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BOTH #1 CONFERENCE SEEDS EXIT THE PLAYOFFS
From Elias: With losses this weekend by the Falcons and Patriots, this will be the second time in the last three seasons that neither the AFC's #1 seed nor the NFC's #1 seed will play in the conference finals. That was also the case two years ago, when the Giants and Titans were the top-seeded teams and both were eliminated in the divisional round. Prior to that, there was at least one top-seeded team in the conference finals in 28 consecutive seasons, dating back to 1980.
CUTLER'S DEBUT EVOKES OTTO
From Elias: Jay Cutler, making his postseason debut, passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more in the Bears' 35-24 win over the Seahawks. Only one other player in NFL history had at least two passing TDs and two rushing TDs in the same postseason game: Otto Graham, who did it in consecutive NFL title games in 1954 and 1955 (a pair of Browns wins).
LUCKMAN'S RECORD SURVIVES A CHALLENGE
From Elias: Sid Luckman's team record for passing yardage in a postseason game lives! Luckman has held the mark for more than 67 years, since passing for 286 yards and five touchdowns in a 41-21 win over the Redskins in the 1943 NFL title game (he also intercepted two passes in that game). The record appeared to be in jeopardy after Jay Cutler passed for 177 yards in the first half. But playing with a big lead, Cutler threw only 12 passes after halftime and fell 12 yards short of Luckman's mark.
OLSEN MATCHES A SEASON'S WORTH OF BIG PLAYS IN ONE AFTERNOON
From Elias: Greg Olsen caught three passes in the Bears' win, for 58, 33, and 22 yards. Olsen caught only three passes for 20 yards or longer during the entire 2010 regular season.
SANCHEZ POSTS 4TH ROAD PLAYOFF WIN
From Elias: Mark Sanchez improved his postseason record to 4-1, all in road games, in the Jets' 28-21 win at New England. In only his second season in the NFL, Sanchez has already tied the all-time league record for road wins in postseason games by a starting quarterback. The co-holders are Len Dawson, Jake Delhomme, Joe Flacco, and Roger Staubach (for the record, those totals do not include neutral-site Super Bowl victories).
SANCHEZ HOLDS THE KEY TO BEATING PATS
From Elias: Mark Sanchez was only the second player to throw three or more touchdowns without an interception against the Patriots in a postseason game. The other was Jake Delhomme of the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII seven years ago, a game that Carolina lost. Only one QB had such a game against New England during the 2010 regular season, and that was Sanchez in the Jets' 28-14 win on September 19.
NO TAKEAWAYS A RARITY FOR BELICHICK
From Elias: Sunday's loss to the Jets was only the second postseason game of Bill Belichick's head-coaching career in which his team didn't force a turnover. The first was the Patriots' victory over the Raiders in the so-called "tuck-rule game" nine years ago.
CLIPPERS TRIO CRASHES THE BOARDS
From Elias: Blake Griffin (15), DeAndre Jordan (15), and Ike Diogu (11) combined for 41 rebounds in the Clippers' 99-92 win over the Lakers. It was the first time in seven years minus a day that three players totaled more than 40 rebounds in a 48-minute game against the Lakers. The last teammates to do so were a different Clippers trio: Elton Brand (20), Corey Maggette (13), and Chris Kaman (8) .
DUNCAN REBOUNDS, SPURS WIN
From Elias: Tim Duncan grabbed 16 rebounds, two short of his season high, in the Spurs' 110-97 win over the Nuggets. San Antonio has won 16 of the last 17 regular-season games in which Duncan has recorded more than 15 rebounds, dating back to January 2008.
CAPS ROOKIE CARLSON MAKES THEM COUNT
From Elias: John Carlson's power play goal at the 8:00 mark of the third period snapped a 1-1 tie in the Capitals' 3-1 victory over the Senators. Carlson has scored only five goals this season but three were game-winners. Carlson is the only rookie defenseman in the NHL with more than one game-winning goal this season and his three game-winners rank him second on the team, behind only Alex Ovechkin (5) .
THE WILD KID'S ALRIGHT
From Elias: Minnesota rookie Anton Khudobin recorded his first NHL shutout with a 4-0 win over Vancouver on Sunday. Khudobin was the first rookie goaltender to post a shutout against the Canucks since January 23, 2006, when the Curtis Sanford of the Blues blanked them, 4-0.
BROUWER OPENS HIS SCORING ACCOUNT AGAINST NASHVILLE
From Elias: Troy Brouwer scored two goals 40 seconds apart in the third period to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead for the Blackhawks en route to a 6-3 win over the Predators. Brouwer had been goalless in 14 career games versus Nashville entering play on Sunday. The Predators were the only one of the Blackhawks' 14 Western Conference rivals that Brouwer never scored a goal against.
RANGERS' SCORING SLUMP CONTINUES IN LOSS TO FLYERS
From Elias: The Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Flyers on Sunday was the Blueshirts' ninth game in 2011 and in every one of those games New York scored two or fewer goals. That's the Rangers' longest such streak since March-April 1998, when they failed to score more than two goals in each of 10 consecutive games.