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Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice?

It’s always a privilege to watch a game in which a new record is set. But to see one which features two record-breakers is a rare gem indeed.

On a day where the NFL and the headline writers were focussed on the irresistible-force-meets-immovable-object battle between the league’s last two unbeaten teams, the New England Patriots and reigning Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, it was the earlier game between the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings which will go down in the record books.

It was fitting that lightning should strike twice in a game featuring the Chargers, the team whose logo is a thunderbolt, and whose running back LaDainian Tomlinson set NFL single-season records for both rushing (28) and total (31) touchdowns only last season.

But it wasn’t Tomlinson who set the record books alight last night.

That privilege fell first to team-mate Antonio Cromartie, who fielded a missed field goal at the back of his own end zone as time expired in the first half. He then ran it back, untouched, for a 109-yard touchdown which was the longest play in NFL history. Furthermore, as it is not possible for a play to cover more than 109 yards, Cromartie’s record is one which may be equalled in the future, but never beaten.

If that wasn’t enough already, an apparently innocuous three-yard run on the penultimate play of the game by the Vikings’ rookie running back Adrian Peterson was enough to break one of the NFL’s most revered records, the single-game mark for rushing yards once held by the late, legendary Walter Payton. That final carry was enough to move Peterson’s total to 296 yards, beating Jamal Lewis’s previous record by a solitary yard.

As is the nature of these things, Peterson’s record may not stand for long: last night was the third time this particular mark had been broken since 2000. But given that he also currently leads the NFL in rushing yards, total yards from scrimmage and rushing touchdowns, there is every chance he will go on to set more records in the weeks and years to come. This is no one-week wonder: it will be worth remembering his name.

For the record, the result was almost incidental in the midst of all that excitement, but Minnesota won 35-17.

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About Tim
Father of three. Bit of a geek. That's all, folks.

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