AFC notes: LT, Peyton, Pats are December's best

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 12, 2009



Ed. note: the following information comes from our bestest pals at the NFL.
 
Four weeks remain in the NFL regular season as the push to the playoffs intensifies around the league.
 
"We always look to play our best football in December," says San Diego Chargers running back LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON, who leads the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in December since 2000.  "That's when we want to be at our best.  We focus more in December because we know what's coming up."
 
Winners of 15 consecutive games in December, Tomlinson and the Chargers aim to ride that momentum to a fourth consecutive AFC West title.
 
"We seem to finish strong," says Tomlinson.  "We've talked about it and really made it one of our mottos.  I think that has a lot to do with our mindsets in December.  We want to play our best football in December going into January.  This team is a real focused team, and we have a knack for really taking it one game at a time and taking that idea to heart."
 
The most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns among active players in December since 2000:
 
PLAYER 
RUSHING YARDS 
 
  PLAYER
RUSHING TDs 
LaDainian Tomlinson
3,888
 
  LaDainian Tomlinson
36
Jamal Lewis
2,789
 
  Clinton Portis
29
Fred Taylor
2,786
 
  Larry Johnson
21
Clinton Portis
2,511
 
  Fred Taylor
19
Ahman Green
2,286
 
  Ahman Green
15
   
 
  Jamal Lewis
15
 
New England Patriots quarterback TOM BRADY has a history of producing late in the season.  Brady has a 26-5 (.839) record as a starter in December and says the toughest and most prepared teams come out on top.
 
"Toughness, preparation, playing physical and playing smart, I think those four qualities have been the makeup of this team and are the reason why we have been successful late in the year," says Brady. 
 
The teams with the best December records since the current 12-team playoff format was instituted in 1990:
 
TEAM
RECORD
WIN PCT.
Green Bay Packers
52-29
.642
New England Patriots
50-29
.633
Indianapolis Colts
49-32
.605
Philadelphia Eagles
47-31
.603
Pittsburgh Steelers
48-32
.600
 
Since 2000, linebacker JASON TAYLOR of the Miami Dolphins leads the NFL with 38 sacks in December.  Entering Week 14, Miami (6-6) is within one game of the first-place Patriots (7-5) in the AFC East.
 
"Its do or die and you have no room for failure," says Taylor.  "It definitely ramps up throughout December.  December is where you really separate yourself.  It has been a long time since I have been in the playoffs and I am looking forward to trying to get there."
 
The December leaders among active players since 2000 in various statistical categories:
 
PASSING YARDS AND PASSING TOUCHDOWNS
PLAYER 
PASSING YARDS 
 
  PLAYER
PASSING TDs 
Peyton Manning
10,644
 
  Peyton Manning
72
Brett Favre
8,912
 
  Brett Favre
51
Matt Hasselbeck
7,479
 
  Drew Brees
50
Drew Brees
7,459
 
  Matt Hasselbeck
50
Jon Kitna
6,931
 
  Tom Brady
45
   
 
  Kurt Warner
45
 
RECEIVING YARDS AND TOUCHDOWN RECEPTIONS
 
PLAYER 
RECEIVING YARDS 
 
  PLAYER
TD RECEPTIONS 
Torry Holt
3,593
 
  Randy Moss
33
Randy Moss
2,949
 
  Derrick Mason
20
Derrick Mason
2,830
 
  Larry Fitzgerald
19
Tony Gonzalez
2,673
 
  Tony Gonzalez
19
Muhsin Muhammad
2,411
 
  Terrell Owens
19
 
INTERCEPTIONS AND SACKS
 
PLAYER 
INTs 
 
  PLAYER
SACKS 
Ed Reed
15
 
  Jason Taylor
38
Darren Sharper
15
 
  Aaron Schobel
26
Ronde Barber
13
 
  Dwight Freeney
25.5
Nate Clements
13
 
  Leonard Little
20.5
Brian Dawkins
12
 
  Chike Okeafor
20
 

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