7. Keyshawn's Arrival. It was good for the team that Johnson had a big afternoon on Sunday. He was a nonfactor the first two weeks—only six receptions total—and though he wasn't bitching about being underused, his teammates were. "We didn't pay Keyshawn $56 million to be some damn decoy," Sapp said the night before the game against Detroit. "We've got to start getting him the ball." On Sunday, 10 of King's 30 attempts went Johnson's way.
"I'm not going to complain about numbers," Johnson, looking like a million bucks, said after the game. "All I care about is winning a Super Bowl—this year."
Tiki Barber's Emergence
Grass Fuels Top Rusher's Run
No one was happier to see the artificial turf ripped from the floor of Giants Stadium this year than running back Tiki Barber. "There's no question I'm a better player on grass," says Barber, the league's surprising rushing leader after three weeks, with 326 yards on only 41 carries. "I'm just really apprehensive on the turf. I'm more cautious. On grass I feel I can let my abilities come out more. I'm confident. I'm comfortable."
Fear of injury, Barber says, has made him a tentative player on artificial turf. Since the start of the 1999 season he has averaged 6.8 yards per carry on grass and 4.9 yards on turf. On Sept. 3 he exploded out of the gate on Giants Stadium's new surface for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in a 21-16 victory over the Cardinals. He was back on the grass on Sunday, picking up 86 yards on 17 carries and scoring a touchdown in a 14-7 win over the Bears at Soldier Field as the Giants ran their record to 3-0 for the first time since 1994. In three games he has already rushed for more yards than he did in each of the last two seasons, and 10 of his team's 13 remaining games are on grass.
The new surface on his home field isn't the only reason that Barber, a second-round draft choice out of Virginia in 1997, has been better. He felt too heavy last season at 205 pounds, so during the off-season he dropped 14 pounds by repeatedly running 2� miles up and down a hillside in northern New Jersey. Giants fullback Greg Cornelia, who learned the hill regimen while at Stanford from training freak Jerry Rice, introduced Barber to it.
"I have to thank Jerry Rice," says Barber, "because running that hill taught me to push my body to the max, then beyond." All the way to the top of the NFL rushing charts.
Chiefs' Grbac Finds a Weapon
On Sunday, Chiefs quarterback Elvis Grbac threw a first-quarter interception that Chargers safety Michael Dumas returned for a score. Grbac also twisted his right knee on the play and limped off the field to a chorus of boos. Then, in a stunning turnaround, he rebounded to have the most productive day by a Kansas City signal-caller since 1966.
Grbac has been unspectacular, to put it mildly, in recent seasons. Going into the San Diego game, he had thrown almost as many interceptions (34) as touchdown passes (41) since he joined the Chiefs in 1997. But with rookie first-round pick Sylvester Morris getting separation from a good San Diego secondary, Grbac found the deep threat he has been lacking. He threw touchdown passes of 36, nine and 20 yards to Morris, and a total of five on the day—the most since Len Dawson shredded the Boston Patriots for five scores—in a 42-10 Kansas City rout.