Adrian Peterson nearly ran into the NFL record book, falling 9 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing mark.
Peterson had 199 yards and a touchdown in Minnesota’s 37-34 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, becoming the seventh NFL player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. He needed 208 when the day began to top Dickerson’s record of 2,105 set in 1984.
“I know Eric Dickerson is feeling so good right now,” Peterson said with a chuckle, referencing comments Dickerson made a few weeks back saying he hoped Peterson didn’t break his record. “But God willing, I’ll get it next year.”
Peterson, who finished the regular season with 2,097 yards on the ground, also tied Hall of Famer Earl Campbell’s single-season mark with his seventh game of 150 yards rushing or more.
“He is without question the best running back in our game and truly, in my mind, the MVP of our league,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after his team earned a playoff spot with the win.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson tied Peyton Manning’s NFL record for most touchdown passes by a rookie with 26 after a third-quarter score in a 20-13 win over St. Louis.
“To tie that record is really something special,” Wilson said. “It’s a tribute to my faith and all God has put me through, but also to my team and what they’ve done.”
Manning threw for three touchdowns in a game for the 73rd time, surpassing the record set by Brett Favre. Manning finished 23 of 29 for 304 yards in Denver’s 38-3 romp over Kansas City.
Andrew Luck, the man who replaced Manning in Indianapolis, finished as the only rookie in NFL history with at least 4,000 yards passing and 10 wins. The Colts beat the Houston Texans 28-16 for their 11th victory.
Detroit’s Matthew Stafford finished the season with an NFL-record 727 pass attempts, topping Drew Bledsoe’s mark of 691 in 1994. But he fell short of a second consecutive 5,000-yard season, finishing at 4,967. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson narrowly missed becoming the first player with 2,000 yards receiving in a season. Johnson, who broke Jerry Rice’s record of 1,848 yards receiving the previous weekend, finished at 1,964 after catching five passes for 72 yards. He also had his record streak of eight 100-yard receiving games snapped.
“Had a good year, but there’s a lot of things that could have been done better,” Johnson said.
Drew Brees passed for 396 yards in New Orleans’ 44-38 loss to Carolina, giving him 5,177 this season — third-most behind the 2011 totals posted by himself (5,476) and New England’s Tom Brady (5,235). Brees became the first player to eclipse 5,000 yards three times. His four TD passes gave him 43 in 2012, and he’s the first player with 40 TD passes in consecutive seasons.
New Orleans also set a record it probably would rather have no part of as the Saints gave up 530 yards, raising their season total to 7,042 to break the old record of 6,793 allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts.