Date: December 31, 2012

Elias Says...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN.com

NFL

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Peterson

Dickerson's record survives, Johnson's mark falls to AP

From Elias: Adrian Peterson rushed for 199 yards in the Vikings' 37-34 victory over the Packers. Peterson fell eight yards short of Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record, but he shattered the NFL record for rushing yards in one month. Peterson gained 861 yards in five games during December, breaking a mark set by Chris Johnson in November 2009 (800 yards).

Minnesota Vikings

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Peterson

Peterson's average is rare for a rushing leader

From Elias: Adrian Peterson finished the season with an average of 6.0 yards per carry. Only five other rushing leaders posted an average of at least 6.0 yards: Beattie Feathers in 1934 (8.4), Joe Perry in 1954 (6.1), Jim Brown in 1963 (6.4), O.J. Simpson in 1973 (6.0), and Barry Sanders in 1997 (6.1).

Minnesota Vikings

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Manning

Manning sets passing records in first season with Broncos

From Elias: Peyton Manning passed for 304 yards and three touchdowns in the Broncos' 38-3 win over the Chiefs. Manning finished the season with 4659 yards and 37 TD passes, setting all-time NFL records in both categories for a player in his first season with a team. The previous yardage high was 4418 by Drew Brees in his first season with the Saints (2006). The previous high in TD passes was 33 by Vinny Testaverde in 1996, when the Browns moved to Baltimore (recognized by the NFL as a different franchise), and by Brett Favre with the Vikings in 2009.

Denver Broncos

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Griffin III

Rookies run wild against Cowboys

From Elias: Alfred Morris ran for three touchdowns and Robert Griffin III for the other in the Redskins' 28-18 win over the Cowboys. It was the first time since 1990 that two rookies scored rushing TDs in one game against Dallas. The last rookie teammates to do so were Johnny Johnson and Anthony Thompson of the Cardinals.

Washington Redskins

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Morris

Morris caps record-breaking rookie season

From Elias: Alfred Morris gained 200 rushing yards against the Cowboys, boosting his season total to 1613 yards. That broke the Redskins' single-season mark set by Clinton Portis in 2005 (1516). The last rookie to set a team rushing record for a club that predates the 1970 AFL-NFL merger was Curtis Martin for the Patriots in 1995. The last to do so for a team that predates the expansion era that began in 1960 was Barry Sanders for the Lions in 1989.

This was the 13th game in which Morris led all players on both teams in rushing yards, one short of the highest such total ever posted by a rookie. George Rogers of the Saints was the leading rusher in 14 games in his rookie season (1981). Morris matched the total of Eddie George, who was the rushing leader in 13 games for the Houston Oilers in 1996.

Washington Redskins

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Manning

Manning finds freshmen for first-quarter TDs

From Elias: Eli Manning threw five touchdown passes in the Giants' 42-7 win over the Eagles. Manning became the first player in Giants history¿spanning 1225 regular-season and 48 postseason games over 88 seasons¿to throw three TD passes in the first quarter of a game.

Manning's first two scoring tosses went to Rueben Randle and the third to David Wilson, both of them rookies. Only three other players in NFL history threw three TD passes to rookies in the same period in one game: Butch Songin of the Boston Patriots in 1960, Roman Gabriel of the LA Rams in 1964, and Joe Flacco for the Ravens in 2011.

New York Giants

Giants post biggest win vs. Eagles in 40 years

From Elias: The Giants' 42-7 win on Sunday represented the largest margin of victory by either team in a Giants-Eagles contest since New York defeated Philadelphia, 62-10, at Yankee Stadium in 1972. That game gained some notoriety when Giants head coach Alex Webster scolded Randy Johnson, his backup QB, for continuing to throw after Johnson replaced Norm Snead with a 41-10 lead late in the third quarter.

