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TEBOW SHINES IN BRONCOS' VICTORY
From Elias: Tim Tebow ran six yards for a touchdown with 3 minutes, 2 seconds to play to give the Broncos a 24-23 win over the Texans. Over the last 40 years, only two other rookie quarterbacks scored a game-winning TD in the final five minutes of the fourth-quarter: Archie Manning of the Saints in 1971 and Rodney Peete of the Lions in 1989.
Tebow passed for 308 yards in Denver's victory. Over the last eight seasons, only one other player passed for 300 or more yards and scored a game-winning touchdown in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter in the same game: Matt Schaub of the Texans against the Dolphins in 2008.
SCHAUB'S STREAK OF 300-YARD LOSSES CONTINUES
From Elias: Matt Schaub passed for 310 yards in the Texans' loss at Denver. It was Schaub's fourth consecutive 300-yard game and Houston's fourth straight loss. Only one other player in NFL history passed for at least 300 yards in four straight games and lost them all: Bill Kenney of the Chiefs in 1983.
RODGERS SURPASSES FAVRE & STARR
From Elias: Aaron Rodgers passed for 404 yards and four touchdowns in the Packers' 45-17 rout of the Giants. Only one other Green Bay player ever passed for at least 400 yards and four TDs in the same game. Was it (a) Brett Favre; (b) Bart Starr; or (c) Don Horn? If it were Favre or Starr, would we even bother asking?
Incidentally it was only the third such game ever recorded against the Giants, and the first since 1953, when Bobby Thomason of the Eagles passed for 437 yards and four TDs versus the Jints. Sid Luckman also did it in 1943.
CUTLER'S THREE BOMBS LEAD BEARS TO VICTORY
From Elias: Jay Cutler threw touchdown passes of 40, 25, and 26 yards in the third quarter of the Bears' 38-34 win over the Jets. Cutler was the first NFL player this season and the first Bears player since 1989 with three TD passes of 25 yards or longer in the same period. The last Bears QB to do that was Mike Tomczak.
GOULD SETS RECORD, THEN MISSES
From Elias: Robbie Gould missed a 35-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter of the Bears' win, snapping his record streak of 65 consecutive FGs of 40 yards or less. Gould had set that mark with a 37-yard field goal earlier in the game, breaking a tie with Nate Kaeding, whose own streak of 64 in a row ended earlier this season (Oct. 3).
A LOVELY PARTING GIFT FOR MR. DECEMBER
From Elias: Sunday's consolation prize for the Jets: LaDainian Tomlinson gained only 28 yards on 13 carries, but that was enough to become the NFL's all-time leading rusher during the month of December. Tomlinson began the day tied with Emmitt Smith at 4201 yards.
FREEMAN'S 5-TD EFFORT A RARITY FOR YOUNG QB'S
From Elias: Josh Freeman threw five touchdown passes in the Bucs' 38-15 win over the Seahawks. Over the last 25 years, there have been 71 individual performances of five or more TD passes in a game. But Freeman's was only the third during that time by a rookie or a second-year player. The others were by Kurt Warner in his second season (1999) and Matthew Stafford as a rookie last season.
BRADFORD SETS RECORD FOR COMPLETIONS BY A ROOKIE
From Elias: Sam Bradford completed 28 of 37 passes in the Rams' 25-17 win over the 49ers. That increased Bradford's total for the season to 335 completions, breaking Peyton Manning's record for a rookie (326 in 1998). Only one other player had held that record as long as Manning: Charlie Conerly (1948-1960).
CASSEL IS OUTSTANDING IN WIN OVER TITANS
From Elias: Matt Cassel passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in the Chiefs' 34-14 win over the Titans. It was Cassel's fourth game this season with at least three TDs and no INTs, setting a single-season team record. Three Kansas City QBs had three such games in a season: Len Dawson (1962, 1964, and 1967), Steve DeBerg (1990) and Trent Green (2003).2003
LIONS' LATE RALLY TOPS DOLPHINS
From Elias: The Lions rallied for 17 points in the final 5 minutes to post a 34-27 win at Miami. It was only the fourth time in Lions history that they won a game in which they trailed by 10 or more points with less than 10 minutes to play. Detroit previously did so against the Eagles in 1941, the Baltimore Colts in 1957 and the Vikings in 1991.
