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TEBOW LEADS BRONCOS TO MIRACLE AT MIAMI
From Elias: Tim Tebow threw his first touchdown pass inside the 3-minute mark, then tossed a game-tying TD with 17 seconds to play and sent the game to overtime by scoring the two-point conversion himself. Tebow's late heroics fueled a rally from a 15-0 deficit in an eventual 18-15 victory at Miami, a comeback that was unprecedented in NFL history. Denver was the first team ever to win a game in which it trailed by more than 14 points with less than three minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
MURRAY GAINS 253 RUSHING YARDS IN RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCE
From Elias: DeMarco Murray gained 253 yards on 25 carries in the Cowboys' 34-7 win over the Rams. Murray set a team record for rushing yards in one game, breaking a mark set by Emmitt Smith in 1993 (237 yards); and he posted the second-highest rushing total in one game by an NFL rookie. That record is 296 yards, by Adrian Peterson in 2007, the highest single-game mark in NFL history, by a rookie or veteran.
Murray was the third player in NFL history (the first rookie) to run for 250 yards and average 10 yards per carry in the same game. Corey Dillon did it for the Bengals in 2000 (278 yards on 22 carries) and Jamaal Charles for the Chiefs in the final game of the 2009 season (259 yards on 25 carries).
AND IN NFL ACTION, THE SOONERS TOPPED THE BUCKEYES
From Elias: Adrian Peterson, who, like DeMarco Murray, attended the University of Oklahoma, gained 175 rushing yards in the Vikings' 33-27 loss to the Packers. Their total of 428 rushing yards was the highest in one day in NFL history by two players who entered the league via the same college. The previous record was 385 yards by a pair of Ohio State Buckeyes, Eddie George (216) and Robert Smith (169), on the opening day of the 1997 season.
ROOKIE PONDER MAKES VETERAN RODGERS SWEAT
From Elias: It sounded like a mismatch when Christian Ponder was announced as the Vikings' starting quarterback against Aaron Rodgers and the defending Super Bowl champions. But Ponder acquitted himself well, throwing a pair of touchdown passes in the Vikings' loss to the Packers.
Ponder was the first quarterback in 44 years whose first NFL start was against an undefeated team with at least six wins. (The Packers had a 6-0 record coming into Sunday's game.) The last QB to do so was Steve Spurrier for the 49ers in 1967. Spurrier had been San Francisco's first-round draft choice that season, after winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida. On November 26, 1967 he made his starting debut against Johnny Unitas and the 8-0-2 Baltimore Colts at Kezar Stadium. The Colts won, 26-9, intercepting Spurrier three times and holding the Niners to three field goals.
JOHNSON CATCHES HIS 10TH TD PASS OF SEASON
From Elias: Calvin Johnson's touchdown reception in the Lions' 23-16 loss to the Falcons was his 10th in Detroit's seven games this season. That matched the fewest team games that any player has required to reach double-digits in TD receptions in the last 49 seasons. During that time, only Randy Moss caught 10 TD passes in his team's first seven games, doing so for the Patriots in 2007.
WILLIAMS SCORES FOR THE BEARS
From Elias: Roy Williams scored on a 25-yard pass in the Bears' 24-18 win over the Bucs on Sunday, improbably becoming the first player in NFL history to catch a TD pass for both the Bears and the Lions. We say improbably because these are two of the league's oldest franchises. The Bears were part of the NFL in its first season of operation (1920, as the Decatur Staleys) and the Lions joined in 1930, when they played in Portsmouth, Ohio and were known as the Spartans.
FOSTER SETS TEXANS' RECEIVING RECORD
From Elias: A 78-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub to Arian Foster gave the Texans a 17-0 lead in the second quarter and they cruised to a 41-7 victory over the Titans. Foster's TD matched the longest scoring-pass play in team history, set by a David Carr-to-Corey Bradford connection in 2003.
There are only two other current NFL teams whose longest TD pass was caught by a running back. Ollie Matson has held the Rams' record since 1961 when he scored on a 96-yard pass from Frank Ryan. Two RBs, Andy Farkas (1939) and Jerry Allen (1968) share the Redskins' record with Bobby Mitchell (1963).
WALLACE SETS STEELERS RECORD, EXTENDS LONG-PLAY STREAK
From Elias: Ben Roethlisberger's 95-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace was the highlight of the Steelers' 32-20 win over the Cardinals. Not only was it the longest completion in Steelers history, but it marked the sixth consecutive game in which Wallace has caught at least one pass for 40 yards or longer. Only two other players recorded a streak of 40-yard catches that long since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970: Isaac Bruce (six games in 2000) and Anthony Miller (seven games in 1994-95).
Incidentally, prior to Sunday the longest reception by a Steelers player was shared by a pair of wide receivers - Dwight Stone (1990 from Bubby Brister) and Bobby Shaw (2001 from Kordell Stewart) - and QB Mark Malone, who caught a 90-yard pass from Terry Bradshaw in 1981. Malone was moonlighting as a receiver in his third NFL game.
