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NEW YORK – A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 23, the 16th week of the 2018 season.
· The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Pittsburgh, 31-28, and clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With the Steelers’ loss, the HOUSTON TEXANSclinched a playoff berth.
New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS defeated Buffalo, 24-12, and clinched the AFC East division title for the 10th consecutive season.
The Patriots have advanced to the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons (2009-18),surpassing Dallas (nine from 1975-1983) and Indianapolis (nine from 2002-2010) for the most consecutive seasons in NFL history with a playoff berth.
With their 10th win of the season, New England (16 seasons from 2003-2018) tied San Francisco (16 from 1983-98) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories in NFL history.
New England quarterback TOM BRADY, who has 4,105 passing yards this season,joins PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons), DREW BREES (12) and PHILIP RIVERS(10) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 10 seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards.
The DALLAS COWBOYS defeated Tampa Bay, 27-20, and clinched the NFC East division title for the second time in the past three seasons.
Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT had 109 scrimmage yards (85 rushing, 24 receiving) in the Cowboys’ Week 16 victory.
Elliott, who has 4,048 rushing yards and 1,199 receiving yards in his three-year NFL career, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three NFL seasons, joining OTTIS ANDERSON, CHRIS JOHNSON, and Pro Football Hall of Famers BARRY SANDERS and LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON.
Elliott, who had 1,994 scrimmage yards in 2016, leads the NFL with 2,001 scrimmage yards this season and joins Pro Football Hall of Famers ERIC DICKERSON and LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON, and EDGERRIN JAMES as the only players in league annals with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards in two of their first three career seasons.
· Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD completed 27 of 37 pass attempts (73.0 percent) for 284 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 121.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 26-18 win against Cincinnati.
Baker Mayfield. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Mayfield, who has 24 touchdown passes in 2018, surpassed ANDREW LUCK (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era. Only PEYTON MANNING (26 in 1998) had more passing touchdowns as a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.
· Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS completed 37 of 55 pass attempts (67.3 percent) for 442 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 103.8 passer rating and had two rushing touchdowns in the Packers’ 44-38 overtime win at the New York Jets.
Rodgers is the only player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He also previously accomplished the feat on October 2, 2011 against Denver (408 passing yards, four touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns).
· Philadelphia quarterback NICK FOLES passed for 471 yards and four touchdowns while tight end ZACH ERTZ had 12 receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 32-30 victory against Houston.
Foles is the first quarterback in franchise history with multiple career games of at least 400 passing yards and four touchdown passes (406 passing yards and seven touchdown passes on November 3, 2013 at Oakland). His 471 passing yards are themost in a single game in franchise history, surpassing DONOVAN MC NABB, who passed for 464 yards against Green Bay on December 5, 2004.
Ertz, who has a franchise-record 113 catches in 2018, surpassed JASON WITTEN(110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.
· Minnesota wide receiver ADAM THIELEN had five receptions for 80 yards in the Vikings’ 27-9 victory at Detroit.
Thielen, who signed as an undrafted free agent with Minnesota in 2013, has 110 catches and 1,335 receiving yards in 2018 and joins ROD SMITH (2000 & 2001) &WES WELKER (2009, 2011 & 2012) as the only undrafted players in the common draft era with at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in a single season.
· Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY had 178 scrimmage yards (101 rushing, 77 receiving) and 12 receptions in the Panthers’ Week 16 loss against Atlanta.
Christian McCaffrey. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
McCaffrey, who leads all running backs with 106 receptions this season, surpassedMATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.
McCaffrey, who has 1,080 rushing yards in 2018, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (2003) and MATT FORTÉ (2014) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 100 receptions in a single season.
· Pittsburgh wide receiver JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER had 11 receptions for 115 yards in the Steelers’ Week 16 loss against New Orleans.
Smith-Schuster, who is 22 years and 31 days old, has 106 catches this season andsurpassed LARRY FITZGERALD (22 years, 123 days) as the youngest player to reach 100 receptions in a single season in NFL history.