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PIERCE TURNS BACK THE CLOCK
From Elias: With Rajon Rondo sidelined, Paul Pierce recorded his first triple double in five seasons to lead the Celtics to a 99-88 win over the Pacers (18 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists). It was the sixth triple-double of Pierce's NBA career, but his first since March 8, 2006. That was the longest gap between triple-doubles in Celtics history, more than twice as long as the previous record, held by Antoine Walker (1998-2000).
A LONG TIME BETWEEN 30-POINT GAMES FOR HILL
From Elias: Not to be outdone by Pierce on Turn Back the Clock Night, Grant Hill scored 30 points in the Suns' 113-110 victory at Oklahoma City. It was Hill's first 30-point game since February 27, 2005, when he scored 34 points for the Magic against the Heat. That's the longest gap between 30-point games since Jason Williams spanned six years plus a week between March 2002 and March 2008.
SASHA BRINGS SHOWTIME TO JERSEY
From Elias: The Nets defeated the Hawks, 89-82, and they outscored Atlanta 61-38 with Sasha Vujacic in the game. Vujacic's margin of plus-23, in only his second game since joining the team, was the highest such mark by any Nets player this season. In fact, during his seven seasons with the Lakers Vujacic compiled a plus-minus that high only five times in 420 regular-season games.
BYNUM SHOWS HIS STUFF AS A SUB
From Elias: Will Bynum came off the bench to score 21 points and record nine assists in the Pistons' 111-108 overtime win over the Hornets. Bynum had a similar game as a sub last season, scoring 25 points with 11 assists against the Lakers. Over the last 20 seasons, only one other Pistons reserve had even one such game with as many points and assists as Bynum posted against New Orleans on Sunday: Terry Mills in 1996 (23 points, 9 assists against the Cavaliers).
ERIKSSON SCORES ANOTHER OVERTIME GOAL
Loui Eriksson's goal in the last minute of overtime gave the Stars a 4-3 victory at Detroit. It was the second overtime goal of the season for Eriksson, whose extra-time goal won the Stars' opener at New Jersey on October 8. Eriksson is the third player in Stars franchise history (Minnesota or Dallas) to score two road overtime goals in one season, joining Dave Gagner (1993-1994) and Mike Modano (2002-2003).
TOEWS IS ONCE AGAIN SCORING IN TWOS (AND THREES ... )
From Elias: Jonathan Toews tallied one goal and one assist to help the Blackhawks edge the Kings, 3-2. Toews has scored at least two points in five of his last nine games, after recording multiple points in only five of the 26 games he played this season before then.
PERREAULT'S DEUCE TOPPLES SENS
From Elias: Rookie Mathieu Perreault scored two goals to help the Capitals end their eight-game winless streak with a 3-2 victory at Ottawa. It was Perreault's second two-goal game of the season; he scored twice against the Maple Leafs on December 6. Perreault is the first Washington rookie with more than one multiple-goal game in a season since 2005-2006, when Alex Ovechkin had nine.
JACKSON'S RARE WALKOFF TD CAPS EAGLES' RALLY
From Elias: The Eagles scored four touchdowns in a span of 7 minutes, 28 seconds, including a one-of-a-kind punt return by DeSean Jackson, to post a 38-31 victory over the Giants in their battle for first place in the NFC East. Jackson's 65-yard touchdown was the first game-winning punt-return TD on the final play of regulation time in NFL history.
Only one other team in NFL history scored four TDs that quickly in the fourth quarter culminating in a game-winning score, and the Eagles were on the receiving end of that one 25 years ago. The Vikings scored four touchdowns in a span of 7 minutes, 16 seconds of the fourth quarter in a 28-23 win at Philadelphia on December 1, 1985. Anthony Carter caught a 42-yard TD pass from Wade Wilson to cap the rally with 71 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
MIDNIGHT MIRACLE, MEET FOUR O'CLOCK FURY
From Elias: The Eagles and Giants have faced each other 152 times in regular-season play. But Sunday's game marked the first time that those teams played a first-place tie-breaker this late in a season-that is, the 14th game or later.
Philadelphia's rally from a 24-3 deficit represented the second-largest margin that any team has overcome to win an NFL game between teams that were tied alone atop their division (or their own conference in the NFL from 1950 through 1966, when that terminology was used). The Jets rallied from 23 points down to beat the Dolphins in October 2000 in a battle of teams tied for first in the AFC East-the famous "Midnight Miracle" on Monday Night Football.
THE FIRST QUARTER OF TEBOW'S FIRST START PRODUCES AN NFL FIRST
From Elias: Tim Tebow scored on a 40-yard run and threw a 33-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of the Broncos' 39-23 loss at Oakland. Tebow became the first player in NFL history to produce a TD run and a TD pass of at least 30 yards each in the first quarter of the same game-and he did it in his first NFL start. The only other players to do that in any quarter of the same game were Ray Renfro (1953), Tobin Rote (1951), and Chuck Muncie (1979).
