Essentials from Sunday: Rodgers rolling

Aaron Rodgers has been nearly flawless at Lambeau Field over the last two seasons and it’s been nearly two years since he threw an interception there. But that was only one many statistical highlights Sunday.

In a signature win that puts the Green Bay Packers in contention for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, quarterback Aaron Rodgers continued his incredible streak of no interceptions at home. In a 26-21 win over the New England Patriots, Rodgers completed 24 of 38 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns – without an interception … again. Rodgers has thrown 360 consecutive passes at home without an interception while throwing 31 touchdowns in that timeframe. His last interception at Lambeau Field was on Dec. 2, 2012 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Sunday’s win against the Patriots was also the first time Rodgers and Tom Brady faced each other and only the second time in NFL history that a pair of quarterbacks with at least 200 touchdown passes started against one another for the first time. The first time that happened was Dec. 14, 1974 when Hall of Famers Fran Tarkenton and Len Dawson squared off.

  • Drew Brees was also hot against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, throwing five touchdown passes without an interception, the seventh time he has done that in his career, which is an ongoing NFL record.

  • In that game, the Steelers tied an all-time NFL record with 36 first downs in their loss. It matched the highest number of first downs in one game by a losing team, joining the Jaguars in a loss to St. Louis in 1996 and the Lions in an overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans in 2012, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

  • The big plays lifted the Indianapolis Colts to a 49-27 win over the Washington Redskins. The Colts scored six touchdowns of at least 30 yards each in the win, the most since Washington scored seven such touchdowns on Nov. 27, 1966 against the New York Giants.

    In that game, QB Andrew Lucked passed for 370 yards and five touchdowns for a 137 passer rating. He now leads the NFL with 4,011 passing yards and joins Peyton Manning and Dan Marino as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards in two of their first three seasons. Luck also joined Peyton Manning and Johnny Unitas as the only players in Colts history 30 or more passing touchdowns in a season.

  • The Vikings scored two touchdowns off of blocked punts in a 31-13 win over the Carolina Panthers, the first team to do that in one half since the 1975 Detroit Lions (Sept. 21 at Green Bay). Adam Thielen returned the first blocked punt 30 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and Everson Griffen returned the second one 43 yards in the second quarter.

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars recorded their largest comeback win in franchise history when they overcame a 21-0 deficit to beat the New York Giants 25-24. It was the fourth time this season that a team has overcome a deficit of at least 21 points to win, tied for the most of any season in NFL history.

  • Jaguars rookie QB Blake Bortles became the third rookie starting quarterback since at least 1970 to lead a comeback of 21 points to win, joining Matthew Stafford (Nov. 22, 2009) and Vince Young (Nov. 26, 2006). Bortles led the Jaguars on an 11-play, 55-yard drive that culminated with Josh Scobee’s 43-yard game-winning field goal with 28 seconds left.

  • Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt continued his multi-dimensional ways in a 45-21 win against the Tennessee Titans. Watt had three tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a touchdown reception, becoming the first NFL player with at least three offensive touchdowns (three receiving) and two or more touchdowns on takeaways (one interception return, one fumble recovery) in a season since Joe Golding did it for the 1948 Boston Yanks. Watt is the only player in NFL history with three touchdown catches, an interception-return touchdown and a fumble recovery touchdown in the same season.

  • St. Louis Rams RB Tre Mason became the fourth player in NFL history with a touchdown run of at least 85 yards and touchdown catch of at least 35 yards in the same game, joining Jim Spavital (Nov. 5, 1950), Joey Galloway (Nov. 12, 1995) and Chris Johnson (Sept. 20, 2009). In the Rams’ 52-0 win over the Oakland Raiders, Mason rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns and had 47 receiving yards and one touchdown receiving.

  • This was a November to remember for two rookie receivers, according to the research by Elias. New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham caught seven passes for 90 yards in the Giants’ loss, but he caught 38 passes for 593 yards in November, easily breaking the franchise records for receptions and receiving yards in one month.

    Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers caught four passes for 49 yards to raise his November total to 554 receiving yards, the most in any month in Bucs history (Antonio Bryant had 512 in December 2008).

  • Johnny Manziel got his most extensive playing time in a Cleveland Browns loss and ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown, but it was Bills kicker Dan Carpenter who was the hero after kicking four field goals in the fourth quarter of a 26-10 Bills win. Carpenter is only the fourth players in NFL history to have four field goals in the fourth quarter, joining Roger Ruzek of the Cowboys (1987), Jeff Wilkins of the Rams (2003) and Shayne Graham of the Bengals (2007), according to Elias.

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