New York Giants

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Roethlisberger

Old friends reconnect for Steelers

From Elias: Ben Roethlisberger capped the scoring in the Steelers' 24-10 win over the Browns with a 12-yard pass to Plaxico Burress. It was Roethlisberger's first TD pass to Burress since December 26, 2004 during Roethlisberger's rookie season. That is the longest gap between TD connections by any pair of players in NFL history¿by a margin of just 7 days. The previous mark was set by Randall Cunningham and Cris Carter (1989-1997), former Eagles teammates who reconnected with the Vikings.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Titans score four quick return-TDs

From Elias: Darius Reynaud scored on a pair of punt returns and Zach Brown returned two interceptions for TDs in the Titans' 38-20 win over the Jaguars. Only one other team in NFL history scored four return-TDs in one game: the Seahawks in a 45-0 win over the Chiefs in 1984.

Tennessee scored its four return-TDs in a span of 4 minutes, 45 seconds of playing time surrounding the halftime intermission. Over the last four decades, only one other team scored four touchdowns of any type in less than 5 minutes: the Seahawks against the Vikings in 2002 (four TDs, including three by Shaun Alexander, in 1 minute, 47 seconds.)

Tennessee Titans

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Jackson

Consistent Jackson records another 1000-yard season

From Elias: Steven Jackson gained 52 yards in the Rams' 20-13 loss at Seattle, pushing past the 1000-yard mark for the eighth consecutive season. That ties Jackson for the fourth-longest such streaks in NFL history¿a signature achievement for a player who has always been consistent but rarely flamboyant. Consider this: Jackson is the only active player to have gained 10,000 rushing yards even though he has placed among the NFL's top five in only two of his nine seasons in the league. In fact, Jackson has never once been the outright rushing leader on a given week of play.

St. Louis Rams

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Luck

Luck improves Colts' fortunes

From Elias: Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes in the Colts' 28-16 win over the Texans. Indianapolis finished the season with an 11-5 record, all with Luck at quarterback, after posting a 2-14 mark in 2011. That was the biggest increase in year-over-year wins behind a rookie QB in NFL history. The previous high was plus-7 by Ben Roethlisberger (2004 Steelers) and Matt Ryan (2008 Falcons).

Indianapolis Colts

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Stafford

Stafford breaks Bledsoe's record for passes

From Elias: On a day when the Lions lost their season finale to the Bears, Matthew Stafford set an all-time NFL record for passes in one season (727), surpassing Drew Bledsoe's mark (691) that had stood since 1994. Bledsoe's was an unusually long reign as the holder of a record that previously had been passed around frequently. The only player to hold that mark for even half as long as Bledsoe was Sonny Jurgensen (1967-1978).

Detroit Lions

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Johnson

Johnson caps record-breaking season with two outstanding months

From Elias: Calvin Johnson, who previously broke Jerry Rice's record for receiving yards, failed in his attempt to become the first player to gain 2000 yards on receptions in one season. But Johnson did become only the second player in NFL history to gain 700 receiving yards in one calendar month, finishing December with 707 yards on 49 receptions. Charley Hennigan gained 822 yards for the Houston Oilers in October 1961.

Johnson, who gained 619 receiving yards last month, became the first receiver in NFL history to reach the 600-yard mark in two different months of the same season. In fact, the only other player with more than one 600-yard month in his entire NFL career was Lance Alworth, who did it four times.

Detroit Lions

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Williams

Williams & Panthers punish Saints' defense

From Elias: DeAngelo Williams rushed for a team-record 210 yards in the Panthers' 44-38 victory at New Orleans. Jamaal Charles previously reached the 200-yard mark rushing against the Saints this season. Over the last nine seasons, only one other NFL team allowed two different players to rush for 200 yards in a game in the same season: the Rams in 2011 (DeMarco Murray and Beanie Wells).

Carolina totaled 530 yards against New Orleans on Sunday, marking the fourth time this season that the Saints yielded at least 500 yards in one game. That was one 500-yard game short of the all-time NFL record set by the Baltimore Colts in 1950. The last team prior to New Orleans to allow four 500-yard games was Miami in 1986.

Carolina Panthers

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Ryan

Two team TD-pass records fall in one game

From Elias: Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman threw one touchdown apiece in the Buccaneers' 22-17 win at Atlanta. But that was enough for each QB to take sole possession of his respective team's record for TD passes in one season. The Falcons' previous mark had stood for 32 years, having been set by Steve Bartkowski in 1980. The Bucs' prior record was set by Brad Johnson in 2003.

Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Gostkowski

Gino's record withstands a challenge

From Elias: There wasn't much drama at Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter and cruised to a 28-0 victory over the Dolphins. But there was the matter of Stephen Gostkowski's challenge to Gino Cappelletti's team record for points in one season (155). Cappelletti is the only player ever to hold that mark, and he set the current record in 1964, when he scored seven touchdowns in addition to 111 points as a kicker (and two on a two-point conversion).

Gostkowski needed seven points to erase Cappelletti's name from that particular line in the Patriots' record book. Although he went 4-for-4 on extra-point conversions, Gostkowski failed even to attempt a field goal for only the second time in the last two seasons and Gino's record survived. Only one team has a single-season scoring record that has stood longer than New England's. Paul Hornung set Green Bay's record with 176 points, including 15 TDs, in 1960.

New England Patriots

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Crabtree

Crabtree evokes memories of Niners of old

From Elias: Michael Crabtree caught eight passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns in the 49ers' 27-13 win over the Cardinals. At one time, totals like that were commonplace in San Francisco. Terrell Owens gained at least 170 receiving yards in a game for the Niners five times and Jerry Rice did it 11 times. But Crabtree's receiving-yardage total was the highest by a 49ers player since Owens gained 191 yards at Oakland 10 years ago.

San Francisco 49ers

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Zastudil

Zastudil is the first to crack 5000 yards

From Elias: It may not have been AP chasing Eric Dickerson's mark, but we'll bet this was huge in the punter community. Dave Zastudil of the Cardinals became the first player in NFL history to punt for 5000 yards in a season¿5209 yards on 112 punts, which was two punts shy of the NFL's 31-year-old single-season record¿and he did it with the former record-holder watching. Zastudil broke Andy Lee's record of 4968 yards in 2007.

Arizona Cardinals

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Spurlock

Spurlock scores on another early kick return

From Elias: Micheal Spurlock returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the Chargers' 24-21 win over the Raiders. Last week, Spurlock scored on a 63-yard punt return in the first 2 minutes of San Diego's victory over the Jets. Only two other Chargers players scored on a kickoff and punt return in the same season: Andre Coleman in 1995 and Darren Sproles in 2007.

San Diego Chargers

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Lewis

Lewis represents for Blue Devils

From Elias: Thaddeus Lewis was the Browns' starting quarterback On Sunday at Pittsburgh. Lewis became only the third QB from Duke to start an NFL game since Sonny Jurgensen retired following the 1974 season. The others were Anthony Dilweg (seven starts for the Packers in 1990) and Dave Brown (60 starts for the Giants and Cardinals from 1994 to 2000).

Cleveland Browns

Bengals win despite weak attack

From Elias: The Bengals defeated the Ravens, 23-17, despite gaining only 189 yards of total offense. It was Cincinnati's lowest yardage total in a victory since October 19, 1975 when the Bengals gained 184 yards in a 14-10 win over the Raiders. That game was played in the rain at Riverfront Stadium and Ken Anderson and Ken Stabler each threw four interceptions.

Cincinnati Bengals

NBA

Celtics lose their third straight blowout

From Elias: The Kings defeated the Celtics, 118-96, at Sacramento. Boston lost its two previous games by margins of 29 points (to the Clippers) and 18 points (Warriors). This is only the second time in team history that the Celtics have lost three consecutive games by 18 or more points. The first was in December 1977.

Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings

Spurs spank their intrastate rivals

From Elias: San Antonio's 111-86 victory at American Airlines Center tied their largest margin of victory in a road game against the Mavericks. The Spurs' only other 25-point win at Dallas was a 117-92 victory at Reunion Arena in 1994, led by David Robinson (37 points) and Dennis Rodman (20 rebounds).

San Antonio Spurs

Pistons dominate the boards in victory over Bucks

From Elias: The Pistons outrebounded the Bucks, 47-33, in Sunday's 96-94 victory. Over the last eight seasons, the Pistons posted have a 32-4 mark in games in which they outrebounded their opponent by at least 14 boards.

Detroit Pistons


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