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RYAN MATCHES MARINO, FLACCO FALLS JUST SHORT
From Elias: Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes in the Falcons' 31-10 victory over the Panthers. It was Ryan's 33rd regular-season win as a starting quarterback, tying Dan Marino's NFL record for wins by the end of a QBs third season in the league.
Joe Flacco, who passed for only 125 yards in the Ravens' 13-7 win over the Bengals, fell one victory short of that record, now shared by Marino and Ryan. Flacco completed his third season with a total of 32 victories.
McGEE'S FIRST START IS ONE FOR THE BOOKS
From Elias: Stephen McGee, making his first NFL start, threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with 55 seconds left to give the Cowboys a 14-13 win at Philadelphia. Over the last 50 years, only three other quarterbacks threw a game-winning TD pass in the last minute of their first NFL start: John Stofa of the Dolphins (1966), Frank Reich of the Bills (1989), and Akili Smith of the Bengals (1999).
REED CAPTURES INTERCEPTION TITLE IN SHORTENED SEASON
From Elias: Ed Reed intercepted two passes in the Ravens' win to pass Asante Samuel and claim the NFL INT title for 2010 despite playing only 10 games this season. Only one other INT leader missed even half as many games as Reed did, and that player¿Barry Wilburn of the Redskins¿missed three games in 1987, all during the strike by NFL players. Incidentally, Samuel himself missed five games in 2010.
MANNINGHAM SCORES ON ANOTHER BOMB
From Elias: Mario Manningham, who caught an 85-yard touchdown pass in the Giants' loss at Green Bay last week, scored on a 92-yard reception in the Giants' 17-14 win at Washington. Only one other player in NFL history scored on pass receptions of at least 85 yards in consecutive games: Roger Carr of the Baltimore Colts in 1975.
UNDRAFTED FOSTER WINS RUSHING TITLE
From Elias: Arian Foster ran for 180 yards in the Texans' 34-17 victory over the Jaguars, to win the 2010 NFL rushing title. Foster became only the second undrafted player since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to lead the league in rushing.
Foster became the first player since Curtis Martin in 2004 to win the rushing title after leading the league in rushing in Week 1. Foster gained 231 rushing yards in Houston's 2010 season opener.
EDELMAN SET PATS RECORD WITH 94-YARD PUNT RETURN
From Elias: Julian Edelman scored on a 94-yard punt return, the longest in Patriots history, in a 38-7 rout of the Dolphins. New England hadn't scored on a punt return in its last 143 regular-season games, the NFL's longest current streak. In fact, the last time the Patriots scored a regular-season punt-return TD (by Troy Brown in the final game of the 2001 season) they hadn't yet won a Super Bowl. Brown also returned a punt 55 yards for a score in the AFC Championship Game at Pittsburgh three weeks later.
PATRIOTS FINISH 2010 SEASON ON A ROLL
From Elias: The Patriots finished the season with eight straight wins in which they outscored by their opponents, 299-125. The last team to outscore its opponents by an average of at least 20 points per game in winning their last eight regular-season games was the 49ers in 1984, before winning Super Bowl XIX.
CASSEL'S UNCHARACTERISTIC LATE INTs DOOM CHIEFS
From Elias: Matt Cassel threw two interceptions in a span of three passes in the fourth quarter, as the Chiefs were unable to rally and suffered a 31-10 loss to the Raiders. Prior to his two late INTs on Sunday, Cassel had thrown only two INTs in his previous 381 passes, dating back to September.
CHARLES FALLS JUST SHORT OF A JIM BROWN RECORD
From Elias: Jamaal Charles finished the season with an average of 6.38 yards per carry. Only one other player in NFL history carried the ball at least 150 times in a season and posted a rushing average as high as Charles's: Jim Brown, 6.40 yards per carry in 1963 .
ROOKIE MATTHEWS SCORES 3 TDs IN CHARGERS' WIN
From Elias: Ryan Mathews ran for three touchdowns in the Chargers' 33-28 victory at Denver. Mathews was the first rookie to score three rushing TDs in one game since Adrian Peterson did it twice in a span of four games in 2007.
VINATIERI KICKS GAME-WINNER TO CAP CAREER DAY
From Elias: Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals, all longer than 40 yards, including a game-winner as time expired in the Colts' 23-20 victory over the Titans. It was the first time in Vinatieri's NFL career that he kicked three field goals of 40 yards or longer in one game, and the 10th time he kicked a game-winning FG in the final 5 seconds of the fourth quarter.
PACKERS WIN DESPITE SPUTTERING OFFENSE
From Elias: The Packers' 10-3 victory over the Bears marked Green Bay's first win when scoring 10 or fewer points against Chicago since a 9-6 victory at Lambeau Field in 1959. The Bears held the Packers to 10 points or less 24 times in the interim, winning each of those games.
BUCS COOL BREES IN WIN AT SUPERDOME
From Elias: The Bucs held Drew Brees to 196 yards and posted a 23-13 victory at New Orleans, to become one of two NFL teams not to allow a 300-yard passing game by an opposing player this season (the other was San Diego). It was the first time that Brees was held below 200 yards since the Bucs did it in November 2009 (187 yards).
WILLIAMS CAPS ROOKIE SEASON WITH 11TH TD CATCH
From Elias: Mike Williams caught his 11th touchdown pass of the season in the Bucs' win. Over the last 30 years, only one other player caught more than 10 TD passes in his rookie season: Randy Moss, with 17 in 1998 (a record for rookies).
ROOKIE McKNIGHT STARS IN JETS' WIN
From Elias: Joe McKnight gained 158 yards on 32 carries in the Jets' 38-7 win over the Bills. That was the highest single-game rushing-yardage total by a Jets rookie since Matt Snell gained 180 yards against the Houston Oilers in 1964.
