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Manning caps extraordinary month with record-breaking win
From Elias: Peyton Manning passed for 327 yards and four touchdowns in the Broncos' 52-20 win over the Eagles. Manning finished the month with 1,470 yards, 16 touchdown passes, and no interceptions. Let's look at each of those:
- Manning fell 61 yards short of Denver's team record for passing yards in one calendar month, but he did it in only four games. Jay Cutler played five games in November 2008, when he set the record.
- Manning shattered the team record for TD passes in one month; the previous mark was 12 by John Elway in September 1997. Manning's total of 16 TDs in September was the second highest in NFL history in a month of four games. That record is 19, set by Manning himself in November 2004.
- Finally, Manning tied Milt Plum's NFL record with 16 TD passes in a season before throwing an INT. Plum did it playing for Cleveland in 1960.
With Matt Prater's 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, Denver broke its all-time single-game scoring record, a mark that had stood for one week short of 50 years. The Broncos set their previous scoring record in a 50-34 win over the Chargers on October 6, 1963 at Bears Stadium. Denver was the only one of the 26 NFL teams that predate the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that had never scored more than 50 points in a regular-season game.
Denver's total was the highest against Philadelphia since the Eagles suffered a 62-10 loss to the Giants at Yankee Stadium on November 26, 1972.
Denver has scored a total of 179 points this season, falling just short of the league mark for points in a team's first four games (183). That mark was set by Dallas in 1966. Denver's total ranks second in NFL history.
Sherman's late TD is key to Seahawks' OT win
From Elias: Richard Sherman's 58-yard interception return and Steven Hauschka's extra point with less than 3 minutes to play sent the Seahawks to overtime at Houston after trailing 20-3 at halftime. Hauschka kicked a 45-yard field goal to give Seattle the victory. Sherman's score, which came with 2:40 to play in the fourth quarter, was the latest game-tying TD on an INT-return in the NFL's post-1960 expansion era. (Obviously we're including INT-TD's on which the subsequent PAT tied the score.)
The Texans, who joined the NFL in 2002, have lost four home games after they led by at least 14 points in the fourth quarter. No other NFL team has more than two such losses over the last 12 seasons. Houston's other such losses came against Indianapolis (in 2003 and 2008) and St. Louis (2005).
Bills rookies Manuel and Alonso shine in win over champs
From Elias: EJ Manuel passed for 167 yards and a touchdown in the Bills' 23-20 victory over the Ravens. Manuel was the 12th rookie quarterback in NFL history to start and win against the defending Super Bowl champion, but he was the first to do so in the month of September.
But Manuel wasn't the only rookie to star in Buffalo's win on Sunday. The Bills intercepted Joe Flacco five times, including two INTs by Kiko Alonso. Only three other rookies made a pair of interceptions against a defending Super Bowl champion: Deac Sanders of the Patriots (1974 vs. Dolphins), Gene Atkins of the Saints (1987 vs. Giants), and Anthony Henry of the Browns (2001 vs. Ravens).
Peterson extends NFL record with another long TD run
From Elias: Adrian Peterson scored on a 60-yard run and Greg Jennings caught a 70-yard TD pass from Matt Cassel in the Vikings' 34-27 win over the Steelers. It was Peterson's 12th TD run of 60 yards or longer, three more than any other player in NFL history. Jim Brown is the runner-up.
But a TD pass that long is somewhat unusual for Minnesota. It was the Vikings' first scoring pass of 60 yards or longer since 2008. Every other NFL team except Tampa Bay had at least one such pass from 2009 to 2012. However, Jennings himself has scored seven TDs on pass plays covering at least 70 yards, tying Victor Cruz for the most among active players. (The first six were scored for Green Bay.)
Bell scores twice in NFL debut, but Steelers fall to 0-4
From Elias: Le'Veon Bell ran for two touchdowns in Pittsburgh's loss on Sunday. Only one other Steelers player scored two or more TDs in his NFL debut: Louis Lipps caught TD passes from David Woodley and Mark Malone on opening day in 1984.
The only other active player to score two rushing TDs in his NFL debut was Alfred Morris of the Redskins last season.
On the negative side, the Steelers fell to 0-4 with their loss at Wembley Stadium. That ended a run of 44 consecutive seasons without an 0-4 start (1969-2012), which had been the longest current streak in the league. The distinction now belongs to the Seahawks, who lost their first four games only in 1976 and 1977, Seattle's first two seasons of operation.
