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Patriots' ground attack evokes Bears' 73-0 title-game win in 1940
The Patriots ran for 234 yards and six touchdowns in their 43-22 victory over the Colts, becoming just the second team in NFL history to run for 200 yards and six touchdowns in a postseason game. The Bears ran for 382 yards and seven touchdowns in their legendary 73-0 victory at Washington in the 1940 NFL Championship Game.
New England's total of 43 points was the third-highest in NFL postseason history by a team that did not have a touchdown pass. San Francisco defeated the Giants, 44-3, in the playoffs that followed the 1993 season, and the Bears drubbed the Patriots, 46-10, in Super Bowl XX following the 1985 season.
Blount: 2nd player in postseason history with game of 4+ TDs
LeGarrette Blount gained 166 rushing yards and scored four touchdowns to put the Patriots into the AFC Championship Game. The total of four touchdowns was not merely the second-highest total of rushing touchdowns in a postseason game; it's the second-highest total of touchdowns scored by any means in any postseason game in NFL history. Ricky Watters scored five touchdowns, all by rushing, in the 49ers' 44-3 victory over the Giants in the 1993 playoffs.
Brady sets QB record with 25 postseason start
Tom Brady set an NFL record for quarterbacks with his 25th start in a postseason game, eclipsing Brett Favre's total of 24, and Brady lifted his won-lost record in those games to 18-7 with Saturday's victory. (He already owned the record for postseason wins prior to Saturday night's game; Joe Montana stands second with 16.)
Colts give up 40-plus points again, but lose this time
The Colts allowed 43 points to the Patriots, seven days after allowing 44 points to the Chiefs in a first-round playoff victory. Only one other team in NFL history allowed 40-plus points in two games in the same postseason; the Cardinals did that during the 2009 playoffs, losing, 45-14, to the Saints a week after defeating the Packers, 51-45, in overtime.
Lynch again the key man in a Seahawks playoff win
Marshawn Lynch ran for 140 yards - a career high in a playoff game - and two touchdowns to lead the Seahawks to a 23-15 victory over the Saints. It's a bit of an emerging tradition in Seattle: Lynch producing a big rushing total in the Seahawks' first game of the postseason. He did that in each of his two other trips to the playoffs: Last year, he ran for 132 yards and a score in a road win over the Redskins; and three years ago, he ran for 131 yards and his famous Beastquake touchdown in an upset victory over the Saints.
Lynch is only the eighth player in NFL history to reach 130 rushing yards in each of three different postseason games (Terrell Davis holds the record with five such games). Lynch is only the fourth of those players to run for 130 yards three times within his first five postseason games, joining John Riggins, Davis and Arian Foster (who did it in each of his first three playoff games).
Seattle wins without much passing
Russell Wilson passed for only 103 yards in his team's postseason victory on Saturday; he was also sacked three times for no loss of yardage, leaving Seattle's team passing-yards total at 103. That was the lowest passing-yards total by the winning team in any of the NFL's last 41 postseason games, dating back to when the Jets won at San Diego in the playoffs following the 2009 season in a game in which they gained just 93 passing yards.
Durant on a 9-game spree matched by only the gods of the game
Kevin Durant scored 33 points and added 10 rebounds and 7 assists in the Thunder's victory over the Bucks. In nine games since Russell Westbrook left the lineup, Durant has amassed totals of 308 points, 77 rebounds and 49 assists - tremendous production numbers the likes of which have been achieved, over the sweep of NBA history, only by the greatest of the greats. The only other players ever to reach each of those totals over a span of nine games within a single season are Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and, most recently, LeBron James, who did it with Cleveland in April 2006.
Nowitzki, 35, scores 40 in just over 33 minutes
Dirk Nowitzki, who turned 35 last June, turned back the clock and scored 40 points in the Mavericks' 110-107 victory over the Pelicans. Nowitzki logged 33 minutes, 27 seconds on the court on Saturday night, and he became the oldest player in NBA history to score 40-plus points in a victory in which he played fewer than 35 minutes. Nowitzki was 70 days older than was Clyde Drexler was when The Glide scored 43 points in 34 minutes for the Rockets in a win over the Clippers in 1997.
Jennings dishes 18 assists in 2-point win
Brandon Jennings finished with an NBA-season-high total of 18 assists in the Pistons' exciting 110-108 victory over the Suns. Isiah Thomas was credited with at least 18 assists in 27 different games for the Pistons, but since the last one of them in 1993, a Detroit player had reached that mark only three other times: Chauncey Billups, 19 in 2005; Will Bynum, 20 in 2010; and Jose Calderon, 18 in 2013. (Calderon, who did it in a 96-95 win over Washington, is the last NBA player to get as many as 18 assists in a victory by the margin of two-or-fewer points.)
