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SAINTS & COLTS ELIMINATED ON SAME DAY
From Elias: Both of the teams that participated in last season's Super Bowl suffered postseason losses on Saturday. It marked only the third time in history that the previous season's Super Bowl teams had been eliminated from the subsequent postseason on the same day. It happened on Jan. 1, 1978, when the Raiders lost at Denver and the Vikings lost at Dallas; and then it happened on Jan. 5, 1997, when the Steelers lost at home to the Patriots and the Cowboys lost to the Panthers in Charlotte.
SEAHAWKS REPEL SAINTS' DEFENSIVE HEAT
From Elias: The Seahawks engineered one of the largest upsets in the NFL playoffs in recent years by rolling up 41 points against the Saints' vaunted defense - the most points that a defending Super Bowl champion has ever allowed in a postseason game. The previous high was 38 points: the defending-champion Redskins lost Super Bowl XVIII to the Los Angeles Raiders, 38-9, in January 1984, and the defending-champion Cowboys lost the 1994 NFC Championship Game at San Francisco, 38-28.
In addition, the Saints became the first defending Super Bowl champion to lose a postseason game in which it had moved out to a lead of 10-or-more points; previously, defending Super Bowl champions had been 37-0 in such games.
LYNCH: A LONG WAY FROM BUFFALO
From Elias: Marshawn Lynch's spectacular 67-yard touchdown run provided the Seahawks with a key score late in the fourth quarter, and he finished the game with 131 yards on 19 carries. Lynch, who started the 2010 season with the Bills, became only the second player in NFL history to run for 100-or-more yards in a postseason game immediately following a regular season in which he played for multiple NFL teams. (In 1981, Rob Carpenter ran for 161 yards for the Giants in a first-round win at Philadelphia after Carpenter had started that season with the Houston Oilers.)
BREES: 2 MORE RECORDS BUT NO REPEAT
From Elias: Drew Brees threw 60 passes and completed 39 for 404 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Saints' defensive deficiencies. Brees set NFL single-game postseason records for completions, and for passes with no interceptions.
The last guy who set the NFL single-game record for completions in a postseason game also experienced a bitter defeat. That was Warren Moon; playing for the Houston Oilers at Buffalo in the 1992 playoffs, Moon completed 36 passes in a game that the Bills won in overtime, 41-38. (That was the game in which the Bills overcame a 32-point deficit.)
2 LEAD-CHANGES IN GAME's FINAL MINUTE
From Elias: Adam Vinatieri's 50-yard field goal with 53 seconds remaining gave the Colts a 16-14 lead, but it was trumped by Nick Folk's 28-yarder as time expired as the Jets won in Indianapolis, 17-16. It was only the second game in NFL postseason history in which each team took a lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter-and it came 11 years to the day after the other one. On Jan. 8, 2000, in the Music City Miracle game in Nashville, the Bills took a lead on Steve Christie's field goal with 16 seconds remaining, only to see the Titans win on Kevin Dyson's 75-yard kickoff return, following a long lateral from Frank Wycheck.
JETS, IN ROAD PLAYOFF GAME, BLANKED IN FIRST HALF? NO PROBLEM
From Elias: The Jets trailed, 7-0, at halftime, but scored 17 second-half points while keeping the Colts' offense out of the end zone, and came away with a 17-16 victory. It marked only the fifth time in NFL history that a team had won a postseason game on the road after being blanked in the first half-but it was the second such win for the Jets in the last two years. Last year, Rex Ryan's team won a second-round game at San Diego, 17-14, after trailing, 7-0, at halftime.
Other than the Jets, the last NFL team to win a postseason road game after being shut out in the first half was Kansas City, which beat the Oilers in Houston in the playoffs following the 1993 season.
A DRIVE FOR THE AGES
From Elias: The Jets scored a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown, culminating an epic drive of 87 yards in 17 plays, taking nine minutes, 54 seconds off the clock. That was the longest postseason touchdown drive in any of the 23 postseason games in Jets history - whether measured by length, number of plays, or time consumed. In fact, since the Jets franchise was born in 1960 (the team was known as the Titans for its first three seasons), there has been only one other touchdown drive in an NFL postseason game that was as long as the Jets' on Saturday night, with respect to yards, plays and time consumed; in the 2007 playoffs, the Cowboys reached paydirt after a 20-play, 90-yard drive that took 10 minutes, 28 seconds.