NEWTON'S TD PRODUCTION CONTINUES
From Elias: Cam Newton passed for 256 yards and a touchdown and ran for another TD in the Panthers' 33-20 win over the Redskins. It was the fifth time in seven games that Newton passed and ran for at least one touchdown each. That's one more such game than Tom Brady has posted in his entire career.
Less than halfway through his rookie season, Newton has already matched the highest rushing-TD total by any rookie in either of the past two seasons, quarterback or otherwise. Ryan Mathews led all rookies in rushing touchdowns last season; Knowshon Moreno and Beanie Wells shared the lead in 2009 (all with seven).
DAWSON'S LONG FIELD GOALS ARE ENOUGH FOR BROWNS
From Elias: Phil Dawson kicked field goals of 52 and 53 yards, the latter a tie-breaker in the fourth quarter, to give the Browns a 6-3 win over the Seahawks. That matched the lowest point total in a winning game in team history. Cleveland had four previous victories in which it scored only six points: two in the 1950s, one in 1988, and the most recent in 2009.
There have been fewer than 50 regular-season NFL games in which the winning team tallied six points on two field goals. Dawson is the first player ever to kick a pair of field goals of 50 yards or longer in such a victory.
BURRESS CATCHES 3 SHORT TD PASSES IN JETS' WIN
From Elias: Plaxico Burress scored on pass plays of 3, 4, and 3 yards in the Jets' 27-21 win over the Chargers. Only two other players in NFL history scored three TDs on passes of less than 5 yards in one game: Lance Alworth of the Chargers (against the Broncos in 1968) and Marvin Harrison of the Colts (against the Bengals in 2006).
RIVERS THROWING INTs AT AN UNPRECEDENTED RATE
From Elias: Philip Rivers threw a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions in the Chargers' loss on Sunday, raising his total to nine INTs in six games this season. At no time in Rivers' previous five seasons as San Diego's starting quarterback was he intercepted as many as nine times over a span of six games. Yesterday's game was only the third in Rivers' NFL career in which he was picked off twice in the fourth quarter. (He previously threw two fourth-quarter INTs against the Jaguars in 2008 and against the Seahawks in 2010.)
CHIEFS' 6 INTs ARE A RECORD IN RIVALRY WITH RAIDERS
From Elias: The Chiefs intercepted six passes - three each against Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer - in a 28-0 victory at Oakland. In the 105th meeting of one of the NFL's bitterest rivalries, including three playoff games, Sunday's matchup was the first in which either team made as many as six INTs.
Boller and Palmer were the first teammates to throw at least three interceptions each in the same game since Jim Harbaugh and Erik Kramer of the Chargers did it in 1999. B&P were the first Raiders players ever to do so.
SAINTS ROUT COLTS WITH HISTORIC PRODUCTION
From Elias: The Saints routed the Colts, 62-7, on Sunday night, producing the highest point total in an NFL game since the Jaguars blasted the Dolphins by an identical score in a Divisional playoff game in January 2000. New Orleans' score was the highest in a regular-season game since the Jets topped the Bucs, 62-28, in 1985. More on the Saints' output:
- It was the highest point total ever recorded against the Colts. The previous record was 58, in a loss to the Bears in 1956.
- New Orleans was only the third team in NFL history to score 60 or more points in one game, with at least 200 rushing yards and 300 passing yards. The others were the Bears against the Packers in 1980, and the Jets against the Bucs in 1985.
BREES THROWS LOTS OF TDs, NO INTs
From Elias: Drew Brees threw five touchdown passes and no interceptions in the Saints' win over the Colts. It was the fourth such game of Brees' career, tying Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for the most in NFL history.
It was the 32nd NFL game in which a player passed for at least 300 yards with five or more TD passes and no INTs. Brees' completion percentage (88.6%, 31-for-35) is the highest in any of those 32 games.
HOLLAND & FELIZ 2-HIT CARDINALS IN GAME 4 VICTORY
From Elias: Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz held the Cardinals two hits in a 4-0 victory. It was the third time in the last two seasons that Rangers pitchers allowed only two hits in a postseason game, having done so previously in the 2010 Division Series against the Rays (a game started by C.J. Wilson) and the 2010 ALCS versus the Yankees (Cliff Lee). All other teams have combined for only three postseason games allowing two or fewer hits during that time.
CARDS BRING BACK MEMORIES OF BLUE JAYS
From Elias: The Cardinals were shut out one night after scoring 16 runs against the Rangers, a performance reminiscent of the Blue Jays' turnaround in the 1993 World Series. Toronto took a three-games-to-one lead with a 15-14 win over the Phillies, but lost Game 5, 2-0, the next night, stymied by Curt Schilling, who pitched a five-hit complete-game shutout.
PUJOLS' STREAK ENDS AT AN INOPPORTUNE TIME
From Elias: Albert Pujols flied out with two runners on base in the top of the ninth, ending his streak of hits in six straight at-bats with runners in scoring position, dating back to the NLCS. Pujols tied Manny Ramirez (2008 Dodgers) for the longest streak of consecutive hits with RISP in postseason history (either within one postseason or spanning years).