Elias Says: Dec. 18, 2017

Gurley rushes for three TDs in the first half

Todd Gurley rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of the Rams’ 42–7 win at Seattle. Gurley’s three scores on the ground tied the team record by a player in the first half of a game, accomplished previously by Johnny Drake (1940 in Cleveland vs. Eagles), Dan Towler (1954 in Los Angeles vs. Packers), and Joe Marconi (1956 in L.A. vs. Green Bay.) No NFL player had rushed for three TDs before halftime since the Cowboys’ Joseph Randle against the Falcons in September 2015. And the last player to rush for as many first-half yards and touchdowns as Gurley was the Broncos’ Mike Anderson, at New Orleans in December 2000 (146 yds, 3 TD.)

Rams blow out Seahawks

The Rams won by 35 points at Seattle, which entered Sunday with a record of 8–5. That was the largest margin of victory by a visiting team over an opponent that had been at least three games over .500 since the 49ers won 55–17 at Detroit (also 8–5) in December 1993.

Roethlisberger finally picked off in the Heinz Field red zone

Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted by Duron Harmon on a pass from the New England seven-yard line in the closing seconds of the Steelers’ 27–24 home loss to the Patriots. It was Roethlisberger’s first red-zone interception in Pittsburgh since November 2011 against the Ravens. His streak of 242 consecutive home red-zone passes without an INT was the longest by any player since Tom Brady began his career with a streak of 327 from 2001 to 2011.

Brady wins despite ending long INT-free streak versus Steelers

Tom Brady threw an interception to Vince Williams in the third quarter, but nonetheless brought the Patriots back from an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 27–24 at Pittsburgh. Brady hadn’t been picked off by the Steelers since he was victimized by Chris Hope in September 2005. His streak of 258 consecutive interception-free passes was the longest in NFL history by a player against Pittsburgh.

Rodgers ends long streak in his return

Aaron Rodgers tied a career high with three interceptions in his return and the Packers lost, 31–24 at Carolina. The last time Rodgers threw more than two picks in a game was on Nov. 8, 2009, in a loss at Tampa Bay. In the interim, Rodgers has started 117 straight games with fewer than three interceptions, representing the longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history. The next-longest streak belongs to Tom Brady, who hasn’t been intercepted more than twice in any of his last 103 starts dating back to 2011.

Gould has 15 field goals over three games

Robbie Gould’s sixth field goal, from 45 yards out on the final play of the game, gave the 49ers a 25–23 win over the visiting Titans. In his previous two games, Gould kicked five field goals at Chicago and then four more at Houston. He’s the first player in NFL history to score as many as 15 three-pointers over a three-game span. Five previous players kicked 14 field goals over three games: Gino Cappelletti (1964 Patriots), Jim Turner (1968 Jets), John Carney (1992–93 Chargers), Olindo Mare (1999 Dolphins), and Neil Rackers (2005 Cardinals.)

Niners play their 1000th game

Sunday's 25–23 win over the Titans was the 49ers' 1000th regular-season NFL game. San Francisco has scored 1414 touchdowns on passes, by far the most of any team in its first 1000 games. The previous high was 1351 by the Rams.

The Niners are one of two NFL teams with three different players who threw at least 200 TDs for the club: Joe Montana (244), Steve Young (221), and John Brodie (214.) The other is the Chargers: Philip Rivers (338), Dan Fouts (254), and John Hadl (201.)

Kamara joins greats with five rushing, receiving TD

Alvin Kamara caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees in the second quarter of the Saints’ 31–19 home win over the Jets. It was the fifth receiving touchdown of the season for rookie Kamara, who has also scored seven rushing TDs in 2017. Three other rookies have scored at least five touchdowns both rushing and receiving in a season, and all three are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Detroit’s Doak Walker in 1950, Washington’s Charley Taylor in 1964, and Chicago’s Gale Sayers in 1965.

Eagles throw a block party on Paterson Plank Road

The Eagles blocked extra-point and field-goal attempts by Aldrick Rosas, and a punt by Brad Wing in their 34–29 win over the Giants in New Jersey. No NFL team had blocked all three types of kicks in a victory since the Vikings, in a 23–22 win at Tampa Bay in November 1979. But Philadelphia wasn’t the only football team to do that in the New York metropolitan area in 2017. The Columbia Lions blocked a field goal, a punt, and an extra point in their season-ending 24–6 victory over Brown in upper Manhattan last month.

The Manning family throws its 1000th NFL touchdown pass

Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes in the Giants’ loss, raising his individual career total to 338, tying Philip Rivers for seventh in NFL history, and boosting his family total past the 1000 mark. Manning’s brother Peyton threw an NFL-record of 539 TD passes, and their father, Archie, threw 125 during a 14-year career with the Saints (1971–82), Houston Oilers (1982–83), and Vikings (1983–84.)

Archie ranked 42nd in career touchdown passes at the time of his retirement, but he slipped out of the top 100 during the 2016 NFL season and now ranks 103rd. He tied for third in the NFL with 18 TD passes as a second-year player in 1972, but never breached the top-five again.

No player has caught a touchdown passes from any two of the Mannings—not even from Eli and Peyton, whose careers overlapped from 2004 through 2015.

