11:55 p.m.: On a day for the record books, a few of the little ones fell, but the big records will stand for another year. Considering that Adrian Peterson chewed up more than 2,000 yards on a bum leg, though, it may be smart to think that Eric Dickerson should enjoy his record while it lasts.
Michael Strahan is also still the official sack king after J.J. Watt and Aldon Smith failed to break his mark.
The rookie quarterback trifecta of Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck did do some damage, though. Griffin ended the year with a 102.4 passer rating, passing Ben Roethlisberger’s mark from 2004. His completion percentage fell just short of the record, though, but he’ll take a playoff appearance in its place.
Russell Wilson also tied Peyton Manning’s record for touchdown passes for a rookie with 26. He said after the Seahawks’ victory over the Rams that the record was on his mind at one point, but he was happy to take the win — and Seattle’s playoff trip — instead.
“I was about to throw it to Zach [Miller] to break the record,” Wilson said. “Then I realized, ‘That’s not me.’ I wasn’t worried about that. The whole thing was to win the game.”
7:47 p.m.: Off the leg of Blair Walsh, Adrian Peterson finished nine yards short of the single-season rushing record. He made a valiant effort on his last carry, taking the ball 26 yards.
He finished the game with 199 yards on 34 carries and the season with 2,097 yards. Pretty impressive for a guy coming off serious knee surgery.
7:41 p.m.: Peterson now has 173 yards in the game on a career-high 33 carries. He needs 35 to break the record.
7:38 p.m.: With 169 yards, Adrian Peterson needs 39 yards to pass Eric Dickerson with 1:54 left in the fourth quarter. The game is tied 34-34.
7:23 p.m.: Unless Cameron Wake can channel Derrick Thomas in Sunday night’s Cowboys-Redskins game, it looks like Michael Strahan’s sack record is safe.
Aldon Smith was held sackless against the Cardinals.
7:16 p.m.: With 7:54 left in the fourth quarter, Adrian Peterson needs 45 yards to break the single-season rushing record. He has 29 carries for 163 yards. On the season, he has 2,061 yards.
6:57 p.m.: Adrian Peterson is 61 yards away from the record now. He has 25 carries for 147 yards. There is one quarter of play remaining.
6:45 p.m.: Russell Wilson has tied Peyton Manning for most touchdown passes for a rookie. Wilson connected with Michael Robinson for a 10-yard TD.
6:34 p.m.: Adrian Peterson is now 64 yards away from the record with 22 carries for 144 yards on the day against the Packers.
6:23 p.m.: We haven’t forgotten Aldon Smith or Russell Wilson over here, but they just haven’t done anything to increase their chances at accomplishing their records. Smith has been held sackless and Wilson has been held without a touchdown.
6:15 p.m.: Adrian Peterson’s goal is to break Eric Dickerson’s record against the Packers, but he has accomplished one feat. He passed 2,000 yards on the latest Vikings drive. With 19 carries for 117 yards, he has 2,015 on the season and needs 91 to pass Dickerson.
5:44 p.m.: Adrian Peterson now needs 117 yards to pass Eric Dickerson. Peterson has 91 yards on 17 carries with 1:07 left in the first half against the Packers.
5:09 p.m.: Adrian Peterson needs 140 yards to break the single-season rushing record. He has 13 carries for 68 yards and one touchdown on the game against the Packers. The Vikings are also fighting for a playoff spot.
4:50 p.m.: With 61 yards through nine minutes, Peterson needs just 147 more yards to break the record. He rallied off a 22 yard run and a touchdown on the Vikings’ second drive.
4:40 p.m.: Peterson rallied off 15 yards in the Vikings’ first possession and now needs 193 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s record.
4:05 p.m.: Calvin Johnson just didn’t have enough coming his way today to further assault the record books. Still, the most receiving yards in a season ever is a pretty feather in his cap, even if he did miss out on a couple of other distinctions.
Now it’s on to the 4:25 games — the good stuff. Aldon Smith gets a chance at the single-season sack record, and Adrian Peterson looks to take home the rushing crown. Keep it here!
