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Broncos-Chargers run away with top billing
Posted: Wednesday October 17, 2001 2:07 PM
By B. Duane Cross, CNNSI.com
When the Denver Broncos visit the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, one running back who excelled as a rookie in 2000 will meet a rookie rusher excelling in 2001.
For Denver, Mike Anderson enters his second season after finishing fourth in the NFL with a rookie-best 1,487 rushing yards in 2000. His total tied for the fifth best in league history by a rookie. Anderson also ranked second in the league with 15 touchdown runs -- tied for second-most ever by a rookie.
San Diego boasts rookie LaDainian Tomlinson, who ranks second in the NFL with a rookie-high 486 rushing yards and is tied for the league lead with seven touchdown runs. Tomlinson, who trails NFL rushing leader Curtis Martin of the New York Jets by only 30 yards, could become the first rookie to lead the league in rushing yards and touchdown runs since Jim Brown in 1957 (942 yards and nine scoring runs).
|Inside the Numbers|
Through first five games of rookie season
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Marcus Allen, who played more games than any running back in NFL history (222) during his 16-year career, says that both players are extremely effective, albeit in different ways.
Anderson "has shown that he has the ability to be a very productive back," says Allen. "Imagine if he played football when he was a kid." Anderson did not play high school football, and joined the U.S. Marines after high school.
Allen notes Anderson's background may have been a help. "With his time in the military, he understands discipline," says Allen. "With the things he has gone through in the Marines, the challenges of the NFL probably pale in comparison. I'm sure there were demands placed on him in the military which made playing in the NFL easy."
Allen describes Anderson as "a big, strong, powerful, slashing runner with very deceptive moves."
He sees a different type of talent in Tomlinson. "LaDainian is a little Barry Sanders, a little Emmitt Smith," says Allen. "He has all the physical tools to be a great back. I look at him and -- barring injury -- I see a guy who could break all the records for rushing yards and touchdowns. He has that kind of skill."
Baltimore @ Cleveland -- 1 p.m. EDT
Ravens lead all-time series 4-0. In previous two matchups at Cleveland, the Browns have been outscored 53-9. Baltimore is averaging 28.5 ppg in series, while Cleveland is posting 6.5 ppg.
Chicago @ Cincinnati -- 1 p.m. EDT
Bengals lead all-time series 4-2. The Bears' 3-1 start is their best since 1991 (4-0). Cincinnati is aiming for its sixth consecutive victory at Paul Brown Stadium (12-4 at home vs. NFC since 1993).
Pittsburgh @ Tampa Bay -- 1 p.m. EDT
Steelers lead all-time series 4-1. Pittsburgh has an NFL-best 5.73 ypc avg. -- .01 shy of the season record (Cleveland, 5.74 in 1963). Bucs TE Dave Moore has 149 career catches, 21 for TDs (14 percent).
St. Louis @ New York -- 1 p.m. EDT
Rams lead all-time series 7-2. St. Louis is averaging 42.2 ppg. in past five vs. AFC. RB Curtis Martin looks to be first Jet since 1985 with TD run in six consecutive games (Tony Paige, Sept. 10-Oct. 20).
Denver @ San Diego -- 4:05 p.m. EDT
Broncos lead all-time series 31-16. Denver has 45 individual 100-yard rushing games in Mike Shanahan's 101 regular-season games as head coach (vs. 71 100s in 516 games from 1960-94).
Philadelphia @ New York -- 9 p.m. EDT Monday
Giants lead all-time series 72-58-2. Since 1985, series has gone in streaks: Giants six consecutive wins from '85-87, Eagles 9 of 10 from '88-92, Giants four from '93-94, Eagles four from '95-96, Giants eight from '97-present.
This is the third year in a row the Rams have started 5-0. Only two other teams in the NFL's 82-year history have done that: the 1929-31 Packers, coached by Curly Lambeau, and the '73-75 Vikings, led by Bud Grant.
Sweet 16 |
After five weeks, 16 clubs are above .500 -- the most after five weeks since 1985 (16). The 51.6 percent of clubs (16 of 31) above .500 is the most since '94, when 53.6 of the teams (15 of 28) were above .500 after five weeks.
Yes, the Vikings have struggled this year (2-3), but they are fresh off a 31-26 home win vs. Detroit that may signal a turnaround. On Sunday, Minnesota plays host to Green Bay (2-7 in past nine at Metrodome).
Big Easy |
In six starts vs. New Orleans as a member of the Falcons, QB Chris Chandler has completed 73 of 109 passes (67.0 percent) for 1,158 yards with nine TDs and five 5 INTs for 110.6 passer rating.