Bortles, Jags blow out Houston

Blake Bortles threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter as the Jaguars opened up a 31–0 halftime lead and cruised to a 45–7 home win over the Texans. Jacksonville’s 31-point lead at the intermission was the second largest in franchise history in either the regular season or playoffs. In January 2000, the Jags led 41–7 at halftime and went on to defeat the Dolphins by a score of 62–7 in a divisional playoff game that ended the on-field NFL careers of both quarterback Dan Marino and head coach Jimmy Johnson.

Keenum is on target in Minnesota win

Case Keenum completed 87.0% of his passes (20 out of 23) in the Vikings’ 34–7 win over the visiting Bengals. It was the second-highest single-game completion percentage by a Minnesota player who attempted at least 20 passes. Brett Favre was 22-for-25 (88.0%) in a 35–9 home win over the Seahawks in November 2009.

A rough day for Cutler in Orchard Park

Jay Cutler threw three interceptions and was charged with four fumbles in the Dolphins’ 24–16 loss at Buffalo. No NFL player had finished a game with as many interceptions and fumbles since the Cardinals’ Kurt Warner, in a 56–35 road loss to the Jets in September 2008. The last player to do that without throwing a touchdown pass, as Cutler did on Sunday, was the Bengals’ Boomer Esiason, in a 30–16 home loss to the Steelers in November 1987.

Cards keep settling for field goals

Phil Dawson’s five field goals weren’t enough for the Cardinals in their 20–15 loss at Washington. It was the second straight game in which Dawson provided all of Arizona’s scoring – he kicked four three-pointers in a 12–7 home win over the Titans last week. Only two other teams have ever scored at least four field goals and no touchdowns in two consecutive games – the Ravens in October 2000 and the Cardinals in September 2005.

Ravens pitch third road second-half shutout

The Ravens held the Browns scoreless after halftime of their 27–10 win at Cleveland. It was the third time this season that Baltimore pitched a shutout in the second half of a road game, having also done so against Cincinnati and Green Bay. That ties the 2015 Falcons for the most such games by any NFL team over the last four seasons.

This kind of streak was rare before last season

LeBron James scored 25 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and handed out 15 assists in the Cavaliers’ 106–99 win at Washington. James as finished each of his last three games, all wins, with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. The only other players in the last 25 years to fashion streaks of three-or-more games of that type (20 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast, win) were Russell Westbrook (2 streaks of 4) and James Harden (1 streak of 3), both in 2016–17.

Powell doesn’t miss in Raptors win

Norman Powell made all five field-goal attempts, including two from three-point range, and sank both of his free throws in the Raptors’ 108–93 home win over the Kings. Powell was the first NBA player this season to go 5-for-5 or better from the floor, 2-for-2 or better from downtown, and 2-for-2 or better from the foul line in one game. The only other Toronto player ever to do that was Muggsy Bogues (6-for-6 FG, 4-for-4 3-pointers, 8-for-8 FT) against the Celtics on March 3, 2000.

Detroit’s bench comes through

Stanley Johnson (6 rebounds, 5 assists) and Ish Smith (4 reb, 6 ast) came off the bench to help the Pistons defeat the visiting Magic, 114–110. It was just the second time in the last 23 years that two Detroit substitutes finished a game with at least four rebounds and five assists. On Dec. 16, 2005, Carlos Arroyo (5 reb, 6 ast) and Carlos Delfino (5 reb, 4 ast) led the Pistons to a 110–82 home win over the Bulls.

Crabbe can’t follow up on hot start

Allen Crabbe scored 14 of his 17 points in the first quarter of Brooklyn’s 109–97 home loss to Indiana. One other Nets player in the last 10 years has scored as many as 14 points in the first quarter and then no more than three over the rest of the game. Deron Williams put up 15 of his 17 points in the opening period in a road win, also against the Pacers, on March 21, 2015.

Jets, Blues exchange shutout wins

The Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck posted his second shutout of the season with a 4–0 victory against the Blues in Winnipeg on Sunday, after the Blues’ Carter Hutton blanked the Jets by a 4–0 score in St. Louis on Saturday. This was the first pair of home-and-home games in the NHL in which the teams exchanged shutout wins since Oct. 28 and 30, 2003, when the Bruins’ Felix Potvin beat the Canadiens in Montreal, 2–0, and the Canadiens’ Jose Theodore notched a 1–0 overtime victory in Boston.

Kane scores two goals in Chicago’s win

Patrick Kane scored two goals as the Blackhawks extended their winning streak to five games with a 4–1 victory against the Wild on Sunday. It was Kane’s second two-goal game this season and the 35th multiple-goal game of his NHL career, which ranks the Buffalo native fifth among active U.S.-players, behind Joe Pavelski (46), Zach Parise (45), Phil Kessel (44) and Max Pacioretty (39.)

Another Flames player tallies four points

Sam Bennett tied his career high for points in one game by scoring one goal and assisting three in the Flames’ 6–1 win at Vancouver. Bennett is the fourth player to tally four points in a game for Calgary this season, after Johnny Gaudreau, T.J. Brodie and Sean Monahan. This is the first season in which four different players produced four-point games for the Flames since they had five in 2011–12: Brendan Morrison, Curtis Glencross, Lee Stempniak, Olli Jokinen and Alex Tanguay.

A big game Marchessault in Sin City

Jonathan Marchessault scored one goal and assisted on two in the Golden Knights’ 5–2 win over the Panthers. It’s the fifth time that Marchessault has recorded at least one goal and two assists in a game this season, the most by any NHL player. Steven Stamkos and Mark Scheifele are tied for second with four such games this season.