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Eagles snap losing streak with dramatic victory
From Elias: Nick Foles threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin as time expired to give the Eagles a 23-21 victory at Tampa, snapping Philadelphia's eight-game losing streak. The Eagles became the first team in NFL history to end a losing streak of eight or more games in one season with a TD on the final play of the fourth quarter.
Foles passed for 381 yards in Philadelphia's win, by far the highest single-game passing-yardage total by a rookie in team history. The previous mark had stood for 73 years - since Davey O'Brien, the incumbent Heisman Award winner, passed for 289 yards against the Packers in 1939.
Giants rookie Wilson joins elite group of Hall of Famers
From Elias: Put on your SAT caps and complete this progression: Steve Van Buren, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton ...
The answer is David Wilson, who gained 100 yards rushing and 227 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 97-yard touchdown, in the Giants' 52-27 victory over the Saints. Wilson's total of 227 KOR yards was the highest in NFL history by a player with at least 100 rushing yards in the same game. The three previous record-holders were the three Hall of Famers: Van Buren (the first player with a 100/100 game), Sayers and Payton.
Giants return to glory in win over Saints
From Elias: The Giants totaled 413 return yards in their victory over the Saints, including kickoffs (287), punts (19), interceptions (91), and fumble recoveries (16). That was the highest such total in a NFL game since the Ravens set a league record with 486 return yards against the Jets in 2000.
Turnovers are key to Seattle's rout of Cardinals
From Elias: The Seahawks forced eight turnovers in a 58-0 win over the Cardinals. It was the largest margin of victory in NFL history by a team starting a rookie QB - in this case, Russell Wilson. More on Seattle's big win:
- Seattle was the first team in more than a decade with at least four takeaways on fumbles and four on interceptions in the same game. New Orleans was the last team to do so, in a 34-31 win at St. Louis in 2001.
- There were five shutouts by teams scoring at least 50 points in the 1960s alone (three in the NFL, two in the AFL), but this was only the fifth such game since then. (There were 12 in the 1920s, but that's a story for another time.)
Two rookie QBs contribute to Redskins' win
From Elias: Kirk Cousins was the hero in the Redskins' 31-28 win over the Ravens, sending the game to overtime by throwing an 11-yard pass to Pierre Garcon and scoring on the two-point conversion himself. Cousins was playing in relief of Robert Griffin III, who opened the scoring with a TD pass to Joshua Morgan in the first quarter, but suffered a right knee injury late in the game.
Those are the basic facts, here's the Elias part: Cousins and Griffin were the first pair of rookie QBs to throw a TD pass for the same team in the same game since 1966. George Wilson, the namesake and son of the coach, and Rick Norton threw TD passes for the first-year Miami Dolphins in a 20-13 win over the Oilers at Houston. (Craig Morton and Jerry Rhome had done it for the Cowboys a year earlier.)
Peterson pounds Bears again
From Elias: Adrian Peterson gained 154 rushing yards in the Vikings' 21-14 win over the Bears, two weeks after his 108-yard performance in Minnesota's loss at Soldier Field. Peterson also posted two 100-yard games against Chicago in 2008, something no other player has done in any of the last 12 seasons.
The last player prior to Peterson with a pair of 100-yard rushing games versus the Bears in the same season was Robert Smith of the Vikings in 2000. Barry Sanders did it three times (1989, 1992 and 1997).
Newton's game was one of a kind (but just barely)
From Elias: Cam Newton passed for 287 yards and a touchdown and ran for 116 yards and a TD in the Panthers' 30-20 win over the Falcons. As you may have read, Newton became the first NFL player with at least 250 passing yards, 100 rushing yards, and both a passing and rushing TD in the same game. It's worth noting that only one other player, Michael Vick, posted a 250/100 game (passing and rushing yards, that is), regardless of touchdowns.
And then some things just won't fit in 140 characters. So we'll also note here that three other players were near-misses, rushing for at least 100 yards, and passing and running for a TD, but falling just short of 250 passing yards (all of them for the Eagles): Randall Cunningham in 1990 (240 passing yards), Donovan McNabb in 2002 (230), and Michael Vick in 2010 (242).
Romo exorcises December demons with back-to-back wins
From Elias: For the second consecutive week, Tony Romo led the Cowboys on a game-winning scoring drive in the fourth quarter, as Dallas posted a 20-19 win at Cincinnati. With those victories, Romo improved his December record to 10-13. Over six previous seasons as the Cowboys' starting quarterback, Romo recorded a total of two fourth-quarter game-winning drives in December.
