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RODGERS & RIVERS BATTLE FOR LEAD IN CAREER PASSER RATING
From Elias: Aaron Rodgers reached the 1500-pass mark in the Packers' 20-17 loss at Atlanta. Not only does Rodgers now qualify for career passing categories such as completion percentage and passer rating, but he immediately assumed the lead in the latter category. When Rodgers left the field on Sunday, his 97.28 career passer rating was fractionally higher than that of Philip Rivers (97.27), who moved past Steve Young (96.8) earlier this month as the leader.
But Rodgers was the leader for only a few hours. Rivers completed 19 of 23 passes for 185 yards (0 TD, 0 INT) in the Chargers' 36-14 win over the Colts on Sunday night. That moved him back into the lead, with a 97.34 career rating.
RIVERS' TD STREAK COMES TO AN END
From Elias: Philip Rivers didn't throw a touchdown in Sunday night's win, snapping his streak at 23 consecutive games with a TD pass. Or, to express that in Unitas Notation, Rivers fell just short of the halfway point of Johnny U.'s NFL record of 47 straight games with a TD pass.
KAEDING PASSES VANDERJAGT FOR FG PCT. LEAD
From Elias: Nate Kaeding made all five of his field-goal attempts on Sunday night, raising his career field-goal average to 86.6 percent. That moved Kaeding ever so slightly past Mike Vanderjagt (86.5%) for the all-time NFL lead. The difference in their percentages is equivalent to one field goal every 607 attempts.
CHARGERS MATCH COLTS FOR LATE-SEASON WINS
From Elias: By posting a victory at Indianapolis, the Chargers tied the Colts' all-time NFL record streak of 17 consecutive wins on or after November 1. San Diego's streak dates back to December 2008; Indianapolis set the mark in 2008-2009.
RYAN TIES ATLANTA RECORD FOR ACCURACY
From Elias: Matt Ryan completed 24 of 28 passes (86%) in the Falcons' victory over the Packers, tying a team record for completion percentage in one game that has stood for 26 years (minimum: 20 passes). The mark was set by Steve Bartkowski against the Lions in September 1984 (also 24-for-28). It was the second-highest completion percentage ever posted against the Packers; Vinny Testaverde of the Bucs went 22-for-25 (88%) against Green Bay in 1992.
RYAN EXTENDS NEAR-PERFECT RECORD AT GEORGIA DOME
From Elias: With the Falcons' victory on Sunday, Matt Ryan improved his record to 19-1 in regular-season home games. Ryan became the first quarterback in nearly three decades to win at least 19 of his first 20 home starts. The last QB to do so was Danny White of the Cowboys (1980-1982).
SUISHAM REPRISES A SINGULAR PERFORMANCE
From Elias: Shaun Suisham kicked field goals of 45, 46, 48, and 41 yards in the Steelers' 19-16 overtime win at Buffalo. No other player in NFL history kicked four field goals of 40 yards or longer, including an OT game-winner, in one game, but Suisham has done it twice. Sunday's performance was a reprise of his 5-FG effort for the Redskins in a 23-20 overtime victory over the Jets in 2007.
HILLIS SURPASSES BROWNS GREATS
From Elias: Peyton Hillis ran for three touchdowns in the Browns' 24-23 victory over the Panthers. Hillis has scored 13 touchdowns this season, 11 of them on the ground, becoming the first Browns player ever to score at least 10 rushing TDs in his first season with the team. Jim Brown rushed for nine touchdowns in a 12-game season as a rookie (1957), and Jamal Lewis scored nine rushing TDs in 2007, his first season after leaving the Ravens.
CUTLER STARS AT SOLDIER FIELD
From Elias: A windy November day at Soldier Field proved no match for Jay Cutler, who threw four TD passes in the Bears' 31-26 victory over the Eagles. Cutler, who passed for four TDs in a home victory over the Vikings last December, became the first player to throw four or more TDs in a game at Soldier Field twice.
BAJEMA FINALLY FINDS HIS WAY TO THE END ZONE
From Elias: Billy Bajema, playing in his 85th NFL game, scored the first touchdown of his career in the second quarter of the Rams' 36-33 win at Denver, and then he scored again less than three minutes later! Before Bajema, henceforth to be known as B.B., no player scored his first two NFL TDs in the same quarter after playing even 50 games without crossing the goal line. The previous record, if that term even applies, was held by Robert Massey, who scored his first TDs on a pair of INT returns in his 48th NFL game (1992).
BRADFORD SETS STANDARD FOR SOONER ROOKIES
From Elias: Sam Bradford passed for 308 yards in the Rams' win over the Broncos, the first 300-yard passing game in NFL history by a rookie from Oklahoma. In fact, no Oklahoma rookie prior to Bradford had passed for even 150 yards in a game. The high was 144 by Hugh McCullough of the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939.
BOWE SCORES 3 MORE TDs FOR CHIEFS
From Elias: Dwayne Bowe caught three touchdown passes in the Chiefs' 42-24 victory at Seattle. Bowe has caught at least one TD pass in each of his last seven games, and he has a total of 13 TD receptions during that time. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, only two other players caught as many as 13 touchdown passes over a span of seven games: Jerry Rice (16 in 1987) and Sterling Sharpe (13 in 1994).
CHARLES & BOWE COMBINE FOR A REGULAR-SEASON FIRST
From Elias: Jamaal Charles gained 173 rushing yards and Dwayne Bowe had 170 receiving yards on Sunday. It was the first regular-season game in NFL history in which teammates reached the 170-yard mark by rushing and receiving, respectively. But it was done once in the postseason - in a Super Bowl, in fact. Timmy Smith rushed for 204 yards and Ricky Sanders gained 193 receiving yards in the Redskins' 42-10 victory over the Broncos in SB XXII.
