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BEARS SCORE EARLY AND KEEP IT UP
From Elias: The Bears scored 28 points in the first quarter, a team record for the opening quarter of a game, and went on to an easy 51-20 victory over the Titans in Nashville. The Bears were the 15th team to score 28-or-more points in the first quarter of a regular-season NFL game, but were only the third of those teams to score as many as 23 points in the remainder of the game. In 1971, the Cowboys used a 28-point first quarter as a platform for a 52-10 win over the Jets, and in 2010, on Monday Night Football, Michael Vick led the Eagles to a 28-point opening quarter and went on to defeat the Redskins, 59-28.
Corey Wooton scored a touchdown after recovering a blocked punt and Brian Urlacher returned an interception for a score as the Bears increased to eight their total of touchdowns scored on returns this season (seven interceptions and that one following a blocked-punt recovery). That equals the most return touchdowns that any NFL team has had over the first eight games of a season; the Bears had eight in 1942 and the Cardinals had eight in 2010.
Urlacher's interception was the 22nd of his NFL career, tying the career total of Hall-of-Fame linebacker and Bears legend Dick Butkus. The only linebacker in Bears history with more interceptions is Doug Buffone (24).
MARTIN RUNS INTO THE RECORD BOOKS
From Elias: Doug Martin ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns in the Buccaneers' 42-32 victory in Oakland, putting his name into the record books along the way. Martin scored on runs of 45 and 67 yards in the third quarter, then scored on a 70-yard run and on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter, to become the first player in NFL history with three touchdown runs of 40-or-more yards in a single game. Additionally, Martin became only the second player in NFL history to produce 250 rushing yards and four touchdowns in one game; Denver's Mike Anderson, like Martin, ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns, in a game against the Saints in 2000.
Martin, who ran 25 times to amass his total of 251 yards, became only the third player in NFL history to maintain an average of 10-plus yards per carry over as many as 25 carries. The two other players to do that also did it recently: Jamaal Charles had 25 carries for 259 yards on the final day of the 2009 season, and DeMarco Murray ran 25 times for 253 yards in a game last October.
LESHOURE: 2ND LIONS PLAYER TO SCORE 3 TDs IN ONE QUARTER
From Elias: Mikel Leshoure, playing his sixth NFL game, did something in the Lions' 31-14 victory at Jacksonville that the great Barry Sanders never did over his 153-game, Hall-of-Fame career. Leshoure scored three touchdowns in one quarter - on runs of seven, one and eight yards in the second quarter - and, to be fair, not many other Lions players have done that, either. In fact, the only player in the history of the franchise to score three touchdowns in one quarter was another Hall-of-Famer, Earl (Dutch) Clark, who did it twice - once for the Portsmouth Spartans in a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1931, and then after the Spartans were re-located, he repeated the feat in another game against the Dodgers in 1934, the team's first year playing in Detroit.
FALCONS FLY TO 8-0, WINNING ANOTHER CLOSE ONE
From Elias: The Falcons extended their season-opening winning streak to eight games with a 19-13 victory over the Cowboys. Atlanta became the 31st team in the NFL's 93-year history to start a season by winning its first eight games. However, only two of the previous 30 teams did it like the Falcons have - by winning at least five of their first eight games by a one-possession margin (meaning by a margin of seven points in the NFL prior to its adoption of the two-point-conversion rule in 1994, or by a margin of eight points in NFL seasons since 1994 or in the AFL of the 1960s). Only San Francisco in 1990 and Indianapolis in 2006 started 8-0 in that manner.
Matt Ryan passed for 342 yards and Tony Romo for 321 in the Sunday night contest, yet there were only two touchdowns in the game - one for each team. It was only the second game in NFL history in which each team had a quarterback throw for 300 yards, but in which there were no more than two touchdowns scored. The other came in 1994, when the Steelers defeated the Dolphins, 16-13, with each team scoring one touchdown; Mike Tomczak passed for 343 yards for the victors and Dan Marino had 312 in a losing effort.
RODGERS THROWS 4 TDs BUT FAILS TO COMPLETE 50 PERCENT OF PASSES
From Elias: Aaron Rodgers fired four touchdown passes in the Packers' 31-17 victory over the Cardinals, giving him 10 games of four-or-more touchdown passes for his NFL career - and all 10 of those games have come over the last three seasons. Rodgers became only the fourth player in NFL history to produce 10 such games over a three-season span. Brett Favre had 10 games throwing four-or-more touchdowns from 1995 to 1997 and Peyton Manning had 10 from 2003 to 2005, while Dan Marino holds the NFL record with 12 of those games from 1984 to 1986.
Noteworthy, too, was that the Cardinals limited Rodgers to 14 completions in 30 passes - marking only the fourth time in 72 games as a starter that Rodgers had failed to complete half of his passes. His only lower completion percentage as a starter came on Halloween of 2010, when he completed just 15 of 34 passes (44.1 percent) in a 9-0 victory over the Jets.
MANNING BREAKS NFL RECORD, APPROACHES ELI's FAMILY RECORD
From Elias: Peyton Manning's fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Joel Dreessen wiped out the Bengals' 20-17 lead and Manning added another touchdown pass for good measure in the Broncos' victory in Cincinnati. For Manning, it marked the 48th time that he has directed a game-winning drive (defined as a drive that put his team ahead to stay) in the fourth quarter or overtime - breaking the previous league record of 47 long held by Dan Marino.
But Manning's pass to Dreessen also marked the 17th time that he has thrown a go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter or overtime - a total which, while creditable, is not even a family record. Brother Eli has thrown 18 go-ahead touchdown passes in the fourth quarter or overtime.
LUCK AND TANNEHILL MEET, AND RECORDS FALL
From Elias: Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill, each with their teams at 4-3, went back and forth in what may have been Sunday's most interesting game, with Luck's Colts prevailing, 23-20. Along the way, Luck passed for 433 yards - breaking by one yard the NFL record for passing yards in a game by a rookie, which Cam Newton had set last year. (Tannehill himself just missed reaching Newton's mark five weeks ago, when he threw for 431 yards against the Cardinals.)
Luck and Tannehill (who threw for 290 yards himself) combined to set a very high bar for the most passing yards by two NFL rookies in one game. Their total of 723 yards far exceeded the previous mark of 592 set by Washington's Ed Rubbert and the St. Louis Cardinals' Shawn Halloran in 1987, during the first week of games played during that year's NFL players strike.
STEELERS' COMEBACK SNARES GIANTS
From Elias: The Steelers outscored the Giants, 14-0, in the fourth quarter, overcoming a 10-point deficit to take a 24-20 decision in the Meadowlands. It marked only the second time in the last 10 seasons that the Giants have lost a home game in which they held a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead; the other such loss was the infamous game two years ago in which the Eagles overcame a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to win, 38-31, on DeSean Jackson's walk-off punt-return touchdown.
The Steelers also stopped the Giants' streak of scoring in the fourth quarter in 22 consecutive games. That was two games shy of the NFL record of 24, shared by the Patriots and the Saints - not the Bill Belichick Patriots, but the Raymond Berry Patriots of 1985-86. (The Saints tied the mark earlier this season, before their streak was stopped by the Chiefs.)
WILSON STRIKES 3 TIMES BEFORE HALFTIME
From Elias: Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes in the first half and Seattle's defense throttled the Vikings' passing attack as the Seahawks moved above the .500 mark with a 30-20 victory. Only three other rookies over the last quarter-century have thrown three touchdown passes in the first half of a NFL game: Sam Bradford in 2010, Matthew Stafford in 2009, and Trent Edwards in 2007.
FOSTER's STREAK OF SUPERLATIVES REACHES 16 HOME GAMES
From Elias: Arian Foster ran for 111 yards and scored a touchdown in the Texans' 21-9 victory over the Bills, extending a most unusual streak: Foster has scored a touchdown, had a 100-yard rushing game, or had a 100-yard receiving game in each of his last 16 home games. It's the longest streak of that kind since Tiki Barber had a 17-game streak of that nature from 2004 to 2006.
