Now for the matter of how history will judge him. Bettis is 29. He's the only back weighing more than 240 pounds to have gained more than 10,000 yards. On Sunday he passed Ottis Anderson and moved into 13th place on the alltime rushing list, with 10,354 yards. "I'm unique," Bettis says. "I don't think Earl Campbell [who played at 235 pounds] or Christian Okoye  had the quick feet or the moves to make people miss the way I do."
If he stays healthy, it isn't a stretch to mink that Bettis could wind up fourth or fifth on the alltime rushing list. ( Eric Dickerson is fourth, with 13,259 yards, 520 ahead of Tony Dorsett.) After all, Bettis is averaging a career-best 5.9 yards per carry this season. "Some guys get to 10,000 yards and feel as if they're at the end of their rope," Bettis says. "I'm at 10,000, and I feel that I've got three good years left. I mean, really good years!'
2002 Financial Forecast
AFC Central Trio Has Work to Do
Recent AFC Central powers Jacksonville, Tennessee and Baltimore will be 1-2-3 in the league in cap calamity in 2002. According to salary information obtained by SI, they're the teams that will have to cut the most money from their rosters early next year to get under the salary cap, which is estimated to be about $72.4 million for the 2002 season. The Jaguars, who already had to do major surgery to get under this year's cap, will be $23.3 million over the 2002 limit The Titans will be $18.3 million over and will have decisions to make about a trio of valuable defensive linemen—Josh Evans, Jason Fisk and Joe Salave'a—who will be eligible for free agency. For the Ravens ($16.8 million over), defensive backs Duane Starks and Corey Harris could be testing the free-agent waters.
At the other end of the spectrum the Cardinals, with $27 million in cap room, will have the most money to spend. Next up are the Bears, surprise leaders of the NFC Central, at $24.6 million, and the Eagles ($20.2 million). Lest you think these teams will steal what has become a thinning crop of free agents, remember that the Texans will have the entire $72.4 million to build a roster, and recent expansion franchises have gone hog-wild in free agency in their first few years.
Patriots' New Quarterback
Brady a Model Of Efficiency
With New England facing first down at its nine-yard line midway through the second quarter of Sunday's game in Indianapolis, Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis sent in a gutsy call for his green quarterback, Tom Brady: a pass play with several options, one of which was to throw deep down the left side to speedy wideout David Patten. When he saw Patten getting single coverage, Brady, the find of this young NFL season, never hesitated. The ball arced high into the air and settled, more than 40 yards downfield, into Patten's hands. He never broke stride. The 91-yard touchdown was the longest play from scrimmage in the Pats' 42-year history.
On New England's next play Weis called a double pass, in which Brady would lateral to Patten on the left flank, and Patten would fling the ball downfield. It is a mark of the 24-year-old Brady's surprising maturity that when he entered the huddle after a TV timeout, he told his mates with a big smile, "Guys, I think Charlie's going a little crazy. He's calling the double pass."
Brady's toss to Patten was perfect, as was Patten's throw to fellow wideout Troy Brown, which went for a 60-yard score. Another Brady touchdown pass late in the first half made the score 28-3, and New England was on its way to its second upset of the Colts in a month. Brady completed 16 passes in 20 attempts for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the 38-17 win.
"It's nice to know they have the confidence in me to make those kinds of calls in big spots," Brady said on Monday. Why wouldn't they? Now 3-1 as a starter while filling in for the injured Drew Bledsoe, Brady has been the model of efficiency, completing 60% of his attempts and throwing 131 passes without an interception while tossing five touchdown passes.