggle, the NFL notes there have been 33 300-yard games this season. That’s the most through three weeks of the season ever.

The second highest total through three weeks: 21 games, in 2009. Small sample size, we know. But the record has been boosted by more than 50%.

Monday night’s game was actually instructive. That was a totally defensive game, with both offenses having serious and consistent problems. Tony Romo and Rex Grossman still topped 250 yards each.

The benchmarks have changed. 300 yards passing in a game just doesn’t signify much.