A big day for the kickers at Cincinnati
From Elias: The kickers played a big role in Sunday's Cowboys-Bengals game. Dan Bailey kicked a 40-yard walk-off field goal to give the Cowboys a 20-19 victory at Cincinnati. Bailey became the first player in team history with a pair of game-winning field goals on the final play of the fourth quarter.
Josh Brown produced most of the offense for the Bengals, making all four of his field-goal attempts in his first game with Cincinnati. The last kicker to go 4-for-4 or better in a midseason team debut was Jeff Chandler of the Redskins in 2004.
Luck & the Colts erase another big deficit
From Elias: The Colts overcame a 20-7 halftime deficit to post a 27-23 victory over the Titans, one week after erasing a 23-14 deficit at the half to defeat the Lions. Andrew Luck became only the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to consecutive wins after trailing by at least 12 points in both games. The first was Vince Young with the Titans in 2006.
Jake Locker passed for 262 yards compared to Luck's total of 196 yards. That ended Luck's streak of six consecutive games as passing-yardage leader, which tied the NFL record for a rookie. Luck now shares that mark with Dennis Shaw of the 1970 Bills.
Browns rookies shine in win over Chiefs
From Elias: Trent Richardson scored a pair of touchdowns and Brandon Weeden connected with Josh Gordon eight times for 86 yards in the Browns' 30-7 win over the Chiefs. Those three rookies are a virtual lock to finish the season as Cleveland's respective leaders in rushing, passing, and receiving yards. The last club with rookies as their team leader in each of those categories was Buffalo in 1968: Dan Darragh (passing), Max Anderson (rushing), and Haven Moses (receiving).
Rams top Bills with record-breaking drive
From Elias: Sam Bradford capped a 14-play drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson with 48 seconds left to give the Rams a 15-12 win at Buffalo. That was the Rams' longest game-winning, fourth-quarter scoring drive, in terms of plays, since the team moved to St. Louis in 1995.
The team's last fourth-quarter game-winning drive of 14 or more plays happened 25 years ago at Busch Stadium of all places. That was by the Los Angeles Rams against the Cardinals, in their final season in St. Louis. The Rams' winning drive in that game encompassed 93 yards on 22 plays, including 19 rushing plays, leading to a 20-yard field goal by Mike Lansford.
Rivers leads Chargers to rare win
From Elias: December superstar Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes in the Chargers' 34-24 win over the Steelers. It was San Diego's first-ever regular-season victory at Pittsburgh, following 14 losses dating back to 1970. Among the Chargers QBs to fall at Pittsburgh were Johnny Unitas (1973), Dan Fouts (1976 and 1984), Jim McMahon (1989), and Drew Brees (2003).
As an odd postscript, the Chargers have won more playoff games than regular-season games at Pittsburgh, with postseason victories at Three Rivers Stadium following the 1982 and 1994 seasons.
With Sunday's win, Rivers improved his December record to 24-4, throwing three times as many TD passes (51) as interceptions (17).
Packers extend home streak vs. Lions
From Elias: The Packers defeated the Lions 27-20, to extend their regular-season home-game winning streak against Detroit to 21 games, the longest such streak in NFL history. The first three games of the streak were played at Milwaukee County Stadium, the last 18 at Lambeau Field. Detroit's last road win against Green Bay was at Lambeau Field in 1991.
By blowing a 14-0 lead, the Lions tied an all-time NFL record. Detroit is the seventh team to lose three straight games, having led by at least 10 points in all of them.
Anthony comes up big at the end
From Elias: Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, including a season-high 11 in the fourth quarter, in the Knicks' 112-106 come-from-behind victory over the Nuggets. Denver led, 84-80, at the end of the third quarter. This was only the third time in three seasons with the Knicks that Anthony scored in double-figures in the fourth quarter of a win in which they trailed after three quarters.
Pacers lose despite all starters contributing
From Elias: For the second consecutive game, all five Pacers starters scored in double-figures but Indiana lost, 104-93 at Oklahoma City. Prior to Friday, the Pacers had won 12 straight games in which all their starters scored at least 10 points. Sunday's 11-point loss to the Thunder represented the Pacers' worst defeat with five starters in double-figures since 2008.
Orlando tops 50 percent for first time
From Elias: Orlando shot 52 percent from the field in its 98-90 win at Phoenix. It was the Magic's 20th game this season and the first in which they made more than half their field-goal attempts. There were only two other seasons in which Orlando progressed this far without shooting better than 50 percent from the field in any game (Game 35 in 1996-97, Game 27 in 2003-04).