4 p.m.: The Colts have given J.J. Watt plenty of time to break that sack record today, but it looks like it’s not going to happen. Indianapolis has controlled this game throughout, and Watt and his teammates haven’t been able to do much.
Andrew Luck is also going to fall short of Sam Bradford’s rookie completions record.
3:45 p.m.: Matthew Stafford is still gunning in Detroit, but it’s not to Calvin Johnson. Nevertheless, the Lions are clawing their way back against the playoff hopeful Bears.
Andrew Luck, meanwhile, keeps damaging his chances at that completion pass record by throwing really long passes. Come on, Luck. Split those 70-yard completions into a few smaller ones if you want the record.
3:10 p.m.: Well, hello, Calvin Johnson.
It doesn’t take too much to get Megatron going, and Matthew Stafford and his favorite receiver have finally connected. Stafford hit Johnson with a 14-yarder and an 18-yarder, and — poof! — Johnson has 65 yards on the day.
The Lions are also within 20-17, by the way.
2:45 p.m.: The second halves are getting started around the NFL. We’ll be watching Andrew Luck, who has 337 completions right now and needs 18 more to pass Sam Bradford’s rookie mark. That will be a tall task.
In Detroit, Matthew Stafford has broken the mark for pass attempts in a single season, but Calvin Johnson has just 23 yards receiving. He’ll have to do some serious work in the second half to notch a record 12th 100-yard receiving game for the season, and to get the the first 2,000-yard season for a wide receiver.
J.J. Watt remains sackless.
2:15 p.m.: The Chicago Bears are roaring in Detroit, and the Lions’ offense has failed to do much of anything since that opening drive.
In Houston, the Colts’ defense is the bigger storyline. A Vontae Davis interception got the ball back to Indianapolis, then the Houston defense folded under the pressure of rookie sensation Andrew Luck, who has led his team to pay dirt one more time. The Colts now lead 14-6, with halftime just a few minutes away.
Calvin Johnson and J.J. Watt will have some work to do in the second half if they want those records.
1:50 p.m.: The Houston defense got a sack, but it was Antonio Smith in the middle of that three-player scrum, not J.J. Watt.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, Drew Bledsoe’s single-season pass attempts record has officially fallen to Matthew Stafford. And you thought the Lions couldn’t win anything!
1:20 p.m.: Our first record of the day has taken a hit thanks to Matthew Stafford’s tendency to throw the ball — a lot.
This is one of the more meaningless stats, as it doesn’t matter how many times you throw if those throws are not being caught, are not counting for scores or are not winning games. Nonetheless, Stafford’s six pass attempts in the Lions’ opening drive has given him 691 pass attempts for the season, tying Drew Bledsoe. The record will fall with just one more toss.
Stafford’s passing buddy, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, is also well on his way to his 12th 100-yard receiving game of the year, also a record. He had 23 receiving yards in that first drive. Johnson also needs just 108 yards today for the first 2,000-yard season by a wide receiver.
Finally, Andrew Luck has passed Peyton Manning for rookie pass completions. Luck’s 330 trails just Sam Bradford’s 354.
1:15 p.m.: J.J. Watt is his usually voracious self on the field today, but a little too much eagerness may be detrimental. Watt and the Houston defense tried to come out against the Colts with pressure early on, but the Colts responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive.
Watt had the first tackle of the game, a one-yard takedown of running back Vick Ballard, but no sacks. And the Colts now have a 7-0 lead.
1 p.m.: Gentlemen, take your places at the starting line.
J.J. Watt, Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck get the first crack at the record books as their games kick off. Most of the attention will be in Houston, where Watt is chasing the single-season sack record while his Texans are chasing the No. 1 seed in the AFC East.
Check back here to see who’s making noise as the games begin.
11 a.m.: With all the records being challenged or broken in the NFL this year, it’s worth asking what’s happening to the game. Is this a trend in one direction, or just a statistical anomaly?
