And the next-best performance by a back after sitting out for more than a game? The Chargers' Marion Butts, who in 1990 played in 14 of 16 games and gained 1,225 yards to come in third, behind Sanders (1,304) and Buffalo's Thurman Thomas (1,297).
Say what you will about the sunset-years slippage of Al Davis, but those were his two wideout projects—Alexander Wright and James Jett—who beat a good Jet cornerback, James Hasty, for touchdowns in the Raiders' 24-20 comeback win. And that was his trash-heap quarterback, Vince Evans, rescuing a game that seemed long lost. For one Sunday, anyway, Davis's big-gain passing game once again worked its rusty magic. The Jets have now lost twice in eight days to backup quarterbacks, blowing leads of 21-0 to Philly's Bubby Brister and 17-0 to Evans. "Devastating," said New York defensive end Marvin Washington, correctly, about the loss to the Raiders....
Phoenix center Ed Cunningham on the perennially disappointing Cardinals, who fell to 1-4 with a 23-21 loss to the previously winless Patriots at half-filled Sun Devil Stadium: "Write us off. We haven't proven we're worthy of people's attending." Is he being too tough on his club? Listen to Cardinal running back Johnny Bailey: "If we can't beat the worst team in the league at home, who can we beat? I'm figuring on a 30-or 40-point victory, and we come out and play like a Pop Warner team. It's just sickening. We should be embarrassed to show our faces around town."
... Cornerback Darrell Green, an 11-year Washington veteran, on the Skins' worst loss ever at RFK Stadium, 41-7 to the Giants: "It's the most disappointing and embarrassing game that I can remember since I've been a Redskin. The end. Thank you."
...Want to know why the Bears, who have 1-4 talent, are 3-2? Through Sunday's games they were tied (with the Steelers) for the lead in the NFL with 15 takeaways, including an amazing 12 in a row without a turnover of their own—a streak that stretched to near halftime of their 17-6 upset of the Eagles....
Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman has a slight separation of his left shoulder, torn rib cartilage and an achy right knee, and he's playing the best football of his life. "I'm starting to accept the fact that it's part of the job of an NFL quarterback to be in some pain," he says. "I still want a 15-year career. But we ain't playin' tennis here." In Sunday's win in Indianapolis, Aikman completed nine of his first 10 passes for the second game in a row. In his last 10 games Aikman has thrown 15 touchdown passes and only two interceptions....
The Vikings' 15-0 win over Tampa Bay was the first NFL shutout in the 12-year history of the Metrodome.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Houston at New England, Sunday. After Monday's loss to Buffalo the Oilers are 1-4, but there is light on the horizon. The next five weeks will present the season's most disappointing team with New England, Cincinnati, a week off, Seattle and Cincinnati again. These three clubs are a combined 13-50 since the start of 1992.
THE END ZONE
Houston owner Bud Adams was recently heard to complain that his players were getting themselves involved in too many off-the-field pursuits during the season. Odd. His coach, Jack Pardee, and his two coordinators, Buddy Ryan and Kevin Gilbride, combine for 11 weekly radio and TV shows.