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49ers, Ravens each in Super Bowl after falling one game short last season
From Elias: Super Bowl XLVII will be the second Super Bowl in which each team had lost a conference title game the previous season. The only other Super Bowl in which each team had lost in the semifinals the previous year was Super Bowl XXX, in which Dallas defeated Pittsburgh after the 1995 season. (Dallas had lost to San Francisco and Pittsburgh to San Diego in the conference title games after the 1994 season.)
49ers overcome 17-point deficit to advance to Super Bowl
From Elias: The 49ers defeated the Falcons to advance to the Super Bowl, after trailing by 17 points. Only two other teams have won a postseason game on the road after trailing by that many points, and both did it against the 49ers:
- San Francisco led Detroit, 27-7, in the third quarter of a playoff game at Kezar Stadium after the 1957 season, but the Lions scored three touchdowns in a span of 4:29, and won the game, 31-27. That was the first postseason game in 49ers history.
- San Francisco led Dallas, 21-3, in the second quarter of a playoff game at Candlestick Park after the 1972 season, and the 49ers had a 28-16 lead with less than two minutes left, but Roger Staubach led the Cowboys to a 30-28 win, with two TD passes in the final 90 seconds.
The Falcons are the first team in NFL history to lose a home playoff game by being shut out in the second half after scoring more than 20 points in the first half.
Kaepernick bumps Montana from 49ers record book
From Elias: Colin Kaepernick threw 21 passes and completed 16 for 233 yards on Sunday, an average of 11.1 yards per pass. That's the highest yards-per-pass average for any starting QB in 49ers postseason history. He broke the mark set by Joe Montana in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 8, 1989 against Chicago (27 passes for 288 yards, 10.7 per pass).
477 yards, but no win
From Elias: The Falcons gained 477 yards but lost the NFC title game at home to the 49ers, setting a NFL postseason record for most yards gained by any of the 146 teams that have lost a postseason game at home (neutral-field Super Bowls are not included in that total of home-field losses). The previous record was the total of 472 yards gained by the Dolphins in that classic overtime loss to the Chargers in the playoffs following the 1981 season; but in a regulation-length game, no home team had ever lost a postseason game in which it gained 450-or-more yards.
Prior to last week, only two teams in NFL history - home team, road team, or Super Bowl team - had gained more than 475 yards in a postseason game and lost: Miami lost at Buffalo in a first-round game in 1995 and Green Bay lost at Arizona in a first-round game in the playoffs following the 2009 season. Now, it has happened in each of the last two weeks in games played at the Georgia Dome; Seattle gained 491 yards in its loss last week.
Ravens stagger into playoffs, storm through it
From Elias: The Ravens are the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl or in a pre-Super Bowl league championship game after losing four of its final five regular-season games.
Ravens blank Patriots in 2nd half
From Elias: Baltimore held New England scoreless in the second half on Sunday after the Patriots had a 13-7 lead at halftime. It was only the second time with Tom Brady at quarterback that the Patriots have lost a home game in the regular season or postseason, by failing to score in the second half. The only other instance was on Oct. 2, 2005, against the Chargers, with Drew Brees leading San Diego to a 41-17 win.
Ravens complete two long drives vs. Patriots
From Elias: The Ravens had a 13-play, 90-yard touchdown drive in the first half and then had a 10-play, 87-yard touchdown drive in the second half. New England had permitted only one other touchdown drive of at least 10 plays and at least 85 yards in its 23 previous postseason games under Bill Belichick (an 11-play, 95-yard touchdown drive by Jacksonville in a second-round game in the playoffs following the 2007 season).
Flacco sets an NFL record
From Elias: Joe Flacco set an all-time NFL record for quarterback wins in road playoff games in the Ravens' win on Sunday. Flacco, who now has a 6-4 record on the road in the postseason, had shared that mark with Eli Manning (5-1).
That record is impressive on its own, but even more so when you consider that Flacco's total of six road playoff wins is more than the combined total of Tom Brady (3-2) and Peyton Manning (2-5). Or consider this list of some accomplished QBs who never started and won a road playoff game in their entire career: Drew Brees (0-3), Steve Young (0-3), Drew Bledsoe (0-2), and from previous generations, Billy Kilmer (0-4) and Y.A. Tittle (0-2).
Durant makes 20 free throws for second game in a row
From Elias: Kevin Durant went 20 for 21 from the free-throw line in Oklahoma City's loss at Denver on Sunday, after he was 21 for 21 from the line on Friday at Dallas. Durant is the first player in NBA history to make at least 20 free throws in consecutive games.
