Date: November 23, 2009

Elias Says...

By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Special to ESPN.com

NFL

SAINTS AND COLTS BOTH 10-0

The Saints and the Colts each extended their start-of-season winning streaks to 10 games, making this only the third of the NFL's 90 seasons in which two teams have started 10-0. It first happened in 1934, when both the Bears and the Lions started that way, and then didn't happen again until 1990, when the Giants and the 49ers both did it.

Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints

A ONE, A TWO, A THREE, A FOUR...

The Colts defeated the Ravens, 17-15, to continue their recent trend of extending their winning streak in closely-contested games. The Colts' three other victories this month had come by scores of 18-14 over the 49ers, 20-17 over the Texans and 35-34 over the Patriots, and as in their win over the Ravens, the Colts had trailed in the fourth quarter in each game. Indianapolis became the first team in NFL history to win four consecutive games after trailing during the fourth quarter in each of those games.

The Colts became the first team in NFL history to win four consecutive games in the same season by a total margin of 10-or-fewer points. And they did it by filling an inside straight, having won those games by margins of one, two, three and four points. The previous record was set by the 1986 Giants: en route to winning the Super Bowl, Bill Parcells's team defeated the Cowboys, Eagles, Vikings and Broncos by a combined margin of 11 points.

Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens

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Stafford

STAFFORD GOES INTO THE RECORD BOOKS

Matthew Stafford, the 21-year-old rookie, threw for 422 yards and five touchdown passes, the last yard and score coming with no time remaining in the Lions' 38-37 win over the Browns. That's an NFL record for most passing yards by a rookie; he broke the mark of 405 yards by Matt Leinart, set in a loss to the Vikings three years ago.

Stafford tied the NFL's single-game record for touchdown passes by a rookie; that record was set by 22-year-old Ray (Buzz) Buivid for the Bears, in a 42-28 win over the Chicago Cardinals at Wrigley Field in the final game of the 1937 season. (Buivid also caught a touchdown pass in that game, and might have done more had not the game been called because of darkness - that's right, darkness - with just under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.)

Stafford is also the first player in NFL history either to throw for 400 yards in a game or to toss five touchdown passes in a game prior to his 22nd birthday.

Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns

LIONS WIN DESPITE LOSING TURNOVER BATTLE

There are losing streaks and then there are losing streaks, and the Lions broke a doozy when they defeated the Browns despite committing two turnovers to Cleveland's none. The win ended Detroit's 78-game losing streak in games in which it had committed more turnovers than had its opponent - by far the longest such streak in NFL history. The Lions' last win of that sort came in 1997, with Bobby Ross as their head coach.

Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns

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Charles

STEELERS SET UNWANTED RECORD, BLOW LEAD AND LOSE

For the eighth consecutive game, the Steelers allowed a return touchdown, and this time they got it out of the way early, as Jamaal Charles took the opening kickoff 97 yards for a score and the Chiefs went on to take a 27-24 decision in overtime. The Steelers have set an unwanted NFL record with that eight-game streak, breaking the mark of seven games by the Redskins over the 1946 and 1947 seasons.

It was the Steelers' fourth loss this season, and they have blown a second-half lead in each one. The Steelers led Kansas City, 17-7, at halftime, and the game marked the second time this season that Pittsburgh has lost a game in which it had a double-digit halftime lead. (The other was a 23-20 loss at Cincinnati on September 27 after holding a 13-3 lead at the half.) Prior to this season, the Steelers hadn't lost a regular-season game in that manner since 1987 (although they lost a game to the Chiefs in that way in the 1993 postseason).

Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs

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Favre

FAVRE GETS 2 MORE RECORDS

For Brett Favre, it was a matter of another day, another couple of new NFL records - and we're not talking about records that he already owns and merely extended, such as wins and consecutive games by a starting quarterback, career touchdown passes, completions, etc.

Favre completed 22 of 25 passes for four touchdowns in the Vikings 35-9 win over the Seahawks. It was his 22nd game with four-or-more touchdown passes, snapping Dan Marino's mark of 21, and it was the second game this season in which Favre has completed at least 85 percent of his passes, and he became the first player in the history of the NFL to have two such games (minimum: 20 passes) in a single season.

Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks

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Murphy

HEIDI REDUX

Louis Murphy's touchdown and Sebastian Janikowski's extra point with 33 seconds left in the fourth quarter tied the score, and then after a Cincinnati fumble on the subsequent kickoff return, Janikowski's 33-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining gave the Raiders an unlikely 20-17 win over the Bengals.

The Raiders have won only one other game in their 50-year history in which they scored twice (meaning by either a touchdown or field goal) in the final minute of the fourth quarter. That was the Heidi game against the Jets in 1968 (the name derives from NBC cutting away from the action late in the game so that its showing of the children's story "Heidi" could start on time in the Eastern and Central time zones); Charlie Smith and Preston Ridlehuber scored touchdowns in the final minute (unseen by most of the country) to lead Oakland to a 43-32 victory.

Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals

BRONCOS' 4TH STRAIGHT DECISIVE LOSS

The Broncos lost a share of first place in the AFC West when they lost, 32-3, to the Chargers. Denver had a 6-0 record on Halloween, but November has brought four straight losses, each by a margin of 10-or-more points. Only one other team in NFL history lost four consecutive games, each by a double-digit margin, on the heels of winning their six previous games; Joe Walton's Jets did that in 1986.

Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers

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Welker

WELKER DOES THE DIRTY WORK WITHOUT THE GLORY

Wes Welker had 15 receptions for the Patriots in their victory over the Jets, including seven that produced first downs but none that resulted in a touchdown. That matched the highest single-game reception total in NFL history by a player who was held scoreless while his team won. In 1984, the elder Kellen Winslow had 15 receptions but no points in the Chargers' 34-28 win over the Packers.

New England Patriots, New York Jets

EAGLES TURN TABLES ON LONGTIME TORTURERS

The Eagles came from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Bears, 24-20, lifting Philadelphia's all-time regular-season record against the Bears to 9-26-1 (.257). That's the second-lowest winning percentage by one current team against another considering series in which there have been at least 30 games played. The Redskins have a 10-33-1 (.233) all-time mark against the Browns.

Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears

QUITE A DEBUT

Kahlil Bell ran 72 yards on his first NFL carry to set up a second-quarter field goal for the Bears. It was the longest run on a player's first NFL carry since Alan (The Horse) Ameche went 79 yards for a score for the Colts against the Bears to keynote a 23-17 victory in 1955. (Ironically, Ameche is best known for scoring the winning touchdown in "The Greatest Game Ever Played," the 1958 Colts-Giants NFL title game decided in overtime by the same 23-17 score.)

Bell's run was the Bears' longest run from scrimmage in their last 9,004 rushing plays, since Neal Anderson ran for 73 yards against the Packers on Dec. 17, 1989.

Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles

COWBOYS WIN, 7-6

It was the 97th regular-season meeting between the Cowboys and the Redskins, and the total of 13 points scored in Dallas' 7-6 victory on Sunday matched the lowest combined total in any of the 96 previous meetings. In 1971, the Cowboys won, 13-0, in Washington.

Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins

GIANTS' OT WIN ENDS ODD STREAK

The Giants avoided becoming the first team in NFL history to drop from 5-0 to 5-5 by beating the Falcons, 34-31, in overtime. That ended an odd streak: the visiting team had won each of the last 12 meetings between the Giants and the Falcons, the longest such streak in any team-against-team series in the history of the NFL.

New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons

NBA

CELTICS, KNICKS NOW EVEN-STEVEN IN OVERTIME GAMES... REALLY!

That the Celtics defeated the Knicks on Sunday afternoon cannot be considered surprising - even though the 107-105 decision was earned in overtime. And since the Knicks and the Celtics have played one another more than has any other pair of teams in NBA history, that Sunday's game was the 32nd overtime game in the history of the series - the highest total in any team-against-team series in NBA history - can't be a shocker, either.

But what may surprise you is that those 32 overtime contests have been evenly split between the Knicks and the Celtics: with Sunday's result, the 17-time NBA champion Celtics have finally pulled even with the two-time NBA champion Knicks: 16 overtime wins apiece in head-to-head competition!

Boston Celtics, New York Knicks

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Haslem

HASLEM WINS IT FOR HEAT

You're the Heat, down by one point, less than 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter or overtime, who you gonna call? Udonis Haslem? Sure enough, Haslem hit the winning field goal in Miami's 102-101 win over New Orleans on Sunday.

It marked only the third time in his career that Haslem has provided a go-ahead field goal in the last 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or an overtime period and his basket has stood up as the game-winner. He did it with 0.3 seconds left against the Wizards on March 11, 2007, and then he did it with 6.3 seconds left against the Pistons last March 22.

Miami Heat, New Orleans Hornets

SUNS' RED-HOT SHOOTING VS. PISTONS, OF ALL TEAMS

The Suns made 42 of 73 field-goal attempts, shooting 57.5 percent, in their 117-91 win over Detroit. That's a remarkable shooting percentage against any team, but especially so against the Pistons, which had not allowed a shooting percentage that high in any of their last 333 games. The last team to shoot that well against the Pistons was Dallas, which hit 59.2 percent in a win on Nov. 19, 2005.

Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons

NHL

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Niittymaki

NIITTYMAKI MAKES IT 14-0-0 VS. ATLANTA

Antero Niittymaki maintained his perfect career record against the Thrashers with a 4-3 overtime win in Atlanta. Niittymaki has played 14 games against the Thrashers in his six seasons in the NHL and has won them all. His first 13 wins against Atlanta were for the Flyers and Sunday's victory was his first win against them for the Lightning. The only active NHL goaltender with a start-of-career winning streak against one team longer than Niittymaki owns vs. Atlanta is Chris Osgood, who is 17-0-0 against Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Lightning, Atlanta Thrashers


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