EDWARDS, WITH HIS ONLY CATCH OF GAME, PROVIDES KEY PLAY
From Elias: Armanti Edwards had one reception in the Panthers' victory over the Redskins, and it was perhaps the key play of the game, as he gained 82 yards, setting up a key touchdown. Seeing that receiving line of "1-82-0" is a bit jarring - it's only the fifth time in NFL history that a player gained that many yards in a game with a single reception on which he did not score. The last such player was Herschel Walker; while with the Eagles against the Giants in the 1994 season opener, he had one reception for 93 yards but did not score on the play.
RAVENS OVERCOME RICHARDSON & DAWSON
From Elias: Trent Richardson ran for 105 yards for the Browns against the Ravens, but Cleveland could not get into the end zone and Baltimore won, 25-15. It marked only the second time that a rookie had run for 100-or-more yards in a game against the Ravens; Fred Taylor did that in 1998, running for 128 yards in his third pro game - the first 100-yard game of his NFL career.
But the Browns' scoring was limited to five field goals by Phil Dawson - and if you're an attentive Ravens fan, yes, you have seen that movie before. Of the last eight games in which an NFL team has scored at least 15 points, all of them on field goals, four have come against the Ravens (Houston in 2005, Cincinnati in 2007 and 2010, Cleveland on Sunday) and another came by the Ravens (against Indianapolis in 2009).
YOU KNEW THAT SOMEONE WAS GONNA PAY...
From Elias: Dwight Howard scored 11 of his game-high 28 points as the Lakers ran off to a 34-13 first-quarter advantage and Los Angeles won for the first time in four games this season, drubbing the Pistons, 108-79. You have to go back to 1995 to find the last time that a NBA team earned its first win by such a large margin after losing at least three games to start a season. The last such team was Cleveland in 1995: the Cavaliers defeated the 76ers, 114-82, after dropping their first seven games.
KNICKS 2-0... `MELO 57 POINTS
From Elias: Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points to lead the Knicks to their second straight win to start the season, as New York topped Philadelphia, 100-84. Anthony has scored 57 points over those two games; only three other players in the Knicks' 67-year history have scored as many points over the team's first two games of a season, both of which were victories. In 1962, Richie Guerin scored 57 points in wins over the Chicago Zephyrs and the Lakers; in 1970, Willis Reed contributed 58 points in victories over the Celtics and the Cincinnati Royals; and in 1993, Patrick Ewing poured in 76 points as the Knicks defeated the Celtics and the Cavaliers.
Coupled with their 104-84 triumph over the Heat on Friday night, the Knicks have won each of the season's first two games by a double-digit margin for only the third time in team history. They also did that in 1952 under Joe Lapchick and in 1972 under Red Holzman.
LOWRY EARNS A SPOT IN RAPTORS HISTORY
From Elias: Kyle Lowry had 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists and backcourt-mate DeMar DeRozan had 22 points, seven rebounds and two assists to lead the Raptors to their initial win of the season, a 105-86 decision over the Timberwolves. Lowry, in fact, has led the Raptors (or tied for the lead) in each of those categories in each of the team's last two games - becoming the first player in franchise history to do that. In fact, all last season in the NBA, only three players led their team in points, rebounds and assists (or tied for the lead) in each of two consecutive games: LeBron James (March 2 and 4), Utah's Al Jefferson (March 5 and 7) and Carmelo Anthony (April 15 and 17).
MAGIC ACCURATE FROM BEYOND THE ARC
From Elias: The Magic trailed the Suns by 10 points at halftime, but a 69-point second half and near-record efficiency on three-point field-goal attempts turned the tide and Orlando won, 115-94, at home. By making nine of its 11 three-point attempts - that's 81.8 percent - the Magic matched the second-highest three-point percentage in NBA history by a team taking at least 10 three-point shots. The only higher success rate was achieved by the Bulls, who made 82.4 percent of their three-point attempts, 14 of 17, in a victory over the Celtics on Dec. 17, 2005. (Four other NBA teams, in addition to the Magic on Sunday, made nine of 11 shots from downtown.)
HORFORD's BIG GAME HELPS HAWKS PAST THUNDER
From Elias: Al Horford had 23 points and 12 rebounds as the visiting Hawks surprised the Thunder, 104-95, in Oklahoma City. Only one visiting player all last season had a 20/10 (points/rebounds) game in a victory at Oklahoma City: DeJuan Blair had 22 points and 11 rebounds in the Spurs' 114-105 win there on March 16.