UNWANTED RECORD FOR PEYTON
From Elias: With the first-round loss to the Jets, Peyton Manning's postseason won-lost record fell to 9-10, including a 6-4 record in home games (not including the loss in Super Bowl XLIV, when the Colts were technically designated as the home team). That's the most home postseason losses suffered by any starting quarterback in NFL history; eight others had three such losses.
In each of the Colts' last four postseason losses, they have squandered a fourth-quarter lead. They had narrow fourth-quarter leads against the Chargers in the playoffs following the 2007 and 2008 seasons, against the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV, and against the Jets on Saturday night.
JAZZ's 7TH WIN THIS SEASON AFTER TRAILING BY 15+ POINTS
From Elias: The Jazz did it again, spotting the Rockets a 16-point lead but mounting a huge comeback to win, 103-99, in an overtime game in Houston. It was the seventh time this season that Utah has won a game in which it had trailed by 15-or-more points, which, less than halfway into the current season, is already the highest single-season total of wins of that type by any NBA team since the Jazz itself had eight such wins in the 2006-07 season.
ROSE EXCELS FROM THE FLOOR AND THE FOUL LINE
From Elias: Derrick Rose scored 36 points, connecting on 10-of-19 shots from the floor and 15-of-19 from the foul line in the Bulls' 90-79 victory over the Celtics. Michael Jordan had 33 games for the Bulls in which he made at least 10 field goals and at least 15 free throws, but since he left in 1998, only one other Bulls player has had such a game (Ben Gordon in 2006).
DURANT's CAREER-HIGH 2ND HALF HELPS THUNDER ROLL
From Elias: Kevin Durant scored 40 points, including an NBA career-high 28 in the second half, in the Thunder's 109-100 win over the Grizzlies. Durant had twice previously scored 27 points in a half (against the Warriors in 2008 and against the Kings in 2009). The NBA's season high for points in a second half is 31 by Utah's Paul Millsap in an overtime win at Miami on November 9.
MAVS, FOR 2ND TIME IN 4 WEEKS, LOSE BIG LEAD AT HOME
From Elias: The Mavericks, playing at home, led the Magic, 50-34, with three minutes remaining in the second quarter on Saturday night, but Orlando roared back to earn a 117-107 decision. It was the second time in the last 27 days that the Mavericks have lost a home game after having led by at least 16 points (they blew a 20-point lead in a loss to the Bucks on December 13). Prior to those two losses, Dallas had lost only two regular-season home games in which it had led by 16-or-more points over the previous 2,903 days (nearly eight years).
BUCKS RIDE BIG 1ST-QUARTER LEAD TO WIN OVER NETS
From Elias: Corey Maggette scored eight of his 20 points in the first quarter as the Bucks ran out to a 28-15 lead over the first 12 minutes and cruised to a 115-92 win over the Nets in Newark. It was Maggette's highest-scoring opening quarter since he scored 10 points in the first quarter of the Bucks' season-opener at New Orleans.
For the Bucks, who had seen their opponents shoot 52 percent or better in the first quarter in five of their last six games, such a first-quarter lead on the road doesn't come around every day. The last time that Milwaukee, playing on the road, led by at least 13 points at the end of the first quarter was two years ago, also in New Jersey, when they outscored the Nets, 32-13 over the first 12 minutes.
RANGERS WIN AGAIN IN 2ND GAME OF BACK-TO-BACKS
From Elias: The Rangers took a 2-1 decision in St. Louis a night after winning by a 3-2 score in Dallas, and they improved their record to 10-1-0 in the second of back-to-back games this season. John Tortorella's squad became only the fifth team in NHL history to win at least 10 of their first 11 such games in a given season; the others are the Canadiens in 1944-45 (10-0-1), Flyers in 1976-77 (10-1-0), Rangers in 1983-84 (10-0-1) and Devils in 2009-10 (10-1-0).