PATRIOTS TAKE, BUT THEY DO NOT GIVE
From Elias: The Patriots extended their NFL-record streak to seven consecutive games without a giveaway while forcing seven Bills turnovers in a 34-3 victory at Buffalo. It was the first regular-season NFL game in which a team had at least seven more takeaways than giveaways since 2003, when the Chiefs were plus-seven against the Bills. New England tied its team record, having previously posted plus-seven games against the Houston Oilers in 1963 and the Jets in 1976.
GANO, SHANAHAN, AND SKINS MAKE OVERTIME HISTORY
From Elias: Graham Gano kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime to give the Redskins a 20-17 victory at Jacksonville. Gano became the third player in NFL history with three overtime FGs in one season, following Jason Hanson (1994) and John Kasay (2003).
That was the Jaguars' first regular-season overtime loss at home. Jacksonville had been the only one of the 32 current NFL teams never to lose at home in OT. Meanwhile it was the Redskins' 22nd regular-season overtime victory, tying the NFL record shared by the Bears and Broncos. And it was Mike Shanahan's 13th regular-season OT win, setting an NFL record that he had shared with Marty Schottenheimer.
FORD ACCELERATES QUICKLY
From Elias: Jacoby Ford returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the Raiders' 31-26 loss to the Colts. Ford became only the second player in NFL history with two return TDs on a game's opening kickoff in the same season, having previously done so on November 28 against the Dolphins. The other player with two opening-kickoff TDs was Ike Thomas of the Cowboys in 1971.
JANIKOWSKI'S LONG FIELD GOAL SETS A RECORD
From Elias: Sebastian Janikowski's 59-yard field goal was the fourth of his NFL career longer than 55 yards, the most such FGs by any player in league history.
MANNING EXCEEDS 5 YEARS' WORTH OF GAINS IN ONE RUN
From Elias: Peyton Manning rumbled for a 27-yard gain late in the fourth quarter on a 3rd-and-2 to ice the Colts' victory at Oakland. That was one yard more than Manning had netted on his previous 98 carries combined, dating back to December 2005.
GRIFFIN TIES MARK FOR DOUBLE-DOUBLES
From Elias: Blake Griffin scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Clippers' 108-103 win over the Suns. It was Griffin's 24th double-double of the season, matching the highest total by the end of the calendar year by an NBA rookie over the past 30 years. The only other rookie with 24 DDs through the end of December during that time was Dikembe Mutombo (1991).1991
WOLVES WIN ONE AT THE FOUL LINE
From Elias: The Timberwolves made 20 of 22 free throws and needed every one of those points to post a 98-97 victory at Cleveland. It was only the third time in team history that the T'wolves shot 90 percent or better from the foul line in a one-point win. Their other such victories came in 1993 against the Spurs and 2004 against the Pistons.
PARKER CONTROLS THE OFFENSE IN SPURS' WIN
From Elias: Tony Parker scored 20 points, shooting 8-for-15 from the field, and added 14 assists in the Spurs' 94-80 win over the Wizards. It was the fourth time in 30 games this season that Parker either scored or assisted on at least half of San Antonio's field goals. He had only one such game last season.
NUMBER-ONE PICK REACHES 1000-GAME MARK
From Elias: Defenseman Ed Jovanovski played in his 1000th regular-season NHL game when the Coyotes visited the Stars on Sunday night. Jovanovski, who was the first player selected in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft (by the Panthers), is the 12th #1 overall pick to reach the 1000-game plateau. The only other defensemen among the select dozen are Roman Hamrlik (1266 games), Denis Potvin (1060) and Rob Ramage (1044).1044
BRODEUR FALLS TO A NEW LOW IN DEVILS' LOSS
From Elias: The Maple Leafs handed Martin Brodeur his fifth consecutive loss when they beat the Devils, 4-1, at Newark on Sunday. It's the first time in Brodeur's 18-year NHL career that he's had a five-game losing streak in regular-season play. Brodeur was pulled after giving up three goals on 14 shots in the first two periods.
OVECHKIN FINALLY LIGHTS THE LAMP
From Elias: Alex Ovechkin ended his eight-game goal drought when he scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the Capitals' 3-2 victory against the Hurricanes at Raleigh. It was Ovechkin's first road goal since October 30, when he scored twice at Calgary. Ovechkin was goalless in 10 road contests in the interim.
SIGNS OF LIFE ON LONG ISLAND
From Elias: The Islanders extended their winning streak to three games, matching their season high, with a 4-1 victory over the Canadiens. The previous two games in their streak were wins against the Lightning (2-1) and Devils (5-1). This is the first time that the Islanders have won three consecutive games while allowing no more than one goal in each game since a four-game streak in March 2006.