Rivers sets accuracy record in Chargers' win
From Elias: Philip Rivers completed 35 of 42 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers' 30-21 win over the Cowboys. Rivers' completion percentage (83%) was the highest in NFL history in a game of at least 40 passes. The previous high was set by Jeff Garcia with the Bucs in 2007 (82%).
Luck and Richardson start together for Colts
From Elias: Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes and Trent Richardson scored on a 1-yard run in the Colts' 37-3 win at Jacksonville. Luck and Richardson were the first and third picks, respectively, in the 2012 NFL Draft, sandwiched around Robert Griffin III. There are only two other instances since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 of a quarterback and running back chosen among the top three in the same NFL Draft starting together in the same game: Vinny Testaverde (#1 in 1987) and Alonzo Highsmith (#3) for Tampa Bay in their first two games of the 1992 season.
Cameron tied 54-year-old Browns record
From Elias: Brian Hoyer threw a pair of touchdown passes in the Browns' 17-6 victory over the Bengals. Jordan Cameron's 2-yard reception to open the scoring was his fifth TD of the season. That tied Cleveland's longstanding record for TD catches in one calendar month, set 54 seasons ago by Ray Renfro (November 1959).
Chiefs extend a nearly unprecedented winning streak
From Elias: The Chiefs, who finished at 2-14 last season, improved to 4-0 with a 31-7 victory over the Giants. The only other team to win each of its first four games following a season of more than 12 losses was Detroit in 1980 (2-14 in 1979, finished at 9-7 in 1980).
Giants' ship is sinking fast after a fourth loss
From Elias: The Giants have allowed 36, 41, 38, and 31 points en route to an 0-4 start. Since 1970, only two other teams suffered an 0-4 start during which they allowed more than 30 points in each game, both in 2008. The Lions (0-16) and Rams (2-14) combined for just two victories in that season.
Veteran Washington's moment has come
From Elias: Nate Washington caught four passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Titans' 38-13 win over the Jets. Washington, who caught eight passes for 131 yards against the Chargers last week, is a ninth-year NFL player. But this is the first time he has posted two 100-yard games in the same month and his total of 332 yards this season is the highest monthly total of his career.
Lions strike quickly during 2nd-quarter surge
From Elias: The Lions scored 27 points in the second quarter, including three quick touchdowns, in a 40-32 victory over the Bears. Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Reggie Bush all scored in a span of 3 minutes, 26 seconds, marking the first time in 43 years that Detroit scored three TDs in less than 4 minutes. The Lions last did so at Cleveland in 1970, with Larry Walton sandwiching a pair of TD receptions from Bill Munson around an INT return by Mike Weger.
The Bears hadn't allowed three TDs in that short a span since the Lions did it at Tiger Stadium in 1968 (Mel Farr, Bill Munson, and Bill Swain scoring in a span of 2 minutes, 26 seconds).
Alvarez wins no-hitter in walk-off fashion
From Elias: Henderson Alvarez was the on-deck batter when Giancarlo Stanton scored from third base on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Marlins a 1-0 victory over the Tigers and put Alvarez into the record books with a no-hitter. Alvarez was the first pitcher to be credited with a complete-game no-hit victory in walk-off fashion since Detroit's Virgil Trucks was the beneficiary of a ninth-inning game-ending home run by Vic Wertz against the Washington Senators on May 15, 1952.
The Tigers are the fourth team to be no-hit in their regular-season finale, but they're the first team to do so in a year in which they are heading to the postseason. Alvarez joined California's Mike Witt (with a perfect game at Texas in 1984) and Cincinnati's Bumpus Jones (versus Pittsburgh in 1892) as the only pitchers to toss no-hitters in their team's season finale. The other no-hitter pitched for a team in its last game of a season was of the combined variety, when Oakland's Vida Blue, Glen Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers held the Angels hitless on the ultimate getaway day in 1975.
The Marlins (62-100) are the first team to no-hit an opponent in a season in which they had already lost 100 or more games. Over the last 40 seasons (1974 to date), only one other team threw a no-hitter in a year in which it eventually lost as many as 100 games. Credit Randy Johnson, who tossed a perfect game for the Diamondbacks on May 18, 2004 (at Atlanta) before Arizona finished that season with a 51-111 mark.
Since the advent of interleague play in 1997, there have been six no-hitters thrown in games between American and National League teams. That's an average of one no-hitter every 711 interleague games, compared to one every 1,076 games between A.L. opponents and one every 1,156 games between N.L. teams over that span.
