San Francisco loses Jerry Rice, the premier player of his day, in a season-opening loss, runs off 10 straight wins and, by virtue of Sunday's 27-19 victory over the Panthers, clinches the NFC West with five games left on the schedule. It's official: This is a pretty good franchise.
The last time Tampa Bay didn't finish with a losing record was 1982, when the Buccaneers went 5-4 during a strike-shortened season. Until now. Sunday's 27-7 win over New England—the Bucs held the Patriots without a first down in the first half—was Tampa's eighth win and broke the Bucs' 14-year string, ending the longest active losing-season streak (shared with the NBA's Kings) in pro sports.
The Packers put untradable stock that pays no dividends on the Internet for $200 a share. The Web site had four million hits seeking info in the first four days the stock was offered, and the club could raise the $80 million it seeks by week's end.
4. TEENY LITTLE SUPERGUY
Doug Flutie was not too small on Sunday to be the best football player in the Canadian Football League, which he has been for most of the last decade. His 352 passing yards, three touchdown passes and one scoring run lifted Toronto to a 47-23 win over Saskatchewan in the Grey Cup.
5. DOLTS NO MORE
The Colts have beaten the defending Super Bowl champs three straight years, the latest win a 41-38 thriller over the Packers on Sunday. That's odd. This is bizarre: Cary Blanchard booted four field goals in each of those wins, including the game-winner with less than a minute left.