Adrian Peterson's quick recovery from a major knee injury has been, in NFL great Jim Brown's words, "a miracle." Peterson ran for over 2,000 yards this season, the seventh back in NFL history to reach that milestone, and finished just nine yards shy of breaking the single-season rushing mark in what was likely an MVP season. (Who would you add to the list? Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
2 of 13 Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images
Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice's all-time single-season receiving record with 1,964 yards.
3 of 13Otto Greule Jr
A third-round draft pick out of Wisconsin, Russell Wilson won the Seattle coaches over in camp and surprisingly earned the starting quarterback job. What he's done since is Rookie of the Year-worthy as the Seahawks are headed for the playoffs, thanks largely to his scrambling, passing and leadership. His 26 TD passes tied the rookie record set by Peyton Manning in 1998.
4 of 13 Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Michael Vick and Andy Reid
It just wasn't the Eagles' year. What began as an October slump manifested into an eight-game losing streak, with the notoriously passionate Philadelphia fan base calling for blood. Andy Reid, Michael Vick, Reid's coordinators -- the fans wanted them all gone.
5 of 13Rob Carr
Robert Griffin III
In a rookie season full of record-breaking moments, Robert Griffin III may have celebrated most after helping the Redskins defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the last game of the entire NFL regular season to win the NFC East and qualify for the playoffs.
6 of 13Stephen Brashear/AP
This moment of infamy became a moment of glory for those who wanted the NFL to stop using replacement referees. A blown call gave the Seahawks an undeserved win and caused a national outcry. Before another NFL game was played, Roger Goodell and the owners were all but forced to reach an agreement with the normal officials.
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Doug Martin became the second player in league history to run for at least 250 yards and score four touchdowns in a game. His record-day against Oakland also was the first time a player had touchdown runs of 70+, 65+, and 45+ yards in a single game.
8 of 13 Harry How/Getty Images
For the second consecutive year Drew Brees broke one of the biggest quarterback records in the game. This season Brees broke Johnny Unitas' 52-year record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Brees' record-breaking 48th came on Oct. 7. Seven weeks later that streak came to an end at 54.
9 of 13 Jim Mone, Ross D. Franklin/AP
After the first month of the season, the Cardinals were 4-0 and the toast of the NFC West. But then October hit. November, too. It wasn't until Dec. 16 that their losing streak was finally broken, at nine. At the root of the problem was the team's lack of a viable quarterback.
10 of 13Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images
Your star quarterback goes down with an injury early in the season. Sounds bad, right? Not when you're the 49ers and you have Colin Kaepernick to step in for Alex Smith. Kaepernick became one of the breakout stars of the year with his stellar play. He was so good that even when Smith returned, coach Jim Harbaugh decided to ride the hot hand and stay with Kaepernick.
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Charles-Tillman, Lance Briggs
Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs both returned an interception for a touchdown in consecutive games, becoming the first teammates in NFL history to accomplish that feat.
12 of 13 Julio Cortez/AP
One of the biggest controversies to come out of this season was whether rookie Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano was right to tell his players to go after quarterback Eli Manning while he kneeled down in the game's final seconds. Schiano said he wanted to force a fumble, but what resulted was a series of hits that left the Giants angry.
13 of 13 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Cam Newton discovered the pain of being in a sophomore slump. Last season's Offensive Rookie of the Year, Newton struggled through his first 10 games, going 2-8 with more interceptions than touchdowns. Newton recovered late in the season but the Panthers still fell short of the playoffs.
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