BRUNELL THROWS HIS FIRST TD PASSES SINCE 2006
From Elias: Mark Brunell threw two touchdown passes in the Jets' win. Those were Brunell's 183rd and 184th TD passes, but his first since November 2006. It's not unusual for a player to go four years or more between TD passes, but it's rare for a player as accomplished as Brunell to do so. The only other player with a four-year gap between touchdown passes after throwing at least 100 of them was Steve DeBerg, when he returned to the NFL with the Falcons at age 44 in 1998 .
STEELERS START FAST IN DIVISION-CLINCHING WIN
From Elias: Needing a victory to clinch the AFC Central title, the Steelers erased all doubts by building a 28-3 lead with a touchdown on each of their first four possessions in a 41-9 victory at Cleveland. It was only the third time in the last 20 seasons that Pittsburgh scored four TDs on their first four drives; the other two games were against the Ravens in 1996 and 2002 .
BIG BEN AND WALLACE SURPASS BUBBY AND LIPPS
From Elias: Mike Wallace's 56-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter of Pittsburgh's win was his eighth TD reception of 40 or more yards from Ben Roethlisberger. That broke the Steelers' record for TD passes of 40 yards or longer from one player to another, previously held by Bubby Brister and Louis Lipps.
LIONS MATCH THREE SEASONS' WORTH OF WINS IN FOUR WEEKS
From Elias: The Lions defeated the Vikings, 20-13, to finish season with four consecutive victories. That's as many wins as Detroit posted in its previous 45 games combined (4-41), dating back to December 2007.
GRIFFIN OUTSTANDING IN CLIPPERS' LOSS
From Elias: Blake Griffin scored 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Clippers' 107-98 loss to the Hawks. Griffin, who produced a 44-point, 15-rebound performance against the Knicks in November, is the first NBA player with more than one 30/15 game in his rookie season since Shaquille O'Neal recorded seven of them in 1992-1993.
TURIAF DOMINATES IN RESERVE ROLE
From Elias: Ronny Turiaf blocked six shots and grabbed 10 rebounds in 28 minutes of playing time as a sub in the Knicks' 98-92 win over the Pacers. Only two other Knicks players have ever come off the bench to record at least 10 rebounds and five blocks in the same game: Marcus Camby twice in 1999 and Jawann Oldham in 1987. Blocks have been compiled since the 1973-1974 season.
CELTICS WIN IN RONDO'S RETURN
From Elias: The Celtics posted a 93-79 win at Toronto despite a subpar performance from Rajon Rondo, who returned to action after missing seven games with a sprained left ankle. Rondo recorded eight assists in 34 minutes of play, scoring four points and committing five turnovers. It was the third time this season that Rondo had more turnovers than points in a game, something he did only once over the two previous seasons combined.
BYFUGLIEN IS A 4TH-PERIOD SUPERSTAR
From Elias: Dustin Byfuglien scored his third overtime goal of the season to give the Thrashers a 4-3 win at Montreal on Sunday afternoon. Byfuglien's three overtime goals are the most by any NHL player this season and the most in one season by a defenseman since 2007-2008, when Mike Green scored three OT goals for the Capitals.
BUSY PAVALEC DOWNS THE CANADIENS
From Elias: Ondrej Pavelec stopped 47 of the Canadiens' 50 shots on goal in his overtime win at Montreal. There have been five instances of NHL goaltenders facing 50 or more shots in a game this season and in four of them the beleaguered netminder won the game. Pavelec's teammate, Chris Mason, picked up such a win on November 3 at Florida, as did the Blue Jackets' Steve Mason (Nov. 19 at Anaheim), and the Kings' Jonathan Quick (Dec. 13 at Detroit). The non-winner was Dwayne Roloson, then with the Islanders, in a 7-2 loss to the Rangers on December 27.
VOKOUN SHINES AGAINST THE RANGERS
From Elias: Tomas Vokoun posted his fifth shutout of the season with a 3-0 win over the Rangers at Sunrise, Florida. Vokoun is 4-0-1 with a 1.14 goals-against average in five home games versus the Rangers during his four seasons with the Panthers, holding New York to two or fewer goals in each game.
FLYERS' WIN IS THEIR FIRST AT DETROIT IN 22 YEARS
From Elias: The Flyers' 3-2 win over the Red Wings was their first victory at Detroit since November 4, 1988. That was 6 months to the day before James van Riemsdyk was born (May 4, 1989); van Riemsdyk scored the opening goal in Sunday's victory. The Flyers' win ended the longest current regular-season road winless streak by one NHL team against another (16 games, 0-14-2).
WEBER'S 2ND-PERIOD SURGE FUELS NASHVILLE WIN
From Elias: The Predators beat the Blue Jackets, 4-1, as defenseman Shea Weber led the Nashville attack with one goal and two assists, all in the second period. Weber was the first Predators player to record three points in one period this season and the first Nashville defenseman to do that since November 10, 2005, when Marek Zidlicky tallied one goal and two assists against Dallas.
KOIVU MATCHES SAKU'S CAREER HIGH IN ASSISTS
From Elias: Mikko Koivu had four assists in Minnesota's 6-5 overtime victory against the Coyotes, including one on Cam Barker's game-winning goal. Mikko's four assists matched the Koivu family high for an NHL game, which he did once before (in October 2008) and brother Saku has done twice (with the Canadiens in 1997 and 2007).
MORROW TRAVELS WELL
From Elias: Brenden Morrow scored a pair of goals for the Stars in their 4-2 win at St. Louis. Morrow has recorded three two-goal games this season, all on the road. He had only two multiple-goal games on the road over the previous five seasons combined.