Westbrook has fourth consecutive 30-point game
From Elias: Russell Westbrook scored 36 points on Sunday, and he's now scored at least 30 points in each of his last four games. Earlier this season, Kevin Durant also had a four-game streak of 30 or more points. Over the last 20 years, only two other sets of teammates have had 30-point streaks of four or more games in the same season: Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady for Houston in 2006-07; and Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant did it twice, in 2000-01 and 2002-03.
Bryant starts cold, never warms up
From Elias: Kobe Bryant made only 10 of 32 shots in the Lakers' loss in Toronto on Sunday, including shooting 1 for 8 in the first quarter. Bryant has taken at least eight first-quarter shots, making no more than one, only one other time over the last nine years. He was 0 for 9 in the first quarter (and 6 for 9 the rest of the way) in a win over the Pistons on Jan. 4, 2011.
Marion turns back the clock
From Elias: Shawn Marion had 20 points and 10 rebounds in Dallas' win in Orlando on Sunday, for his first 20/10 (points/rebounds) game in nearly two years - his last came on Apr. 6, 2011. Marion had a 20/10 game 181 times from 2000-01 through 2007-08, the fifth-highest total in the league over that time. But Sunday's game was only Marion's 12th game of 20 points and 10 rebounds over the last five seasons (since 2008-09).
Pierce sets Celtics steals record
From Elias: Paul Pierce had two steals on Sunday, giving him 1,557 for his career, which is a new Celtics record for a statistic that has been compiled by the NBA since 1973. He broke the record previously held by Larry Bird (1,556).
- The only other active NBA players who hold their current team's franchise record for most career steals are Kobe Bryant (1,781 for the Lakers), Dwyane Wade (1,102 for the Heat) and Rudy Gay (636 for the Grizzlies).
- Jo-Jo White was Boston's career leader in steals from December 1975 until Dave Cowens passed him in March 1980. Bird has been the sole record holder for nearly 30 years, since surpassing Cowens' total in March 1983.
- Bird and Pierce are the only players to record at least 1,000 steals for the Celtics. Rajon Rondo ranks third with 909.
Vanek has a hand in each Buffalo goal
From Elias: Thomas Vanek had a hand in all five goals by the Sabres in their season-opening 5-2 win over the Flyers, scoring two goals and assisting on three. Vanek is only the second NHL player in the last 22 years to record five points in his team's first game of a season. Steve Reinprecht did that on Oct. 5, 2006, with one goal and four assists for the Coyotes in their opening-night win against the Islanders. Vanek's five-point game ties the Sabres record for a season opener, a mark set by Gilbert Perreault (three goals, two assists) versus Boston on Oct. 10, 1974 at the Aud in Buffalo.
Oilers snap streak in shootout win in Vancouver
From Elias: The Oilers trailed 2-0 in their season opener at Vancouver but rallied to tie the score at 2-2 and then beat the Canucks, 3-2, in a shootout. Going into the game Edmonton had failed to record points from any of the last 29 road games in which it trailed by two goals or more, a streak which began after its 4-3 comeback victory at Phoenix on Jan. 25, 2011. That 29-game pointless streak in road games in which the Oilers trailed by at least two goals was a franchise record and, until Sunday, it had been the longest current streak of its kind for any NHL team.
Marleau scores twice in Calgary
From Elias: Patrick Marleau scored two goals to help the Sharks begin their season with a 4-1 win over the Flames in Calgary. Marleau, the 15-year veteran who's spent his entire NHL career with San Jose, had scored only four goals in 25 previous regular-season games at the Saddledome and only one in his last 15 games there. Marleau's only previous two-goal game in Calgary came more than 12 years ago, when he scored twice against Mike Vernon in the first 4:51 of an 8-0 Sharks rout of the Flames on Dec. 4, 2000.
Parise's goal the difference for Minnesota
From Elias: Minnesota parlayed Zach Parise's first goal for the Wild and 24 saves by goaltender Josh Harding into a 1-0 win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday night. It was the Wild's eighth 1-0 win since the start of the 2009-10 season (including one shootout victory), tying them with the Devils and Blues for the NHL high over that span. Three of Minnesota's eight 1-0 wins over the last four seasons have been recorded by Harding and five by Niklas Backstrom.
Malkin leads Pittsburgh to second win
From Elias: Evgeni Malkin assisted on three goals for the Penguins in their 6-3 win over the Rangers in New York. It was the 23rd time that Malkin has recorded three or more assists in a regular-season game in his NHL career but only the fifth time he's done so in a Pittsburgh road game. Before Sunday, the last time Malkin tallied three assists in a road game was on October 10, 2009 at Toronto. None of Malkin's three three-assist games in the playoffs has come on the road.
The Penguins have won the first two games of a season on back-to-back dates for only the second time in franchise history. In 2009-10 Pittsburgh won its first two games of the season on October 2-3, against the Rangers and the Islanders.