Darvish is the Strikeout King for 2013
From Elias: The Rangers lived to see another day by defeating the Angels and forcing a one-game regular-season playoff against the Rays for the final wild-card spot in the American League. Yu Darvish wasn't involved in the decision Sunday, but he registered eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings to increase his total for the season to a major-league high 277. Darvish will be the fifth pitcher born outside of the United States to finish a season with the highest strikeout total in the major leagues. Darvish (after Monday's regular-season finale) will join Ireland's Tommy Bond (in 1877 and 1878) and One Arm Daily (1884), Mexico's Fernando Valenzuela (1981), and Venezuela's Johan Santana (2005 and 2006).
Moore is Rays' road warrior
From Elias: Matt Moore improved his record to 10-1 in road games this season as the Rays won in Toronto. No pitcher has finished a season with double-digit wins and fewer than two losses in road games while posting an ERA as low as Moore's (2.74) away from his home ballpark since San Diego's Jake Peavy in 2007 (10 -1, 2.57 ERA on the road) and no American League pitcher has done so since Boston's Pedro Martinez in 2000 (12-1, 1.66 ERA).
Indians storm into the playoffs
From Elias: The Indians clinched home-field advantage for the A.L. Wild Card Playoff Game by defeating the Twins on Sunday. Cleveland won its last 10 regular-season games. It's the longest season-ending winning streak for any team since Earl Weaver's Orioles won their last 11 games, en route to the playoffs, in both 1970 and 1971. And speaking of managers, by virtue of their four-game series sweep at Minnesota, the Tribe denied Ron Gardenhire his 1,000th managerial victory. Gardenhire finished the season with a career 998-947 regular-season record as Twins' manager.
Alvarez and Goldschmidt tie for National League lead in homers
From Elias: Pedro Alvarez was kept in the ballpark in the Pirates' victory at Cincinnati, as was Paul Goldschmidt in the Diamondbacks' triumph over the Nationals, as those two players completed the season as the National League's co-leaders in home runs with 36 each. It's only the second time in the last 50 years that players finished a season tied for the most homers in the senior circuit. The only other season that it happened over that span (1964-2013) was 1984, when Dale Murphy and Mike Schmidt each hit a league-high total of 36 homers.
Alvarez is the first player to win the N.L. home-run crown for the Pirates (either tied or outright) since Willie Stargell in 1973, but it wasn't the longest drought of that kind in franchise history. No Pirates player led the National League in home runs between Tommy Leach in 1902 (six) and Ralph Kiner in 1946 (23).
Johnson, Fingers and Gagne
From Elias: The Orioles topped the Red Sox as Jim Johnson notched his 50th save to tie Craig Kimbrel for the major-league high this season after he led the majors with 51 saves in 2012. Johnson joined San Diego's Rollie Fingers (1977-78) as the only pitchers to lead the majors in saves (either outright or tied) in each of two consecutive seasons and he became the second pitcher to record 50 or more saves in two straight seasons, joining the Dodgers' Eric Gagne (52 in 2002 and 55 in 2003).
From Elias: The Astros dropped a 14-inning decision to the Yankees to finish their season with 15 consecutive losses. It's the longest losing streak to end a season for any big-league team since the National League's Cleveland Spiders lost the last 16 games in the history of the franchise and finished the 1899 season with a 20-134 mark. Cleveland dropped 40 of its last 41 games that year and lost its franchise when the National League contracted from 12 teams to eight teams (in 1900).
Yankees' power decline proved to be costly
From Elias: Mark Reynolds hit the only home run of the game in the Yankees' season finale as the club finished the year with 144 home runs, 101 fewer than they hit last year, when they led the majors with 245 four-baggers. The Yankees became the first team in major-league history to hit 100 fewer homers from one year to the next in consecutive non-strike seasons. The largest previous decline was by the 1988 Cubs, who hit 96 fewer home runs (113) than they did the previous year (209 in 1987).
Young finishes as N.L. stolen base leader
From Elias: Eric Young, Jr. swiped two bases as the Mets topped the Brewers and in doing so he gained sole possession of the National League stolen-base crown. Young's 46 stolen bases match the second-lowest total to lead the N.L. in a full (non-strike) season in the last 50 years (1964-2013). Everth Cabrera paced the league with 44 thefts last year; Juan Pierre and Jimmy Rollins tied for the league lead in 2001, each with 46 stolen bases.
Champs go home on a high note
From Elias: Hunter Pence delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Giants to a 7-6 win over the Padres. The Giants joined the 1960 Dodgers, 2008 Red Sox and 2009 Phillies as the only defending World Series champions to win their season finale in walk-off fashion. It was the second time since the franchise relocated to the West Coast that San Francisco registered a walk-off victory to end a regular season. The previous such occurrence was in 1987 on a 10th-inning home run by Bob Brenly.