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Significant Bills records set in 2012

There were 42 Buffalo Bills team or individual records that were either established, tied or extended in the 2012 regular season. Some of those were good, a few more were bad, and some weren't worth mentioning. Here are the most noteworthy records from the 2012 season.

The good

- The Bills set a team record for first downs in a game when they recorded 35 against New England on Nov. 11, breaking the team record of 34 set on Sept. 18, 2011 against Oakland.

- The specials teams return units had a great season, setting team records for highest punt return average (26 returns for 445 yards, an average of 17.1 yards per return) and highest kick return average (42 returns for 1,136 yards, an average of 27.1 yards per return). That broke team records from 2008 for punt return average (15.5) and 2005 for kick return average (26.6).

- Leodis McKelvin became the team's all-time leader in punt return average for a career, with a minimum of 20 returns, as he has an average of 16.3 yards per return (39 returns for 637 yards) in his five seasons, breaking the record of 12.1 yards per return held by C.J. Spiller (25 returns for 302 yards). McKelvin's season average of 18.7 (23 returns for 431 yards) broke the 2007 record held by Roscoe Parrish of 16.3 yards (27 returns for 440 yards).

- Spiller set an individual record for career rushing average (with a minimum of 200 attempts), as he's averaged 5.4 yards per carry in his three seasons (388 carries for 2,088 yards). That breaks the record of 4.8 held by O.J. Simpson, who gained 10,183 yards on 2,123 carries.

- McKelvin also tied an individual record with his third career punt return touchdown, matching Keith Moody and Parrish.

- Rookie punter Shawn Powell set an individual record for highest punting average by a rookie. His average of 44.0 yards beat out John Kidd's 1984 mark of 42.0 yards.

The bad

- Not surprisingly, the Bills' defense had some forgettable moments, including giving up the most franchise points in the second half of a game when New England scored 45 on Sept. 30. That broke the record of 38 set by Baltimore on Dec. 12, 1976.  

- The San Francisco 49ers also gained 621 yards on Oct. 7, the most ever against the Bills. The 49ers previously held the record with 598, set Sept. 13, 1992.

The defense gave up 349 first downs this season, breaking the team record of 345 set in 1984.

- Individually, Tom Brady continued his dominance of the Bills. Brady now has 51 passing touchdowns against the Bills, breaking Dan Marino's mark of 50. Brady has seven 300-yard passing games against Buffalo, tying Marino's number.

- New England's Wes Welker has the most career receptions against the Bills with 99, breaking the record of 90 held by Don Maynard.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |