Brady, Manning, and Blanda
Tom Brady and the Patriots defeated the Broncos, 41–16, for Brady’s 86th regular-season road win as a starting quarterback. That broke a tie with Peyton Manning for the highest such total in NFL history.
Brady also became the seventh starting QB to “score 40 in his 40s.” The oldest quarterback to lead his team to a 40-point performance was 41-year-old George Blanda, who started a 43–7 Raiders win in 1968, also at Denver.
Burkhead’s attention-grabbing exacta
Our @EliasSports twitter feed nearly exploded when Rex Burkhead blocked a punt after scoring the Patriots’ first touchdown. It’s not as rare as you might think. But since so many asked, we’re happy to report that among the contemporary players with a touchdown reception and a punt-block in the same game are several high-profile players: Isaac Bruce in 1995, Tony Gonzalez in 1997, and Doug Baldwin in 2011. The last player to do so prior to Burkhead was Jermaine Kearse of the Seahawks against the Colts in 2013.
Who dat? 2017 Saints join impressive list with dominant streak
Each week the Saints are looking more and more like the real deal. They crushed the Bills 47–10 in Buffalo, outgaining Buffalo, 482–198, and dominating time of possession, 41:23 to 18:37. During the Saints’ seven-game winning streak, they outgained their opponent and won the time-of-possession battle in each contest. Four other teams had a streak of seven wins in a season in which they outgained and outpossessed their opponent: the 1977 Cowboys (7 games), 1984 Dolphins (8 games), 1985 Bears (8 games), and 2015 Panthers (7 games). What those four teams had in common is that they all played in the Super Bowl, and the 1977 Cowboys and 1985 Bears were champions.
Two-headed Ingram-Kamara monster scarier than “Demogorgons”
Mark Ingram gained 131 yards with three touchdowns on 21 carries, and Alvin Kamara gained 106 yards with one TD on 12 carries in New Orleans’ win. Ingram and Kamara are the first Saints rushing duo to gain 100 yards each, both with an average of at least 6.0 per carry, in the same game. The only other rushing duo to do this in the last three seasons was the Bills’ LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams against the Dolphins on November 8, 2015.
A sackfest in Atlanta
The Falcons sacked Dak Prescott eight times, including six by Adrian Clayborn, in a 27–7 win over the Cowboys. That was the highest team total against Dallas since the Eagles sacked Troy Aikman 11 times in a 24–0 shutout victory in 1991. Clayborn became only the fourth individual player with six sacks in one game during the 36 seasons in which the NFL has recorded that statistic. The others were Fred Dean of the 49ers (1983), Derrick Thomas of the Chiefs (1990 and 1998), and Osi Umenyiora of the Giants (2007). An amazing footnote: Clayborn had more than one sack in only one of his previous 73 games in the NFL (two sacks against the Packers last season).
Mr. Keenum is Mr. Perfect
The Vikings defeated the Redskins, 38–30, in Washington, with Case Keenum throwing for 304 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. In the first half, Keenum went 11-for-14 for 188 yards, three touchdowns and a so-called “perfect” 158.3 passer rating. Keenum is the only player this season to have a half with three touchdowns and a maximum passer rating. The last Vikings player to have such a half was Daunte Culpepper, in the first half of a 34–31 home loss against the Packers on December 24. Latavius Murray also ran for a touchdown, extending the Vikings’ streak of games with a rushing TD to eight, their longest since a streak of 10 games in 2002.
Goff-to-Woods: an exciting new combo
Jared Goff threw a 94-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods early in the third quarter, igniting a 24-point second-half eruption to defeat the Texans, 33–7. A week ago, Goff and Woods connected for a 52-yard TD against the Giants. Woods was the first Rams player to catch touchdowns of 50 yards or longer in consecutive games since Isaac Bruce did it for the St. Louis Rams in September 2000.
Brissett throws two more long touchdowns in loss to Steelers
The Steelers rallied to defeat the Colts, 20–17, after trailing 17–3 midway through the third. It was Pittsburgh’s first comeback of 14 or more points on the road since 1997 at Baltimore.
The Colts’ Jacoby Brissett went 14-for-22 for 222 yards, with touchdown passes of 60 yards to Donte Moncrief and 61 yards to Chester Rogers. Last week Brissett threw an 80-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton. Five other quarterbacks have thrown touchdowns of 60 or more yards to three different receivers over a span of two games: Dave Ryan of the Lions in 1946, Jim Kelly of the Bills in 1989, Trent Dilfer of the Browns in 2005, Eli Manning of the Giants in 2009, and Andrew Luck of the Colts in 2014 (Hilton, Moncrief, and Coby Fleener).
Stafford notches 30th fourth-quarter game-winning drive
The Lions and Browns entered the fourth quarter tied 24-all at Detroit, but Matthew Stafford led two touchdown drives in the final quarter in the Lions’ 38–24 win. Stafford now has 30 fourth-quarter game-winning drives, the most in the NFL since his 2009 pro debut, ahead of Matt Ryan (29) and Drew Brees (25).
Bears again hunted at home by Packers
The Packers defeated the Bears, 23–16, at Soldier Field. It was the Bears’ seventh straight home loss to Green Bay, dating back to the 2011 season. The streak is now the second-longest home losing streak to any opponent in Bears’ history. They lost 11 straight home games to the Packers from 1994 to 2005.
Bengals barely get their paws on ball for second straight week
The Titans controlled the ball for 40 minutes and 9 seconds to the Bengals’ 19:51 in Tennessee’s 24–20 victory. Last week Cincinnati controlled the ball for just 19:46 in a 23–7 loss at Jacksonville. It is the first time in the last 40 seasons that Cincinnati controlled the ball for less than 20 minutes in each of two straight games. Only two other teams in the last 20 seasons have done that: the Browns in 1999 and the Eagles in 2014.
Fitzy defeats former club, ending long Bucs’ losing streak to Jets
Ryan Fitzpatrick started in the Bucs’ 15–10 home win over the Jets in a game that featured 33 incomplete passes and 13 punts. Fitzpatrick has now started for seven different teams, tying a modern NFL record (1933 to present). With the victory against the Jets, for whom he started 27 games for in 2015–16, Fitzpatrick is 4–2 when facing a former club for the first time.
Beathard’s bomb gets the Niners going
C.J. Beathard broke open a battle of field goals with an 83-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin, sparking a 31–21 victory over the Giants. During a span of four seasons from 1988 to 1991, the Niners scored four TDs on pass plays covering more than 90 yards each—three by Joe Montana, the other by Steve Young; the first to Jerry Rice, the others to John Taylor. Beathard’s TD pass on Sunday was San Francisco’s second longest in more than a quarter-century since then. Tim Rattay and Brandon Lloyd connected for an 89-yard touchdown against the Cowboys in 2005.
The cavalry has arrived in OKC
Paul George capped an outstanding weekend by scoring 37 points in the Thunder’s 112–99 win over the Mavericks. On Friday, George poured in 42 points in a victory over the Clippers. What a change compared to last season, when no Thunder player other than Russell Westbrook scored as many as 30 points in a game.
This is amazing: Kevin Durant scored at least 35 points playing alongside Russell Westbrook 82 times. Only three other players have done so even once: George (twice), Jeff Green (once in 2010), and James Harden (one in 2012). For clarity, these are games in which Westbrook played and a teammates scored 35 or more points.
Here’s something even Westbrook hasn’t done
James Harden scored 26 points and was credited with 15 assists as the Rockets extended their winning streak to six games with a 118–95 win at Indiana. With 215 points and 69 assists in that stretch, Harden’s performance during Houston’s streak is nearly unprecedented. The only other players to average at least 35.0 points and 10.0 assists over six games, all of them wins, were Oscar Robertson, who did it over a nine-game stretch in 1964, and Jerry West in 1970.
Drummond is fast to 200 boards
Andre Drummond increased his league-leading average to 15.6 rebounds per game with 17 in the Pistons’ 112–103 victory over the Heat. Those 17 rebounds pushed Drummond’s season total to 203 in his 13th game. Over the last 10 seasons, the only other players to reach the 200-rebound mark within 13 games were Hassan Whiteside last season (13 games) and Drummond himself two years ago (11 games).
Drummond is the first NBA player to accumulate at least 200 boards in his first 13 games of two different seasons since Dennis Rodman did it three times for three different teams in the 1990s: for the Pistons in 1992–93, the Spurs in 1993–94, and the Bulls in 1996–97.
DeRozan unable to close the deal
DeMar DeRozan missed a potential go-ahead jump shot with 19 seconds to play and then missed another with 2 seconds remaining, allowing the Celtics to escape with a 95–94 win over the Raptors. Over the course of his nine seasons in the NBA, DeRozan has made only two of 16 field-goal attempts with his team trailing by one point in the final minute of the fourth quarter or any overtime period.
This is the third time that Boston has extended a winning streak to 12 games with a one-point victory, having previously done so at Washington in 1982 and at Philadelphia in 2009.
The Woods join the an exclusive club
Miles Wood recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career when he scored three goals in New Jersey’s 7–5 win at Chicago. Wood’s father, Randy, played 11 seasons in the NHL and he produced only one hat trick, for the Islanders in 1989–90. Seven other active players are parts of father/son pairs who each had NHL hat tricks: Nick Foligno (father: Mike), Sam Gagner (Dave), William Nylander (Michael), Zach Parise (J.P.), Sam Reinhart (Paul), Paul Stastny (Peter), and Alexander Steen (Thomas).
The Devils overcame a 4–1 deficit in Sunday’s game. Since 1996, the Devils’ only other win in regulation time in a game in which they trailed by three goals was a 4–3 victory at Montreal on the final day of the 2005–06 season.
Holtby is on a streak
Braden Holtby made 29 saves in the hockey portion of the game and was unscored upon in the shootout, which earned him and the Capitals a 2–1 win over the Oilers. Holtby has won his last six games, which ties Henrik Lundqvist for the longest current winning streak this season among NHL goaltenders. The only goaltenders with winning streaks of more than six games this season are Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy (nine, Oct. 9–30) and Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray (seven, Oct. 7 –26).
A Lightning scoring record (but not by Kucherov or Stamkos)
Vladislav Namestnikov extended his road goal streak to five games when he scored the first goal for the Lightning in its 2–1 win at Anaheim. He has tied the Tampa Bay record for the longest road goal-scoring streak in one season, a mark previous achieved by Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis (three times), and Steven Stamkos (twice, most recently in November 2010). Namestnikov also equaled the longest such streak in the NHL this season, five games by Minnesota’s Chris Stewart (Oct. 5–21).