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Homecoming for Raiders' Gannon, Gruden in Philly
Posted: Wednesday October 24, 2001 2:04 PM
By B. Duane Cross, CNNSI.com
In Philadelphia this week, Oakland Raiders head Jon Gruden and quarterback Rich Gannon will have homecomings.
Gruden was the Eagles' offensive coordinator from 1995-97 before taking the Raiders' job, and will be facing his former team for the first time. Gannon was born in Philadelphia; it's also his first appearance as a Raider in Philadelphia.
Gruden also worked with Eagles head coach Andy Reid as assistants with the Green Bay Packers. Since he took over Oakland in 1998, the Raiders have yet to lose after a bye (3-0).
The matchup of first-place teams could come down to the passing game. Gannon is the AFC's top-rated passer (95.8) and has been intercepted only once. The Eagles have the league's No. 1 pass defense (147.6).
Philadelphia is coming off a 10-9 victory Monday night against the Giants in which its second-ranked NFC defense held New York in the second half to four consecutive series of three downs-and-out, and only three first downs.
In the first-ever meeting between Colts' Jim Mora and Chiefs' Dick Vermeil, Mora aims to become first opposing head coach since Raiders' Tom Flores to win three consecutive games at Arrowhead Stadium (1982-84).
Cardinals QB Jake Plummer set career highs vs. Cowboys with 465 passing yards (Nov. 15, 1998), 75.0 completion percentage (18 of 24 on Sept. 10, 2000) and longest rush (31 yards on Nov. 9, 1997).
Dome Sweet Dome |
Lions QB Charlie Batch has completed 92 of 141 passes (65.2 percent) for 1,087 yards with eight TDs and two INTs for a 101.6 passer rating in his past six games indoors.
Big Easy |
The past four games between the Jaguars and Ravens have been decided by seven points or less, and four of the five meetings in Baltimore have been decided by seven points or less. The Jags are 4-1 all-time at Baltimore.
Alexander the Great |
Seahawks have the AFC's No. 4 rush offense (123.0), and RB Shaun Alexander has rushed for 318 yards (club-record two-game span) and four TDs in past two games. He ranks third in the AFC with five TD runs.
50-50 proposition |
In the Vikings-Buccaneers series, the home team has won the past seven meetings. The clubs have split the past eight season series; Vikings won 20-16 earlier this season at the Metrodome.
| Flattery: Triple threat |
Against the Colts, Patriots WR David Patten (117 receiving yards and two TDs) became first player in 22 years -- to the day -- with a TD run, TD catch, TD pass in the same game (Walter Payton vs. Vikings, Oct. 21, 1979).
| Flag: House of Horrors |
The Packers fell to 2-8 in their past 10 games at Minnesota after a 35-13 drubbing. After winning the first seven away games of the series, the Packers have lost 21 of the past 33 road games against the Vikings.
| Flattery: Hot Rod |
Redskins rookie WR Rod Gardner had six receptions for 208 yards (eighth-most in team history) with an 85-yard TD vs. Panthers in Week 6. He leads the team with 22 catches, 417 yards and two TDs.
| Flag: Art of hiding |
OK, so Art Modell relocates to Baltimore. After years in Cleveland, did he forget his way back? For the record, it's about 375 miles northwest -- and mapquest.com can get you there. Face the fans, Art.
| Flattery: Steel Curtain |
The Steelers have an AFC-high 21 sacks, including 10 (with a career-high four by LB Joey Porter) vs. Buccaneers in Week 6. Black & Gold "D" has yielded only four TDs in the past 18 quarters.
| Flag: Mike Martz |
With apologies to Pat Kirwan, pro football does not imply "a certain amount of entertainment value." Leading 31-7 does not call for an onside kick. Remember: What goes around, comes around.
CNNSI.com's James Quintong says you just thought the Marshall Faulk injury was a big blow. Last week, thanks to some key injuries, a number of rookies and lesser-regarded young players emerged. Check out this week's Fantasy File.
Check out Fantasy Central for more insight and analysis.
Users sounded off on with the game on the line, which running back -- from any era -- would they want carrying the ball: |
Walter Payton: He always got the yards needed and did not like running out of bounds. Too bad Ditka wouldn't give him a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Chazz, Biloxi, Miss.
Paul Hornug: Vince Lombardi called this Hall of Famer the best runner he ever saw inside the 20-yard line. I'll go along with Vince's opinion!
Mark, Stockton, Calif.
Marcus Allen: That guy always fell forward and had amazing vision. He could break the long one, or run it in for short yardage.
Blake, Baldwin City, Kan.
Emmitt Smith: There is no denying that he is the best in the business. He gets it done.
Mark, Banner Elk, N.C.
Earl Campbell: No one could run over and through linebackers like he could.
Charlie, New Orleans
Roger Craig: He could block, run, and catch the ball better than anyone. He was a threat every time he walked onto the field.
Eric, Irvine, Calif.
Jim Taylor: In the big games, Taylor shined as one of the best backs in NFL history. Look at the titles won in Green Bay during the '60s!
Craig, Madison, Wis.
Larry Csonka: He used to make would be tacklers wish they had taken up basketball.
Michael, Pearlington, Miss.
Jim Brown: He dominated like no other running back has in any other era.
Ed, Jefferson City, Mo.
Eric Dickerson: The best combination of speed, power and finesse I have ever seen.
Will, Allentown, Pa.
Barry Sanders: This guy will juke, high-step or spin his way out of any potential tackle and give you a touchdown if you need it.
Donson, Lexington, Ky.
Jim Thorpe: Just strap a leather shoe onto his head and he is good to go ...
Miguel, Las Cruces, N.M.
William "The Fridge" Perry: Even though he wasn't actually a running back, he was so big that he couldn't be stopped, and he was just a plain stud with the football.
Steven, Jackson, Miss.
| This week's topic: What is the best NFL rivalry?|
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