SI Vault
Peter King
December 09, 2002
St. Louis Blues Sidelined by another hand injury, the Rams' Kurt Warner is battered, beaten and nowhere near the MVP of old
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December 09, 2002

The Nfl

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Favre, in particular, has formed a stronger passing bond with Ahman Green than he's had with any other back during his 11 years in Green Bay. Last year Green led the Pack in catches with 62, and this season he's on pace to catch 65. In a 30-20 win over Chicago on Sunday, Favre and Green hooked up five times for 45 yards.

Why the overall rise in short stuff? Simple: It's a low-risk way for offensive coordinators to use the passing game to move the ball.

"Seems like Green Bay's got 20 screens they disguise in a bunch of different ways," says Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. "Ahman sells it so well, and their linemen wait until the last possible second before it's thrown. When we played New England, it was the same thing. Brady's great at it."

Workhorses Run For Rushing Title

The race for the league rushing title is heating up. Last year's champ, the Chiefs' Priest Holmes, held a 111-yard lead over the Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson entering last week's games and had a ho-hum 113 yards in less than three quarters of work in Sunday's blowout of the Cardinals. Meanwhile, Tomlinson was piling up 220 yards in an overtime defeat of the Broncos, and the Dolphins' Ricky Williams was burning the Bills for a franchise-record 228 yards. Holmes now has a four-yard edge on Tomlinson (1,322 to 1,318), and Williams is close behind, at 1,284....

The Bengals have never gone winless at home for a season, but they'll have to beat the Jaguars or the Saints to avoid that dubious distinction. And for the third time in 12 years it appears Cincinnati is leaning toward taking a quarterback—it's believed the team likes Marshall's Byron Leftwich—in the first round of the draft....

The Jaguars trotted out their third kicker of the season on Sunday (Richie Cunningham), then watched Steelers rookie free agent Jeff Reed tie a team record by kicking six field goals (including 46- and 50-yarders) in a 25-23 Pittsburgh victory. Reed had auditioned for the Jaguars in October.

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