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JOHNSON HITS 2K, TOPS 2009 RUSHING LIST BY A WIDE MARGIN
Chris Johnson gained 134 rushing yards in the Titans' 17-13 win at Seattle to become the sixth player in NFL history to reach the 2,000-yard mark in one season. Johnson walked away with the NFL's rushing title, surpassing the runner-up, Steven Jackson, by 590 yards (2,006-1,416). That's the largest margin by which any player has won the league's rushing title since 1973, when O.J. Simpson became the first NFL player to reach the 2,000-yard mark. O.J. topped the runner-up, John Brockington, by 859 yards (2,003-1,144), a record margin that still stands.
COWBOYS END SEASON WITH A PAIR OF SHUTOUTS
The Cowboys defeated the Eagles, 24-0, to become only the second team in the last 33 years to finish a season with back-to-back shutouts. The Steelers did it 1976, and only the Titans in 2000 and this season's Cowboys have done so since then. (Dallas posted a 17-0 win at Washington last week).
HARRISON'S CONCLUSION TO SEASON IS LIKE NO OTHER
Jerome Harrison gained 127 rushing yards in the Browns' 23-17 win over the Jaguars, for a total of 561 rushing yards over his last three games. That was the second-highest rushing total over the last three weeks of any season in NFL history. O.J. Simpson gained 647 yards in the Bills' last three games in 1976.
Harrison carried the ball at least 33 times in each of those three games, becoming the first NFL player ever with more than 30 carries in three consecutive games.
CRIBBS FINDS ANOTHER WAY TO REACH THE END ZONE
Josh Cribbs scored on a 14-yard run in the Browns' win, after scoring earlier in the season on three kickoff returns, a punt return and a pass reception. Over the last 30 years, only one other player scored TDs in each of those four ways in the same season: Brian Mitchell in 1997 (Redskins) and 2000 (Eagles).
CALL JACKSON "MR. JANUARY"
Fred Jackson gained 212 rushing yards in the Bills' 30-7 win over the Colts. That was the second-highest rushing total in an NFL game played in January - either regular-season or postseason. Eric Dickerson gained 248 yards in the L.A. Rams' 20-0 win over the Cowboys in a Divisional Playoff Game in January 1986.
The only other 200-yard rushing performance in a regular-season game in January was by Larry Johnson on New Year's Day 2006 (201 yards).
STEELERS ROOKIE WALLACE SCORES FROM DISTANCE
Mike Wallace caught a 54-yard touchdown pass in the Steelers' 30-24 win at Miami. It was Wallace's fourth TD reception of 40 yards or longer this season, the most by a rookie since Randy Moss scored on 10 TD catches of at least 40 yards in 1998.
Over the last 25 seasons, only four other Steelers rookies scored on even one reception of 40 yards or longer (one each): Adrian Cooper (1991), Charles Johnson (1994), Kordell Stewart (1995) and Santonio Holmes (2006).2006
JOHNSON IS NFL LEADER IN RECEIVING YARDAGE AGAIN
Andre Johnson gained only 65 yards on six receptions in the Texans' 34-27 win over the Patriots, but that was enough to finish as the NFL's leader in receiving yards for the second straight season. Over the last 40 years, the only other player to lead the league in consecutive seasons was Jerry Rice (1989-1990 and 1993-1995).
TEXANS STAGE LATE RALLY TO DOWN PATRIOTS
The Texans overcame a 27-13 deficit with three touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to gain a victory over the Patriots. New England, which blew a late 17-point lead to the Colts in November, became only the third team in NFL history with two losses in which it led by at least 14 points in the fourth quarter in one season. The others were the 1957 Colts and the 1980 Saints.
FAVRE EXTENDS HIS RECORD FOR 4-TD GAMES
Brett Favre threw four touchdown passes in the Vikings' 44-7 victory over the Giants. It was Favre's 23rd game with at least four TD passes, an NFL record. He surpassed Dan Marino's mark of 21 six weeks ago, but Peyton Manning is in pursuit, having matched Marino's total last month.
GIANTS BLOWN OUT EARLY FOR 2ND STRAIGHT WEEK
The Giants scored the final points in a 44-7 loss to the Vikings, one week after falling behind, 31-0, to the Panthers. The Giants became only the second team in the last 25 years to allow their opponents to score the first 30 points in consecutive games. The only other team to do so was the Bears in 1984.
The Giants suffered back-to-back losses by 30 or more points in the same season only once previously: 41-10 at Washington and 45-0 at Philadelphia in October 1948.
CUTLER ENDS SEASON WITH BACK-TO-BACK 4-TD GAMES
Jay Cutler threw four touchdown passes for the second straight week in the Bears' 37-23 win over the Lions. Cutler became the first Bears QB ever to throw four or more TD passes in consecutive games. The only other passer with back-to-back 4-TD games this season was Peyton Manning.
