2000s: Memorable NFL Performances
In only the eighth game of his career, the Vikings' Peterson gashed the Chargers for a league-record 296 yards on 30 carries in a 35-17 victory in the Metrodome. He ran for 253 in the second half, as Minnesota rallied from a 14-7 deficit. He had scoring runs of 1, 64 and 46 yards.
One day after his father died of a heart attack, Favre turned in arguably the most memorable performance of his iconic career. In a prime-time, nationally televised game in Oakland, he completed 22-of-30 passes for 399 yards and four touchdowns in Green Bay's 41-7 rout of the Raiders. Favre, who battled his emotions afterward, finished three yards shy of his career high and dealt Oakland its worst defeat in eight years.
In Jerry Rice's final home game as a Niner, Owens stole the show. He broke a 50-year-old league record with 20 catches (for 283 yards) in a 17-0 victory against the Bears. T.O.'s mark held up for nine years (see next photo).
Marshall broke Terrell Owens' record with 21 catches (for 200 yards and two touchdowns) in a 28-16 loss at Indianapolis.
Harrison broke Jim Brown's franchise record with 286 rushing yards in Cleveland's 41-34 victory at Kansas City. In his sixth career start, Harrison produced the third-best performance in NFL history and fell 11 yards shy of Adrian Peterson's all-time record. Meanwhile, in the same game, the Browns' Josh Cribbs returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, giving him a league-record eight for his career.
Warner punctuated his improbable rise in his first year as a starting quarterback by throwing for a championship-game record 414 yards in Super Bowl XXXIV. His 73-yard strike to Isaac Bruce with 1:54 left provided the winning margin in the Rams' 23-16 win against the Titans.
Fitzgerald had at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown in all four of Arizona's playoff games, including 127 yards and two touchdowns in the Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh. He set single-postseason records for catches (30), receiving yards (546) and receiving touchdowns (seven).
Alexander set an NFL record with five first-half touchdowns (four rushing and one receiving) in the Seahawks' 48-23 victory against the Vikings. Interestingly, Seattle had failed to rush for a score in any of its first three games.
The Ravens' record-setting defense was on full display in Super Bowl XXXV. Led by Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis, Baltimore forced five turnovers and limited the Giants to 152 yards in a 34-7 rout. Kerry Collins threw four interceptions and the Giants failed to advance beyond Baltimore's 29-yard line, scoring only on Ron Dixon's 97-yard kick return.
Operating flawlessly in snowy Foxboro, Mass., Brady burned Tennessee for an NFL-record five touchdown passes in the second quarter as New England built the biggest halftime lead (45-0) in league history. The quarterback finished 29-of-34 for 380 yards and a career-high-tying six touchdowns in a 59-0 rout.
McNabb broke his right ankle on the third play of a game against the Cardinals yet hobbled his way to a career-high four touchdown passes in the Eagles' 38-14 victory. He finished 20-of-25 for 255 yards and did not have a rushing attempt for the first time in his career. McNabb would then miss the rest of the regular season with the injury.
Tomlinson had running, receiving and passing touchdowns in San Diego's 27-14 win at Oakland, the first player to accomplish the trifecta since New England's David Patten in 2001. L.T. also tied an NFL record with a touchdown in his 18th consecutive game.
The Tennessee kicker converted a record eight field goals to help the Titans edge the Texans 38-36. He was good from 52, 25, 21, 30, 28, 43, 29 and 29 yards. The last was the game-winner as time expired.
In the season opener, the Jets' Morton ran back two kick returns for a touchdown, including a 96-yarder in overtime to lift New York past Buffalo 37-31. Morton became the second player to return an OT kickoff for a score and the first player with kick-return touchdowns in both regulation and the extra period.
With regular-season co-MVP Manning throwing for touchdowns on the first four possessions, Indianapolis dominated Denver 41-10 in an AFC wild-card game. Manning finished 22-of-26 for 377 yards and five touchdowns, becoming the fourth QB to record a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in a playoff game. And he nearly did it again the following week, going 22-for-30 for 304 yards and three TDs in a 38-31 win at Kansas City.
Ted Ginn Jr.
Benched as a starting receiver, Ginn responded on special teams by scoring on 100- and 101-yard kickoff returns in the third quarter of Miami's 30-25 victory against the Jets. Ginn became the first player with two kickoff-return touchdowns of 100 yards or more in the same game. Because of Ginn, the Dolphins won despite managing only 104 yards of offense.
In a <i>Monday Night Football</i> showdown with Tom Brady and the Patriots, Brees completed 18-of-23 for 371 yards and five touchdowns (to five receivers) while racking up a perfect passer rating as New Orleans improved to 11-0 with a 38-17 victory.
Umenyiora collected six of the Giants' record-tying 12 sacks in a 16-3 home victory against Donovan McNabb and the Eagles. ''It was like a video game out there,'' said Umenyiora, who finished one sack short of Derrick Thomas' NFL record.
The single-game rushing record changed hands a few times this decade. Before Adrian Peterson established the current record of 296 yards in 2007, the Ravens' Lewis ran for one fewer yard in a 33-13 victory against the Browns to surpass Corey Dillon's mark of 278 set on Oct. 22, 2000. Lewis carried 30 times and had touchdown runs of 82 and 63 yards.
Trailing by four against an Arizona team that was 5-0 on the road, Young led the host Titans on an 18-play, 99 yard touchdown march in the final 2:37 for a 20-17 victory. He converted on three fourth downs during the drive, the last on the game's final play, a 10-yard strike to rookie wide receiver Kenny Britt. Young accounted for every yard on the drive, throwing for 94 and running for six (he was sacked for a 1-yard loss). He finished with a career-high 387 passing yards.
Of the six interceptions Peyton Manning threw in a 23-21 loss to the Chargers, three were by cornerback Cromartie, whose leaping one-handed grab is pictured over the entrance to the team's training facility. To put the feat into perspective: It was the first time since 2002 that Manning threw three or more picks in a game. A week earlier, he had set an NFL record with a 109-yard return off a missed field goal against Minnesota.
The Lions' special teamer returned two punts for touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone against Jacksonville, the second of which was an 83-yarder and tied the game with 46 seconds left. The Jaguars, however, won it in overtime 23-17.