Archive for Monday, December 18, 2000

Saints, snow dominate

New Orleans nears berth; weather whips others

December 18, 2000


The New Orleans Saints were lucky they didn't have to deal with bad weather on a day when snow, rain and frosty conditions were the NFL's big winners.

Playing inside the Superdome, the Saints moved to the brink of clinching their first playoff spot since 1992 with a 23-7 victory Sunday over the Atlanta Falcons.

Cleveland's Marquis Smith grabs the facemask of Tennessee running
back Eddie George (27) in the second quarter. George ran for 176
yards and three touchdowns in the Titans' 24-0 victory Sunday in
Cleveland. Smith was called for a five-yard facemask penalty.

Cleveland's Marquis Smith grabs the facemask of Tennessee running back Eddie George (27) in the second quarter. George ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns in the Titans' 24-0 victory Sunday in Cleveland. Smith was called for a five-yard facemask penalty.

Only a tie in tonight's game between St. Louis and Tampa Bay there has not been a tie in the NFL since 1997 can prevent the Saints from reaching postseason play.

"I don't know of too many teams that go 3-13, then have won 10 games to this point this season," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "The way these guys have stuck together and really become a family, the way they feed off one another, that's the biggest thing I'm proud of."

Terrell Owens had plenty to be proud of, too. While the San Francisco 49ers and their fans were honoring Jerry Rice on possibly his final home game, Owens caught an NFL-record 20 passes for 283 yards in a 17-0 win over Chicago.

Owens broke Tom Fears' mark of 18 catches set with the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 3, 1950, against Green Bay. Owens also topped Rice's franchise record of 16 receptions against the Los Angeles Rams in 1994.

"What I did by no means overshadows No. 80," Owens said about Rice, his mentor. "He's been a big part of my success."

With tears in his eyes after the game, Rice praised Owens.

"Records are meant to be broken," Rice said. "I feel T.O. is going to carry on the tradition."

Detroit guard Jeff Hartings recovered James Stewart's fumble in the end zone with 5:43 left, lifting the Lions over the New York Jets, 10-7.

"Offensive linemen don't get touchdowns, don't think about touchdowns," he said. "We just think about getting touchdowns for the other guys and letting them dance."

In many places, brutal weather ruled.

At Cincinnati, the wind chill factor was 20 degrees below zero and the field was so blanketed by snow that the officials had the Bengals' grounds crew paint orange sidelines and goal lines.

At Cleveland, snow covered the field and players on both sidelines crowded around space heaters to ward off a wind chill factor of minus-10.

And in Buffalo, the driving snow that made it tough to play football also shut the airport, stranding the New England Patriots after their 13-10 overtime win.

49ers 17, Bears 0

After Rice's daughter sang the national anthem, the NFL's most prolific pass catcher made a 25-yard reception on San Francisco's first play. Rice, who finished with seven catches for 74 yards, took a victory lap after the game. Rice, 38, has said he is not ready for retirement, but the 49ers (6-9) probably cannot afford his salary.

Colts 20, Dolphins 13

NFL rushing leader Edgerrin James ran for 112 yards and Peyton Manning threw for 206 yards. The Colts (9-6) will make the postseason if they beat Minnesota and the New York Jets lose at Baltimore in the season finale. For the second week in a row, the Dolphins (10-5) missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot. Miami can still make it if they win Sunday at New England.

Lions 10, Jets 7

James Stewart ran for a career-best 164 yards and Detroit kept alive its playoff hopes. The Lions (9-6) need to beat Chicago next week and get help to reach the postseason. John Hall of the Jets missed a 35-yard field goal try with nine seconds left. New York (9-6) must win at Baltimore next week or get lots of help to make the playoffs.

Titans 24, Browns 0

Tennessee moved closer to clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as Eddie George ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns at Cleveland. The defending AFC champion Titans (12-3) posted their first shutout in seven seasons, when the team was located in Houston. Jeff Fisher's 60th victory made him the winningest coach in franchise history.

Ravens 13, Cardinals 7

Jamie Sharper's interception set up Baltimore's only touchdown as the playoff-bound Ravens once again relied on defense to win. The Ravens (11-4) were outgained 309-214 at Arizona, yet still won their sixth in a row. The Cardinals (3-12) got inside Baltimore's 30 five times without scoring.

Packers 33, Vikings 28

Brett Favre threw three touchdown passes and Ahman Green ran for a career-high 161 yards as Green Bay stopped Minnesota's 13-game home winning streak. The Vikings (11-4) could have clinched home-field advantage with a victory. Ryan Longwell kicked four field goals for the Packers (8-7), who must beat Tampa Bay next Sunday at Lambeau Field to have a chance at reaching the playoffs.

Bengals 17, Jaguars 14

Rookie Neil Rackers kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired, lifting Cincinnati over visiting Jacksonville. Danny Farmer, a Los Angeles native playing for the first time in the snow, caught passes of 38, 22 and 19 yards as the Bengals (4-11) drove toward a tying touchdown with 3:22 left. Fred Taylor ran for 110 yards, his ninth straight 100-yard game for the Jaguars (7-8).

Patriots 13, Bills 10, OT

Adam Vinatieri redeemed himself by making a 24-yard field goal with 19 seconds left in overtime for New England. Vinatieri had missed seven of his 11 previous field-goal tries at Buffalo, including a 27-yarder at the end of regulation. Buffalo (7-8) has lost four in a row for the first time since dropping six straight in 1985. The Bills won in overtime at New England (5-10) last month.

Panthers 30, Chargers 22

Iheanyi Uwaezuoke scored on a 64-yard punt return and Doug Evans returned a blocked field goal 54 yards for another touchdown as Carolina beat San Diego. The visiting Chargers (1-14) clinched the worst record in the league and top pick in the draft. The Panthers (7-8) overcame a 22-14 deficit late in the third quarter.

Giants 17, Cowboys 13

New York played an inept first half and started the third quarter even worse before getting in gear, scoring the last 17 points in the final 18 minutes to clinch the NFC East. Kerry Collins threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer, and an interception by Emmanuel McDaniel set up an 8-yard TD run by Tiki Barber as the Giants (11-4) beat Dallas (5-10).

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