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NFL offenses ruled defenses this weekend
From Elias: There was a total of 276 points scored in the four NFL games this weekend, an average of 69.0 points per game. That's by far the most points scored in the quarterfinals of the playoffs in any season since the 1970 merger. Before this year, the highest total was 232 points, in 2010.
A wild ending in Atlanta
From Elias: Atlanta's win over Seattle on Sunday was only the third game in NFL postseason history in which each team took a lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter. The other instances:
- Jan. 8, 2000 - the "Music City Miracle": Steve Christie had given Buffalo a 16-15 lead with a 41-yard field goal with 16 seconds to play. But Tennessee scored with three seconds left on Kevin Dyson's 75-yard kickoff return TD after a cross-field lateral from Frank Wycheck.
- Jan. 8, 2011 - Adam Vinatieri's 50-yard field goal with 53 seconds left gave Indianapolis a 16-14 lead over the Jets, but New York drove downfield, and Nick Folk's 32-yard field goal as time expired gave the Jets the win.
Seattle became the first team in NFL history to take a lead in a postseason game after trailing by at least 20 points in the fourth quarter. One other team came back from such a deficit to tie the score: San Francisco was losing to Washington, 21-0, at the start of the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 8, 1984, but Joe Montana threw three touchdown passes to tie the game with just over seven minutes remaining. Washington embarked on a drive that culminated in Mark Moseley's 25-yard, game-winning field goal with 40 seconds remaining.
Matty Ice wins it for Atlanta
From Elias: Matt Bryant kicked the game-winning field goal from 49 yards with eight ticks left on the clock. Bryant, in regular-season games, has made 17 of 18 go-ahead or game-tying field goals in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, or at any point in overtime (94 pct.). That's the highest success rate on "pressure field goals" among players with at least 15 such attempts since 1970.
Wilson breaks Baugh's record
From Elias: Russell Wilson threw for 385 yards on Sunday, setting a rookie record for a postseason game. The record that Wilson broke had stood for over 75 years - Slingin' Sammy Baugh threw for 335 yards, including TD passes of 77, 55, and 35 yards, in the 1937 NFL Championship Game. No other rookie has thrown for 300 yards in a postseason game.
Shane Vereen, Superstar
From Elias: Shane Vereen caught two touchdown passes from Tom Brady and ran for another score on Sunday, after he had only four touchdowns during the regular season. Vereen is the first player to have three touchdowns in a postseason game after having fewer than five TDs during the preceding regular season since the Raiders' Napoleon McCallum had three in a win over Denver on January 9, 1994, equaling his total from that season.
Manning can't reach paydirt
From Elias: The Patriots held the Texans to a field goal on their opening drive after Danieal Manning's 94-yard kickoff return gave Houston the ball at New England's 12-yard line. That was the second-longest kickoff return that failed to result in a touchdown in NFL postseason history. Maurice Jones-Drew was stopped at the 1-yard line after a 96-yard kickoff return for Jacksonville at Pittsburgh on Jan. 5, 2008.
Bucks extend winning streak over Raptors
From Elias: Milwaukee won its eighth consecutive game against Toronto on Sunday, and did so the hard way, overcoming a 20-point deficit. The only other team against which the Bucks have a winning streak of even three games is the Nets - Milwaukee has won its last 13 in that series.
It was Milwaukee's second win this season after trailing by 20 or more points. They came back from 27 down to win in Chicago on November 26. No other NBA team has a pair of wins after trailing by 20-plus points this season.
Calderon gets off to hot start
From Elias: Jose Calderon scored 15 points and had four assists in the first quarter of Toronto's loss to Milwaukee on Sunday. He's only the second player this season to have at least 15 points and four assists in the first quarter of a game, joining Tony Parker, who had 16 points and five assists against Indiana on November 23.
Duncan's defensive dominance
From Elias: Tim Duncan had seven blocked shots and three steals in San Antonio's win over Minnesota on Sunday, tying his highest total of steals-plus-blocks in any game in his NBA career. He also had 10 in two other regular-season games (once in 1999, once in 2003) and once in the Finals (in 2003 against the Nets).
Durant 22 for 26 in last two games on two-point attempts
From Elias: Kevin Durant made only two of his nine three-point attempts on Sunday, but he was 10 for 12 (83 percent) on his two-point attempts. That's his third-highest percentage on two-pointers in any NBA game in which he attempted at least 10 of them. His second-highest percentage came in his previous game, against the Lakers on Friday (12 for 14). His highest mark was against the Knicks in 2009 (10 for 11).
Copeland makes the most of a rare start
From Elias: New York's 28-year old rookie, Chris Copeland, scored 22 points on Sunday, for his third 20-point performance in his last 12 games: he scored 29 points against Houston on December 17 and 23 against Sacramento on December 28. The only other rookies with three 20-point games in their last dozen appearances are Portland's Damian Lillard (five in his last 12) and Washington's Bradley Beal (also three).
Williams and Johnson lead Nets to win
From Elias: Deron Williams scored 22 points and Joe Johnson scored 20 in the Nets' win on Sunday. It was only the third time this season that Williams and Johnson have scored 20 points in the same game. The other instances were against Cleveland on November 13 and Golden State on December 7.
The Nets went on a 17-0 run in the fourth quarter to turn a 77-69 deficit into an 86-77 lead. It was the third game this season in which Brooklyn scored 17 unanswered points, tying Atlanta and Indiana for the highest total in the NBA this season.