Carolina blue |
The Redskins are 5-0 all-time against the Panthers, but four of the games have been decided by three points or fewer. In two of the past three meetings, Carolina WR Muhsin Muhammad has 100-yard games.
Heisman reunion |
Tennessee-Detroit matchup features three Heisman Trophy winners: Titans RB Edie George (Ohio State, 995); Lions backup QB Ty Detmer (BYU, 1990) and KR-PR Desmond Howard (Michigan, 1991).
| Flattery: Marshall Dillon |
In front of a record crowd in 64,217 -- the largest ever see a sporting event in Cincinnati -- Corey Dillon carried the ball 31 times for 140 yards and one TD as the Bengals beat Cleveland 24-14.
| Flag: Bird brains |
The Falcons allowed 49ers QB Jeff Garcia to rally from a 13-point deficit for an OT victory. Garcia accounted for 402 yards and four TD. He threw for 332 yards and three TDs and rushed for 70 yards and a score.
| Flattery: G-Men 'D' |
Albeit in a loss, the Giants' defense was suffocating, sacking Rams QB Kurt Warner six times (four by DE Michael Strahan) and safety Sam Garnes added an interception.
| Flag: Reeled in |
The Dolphins' losing streak is seven vs. the Jets after blowing a 17-0 lead. From the New York 6 in the waning seconds, Miami QB Jay Fiedler was picked off by Jets LB Marvin Jones in the end zone.
| Flattery: Ravenous |
Packers QB Brett Favre had a highlight performance against defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore. He finished 27 of 34 for 337 yards, including three TD passes.
| Flag: MNF |
ABC canceled Two Guys and a Girl but opted to subject the viewing public to seeing Jerry Jones' new look? We thought Halloween was Oct. 31. ... And word is masks of Jones' makeover are hot in Big D.
CNNSI.com's James Quintong says many fantasy owners leave their drafts thinking they've done a decent job of stocking their team. Then reality strikes, usually around this time of year, and they're staring at a 2-3 or 1-4 record and wondering what went wrong. Five weeks into the season, here's a roster of fantasy stars who are still playing well but are probably still major disappointments for their owners. Check out this week's Fantasy File.
Check out Fantasy Central for more insight and analysis.
Users sounded off on who is the most underrated head coach in the NFL -- and why: |
Steve Mariucci, 49ers -- Hands down, he's the most underrated coach. He doesn't have that much talent on the roster, but they seem to be improving every week.
Rafieu, Annandale, Va.
Mike Shanahan, Broncos -- This guy has made the best decisions in bringing in the right personnel to keep the Broncos contenders after John Elway left and Terrell Davis' injuries.
Mark, Stockton, Calif.
Dave Wannstedt, Dolphins -- For two straight years, he has taken a team of Marino-less no-names and made them winners.
Brad, Prattville, Ala.
Jim Haslett, Saints -- I don't think anyone else could have turned this joke of a franchise into a contender.
Justin, Baton Rouge, La.
Dick Jauron, Bears -- The Bears can play with the best and always put up a fight, despite below average talent. They rarely get dominated.
Nick, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Mike Sherman, Packers -- Who would have thought that the Packers would be in first place in the NFC Central?
Matt, Stratford, Conn.
Mike Riley, Chargers -- He took a team that was 1-15 and turned them into 3-1. How many coaches can do that? Credit to John Butler, too. He's a great GM.
Matt, San Diego
Brian Billick, Ravens -- Look at his history as an assistant in Minnesota. Then a Super Bowl with Dilfer as a QB. The Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL.
Phillip, Roanoke, Va.
Jon Gruden, Raiders -- While most NFL fans consider the Raiders to be a Super Bowl-caliber team, most forget where this franchise was when he got there. Gruden gets the most out of journeyman veterans other teams have given up on and young players alike.
Dave McGinnis, Cardinals -- He accepts a head-coaching job for a team that has a history of losing and starts off by inspiring his players. He's a winner through and through.
Andy Reid, Eagles -- He has continued to bring the Eagles to that next level, and I have full confidence that he will lead the eagles to a ring.
Tony Dungy, Buccaneers -- Mild mannered, quiet, honest, conservative. Wins with "team" work, and never loses control of any situation.
Bill, Gainesville, Fla.
Dick LeBeau, Bengals -- Anyone who can have Mike Brown as his GM and even win one game should be given more credit.
Mike, Paris, France
| This week's topic: With the game on the line, which running back -- from any era -- would you want carrying the ball?|
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