The funny thing is that, while the bulk of the records are on the offensive side, a major defensive record is being challenged, too. And even among the offensive records, the expected passing and receiving numbers are accompanied by Adrian Peterson’s pursuit of the single-season rushing record in an era where the rushing game has shrunk. People could expect passing and receiving records to fall, considering how the game has been developing over the past decade, but for the big rushing and sacks records to also be up for grabs is just strange.
There’s no denying that the NFL is becoming more offense-friendly, but the stash of records that could be broken by the time this year is over doesn’t support that claim as much as it seems to say that this is a perfect storm for people who like measuring the game by the numbers.
10:20 a.m.: Eric Dickerson hasn’t been shy about saying he wants his single-season rushing record to stand. Now he’s giving his professional opinion on whether Adrian Peterson can break the mark.
Dickerson said on the NFL Network this morning that Peterson can certainly rack up 208 yards in a given game, but it’s not going to happen today against the Packers.
10 a.m.: While the records waiting to be broken will be getting most of the attention today, this season has already seen some big ones fall.
Detroit’s Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single-season mark for receiving yards last week. Rice amassed 1,848, and Johnson finished Week 16 with 1,892. With one game left, Johnson could be the first wide receiver to notch 2,000 yards in a season.
Andrew Luck has also already broken a rookie passing record. With 4,183 passing yards, he smashed Cam Newton’s record from last year of 4,053. Luck can build on that total today and further distance himself from future challengers.
8 a.m. ET: It all comes down to this.
While many NFL teams are shoring up for the playoffs, another pursuit awaits for those chasing individual accolades. For some of the NFL’s best players, just 60 minutes remain to break records after a long season of work.
In a year that has seen all kinds of benchmarks fall, a couple of the big ones remain. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson needs his third 200-yard rushing game of the season to match Eric Dickerson for the single-season rushing record. J.J. Watt and Aldon Smith are both within reach of Michael Strahan’s single-season sack total.
Those records, which have received most of the attention, aren’t the only ones left, though. Rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson can all break benchmarks for first-year passers. And the Lions’ two biggest offensive weapons, quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson, can also do damage despite their team’s losing record.
Most of the fun starts at 1 p.m., with Bears-Lions and Texans-Colts kicking off first. Take a look below to see which records are at stake, then swing back here throughout the day to see what’s happening. We’ll keep you updated as each record pursuit unfolds.
Single-Season Sack Record
Record-holder: Michael Strahan, 22.5 sacks in 2001
Challengers: Houston’s J.J. Watt at 20.5 sacks; San Francisco’s Aldon Smith at 19.5
When to watch: Texans-Colts, 1 p.m.; 49ers-Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Single-Season Rushing Record
Record-holder: Eric Dickerson, 2,105 yards in 1984
Challenger: Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson at 1,898 yards
When to watch: Vikings-Packers, 4:25 p.m.
Single-Season 100-Yard Receiving Games
Record-holder: Michael Irvin, 12 games
Challenger: Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, 11 games
When to watch: Bears-Lions, 1 p.m.
Single-Season Pass Attempts
Record-holder: Drew Bledsoe, 691
Challenger: Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, 685
When to watch: Bears-Lions, 1 p.m.
Rookie Quarterback Rating
Record-holder: Ben Roethlisberger, 98.1 in 2004
Challengers: Washington’s Robert Griffin III, with 104.1; Seattle’s Russell Wilson, with 98.0
When to watch: Redskins-Cowboys, 8:20 p.m.; Seahawks-Rams, 4:25 p.m.
Rookie Completion Percentage
Record-holder: Ben Roethlisberger, 66.44 percent, 2004
Challenger: Washington’s Robert Griffin III, 66.40 percent
When to watch: Redskins-Cowboys, 8:20 p.m.
Rookie Touchdown Passes
Record-holder: Peyton Manning, 26
Challenger: Seattle’s Russell Wilson, 25
When to watch: Seahawks-Rams, 4:25 p.m.
Rookie Pass Completions
Record-holder: Sam Bradford, 354 (Peyton Manning, 326)
Challenger: Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, 325
When to watch: Texans-Colts, 1 p.m.