Despite what you might have heard or read elsewhere, Tebow is the 15th NFL player (not the third) to throw a TD pass of at least 30 yards and run for a score of at least 40 yards in the same game. Incidentally, Tebow was the first rookie ever to do so. Tebow's 40-yard run was the longest rushing TD ever recorded by a Broncos quarterback. The previous record was 38 yards by Bubby Brister in 1998.
BRADFORD REACHES 3K
From Elias: Sam Bradford passed for 181 yards in the Rams' 27-13 loss to the Chiefs. That pushed Bradford past the 3000-yard mark for the season (3065). Only two other players passed for 3000 yards in their rookie season: Peyton Manning (3739) and Matt Ryan (3440).3440
MATTY ICE MATCHES BROADWAY JOE
From Elias: Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes in the Falcons' 34-18 win at Seattle. Ryan's total of 63 touchdown passes to date tied Joe Namath for the fourth most over a player's first three seasons in the NFL, behind Dan Marino (98), Peyton Manning (85), and Jeff Garcia (74).74
RICE SCORES 2 QUICK TDS, BY LAND AND AIR
From Elias: Ray Rice scored on a 10-yard run and a 17-yard reception early in the second quarter of the Ravens' 30-24 win over the Saints. Rice was the first NFL player this season, and the first in Ravens history, to score TDs on a rushing play and a passing play within 5 minutes of playing time.
DALLAS PREVAILS IN ATYPICAL COWBOYS-REDSKINS GAME
From Elias: The Cowboys defeated the Redskins, 33-30, on Sunday in a matchup of teams now tied for last in the NFC East at 5-9. It was only the fourth time that Dallas and Washington faced each other in December with both teams having a losing record heading into the game. (That previously happened in 1961, 2002, and 2004.)
KITNA AND GROSSMAN PRODUCE BIG NUMBERS
From Elias: Jon Kitna vs. Rex Grossman lacked the star power of Jurgensen-Meredith, Staubach-Kilmer, White-Theismann, or even Aikman-Rypien. But Kitna (305 yards) and Grossman (322) became only the third pair of opposing QBs both to pass for 300 or more yards in a Boys-Skins game. The others were Sonny Jurgensen and Don Meredith in 1966, and Troy Aikman and Brad Johnson in 1999.
CARPENTER COULDN'T NAIL EVEN ONE FIELD GOAL IN 17-14 LOSS
From Elias: Dan Carpenter missed all four of his field-goal attempts in the Dolphins' 17-14 loss to the Bills. Carpenter was the first kicker to miss four field goals in a loss by three points or less since Kris Brown went 1-for-5 for the Steelers in a 13-10 loss to the Ravens in 2001. The last kicker to try at least four FGs and miss them all in a one-, two- or three-point loss was Mike Cofer of the 49ers in 1991 (in a 17-14 loss at Atlanta).
DOLPHINS CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE AT HOME
From Elias: The Dolphins are 1-6 at home and 6-1 on the road this season. The only other NFL team ever to win six road games and lose six home games in the same season was the Houston Oilers in 1996 (6-2 on the road, 2-6 at home).
BROWN OUTSHINES MANNING IN KEY COLTS VICTORY
From Elias: Donald Brown gained 129 yards on 14 carries in the Colts' 34-24 win over the Jaguars. That was the highest rushing average (9.2 yards per carry) by a Colts player in one game (minimum: 10 carries) since Peyton Manning's rookie season. The last Colts player with an average that high was Marshall Faulk against the Ravens in 1998 (17-for-192, 11.3 per carry).
JOHNSON STARS ON THE ROAD FOR LIONS
From Elias: Calvin Johnson caught 10 passes for 152 yards in the Lions' 23-20 overtime victory at Tampa, a win that snapped Detroit's 26-game road losing streak. Johnson became only the third Lions receiver to post a 10-catch/150-yard game on the road, following Cloyce Box (in a 302-yard performance in 1950) and Herman Moore (1996).1996
CLAUSEN ENDS LONG QUEST FOR TD #2
From Elias: Jimmy Clausen's 16-yard touchdown pass to Jeff King in the Panthers' 19-12 win over the Cardinals was only his second of the season and his first since October 3, snapping a streak of 181 passes without a TD. The last player with a TD-pass drought that long in one season was Brett Favre, as a spry 36-year-old for the Packers five seasons ago.
EDWARDS STARS IN JETS' WIN OVER STEELERS
From Elias: Remember Johnny "Lam" Jones, the overall number-two pick in the 1980 draft who lasted only five years with the Jets and never approached their expectations or their fans' hopes? Jones was the only Jets player ever to gain 100 yards receiving in a game against the Steelers-until Sunday, that is. Braylon Edwards caught eight passes for 100 yards in the Jets' 22-17 victory at Pittsburgh.
ANOTHER 0-4 WEEK FOR THE NFC WEST
From Elias: Losses by the 49ers on Thursday and the Rams, Cardinals, and Seahawks on Sunday marked the third time this season that all four NFC West teams lost on the same week. All other divisions together have suffered only two such weeks this season (the AFC West on Week 6, and the AFC North on Week 10).
In fact, over the past seven seasons, there have been 14 weeks in which one of the NFL's divisions went 0-4 and the NFC West has accounted for half of them.