Sunday, December 17, 2006
Updated: August 24, 8:26 PM ET
Elias Says ... LT a TD machine
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• LaDainian Tomlinson scored both Chargers touchdowns in their 20-9 win over the Chiefs. L.T. increased his record total to 31 TDs this season, three more than the previous mark, set by Shaun Alexander in 2005. Tomlinson is only the second player in NFL history to break the existing single-season record for touchdowns by as many as three. Don Hutson did that in 1942, scoring 17 TDs to break the record of 14 set 11 years earlier by John McNally (a.k.a., Johnny Blood).
Since then, the record has increased by one TD at a time except for 1965, when Gale Sayers scored 22 TDs (two more than the previous record), and this season.
• One day after Morten Andersen became the NFL's all-time leading scorer, Brett Favre passed Dan Marino as the league's all-time leader in pass completions. Favre completed 20 of 37 passes in the Packers' 17-9 win over the Lions, raising his career total to 4,974 completions -- or 43 more than the combined career totals of Roger Staubach, Sammy Baugh, and Norm Van Brocklin.
Baugh held the record for career completions longer than anyone else -- for 20 years, from 1941 to 1961. Other holders of the record since then were Bobby Layne (1961-1963), Y.A. Tittle (1963-1967), Johnny Unitas (1967-1975), Fran Tarkenton (1975-1995) and Marino.
• Favre threw three interceptions against the Lions on Sunday, to move past John Hadl into second place in NFL history with a total of 270 INTs. George Blanda's record of 277 should survive at least until 2007. Favre has thrown as many as seven interceptions over a two-game span only once (Nov. 17-24, 2002).
• Favre has a record of 15-0 starting at home against the Lions. That's the most home wins any starting QB has ever recorded against an opposing team. The runner-up is John Elway, who was 13-2 against the Chiefs at Denver.
• The Lions' loss was their 71st over the last six seasons, the second-highest six-year total in NFL history. But with only two weeks remaining in the NFL season, the record is safe for now. The Bucs lost 74 games from 1983 through 1988.
• Rex Grossman passed for 339 yards in the Bears' 34-31 overtime win against the Bucs. That ended Chicago's streak of 72 consecutive regular-season games without a 300-yard passer, by far the NFL's longest current streak. That distinction now falls to the 49ers (41 games).
• Tim Rattay did not start but he threw touchdown passes of 9, 64, and 44 yards while rallying the Bucs from a 21-point deficit to reach overtime against Chicago, although the Bears ultimately prevailed. Over the last 10 years, the only other quarterback to come off the bench to throw two TD passes of 40 yards or longer was Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Rams last season in an overtime victory against the Texans.
• The Bears have never lost a game at Soldier Field in which they held a lead of 21 or more points (45-0-0 in regular-season play with two postseason wins).
• Jay Cutler threw two touchdown passes for the third time in his three NFL games to lead the Broncos to a 37-20 win over the Cardinals. Only one other player in NFL history threw at least two TD passes in each of his first three games: Mark Rypien for the Redskins in 1988.
• Kyle Boller threw a game-winning 77-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Williams in the third quarter of the Ravens' 27-17 victory over the Browns. Boller came off the bench in the first quarter following an injury to Steve McNair, who threw an 87-yard TD to Mark Clayton last week. It had been 37 years since teammates launched TD passes of 75 yards or longer in consecutive games. The last to do so were Greg Cook and Sam Wyche of the Bengals in 1969.
• Reggie Bush caught five passes in the Saints' 16-10 loss to the Redskins, raising his total this season to 84 pass receptions, a new NFL record for a rookie running back. The previous mark was 83 by Earl Cooper of the 49ers in 1980. Cooper was converted to a tight end later in his career.
• The Titans' defense scored three touchdowns of 60 yards or longer in their 24-17 win over the Jaguars. Tennessee is the first team in NFL history with three TDs that long on interceptions and fumble recoveries.
• The Titans had possession of the ball for only 15 minutes, 38 seconds in their victory, the lowest time of possession for a winning team during the 30 seasons in which that statistic has been officially compiled.
• The Titans' win was their seventh with Vince Young starting at quarterback. During the 40 years since the first common draft by NFL and AFL teams, that's the highest victory total by a player who was the first QB chosen in his respective draft year. The previous record was held by Jim Plunkett, the first overall pick in 1971, who posted a 6-8 mark starting for the Patriots.
The fine print: We consider the first quarterback chosen in the 1988 draft to be Tom Tupa of Ohio State, who played some QB during the early years of a long career as an NFL punter. The Cardinals labeled Tupa a "punter" on draft day. But Tupa was called a "QB-punter" when he signed in July. He threw six passes in his rookie season, and he started a total of 13 games as a QB over the following three seasons. All this matters because the second QB chosen in 1988 was Chris Chandler, who won nine games as a rookie -- that is, two more than Vince Young.
• The Patriots defeated the Texans 40-7 on Sunday, one week after losing to the Dolphins 21-0. Over the last 15 years, only one other team scored 40 points in its next game following a shutout loss (the Steelers in 2003).
• Meanwhile, the Dolphins lost 21-0 at Buffalo on Sunday. Miami is the fourth NFL team to follow a shutout win with a shutout loss, both by a margin of 21 or more points. The last team to do so was the Bears in 1977.
• For yet another turnaround, how about the Rams, who shut out the Raiders 20-0 seven days after a 42-27 loss to the Bears. It had been a quarter-century since a team recorded a shutout after allowing as many as 42 points in its previous game. That team was the St. Louis Cardinals, and the turnaround coincided with a change of starting QB -- from Jim Hart to rookie Neil Lomax.
• Yao Ming scored 32 points and recorded five assists in the Rockets' 108-103 win over the Clippers. Yao was the first center with at least 30 points and five assists in the same game this season. He had done that only once previously in his five seasons in the NBA.
• Stephen Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley both fouled out of the Pacers' 104-94 loss to the Jazz. It was only the fourth time in Indiana's NBA history that both of its starting guards were DQ'd with six fouls. The last time was in 1992 (Reggie Miller and Micheal Williams).