FALCONS POST 2ND STRAIGHT WINNING RECORD
The Falcons defeated the Bucs, 20-10, to finish the season with a 9-7 record. That marks the first time in Falcons history, dating back to 1966, that they posted a winning mark in each of two consecutive seasons. Sunday's victory ended the longest streak without two straight winning seasons in NFL history, and Atlanta's streak was also longer than any in Major League Baseball, the NBA, or the NHL as well.
The second-longest NFL streak without consecutive winning seasons is the Bengals' current streak dating back to 1981-1982.
COACHING GREATS PROVIDE HOPE FOR MORRIS, BUCS
The Bucs finished with a 3-13 record in their first season under head coach Raheem Morris. Note that three eventual Super Bowl-winning head coaches lost at least 13 games in their rookie season: Chuck Noll, 1-13 with the Steelers 40 years ago; Bill Walsh, 2-14 with the 49ers 30 years ago; and Jimmy Johnson, 1-15 with the Cowboys 20 years ago.
NINERS OVERCOME SLOW START, POST BIG WIN
The 49ers rallied from a 3-0 halftime deficit for a 28¿6 victory at St. Louis. It was the largest margin of victory by a team that didn't score in the first half since the Bills posted a 31-9 win over the Panthers in 1995 after trailing, 6-0, at intermission.
MCGAHEE SCORES ALL 3 TDS IN RAVENS' WIN OVER RAIDERS
Willis McGahee tied a franchise record with three rushing touchdowns in the Ravens' 21-13 win at Oakland. The only other Ravens player to run for three TDs in one game was Jamal Lewis, who did it twice (2003 against the Bengals and 2006 against the Falcons).
WOODSON PICKS OFF ANOTHER IN PACKERS' ROUT OF CARDINALS
Charles Woodson set a career high with his ninth interception of the season in the Packers' 33-7 win over the Cardinals. It was Woodson's 28th INT in his four seasons with Green Bay, breaking a tie with Darren Sharper for the second-highest four-year total in team history. Bobby Dillon intercepted 32 passes from 1953 through 1956 (and also the overlapping period from 1954 through 1957).
CHIEFS' JOHNSON SCORES ON 2 LONG INT RETURNS
Derrick Johnson scored on interception returns of 60 and 45 yards in the Chiefs' 44-24 win at Denver. Over the last 10 years, only two other players scored on two INTs of 40 yards or longer in the same game: Aaron Glenn in 2002 and Antrel Rolle in 2007.
LEE STARS IN KNICKS' ROMP
David Lee scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Knicks' 132-89 rout of the Pacers. It was Lee's ninth 15/15 game this season, breaking a tie with Zach Randolph for the NBA lead. Lee ranked a distant second to Dwight Howard in 15/15's last season (28-14).
BOBCATS SWEEP BACK-TO-BACKS ON THE ROAD
The Bobcats followed Saturday night's 107-97 win at Miami with a 91-88 victory at Cleveland. It was only the third time in franchise history that the Bobcats won road games on consecutive days. Charlotte posted wins at Seattle and Portland on March 28-29, 2008; and at Golden State and Los Angeles against the Clippers on February 27-28, 2009.
SIXERS' 16-0 RUN SINKS NUGGETS
The 76ers took the lead with a 16-0 run that started late in the third quarter and held on for a 108-105 victory at Denver. That matched the longest streak of unanswered points by a visiting team against the Nuggets over the last three seasons. The only other Nuggets opponent to score 16 straight points at Denver during that time was the Timberwolves in a 106-100 win this past November.
KOVALEV EXPLODES FOR FOUR VS. FLYERS
Alex Kovalev set a single-game career high with four goals - all at even strength - in the Senators' 7-4 win over the Flyers. The only other Senators player ever to score four even-strength goals in one game was Marian Hossa, who did that against the Thrashers on January 2, 2003. Kovalev has scored seven goals over his last 28 games - all in two games (Sunday's four-goal game and a hat trick against the Panthers on December 12).
MILLER MAKES SABRES' ONLY GOAL COUNT
Ryan Miller's shutout in the Sabres' win at Montreal was the fifth 1-0 victory of his NHL career. Four of Miller's five 1-0 wins have come on the road, including one at Nashville earlier this season (Oct. 10). Dominik Hasek is the only other goaltender in Sabres history with four 1-0 road wins.
TRICKY DVORAK PACES PANTHERS OVER PENS
Radek Dvorak scored three goals in the Panthers' 6-2 win over the Penguins. It was the third hat trick of Dvorak's NHL career but his first since scoring four goals against the Islanders in March 2001. Dvorak was the fourth Panthers player to record a hat trick this season, the most for any NHL club. The other Florida hat tricksters are Steve Reinprecht, Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton.