Thursday, December 21, 2006
Updated: December 24, 7:17 AM ET
Elias Says ... Experience the difference for Favre
By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider
A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:
• Brett Favre made the 236th start of his NFL career on Thursday at Lambeau Field -- and in the other corner was Minnesota rookie quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, making his first pro start.
That represented the widest disparity between the number of previous starts made by the opposing starting quarterbacks in any game in the history of the NFL. The old record for most previous starts by one starting quarterback in a game in which his opposite number was making his NFL starting debut was held by Dan Marino, who faced Denver's Brian Griese in the 1999 season opener: it was Marino's 230th start and Griese's first.
• Favre became the first NFL player to throw 5,000 completions -- and number 5,000 came on his final pass of the night. It came on third-and-17 from the Vikings' 34-yard line with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, and while it was a long-gainer to Ahman Green that was shortened due to a holding penalty, it was enough to move the Packers into field-goal range. Two plays later, Dave Rayner's 44-yard field goal provided the winning points in Green Bay's 9-7 victory.
That marked the 33rd time that Favre has led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the highest total among active players. The breakdown: 25 of them have come in Wisconsin, 21 at Lambeau Field, and 11 in the month of December.
• Favre, playing what some think might be his final game at Lambeau Field, gave his fans something to remember him by: 50 passes, including a career-high and NFL-high-for-the-2006-season total of 33 passes in the first half. It was the 11th time that he had thrown as many as 50 passes in a regular-season game; Dan Marino (14) and Drew Bledsoe (12) are the only other players with as many games of that type.
• Green Bay's 9-7 win was Favre's 146th regular-season victory as a starting quarterback, one fewer than Marino and two behind NFL record-holder John Elway. But it was just the second of those 146 wins in which the Packers did not score a touchdown; on Sept. 17, 2000, the Packers defeated the Eagles, 6-3, on a pair of field goals.
• The Packers' defense held the Vikings to 104 yards, Green Bay's best defensive effort in that category since Dec. 1, 1985, when the Pack limited Tampa Bay to 65 yards in the snow at Lambeau. (The Buccaneers' quarterback in that game? Future Hall-of-Famer Steve Young.)
• The Wizards scored 44 points in the third quarter of their 126-119 victory in Sacramento, only the second time this season that an NBA team has scored so many points in a single quarter. Four nights earlier, Washington was on the receiving end of the Lakers' 46-point fourth quarter that forced overtime before the Wizards came away with a 147-141 decision.
It had been more than 14 years since Washington had scored as many as 44 points in one period. The last such occasion came on Nov. 25, 1992, when the Bullets scored 46 points in the garbage-time fourth quarter of a 150-112 loss at Boston.
• The Cavaliers lost at home to the Pistons, 87-71, the fewest points that Cleveland has scored in its last 217 regular-season home games. The Cavs' last such low total at home came on Nov. 3, 2001, in a 99-69 loss to Orlando.
• The Panthers trailed the Rangers, 2-0, through two periods, but scored three unanswered goals in the third period to beat New York, 3-2. Entering play on Thursday, Florida had been the only NHL team that hadn't won a game this season in which it trailed at any time during the third period (0-18-4).
• Maxim Afinogenov, Ales Kotalik and Jason Pominville each scored two goals for the Sabres in their 7-2 win in Nashville. It was the first time that Buffalo had three players with multiple-goal games on the same day since Jan. 1, 2000, when Afinogenov, Stu Barnes and Erik Rasmussen each scored twice in an 8-1 Sabres win over the Maple Leafs.
• Jordan Staal, the 18-year-old Penguins rookie, scored his 10th goal of the season and his fifth shorthanded goal in Pittsburgh's game in Atlanta on Thursday night. Staal is already only the fifth rookie in history to score five or more shorthanded goals in one season -- and the season has not yet reached the halfway mark!
The others to score at least five shorthanded goals were Gerry Minor (six, 1980-81 Canucks), John Madden (six, 1999-2000 Devils), Dennis Maruk (five, 1975-76 Golden Seals) and Guy Carbonneau (five, 1982-83 Canadiens).
• Tim Thomas made 39 saves to earn his first shutout of the season as the Bruins defeated the Canucks, 2-0. Thomas got off to a slow start this season (2-3-2 through his first nine games) but he's 13-5-0 since Nov. 11. The only goaltender with as many wins as Thomas over that span is Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere (14-3-1).