Jennings rang up the assists early on, with 11 in the first quarter - the most by an NBA player since Steve Blake, then with Portland, had 14 first-quarter assists against the Clippers in February 2009. And Jennings became the first NBA player with 16 assists in a first half since Jason Kidd produced that total for Dallas in April 2009.
Blazers lead NBA in wins after having trailed by 10+ points
The Trail Blazers spotted the Celtics a 32-22 lead late in the first quarter, then roared back to turn back the visitors, 112-104. That's becoming quite the pattern for Portland this season: Saturday's game marked the ninth time this season - the most for any NBA team - that the Trail Blazers have won a game after overcoming a double-digit deficit.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers against Boston with 21 points, but once again, balance characterized the team's offense. Wesley Matthews scored 18 points; Nicolas Batum, 16; Robin Lopez and Damian Lillard, 15 apiece. It was the 11th time this season that all five Portland starters had reached double-figures in points; that's the highest total for any team in the league.
Smith answers the tabloid-headline question, "Who Needs J.R.?"
The beleaguered J. R. Smith found his way back into the Knicks rotation and came up with a big-time contribution as his team captured a 102-92 decision in Philadelphia. In 27 minutes off the bench, Smith scored 14 points, making five of eight shots from the floor, and was credited with six assists. It was his first game with that many points and that many assists, while making more than half of his field-goal attempts, since Nov. 30, 2012, when he hit those markers in a win over the Wizards (20 points, six assists, 9-of-14 from the floor).
DeRozan leads Raptors to 11th win in 15 games
DeMar DeRozan produced a game-high total of 26 points to propel the Raptors to a 96-80 triumph over the visiting Nets. Over the past 30 days, Toronto now has 11 victories in 15 games, the first time that the Raptors have won 11 of 15 since a similar streak (actually 12 of 16) back in January and February of 2010.
Devils win on another OT goal by a defenseman
Marek Zidlicky became the third Devils defenseman to score an overtime goal this season when he tallied an extra-time winner against the Panthers. The other New Jersey defensemen with OT goals this season: Eric Gelinas (Dec. 7 at N.Y. Rangers) and Andy Greene (Dec. 21 at Washington). It's the first time in Devils history that they have had three different defensemen score overtime goals in one season, and the first time that any NHL team has had at least three D-men do it since 2010-11, when Florida (four), Atlanta, Buffalo and Carolina all met that standard.
Carle plus-6 in a 6-3 victory
Matt Carle recorded two assists and a plus-6 rating in the Lightning's 6-3 win at Philadelphia. Carle's plus-6 rating is a Tampa Bay record for one game and the highest plus/minus rating that any NHL player has posted in one game since Feb. 2, 2012, when Edmonton's Sam Gagner finished at plus-6 while scoring eight points against the Blackhawks. Carle's first assist in Saturday's game extended his assist streak to six games, second-longest by a defenseman in Lightning franchise history, behind Dan Boyle's seven-game streak in 2005-06.
Markov makes his mark with 2 goals in 2-1 win
Andrei Markov scored both goals for the Canadiens in their 2-1 victory over the Blackhawks. Markov is the first Montreal defenseman ever to score two or more goals while providing every goal scored by his team in a regular-season overtime win. In addition, he's the first backliner on any NHL club to pull off that feat since April 18, 2006, when Florida's Mike Van Ryn did it in a 2-1 win against the Atlanta Thrashers.
Anderson stays hot in the net
Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson continued his recent revival with a 2-1 shootout win at Nashville on Saturday. Anderson was 5-8-1 with a 3.75 goals-against average in the 16 games he played from October 25 to December 19, but he's 6-0-2 with a 2.33 GAA in eight games since then. This is Anderson's longest stretch of consecutive decisions without a regulation loss since the nine-game run he posted for the Senators in the 2011-12 season (8-0-1, Dec. 30-Jan. 14).
Jenner and Letestu each go 2-for-2
Boone Jenner and Mark Letestu each had two shots on goal and scored on both of them for the Blue Jackets in their 6-3 victory at Winnipeg. Columbus is the first NHL team with a game in which two multiple-goal scorers scored on each of their shots on goal since the Blues had three players do that in a 9-3 win against the Ducks on Feb. 19, 2011 (Andy McDonald, T.J. Oshie and Chris Stewart: two goals each).
Lindholm scores twice in Ducks' win
Ducks rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm scored two goals in an NHL game for the first time in Anaheim's 5-3 win at Phoenix. The only other rookie defenseman to record a multiple-goal game for the Ducks was Francois Beauchemin when he scored twice against the Kings on Jan. 23, 2006. Lindholm is the second rookie defenseman to register a multi-goal game in the NHL this season; Boston's Torey Krug did it twice (October 23 at Buffalo and January 4 vs. Winnipeg).