Date: September 10, 2012

Elias Says...

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

NFL

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Manning

NFL - Manning 5th best Comp Pct in Return

From Elias: Peyton Manning hasn't missed a beat. Despite missing a full season due to multiple neck surgeries, Manning completed 19 of his 26 pass attempts for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns in his return to the field. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Manning's completion percentage of 73.1 was the 5th highest in any quarterback's 1st game back after missing at least 1 NFL season (minimum 10 attempts).

Denver Broncos

HIGH SCORES HIGHLIGHT NFL'S OPENING WEEKEND

From Elias: Heading into Monday night's games, four teams have already scored at least 40 points in their season opener: Jets, 48-28 vs. Bills; Bears, 41-21 vs. Colts; Redskins, 40-32 vs. Saints; and Falcons, 40-24 vs. Chiefs. It's the first time since 1954 that at least four teams scored 40-plus in their opening game of the season.

New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs

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Griffin III

GRIFFIN MAKES HEADLINES IN NFL DEBUT

From Elias: Robert Griffin III launched his NFL career with a splash, throwing an 88-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon in the first quarter and leading the Redskins to a 40-32 victory over the Saints.

- Griffin's total of 320 yards passing was the most in NFL history by a rookie in an opening-day victory.

- Washington's total of 40 points was the most by a team starting a rookie in its season opener during the NFL's expansion era.

- Griffin's TD pass was tied for the second longest by a player making his NFL debut. Neil O'Donnell of the Steelers threw an 89-yard TD pass to Dwight Stone in 1991; and Ed Rubbert of the Redskins threw an 88-yarder to Anthony Allen in the first of three weeks of games using replacements during the 1987 players' strike.

Robert Griffin III was the first player born in the 1990s to start an NFL game at quarterback. He inherits an obscure mark of distinction from Michael Vick, the first player born in the 1980s to do so. Half a century ago, Fran Tarkenton was the first child of the 1940s to start at QB in the NFL.

Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints

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Sanchez

FANTASY OWNERS, TAKE NOTE OF HILL

From Elias: Mark Sanchez grabbed the headlines with three touchdown passes in the Jets' 48-28 win over the Bills. But with a 3 percent ownership rate in ESPN Fantasy Football, Stephen Hill may have created a lot more excitement among a certain segment of the audience by catching two of those TDs from Sanchez. The only other Jets rookies to catch two TD passes in one game were Rob Moore in 1990, Keyshawn Johnson in 1996, and Eddie Hunter, a replacement during the 1987 players' strike (none of them in his NFL debut).

New York Jets, Buffalo Bills

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Spiller

SPILLER FILLS IN FOR JACKSON WITH NEAR-RECORD GAME

From Elias: When Fred Jackson suffered an injury in the second quarter, C.J. Spiller reprised the role he played in Jackson's absence last season, gaining 169 rushing yards on just 14 carries (12.1 yards per carry). That was the second-highest rushing average in one game in Bills history (minimum: 10 carries), behind Wray Carlton's 13.5-yard mark against the Houston Oilers in 1965. It was the highest mark in a season opener since 1967, when Abner Haynes gained 151 yards on 12 carries for the Miami Dolphins (12.6 per carry).

Spiller's yards total was the fourth highest recorded in a 20-point loss in the NFL, and the highest since Gerald Riggs of the Falcons rushed for 197 yards in a 38-10 loss at Kansas City in 1985.

Buffalo Bills

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Walsh

A DEBUT TO REMEMBER FOR VIKINGS' ROOKIE KICKER

From Elias: Blair Walsh sent the Vikings to overtime with a 55-yard field goal on the final play of the fourth quarter, then kicked a 38-yarder in OT for what proved to be the winning points in Minnesota's 26-23 win over Jacksonville. Walsh was the third player to win his NFL debut by kicking an OT field goal. Matt Bahr (1979 Steelers) and Todd Peterson (1994 Cardinals) previously did that. But Walsh was the first of those players to have sent the game to overtime as well.

Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Ponder

A RARE OPENING-DAY MATCHUP OF SOPHOMORE QBs

From Elias: Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert, a pair of 2011 first-round picks, were the starting quarterbacks at Minnesota. It was only the fourth time in the NFL's expansion era - that is, since 1960 - that a pair of second-year QBs started head-to-head in their teams' respective season openers. The others were Ken Anderson (Bengals) vs. Jim Plunkett (Patriots) in 1972, Tom Hodson (Patriots) vs. Jeff George (Colts) in 1991, and Duante Culpepper (Vikings) vs. Cade McNown (Bears) in 2000.

Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings

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Stafford

STAFFORD SET LIONS RECORD FOR LATE GAME-WINNING TD PASSES

From Elias: Matthew Stafford threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Smith with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, to give the Lions a 27-23 win over the Rams. It was the third game-winning TD pass that Stafford has thrown in the final minute of the fourth quarter, which is a team record. Bobby Layne was the only other Detroit player with two such game-winners.

Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams

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Vick

EAGLES SURVIVE VICK'S 4-INT PERFORMANCE

From Elias: Michael Vick threw four interceptions but the Eagles escaped Cleveland with a 17-16 victory over the Browns. Vick was the first Eagles QB to throw four INTs in a win since 1969, when Norm Snead was picked off four times in a 23-20 win over the Giants at Yankee Stadium.

Of course, Philadelphia's win was made possible by its four interceptions against Brandon Weeden. Weeden was the first rookie to throw four INTs in his team's opening game of the season since Greg Landry of the Lions did so in 1968.

Kurt Coleman and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted two passes each for Philadelphia. It was the first time that two different Eagles players recorded two INTs each in the same game since Frank LeMaster and Artimus Parker did so in 1975.

Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns

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Smith

NEW NINERS ARE DOWNFIELD THREATS

From Elias: The 49ers' 2011 season ended last January with an overtime loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game in which Alex Smith completed only one pass to a wide receiver. It was the first time in 21 years that an NFL team had no more than one completion to a WR in a postseason game.

But it's a new day on the bay. Smith completed 20 passes in Sunday's 30-22 victory at Lambeau Field, and 15 of them were to wide receivers. That total included four each to the Niners' high-profile offseason additions, Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, and was Smith's highest in one game since October 2010, when he connected with his WRs 16 times against the Eagles.

Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers

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Cutler

MARSHALL STARS IN HIS DEBUT FOR BEARS

From Elias: The Jay Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall tandem performed just as Bears fans must have hoped in Chicago's 41-21 win over the Colts. Marshall caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. That was the highest receiving yardage total by a player making his debut for the Bears since 1954 when Harlon Hill caught four passes for 140 yards in Chicago's opening game.

Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts

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Washington

VETERAN WASHINGTON STARS AS SEAHAWKS' KICK RETURNER

From Elias: Returning kicks is generally a young man's game, but 30-year-old Leon Washington is an exception. Washington returned a kickoff 83 yards and a punt 52 yards in the Seahawks' 20-16 loss at Arizona. It was the 38th time in NFL history that a player had returns of both a kickoff and a punt for at least 50 yards in the same game. Only three other players did so after turning 30 years old: Joe Arenas in 1956 (age 31), Michael Lewis in 2002 (30), and Brian Mitchell in 2002 (34).

Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks

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Tannehill

TANNEHILL SUFFERS A ROUGH PATCH IN NFL DEBUT

From Elias: Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions in a span of six passes in the second quarter of the Dolphins' 30-10 loss to the Texans. The last Miami player with three INTs in a span of six passes was none other than Dan Marino against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day 1999, in the waning days of his storied NFL career.

Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans

BUCS STYMIE PANTHERS' GROUND ATTACK

From Elias: The Bucs held the Panthers to 10 yards on 13 carries in their 16-10 victory on Sunday. That tied Tampa Bay's team record for fewest rushing yards allowed (set against Washington in 1994) and Carolina's for rushing yards gained (set against the Saints in 2000).

Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

ANOTHER OPENING-DAY NIGHTMARE IN KC

From Elias: The Falcons posted a 40-24 victory at Kansas City that might have left Chiefs fans with a case of deja vu. Last season, Kansas City suffered a 41-7 opening-day loss to Buffalo at Arrowhead Stadium. Only three other teams allowed 40 points in consecutive season openers: the Packers (1970-71), Bills (1971-72), and Saints (1975-76). Like Kansas City, Green Bay and Buffalo did so in a pair of home games.

Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs

MLB

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Nolasco

NOLASCO HAS WASHINGTON'S NUMBER

From Elias: Ricky Nolasco shut out the Nationals for the second time in 13 days, allowing four hits in the Marlins' 8-0 win at Washington on Sunday after tossing a five-hitter in a 9-0 triumph over the Nats at Miami on August 28. Nolasco is the first pitcher to throw a pair of shutouts in one season against the same team, each won by a margin of eight or more runs, since the White Sox' Britt Burns did that against the Indians in 1985. Burns shut out Cleveland three times that year, by scores of 8-0, 5-0 and 10-0.

Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals

TROUT COMES READY TO PLAY

From Elias: Mike Trout hit a first-inning leadoff home run to spark the Angels to a victory over the Tigers on Sunday, as he did on Saturday. Trout joined Boston's Mike Aviles (May 19-20) as the only players to lead off the first inning with home runs in two straight games this season. Trout was the first rookie to hit first-inning leadoff homers in two consecutive games since the Cubs' Tyler Colvin, July 23-24, 2010.

Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels

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Morneau

MORNEAU'S SECOND HOMER IS A WALKOFF

From Elias: Justin Morneau gave the Twins an 8-7 victory over the Indians at Target Field with a tiebreaking home run in the bottom of the ninth inning after he had homered earlier in the game. It was the third multiple-homer game of Morneau's career that was capped by a walk-off shot (he did that in both 2006 and 2007). That ties Morneau with David Ortiz and Todd Helton for the most such games among current major-leaguers.

Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians

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Granderson

SUPER SUB

From Elias: Curtis Granderson hit a sixth-inning pinch-hit solo homer to begin his 3-for-3, five-RBI afternoon in the Yankees' victory at Baltimore. Granderson was the first major-leaguer to record minimums of three hits, a home run and five RBIs in a game that he didn't start since Toronto's Kelly Gruber went 4-for-6 with two homers and five RBIs off the bench in a 17-9 win against the Yankees on April 11, 1988. Gruber replaced Rance Mulliniks at third base in the top of the first inning of that game.

Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees

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Upton

ONE AT A TIME

From Elias: B.J. Upton hit his 19th, 20th and 21st homers of the season, all solo shots, as James Shields threw a two-hit shutout to beat the Rangers. Eighteen of Upton's 21 home runs this season have been hit with the bases empty. His percentage of solo homers (85.7%) is the highest in the majors among players with at least 20 home runs.

Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers

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Cueto

CUETO LOSES HIS HOME MOJO

From Elias: The Astros defeated Johnny Cueto at Great American Ball Park on Sunday after the Phillies beat Cueto in his previous start, also in Cincinnati. Cueto, who won seven straight starts at home from June 6 through August 18, has lost two consecutive starts at Cincinnati for the first time since he dropped three in a row there in 2009.

Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros

RED SOX BRING BACK MEMORIES OF 1966

From Elias: The Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox on Sunday to drop Boston's record to 63-78. It's the first time that the Red Sox have been 15 or more games below .500 at this juncture of a season (through 141 decisions) since 1966 (62-79).

Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays

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Headley

HEADLEY GRABS NL RBI LEAD

From Elias: Chase Headley hit a grand slam in the Padres' 8-2 win over the Diamondbacks to give him 102 RBIs this season and overtake Ryan Braun (100) for the NL lead in that category. Headley has driven in 18.3 percent of his team's runs this season, the second-highest percentage in the majors, behind Miguel Cabrera, whose RBIs have accounted for 18.7 percent of the Tigers' runs.

Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres

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Guthrie

GUTHRIE OWNS THE WHITE SOX

From Elias: Jeremy Guthrie didn't factor in the decision, but he pitched eight shutout innings for the Royals in their 10-inning win at Chicago. Guthrie hasn't allowed an earned run in any of his three starts against the White Sox this season and he threw at least 7 2/3 innings in each of those games. He's the first pitcher with three such starts against the White Sox in one season since the Yankees' Tommy John tossed three complete-game shutouts against the South Siders in 1980.

Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals

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Mayberry Jr.

MAYBERRY'S SECOND WALK-OFF THIS SEASON

From Elias: John Mayberry, Jr.'s walk-off RBI in the ninth inning of the first of two games at Philadelphia on Sunday was his second this year, but he needs to do it again to match the single-season family record. The elder Mayberry won three games with walk-off RBIs for the Royals in 1976 (all in extra innings) and he won two games in that fashion in 1977.

Philadelphia Phillies

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Jones

NEW YORK IS IN CHIPPER'S REAR-VIEW MIRROR

From Elias: Chipper Jones played against the Mets in New York for the last time on Sunday. Jones will finish his career tied with Hank Aaron for the third-most home runs by any player in road games against the Mets (22), behind Willie Stargell (27) and Mike Schmidt (26). Jones is tied with Tony Gwynn and Ryne Sandberg for the sixth-most hits on the road versus the Mets (117), behind Pete Rose (201), Lou Brock (166), Willie Davis (143), Andre Dawson (135) and Larry Bowa (127).

Atlanta Braves, New York Mets

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Craig

ANOTHER WALK-OFF LOSS FOR THE BREWERS

From Elias: Allen Craig's RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Cardinals a 5-4 victory over the Brewers after Jason Motte coughed up a two-run lead in the ninth inning. It was Milwaukee's 12th walk-off loss this season, the most for any major-team (one more than the Phillies).

Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals


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