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Peterson, Watt hope to follow Megatron into record book

The SportsXchange

One major single-season NFL record fell this weekend, and two others remain on watch as the season heads toward the final week.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin "Megatron" Johnson began the NFL weekend Saturday night by catching 11 passes for 225 yards against the Atlanta Falcons. He increased his total to 1,892 receiving yards on the season, besting the mark of former San Francisco 49ers great Jerry Rice, who had 1,848 in 1995.

The pursuit of two other historic season records continues. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is still short of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing mark of 2,105 (Los Angeles Rams, 1984). Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt helped limit Peterson to 86 yards on 25 carries, although Watt, did not get the sack record he seeks.

Although the Vikings beat the Texans 23-6 to enhance their playoff position, Peterson was held below 100 yards for the first time in nine games. He has 1,898 yards rushing on the year.

Peterson is 102 yards away from becoming the seventh player to rush for at least 2,000 yards in a season, and he needs 208 yards to break Dickerson's mark. The Vikings finish the regular season against the Green Bay Packers. Peterson did move from 19th to eighth on the single-season list, just behind Earl Campbell (1,934 yards for the Houston Oilers in 1980).

Watt tackled Peterson twice for a loss, but he had only one sack to move his season total to 20.5. He is chasing the mark of 22.5, set by the New York Giants' Michael Strahan in 2001, and he has one game left -- next week against the Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Andrew Luck, who set the rookie record for passing yards Sunday. San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith had 19.5 sacks going into Sunday night's game at Seattle.

One player did set a season record in the Minnesota-Houston game. Vikings rookie kicker Blair Walsh blasted a 56-yard field goal to become the first player in league history to make nine field goals from at least 50 yards in one season. Going into the game, he shared the record with Morten Anderson, who made eight or nine from at least 50 yards for the Atlanta Falcons in 1995, and with Jason Hanson, who made all eight of his tries beyond 50 yards for the Lions in 2008.

Walsh, whose second-quarter kick cleared the crossbar with about 10 yards to spare, is 9-for-9 from 50-plus yards this season.

Luck, meanwhile, completed 17 of 35 passes for 205 yards and a touchdown in a 20-13 win at Kansas City. That gave the Colts a berth in the playoffs and Luck, the first player selected in the 2012 draft, a rookie record of 4,183 passing yards. The old mark of 4,105 was set last year by Carolina's Cam Newton, who broke the record of 3,739 established by Peyton Manning when he was a Colts rookie in 1998.

The Dallas Cowboys' Jason Witten set a position-specific record Sunday when he increased his season total to 103 receptions by making six catches in a loss to the New Orleans Saints. Witten now holds the top mark for receptions by a tight end in a single season, surpassing the record held Tony Gonzalez, who had 102 in 2004 with the Kansas City Chiefs.
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