© St. Petersburg Times, published December 2, 2002
JACKSONVILLE -- Playing the second half with a broken nose, Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis gained 86 yards on 20 carries to reach 11,459 yards for his career and pass John Riggins for 10th on the career list.
"What can you say about Jerome," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "He's a Hall of Fame running back."
To Bettis, outgaining Riggins, who played 14 seasons for the Jets and Redskins, was something he never envisioned when he left Notre Dame in 1993, certain he would be a blocking back in the NFL.
"He was a big back and when you look at big backs, that's one you circle," the 256-pound Bettis said of Riggins. "He had the biggest production, so he's the guy. ... As a big man, it's hard to get the longevity to be able to get those numbers."
Up next at No. 9 on the career list is Thurman Thomas at 12,074 yards.
BEARS: Running back Anthony Thomas injured his right index finger in the first half.
BENGALS: Safety Lamont Thompson sprained his neck in the second half.
BRONCOS: Tight end Shannon Sharpe was inactive with a separated right elbow. After he was hurt Nov. 11 he was expected to miss up to a month, but returned to practice Wednesday. ... Kick returner Scottie Montgomery complained of numbness in his neck after being carted off against the Chargers, but tests were negative and he flew home with the team.
BROWNS: Receiver/kick returner Dennis Northcutt sprained his right knee late in the first half and didn't return.
CARDINALS: Guard Pete Kendall sprained his left knee and is expected to miss at least four weeks. ... The team also lost receiver Frank Sanders to a sprained foot.
CHARGERS: Defensive tackle Jamal Williams dislocated his left ankle and is lost for the season.
COLTS: Receiver Marvin Harrison caught a 9-yard pass with 10:15 left to tie Raymond Berry's club record for receptions. Harrison has caught 631 passes in seven seasons, the same number as Berry, a Hall-of-Famer who played from 1955-67.
FALCONS: Former Buc running back Warrick Dunn left in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle and didn't return. ... The team's second-leading tackler, linebacker John Holecek, missed the game with a broken arm.
49ERS: Defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield was scratched from the starting lineup against Seattle with a stomach virus that originally was thought to be food poisoning. ... Safeties Zack Bronson and Ronnie Heard also sat out with injuries.
GIANTS: Middle linebacker Mike Barrow sustained a minor concussion with about six minutes left in the third quarter. ... Michael Strahan has at least half a sack in 10 straight games, tying a league record held Jevon Kearse (1999) and Simon Fletcher (1991).
PACKERS: Left tackle Chad Clifton watched the game from his home in Green Bay after his release from the hospital on Saturday. Clifton injured his pelvis on a hit by Bucs defensive tackle Warren Sapp during an interception return last week.
RAMS: Marshall Faulk returned after missing two games with a sprained right ankle and a strained tendon in his left foot. He didn't start and wound up with 29 yards on nine carries. ... All-Pro tackle Orlando Pace went out in the first half with a hamstring injury.
RAVENS: Rookie receiver Javin Hunter, awaiting a decision on whether he'll serve a four-game suspension after testing positive for ephedrine, played but didn't catch a pass.
TITANS: Eddie George broke the franchise rushing record with a 4-yard run in the first quarter. George came in needing 4 yards to surpass the mark of 8,574, set by Earl Campbell from 1978-84, when the team was the Houston Oilers. ... Cornerback Samari Rolle sustained a neck stinger (deadened nerve) on the first play of the second half. He returned to the sideline at the start of the fourth quarter.
VIKINGS: Rookie left tackle Bryant McKinnie missed two series in the second quarter and another in the third with an upset stomach. Twice he was doubled over a trash can next to the bench.