?In the Lions' modest two-game winning streak, against the Browns and the 49ers, which have two of the best defenses in the NFL, Detroit quarterback Scott Mitchell completed 65% of his passes for 564 yards, three touchdowns and only one interception.
?The Jets, 1-10 in their last 11 games, were outscored 85-0 in the fourth quarter of those games.
?The Patriots have been inside their opponents' 20-yard line 21 times this season and have emerged with three TDs.
On the Run
What more can you say about Emmitt Smith who, at age 26, is putting up such remarkable numbers that they may never be equaled. Smith has already won three league rushing titles, and through Sunday he was 220 yards ahead of his nearest challenger, Raider Harvey Williams, in seeking a fourth. Smith is only 29 rushing touchdowns away from surpassing Walter Payton's alltime mark of 110—a record he could break by late next season.
After the not guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial, one prominent quarterback said. "There was tension in our locker room, and it wasn't good." A similar atmosphere pervaded other NFL teams, and, not surprisingly, feelings about the verdict were split along racial lines. In Dallas the day before the verdict, Cowboy tackle Nate Newton—as considerate, cooperative and engaging a personality as there is in the league—spoke aloud what many African-American players were feeling. "It doesn't matter if he's innocent or guilty," Newton said of Simpson to a white reporter. "It's not going to change what's going on in this country. You people have controlled us forever, and you'll continue to go on controlling us. That's just the way it is."
Last week we told you that Raider boss Al Davis has been uncharacteristically generous in allowing new coach Mike White to run his team. But don't believe for a minute that the 66-year-old Davis is mellowing with age. On Oct. 5 he and the city of Oakland filed a $200 million claim against the NFL, which had sued the Raiders in August. The NFL is seeking to recover $3 million-$4 million in revenue-sharing from the personal seat licenses and club seats that the Raiders have sold at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum since deciding to move back to the Bay Area from Los Angeles in June. Davis responded by accusing the NFL of everything from mismanaging the World League, to bearing responsibility for league employees who allegedly embezzled money from NFL Properties. Davis pointedly sued only 16 teams by name, omitting those owned by potential allies, including the Cowboys, the Patriots, the Bengals, the Dolphins and the Rams.
Davis defeated the league in court in 1982, when the NFL sued to prevent him from moving the Raiders to Los Angeles, and, says Davis's longtime lawyer, Joseph Alioto, the former mayor of San Francisco, "We beat them in court last time and we'll beat them again."
Message to Barry Foster: Grow up. A few weeks ago, the former Steeler running back, who was traded by Pittsburgh during the off-season and then cut from the Panthers just before the season because Carolina didn't think he would play hurt, gave a woe-is-me interview to ESPN, in which he pleaded for a chance from any team for almost any salary. But when the Oilers soon thereafter offered him the NFL minimum of $178,000 plus $1 million in incentives, he turned it down. Fine. But then last week the Bengals offered him a one-year contract reportedly worth $1 million. He turned that one down too. This is a guy who wants to play football? Wake up and smell the waivers, Barry.
Woe to the Steelers after their 20-16 loss in Jacksonville on Sunday. Pittsburgh, which led the NFL in rushing last year, ran for only 66 yards against the expansion Jaguars and was stopped three times inside the Jacksonville 10.... Bronco coach Mike Shanahan has conceded that John Elway is uncomfortable executing his quick-reaction, short-pass West Coast offense, and they've arrived at a solution. Shanahan has devised an offense that combines the no-huddle approach and shotgun formations. "Mike made it happen," says Elway, who responded on Sunday by completing 21 of 34 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-3 thrashing of the Patriots.... Oh those wacky 1-5 Jets. Making his first career start on Sunday, against the Bills—and making it opposite future Hall of Fame pass-rusher Bruce Smith—was undrafted former Elizabeth City State lineman Everett McIver, who played one season at offensive tackle for the school. Asked before the game if he thought Smith had watched film of him to prepare, McIver said, "He can't watch film of me. There isn't any." Smith's day: four tackles, 1� sacks and one near beheading when McIver moved before the snap, giving Smith an unobstructed path to Jet quarterback Boomer Esiason before the play could be blown dead.