Essentials from Sunday: Manning and much more

Peyton Manning set the all-time passing touchdowns mark on Sunday night and did it in quick fashion. But Manning wasn’t the only player with a big Sunday.

Sunday night belonged to Peyton Manning, who moved past Brett Favre as the NFL’s all-time leader in career passing touchdowns.

Manning threw three touchdown passes in the first half of the Denver Broncos’ convincing win over the San Francisco 49ers. It was the 28th time he threw three touchdowns in the first half of a game, according to Elias Sports Bureau, and that’s more times than Hall of Fame quarterbacks Warren Moon or Y.A. Tittle threw three touchdowns in a game.

Only four other players have held the all-time record for career touchdown passes since 1966 – Tittle, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino and then Favre. Others to hold the record before Tittle: Johnny Unitas, Sammy Baugh, Benny Friedman, and even Curly Lambeau had a share of the record from 1924-29.

Manning owned the day on Sunday, but he was far from alone in the record-breaking or pace-setting performances:

  • Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray rushed for 128 yards and one touchdown in a 31-21 win over the New York Giants and became the first player in NFL history to start the season with seven straight games with 100 yards or more rushing. He entered the game in a first-place tie with Jim Brown’s 1958 streak to start that season.

    Through seven games, Murray already has 913 yards, is averaging 26.7 carries per game, 130.4 rushing yards per game and has seven rushing touchdowns – all leading the league by a healthy margin.

    Arian Foster is the only other running back averaging more than 100 yards a game (102.6) and is second with five rushing touchdowns. LeSean McCoy is second with 116 rushes.

  • Don’t count them out. “Them” could refer to just about anybody this year.

    If it seems like comebacks have been coming fast and furious in 2014 already, you’re right. The Detroit Lions added to the action when they overcame at 14-point deficit in their come-from-behind, 24-23 win over the New Orleans Saints. It was the 10th time already this season that a team has come back from being behind 14 points or more to win. That’s the second-most such comebacks through Week 7 of any season since at least 1970.

  • Watch out! Aaron Rodgers has found his groove. The Green Bay Packers quarterback threw for 255 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 154.6 passer rating in a 38-17 win over the Carolina Panthers. It was Rodgers’ fourth consecutive game with at least three touchdown passes and no interceptions, tying Tom Brady (2007) for the longest streak like that in a single season.

    Rodgers is the only player in NFL history with at least 18 touchdown passes and one or zero interceptions through his team’s first seven games to begin a season.

  • Rodgers isn’t the only quarterback on a big roll. Andrew Luck passed for 344 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 27-0 Indianapolis Colts win over of the Cincinnati Bengals. That’s now five consecutive games with at least 300 yards passing for Luck, who had to follow Manning as the Colts’ franchise quarterback. He’s doing a good job of it, as that five-game stretch tied Manning’s franchise record from 2009.

    In that game, Reggie Wayne also became the ninth player in NFL history with 14,000 career receiving yards. He had four catches for 15 yards on Sunday.

  • Apparently, Ahmad Bradshaw is becoming a Luck favorite. Bradshaw had one touchdown reception, giving him six for the season. He is the first running back with six touchdown catches in his team’s first seven games of a season since Gary Anderson of the San Diego Chargers in 1986. The Colts also earned their 500th franchise victory.

  • WR Sammy Watkins had a big game in the Buffalo Bills’ 17-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The rookie had career highs in catches (nine), receiving yards (122) and had two touchdowns, including the game winner with one second remaining.

    Watkins is the first rookie with at least 100 receiving yards and a game-winning touchdown catch with one second or less remaining in the fourth quarter of a game since 2009 (Kenny Britt did it for the Tennessee Titans against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 29, 2009).

  • RB Jamaal Charles rushed past Priest Holmes to become the Kansas City Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher. Charles how has 6,113 career rushing yards, 43 yards more than Holmes did for the Chiefs.

  • Chiefs coach Andy Reid continued his post-bye-week domination. With the win on Sunday, he is now 14-2 after a bye, the most wins after a bye for an NFL head coach.

  • The St. Louis Rams needed a big day from QB Austin Davis to beat the Seattle Seahawks and he delivered. Davis completed 18 of 21 passes (86 percent) in the 28-26 win. That was the highest completion percentage ever recorded in a game against a defending Super Bowl champion (minimum: 20 passes), according to Elias. The previous record was set by David Garrard against the Colts in 2007 (24-for-29, 83 percent).

  • You might have seen the trickery from the Rams’ special teams when Stedman Bailey scored a 90-yard punt return touchdown when the Rams tried to make it look like Tavon Austin was receiving the ball on the other side of the field, but did you know that, according to Elias, it was the first game in Rams history that they had punt and kickoff returns of at least 75 yards each? Benny Cunningham had a 75-yard kickoff return.

  • The Drew Brees critics have new ammunition. Brees threw 10 consecutive passes without a completion in the fourth quarter of the New Orleans Saints’ loss. It was the longest stretch of passes without a completion in Brees’ career, according to Elias.

  • The Cincinnati Bengals’ first eight possessions went three-and-out in their 27-0 loss to the Colts. That’s the longest streak of three-and-outs since the Oakland Raiders did it on nine straight possessions against the San Diego Chargers in 1998, according to Elias.

  • How bad have the Jacksonville Jaguars been to start seasons recently? Their 24-6 win over the Cleveland Browns was the first win for Jacksonville in September or October since 2012 – 18 consecutive games in those two months and two short of the NFL record held by the Bengals from 1992-1994, per Elias.


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