SEAHAWKS (5-6) MAINTAIN DIVISION LEAD
From Elias: The Seahawks remain in first place in the NFC West despite falling to 5-6 with Sunday's loss to the Chiefs. The only other time in NFL history that a team below .500 led its division at least 10 games into a season was in 1970 when the Browns, Steelers, and Bengals shared first place in the AFC Central with 5-6 marks.
MANNING RALLIES GIANTS WITH 4TH-QUARTER TD PASSES
From Elias: Eli Manning threw a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to rally the Giants to a 24-20 victory over the Jaguars. It was the second time in Manning's career that he threw two TD passes in the fourth quarter to win a game in which the Giants trailed after 45 minutes. The only other player in Giants history with two such games was Phil Simms.
FRAZIER WINS DEBUT AGAINST SHANAHAN'S REDSKINS
From Elias: Leslie Frazier made his NFL head-coaching debut with a 17-13 victory over the Redskins, coached by two-time Super-Bowl winner Mike Shanahan. Frazier was the seventh head coach to win his NFL debut against a multiple Super Bowl winner, but how's this for irony: Only two coaches won their debut against a head coach with at least three Super Bowl victories, and one of them was the man Frazier replaced. Brad Childress led the Vikings to victory over Joe Gibbs' Redskins in his NFL debut in 2006.
TITANS BLANKED IN SMITH'S FIRST START
From Elias: What does Rusty Smith have in common with Troy Aikman and Bob Griese? All three suffered shutout losses in their first NFL start. Smith threw three interceptions in the Titans' 20-0 loss at Houston. Prior to Smith, the last QB whose team failed to score in his first NFL start did so for the Texans: Dave Ragone, in a 27-0 loss to the Jaguars in 2003.
DOLPHINS STYMIE RAIDERS' GROUND GAME
From Elias: The Dolphins held the Raiders to 16 yards on 12 carries in their 33-17 victory at Oakland. That matched the second-lowest rushing total ever posted against Miami, who held the Broncos to 14 rushing yards in a victory at Denver two seasons ago.
Oakland gained 16 rushing yards in a game against the Dolphins once before - in Miami's first NFL game, a 23-14 Raiders victory in 1966. Joe Auer returned the opening kickoff of that game 95 yards to give Miami a quick 6-0 lead. We mention that because on Sunday, Jacoby Ford became the first Raiders player ever to return a game's opening kickoff for a TD.
D'ANTONI DRAWS FOUR ACES FROM A SHORT DECK
From Elias: With Ronny Turiaf and Toney Douglas sidelined, Mike D'Antoni leaned heavily on his starters in the Knicks' 125-116 double-overtime victory at Detroit. Amar'e Stoudemire (54 minutes), Raymond Felton (53), Danilo Gallinari (52), and Landry Fields (51) became the first group of four teammates in more than four decades to play more than 50 minutes each in a 2-OT game. The last instance was also by the Knicks, when Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Bill Bradley, and Dick Barnett all played at least 55 minutes in a double-overtime loss at Philadelphia in January 1969.
GRIFFIN STARS IN LOSS TO JAZZ
From Elias: Blake Griffin scored 35 points in the Clippers' 109-97 loss to the Jazz, eight days after scoring 44 points against the Knicks. Only three other players in franchise history scored 35 or more points in a game by the end of November of their rookie season: Tom Chambers (twice in 1981), Michael Brooks (1980), and Randy Smith for the Buffalo Braves in 1971. Griffin's point total on Sunday was the highest by a rookie against the Jazz since Walt Williams scored 37 against Utah in 1993.
SUPER-SUB SMITH SET NUGGETS RECORD
From Elias: J.R. Smith came up big in the absence of Carmelo Anthony, scoring 30 points in the Nuggets' 138-133 win over the Suns. It was the seventh time that Smith scored at least 30 points as a sub, breaking the team record that he previously shared with Kiki Vandeweghe. (Anthony played only 3 minutes before leaving the arena with an illness.)
HARRIS IS AT HOME IN JERSEY
From Elias: Devin Harris scored 25 points in the Nets' 98-96 win over the Trail Blazers. It was the third consecutive home game in which Harris scored at least 25 points (two wins and a one-point loss to the Magic). Harris has averaged only 14.7 points in six road games during that time.
BYFUGLIEN PLAYS DEFENSE, STILL SCORES LIKE A WING
From Elias: Dustin Byfuglien tied his career high for points in one game and the Thrashers' record for points in one game by a defenseman when he recorded one goal and three assists in Atlanta's 4-1 win over the Bruins. (Jaroslav Modry set the Thrashers single-game mark for points by a D-man on Dec. 26, 2005 versus Montreal.) Byfuglien, who had two four-point games for the Blackhawks, is only the second defenseman to notch four points in an NHL game this season. Bryan McCabe had four assists in the Panthers' 6-0 win against the Lightning on October 16.
SEMIN FINISHES NOVEMBER WITH ANOTHER GOAL
From Elias: Alexander Semin scored the second goal for the Capitals in their game against the Hurricanes on Sunday. Semin's goal was his 12th in 14 games in November, matching his career high for any calendar month, a mark he set in January 2007.
HOWARD CAN'T BE BEAT AT HOME
From Elias: Jimmy Howard, who posted a 4-2 home-ice win against the Blue Jackets on Sunday, is 17-0-3 in his last 20 regular-season games at Joe Louis Arena, dating back to March 11 last season. Howard is the first goaltender in Red Wings history to record 20 consecutive decisions on home ice without a regulation loss. The last goaltender on any NHL team to do that was San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov from March 2008 to January 2009 (25-0-2).