RINNE AGAIN FACES 40+ SHOTS, AGAIN ALLOWS 1 GOAL
From Elias: Nashville's Pekka Rinne made 42 saves in his 2-1 win at San Jose on Saturday, after stopping 40 shots in a 4-1 win at Anaheim in his last game, on Wednesday. Rinne is the first NHL goaltender to win two consecutive games while facing at least 40 shots on goal and allowing no more than one goal in each game since Craig Anderson did so in three straight games for Florida in February/March 2008.
ONE FOR THE CANADIENS' BOOKS
From Elias: The Canadiens appeared headed for a home-ice loss to the Bruins but they tied the score at 2-2 with a pair of goals in the final 2:22 of regulation and won the game in overtime on a goal by Max Pacioretty. It was only the fourth time in the Canadiens' 93 seasons in the NHL that they won a game in which they trailed by two goals in the last three minutes of the third period. Their other wins fitting that description came against St. Louis on Dec. 10, 1997, at Buffalo on March 28, 2008, and at Anaheim on March 7, 2010 (all by 4-3 scores, the first two in overtime and the last in a shootout).
It was the fourth straight Montreal game that has gone to overtime, the longest such streak for the Canadiens since the NHL re-introduced overtime in the 1983-84 season.
THEODORE GETS ANOTHER SHUTOUT IN PITTSBURGH
From Elias: Jose Theodore recorded the 30th shutout of his NHL career and his first for the Wild with a 4-0 win at Pittsburgh. Theodore had blanked the Penguins in the Steel City twice before, when he played for the Canadiens (April 2002 and January 2004). The only other active NHL goaltender with three-or-more shutouts as a visitor in Pittsburgh is Martin Brodeur, who has four.
COLLITON GETS SECOND NHL GOAL, NEARLY 5 YEARS AFTER FIRST
From Elias: Jeremy Colliton, playing in his first NHL game since December 2008, scored the second and third goals of his NHL career in the Islanders' overtime win in Denver. Colliton, who had "cups of coffee" with the Isles in four other seasons, scored his only previous NHL goal 1729 days earlier, in the Islanders' 5-4 shootout win against Pittsburgh on April 15, 2006. The gap between Colliton's first and second career goals is the second-longest in NHL history among players whose first two goals were scored for the same team. The longest such wait for number two was by the Red Wings' Butch McDonald, who scored his first goal on New Year's Eve 1939 and whose second came 1817 days later, on Dec. 21, 1944.
POULIN WEATHERS ROUGH START, EARNS 1ST WIN
From Elias: Kevin Poulin, making his first NHL start, gave up two goals in the first 1:47 of Saturday's game in Denver but picked up his first career win when the Islanders came from behind to win in overtime, 4-3. Poulin is the second goaltender in NHL history whose first career victory came in a game in which he allowed two goals in the first two minutes, and for Poulin's sake, we hope that he has a longer NHL career than the first guy to do that. Mike Lenarduzzi earned his first NHL win playing for the Hartford Whalers against the Islanders on April 14, 1993, despite giving up goals to Ray Ferraro and Benoit Hogue in the first 1:57. (Hartford won, 5-4, in overtime.) That was the only victory for Lenarduzzi in the four games that he played in the NHL.
GREEN's 2-POINT GAME LEADS CAPS TO VICTORY
From Elias: Mike Green recorded a goal and an assist for the Capitals in their 3-2 win over the Panthers. It was only Green's fifth multiple-point game in 35 games this season and the first in his last 20 games. We say "only" because Green led NHL defensemen in multiple-point games in each of the past two seasons (24 in 2008-09, 18 in 2009-10). Dustin Byfuglien of Atlanta leads the league's defensemen this season with 10 multiple-point games.
BRIERE's 3RD GAME-WINNER vs. DEVILS THIS SEASON
From Elias: The Flyers completed a sweep of their home-and-home set against the Devils with a 2-1 win in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon. Danny Briere scored the game-winning goal, after scoring two goals, including the game-winner, in the Flyers' 4-2 victory in Newark on Thursday. Briere has scored five goals in four games against the Devils this season, with at least one goal in each game, and three of his goals have been game-winners. Back in the 1992-93 season (when Martin Brodeur was a 20-year-old minor-leaguer), Pittsburgh's Jaromir Jagr and the Islanders' Steve Thomas each scored three game-winning goals against the Devils. But since then, only one NHL player has done that within one season (Ryan Malone had three for Pittsburgh in 2007-08).