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Sunday, December 24, 2006
Elias Says ...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN Insider

A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

NFL
• The Ravens posted a 31-7 win over the Steelers, a team they defeated last month by a score of 27-0. Baltimore is the first team ever to win two games in one season by 14 or more points against the defending Super Bowl champion. (The previous 17 defending champions lost a total of two games by 24 or more points.)

 Vince Young
Young
• Vince Young scored on a 36-yard run and threw two touchdown passes in the Titans' 30-29 win over the Bills. Young is the first player in NFL history with three rushing TDs of 20 yards or longer and three TD passes of 20 yards or longer in his rookie season. Rookies who had at least two of each were Calvin Hill (1969), Albie Reisz (1944), and Cecil Isbell (1938).

• Ron Dayne rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the Texans' 27-24 upset victory over the Colts. Dayne's last 100-yard game was on Sept. 30, 2001 for the Giants. The gap of more than five years was the longest between "consecutive" 100-yard rushing games since Brian Mitchell recorded them seven years apart (1993-2000).

Dayne has scored five touchdowns in his last three games, equaling his total for his previous 47 games, dating back to the Giants' 2002 season opener.

• Houston's victory marked David Carr's first win in 10 starts against Peyton Manning. Manning's nine consecutive wins against Carr was the longest head-to-head winning streak between opposing starting QBs since Terry Bradshaw won his last nine starts against Brian Sipe (1977-1981). Bradshaw posted his ninth straight win vs. Sipe three weeks after Steve Bartkowski won his ninth straight start against Peyton's father, Archie Manning.

• Maurice Jones-Drew scored a pair of touchdowns in the Jaguars' 24-21 loss to the Patriots, extending his TD streak to seven consecutive games, all on rushing plays. That equals the longest rushing-TD streak by an NFL rookie, a mark set by Curtis Dickey in 1980. Two rookies had longer streaks including all types of TDs: Eric Dickerson, 10 games (1983); and Fred Taylor, 8 (1998).

 Tiki Barber
Barber
• Tiki Barber was limited to 83 yards -- 71 rushing, 12 receiving -- in the Giants' 30-7 loss to the Saints. Since Barber has announced that he will retire after the season, that would have been his last game at Giants Stadium. Barber's career total of 7,929 yards from scrimmage there is the sixth highest by any player at any stadium in NFL history. (Barber moved past Tony Dorsett at Texas Stadium on Sunday.)

• The Saints drove 89 yards for a touchdown on 18 plays in the second quarter of their win over the Giants, equaling the longest drive in the NFL this season (based on number of plays). The other 18-play drive was posted by the Texans on Nov. 5 -- also against the Giants, also at Giants Stadium, and also producing a touchdown.

• The Giants opened the scoring against the Saints on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress in the game's third minute. Last week, the Giants also scored a TD in the third minute but lost to the Eagles, 36-22. It had been 34 years since a team scored a touchdown in the first three minutes of consecutive games and lost both by a double-digit margin. The last team to do so was the Broncos in 1972.

• The Giants didn't run a single play from Saints territory. Over the last 15 seasons, there were only two other such games -- both in Dec. 2000: the Browns in a 48-0 loss to the Jags, and the Bears in a 17-0 loss to the 49ers.

 Jay Cutler
Cutler
• Jay Cutler passed for two touchdowns in the Broncos' 24-23 win over the Bengals, the fourth time in four NFL games that Cutler has recorded two TD passes. You might think that Cutler is the only player with two or more TD passes in each of his first four games, but Mark Rypien also did that for the Redskins in 1988.

• The Bengals blew a chance to tie the score in the final minute of their loss to the Broncos when a bad snap led to a failed extra-point conversion. Over the last 25 years, only two other teams missed a one-point game-tying conversion attempt in the final minute of a game.

• Steven Jackson rushed for 150 yards, caught six passes for 102 yards, and ran for a 21-yard touchdown in overtime of the Rams' 37-31 victory over the Redskins. Only two other players in NFL history gained 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in the same game and scored a game-winning TD in the fourth quarter or OT: Abner Haynes (1964) and Greg Pruitt (1975).

 Derrick Brooks
Brooks
• Derrick Brooks scored on a 21-yard interception return in the Bucs' 22-7 victory at Cleveland. It was the sixth regular-season INT-TD of Brooks's career, tying Bobby Bell for the all-time NFL record for linebackers. (Brooks also returned an INT for a TD in Super Bowl XXXVII against the Raiders.)

• Philip Rivers threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson with 29 seconds remaining to give the Chargers a 20-17 win at Seattle. It was the longest TD pass in the final minute of regulation time since Dec. 26, 2004, when Vinny Testaverde connected with Patrick Crayton on a 39-yard game-winner for the Cowboys against the Redskins.

• The Panthers defeated the Falcons, 10-3, throwing a total of seven passes in the game. That was the second-lowest pass total by one team in a regular-season game over the last 20 years. The low was six by the Chargers in a 21-0 win over the Browns two years ago.

Before that, you have to go back to the Patriots' 3-0 win over the Dolphins on Dec. 12, 1982, when New England threw five passes with Steve Grogan at quarterback in a game played in snow with wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour. New England won the game on a field goal by John Smith after a groundskeeper, at the signal of Patriots coach Ron Meyer, swept clear an area from which Smith kicked the ball.

• Morten Andersen accounted for Atlanta's scoring with a 40-yard field goal in their loss to the Panthers, but that field goal enabled Andersen to pass Gary Anderson as the NFL's all-time leader. Oddly, it was not the first time that Morten passed Gary as the league's career field-goal leader. Gary had held the lead from 1997 until Oct. 20, 2002, when Morten passed him. But Gary regained sole possession of the lead two weeks later, and he held it until Sunday.