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NFL

NFL Roundup

By Associated Press
Published December 8, 2003

Chargers 14, Lions 7

DETROIT - LaDainian Tomlinson slipped past a linebacker, caught a pass and sprinted untouched for a 73-yard touchdown.

Unlike other NFL players, he didn't wait for the play to end to watch his larger-than-life image in the stadium.

"Once I hit that seam, I was looking up at the Jumbotron and I figured it was over," Tomlinson said. "I was looking up to see how close they were, and they weren't close enough for me to look back."

It wasn't the only time Detroit failed to corral Tomlinson.

Tomlinson caught nine passes for 148 yards, a season high for running backs, and had two touchdown receptions to build a lead the Chargers held.

"He may have the best pure hands on the team," quarterback Doug Flutie said. "He is a weapon."

Tomlinson's 73- and 16-yard scores in the first half gave San Diego a 14-0 lead it maintained through three-plus quarters. But the Chargers had to knock down Joey Harrington's heave with three seconds left to ensure a rare win.

The Lions were able to stay close because the Chargers blew opportunities to pad their lead with 11 penalties for 95 yards, and Flutie had two turnovers.

Packers 34, Bears 21

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Mike McKenzie is a man of his word. After getting burned early for a 61-yard score, McKenzie promised to make amends.

"He said on the sideline, "Don't worry, I'll get it back for you guys,"' Packers teammate Na'il Diggs said.

McKenzie sure did, picking off two second-half passes and returning the second 90 yards for a touchdown to spark Green Bay.

In the first quarter, Chicago's Marty Booker blew past McKenzie, caught Kordell Stewart's pass at the 20 and trotted untouched for a 7-0 lead.

"I was in shock about it," McKenzie said. "I'd never given up a play when the guy ran right by me like that."

The Packers led 19-14 with just more than nine minutes left when McKenzie picked off Stewart's pass at his 10 and ran it back all the way.

Dick Jauron, whose fate as Chicago's coach might have been sealed with the loss, figured it was a safe call: if the Bears didn't get the first down, they'd settle for a short field goal.

"You think at the worst you're going to be two down, then all of a sudden, the whole thing is turned around," he said. "It was a long day."

Vikings 34, Seahawks 7

MINNEAPOLIS - Though they finished November on a terrible note, the Minnesota Vikings know this: Finish strong, and the slump is forgotten.

Daunte Culpepper threw three long touchdowns, two to Randy Moss, and a suddenly stingy defense shut down Seattle.

"We want to win in December," Culpepper said. "We've just got to take this momentum into next week. I have no doubt in my mind it will carry over."

In a critical game for both clubs' playoff chances, the Vikings reverted to their early season form - before five losses in six games wiped out a 6-0 start and placed their NFC North lead over Green Bay in serious question.

The Seahawks were stymied by a Vikings defense that fell to 29th in the league after a 48-17 loss at St. Louis Nov. 30. The Seahawks are 1-5 away from home, with a make-or-break game Sunday at St. Louis.

Culpepper, who shared some responsibility with the defense for the Vikings' recent struggles, was 21-for-33 for 274 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers.

Moss had eight receptions for 133 yards, including scores of 47 and 45 yards.

Kelly Campbell caught a 43-yard TD in the fourth quarter and Mike Nattiel returned an interception 80 yards for a score.

Redskins 20, Giants 7

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Tim Hasselbeck threw two touchdowns in a game that ended with a couple of thousand people and few snowmen in the stands.

The Giants lost their fifth straight at home and also lost quarterback Kerry Collins in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle, courtesy of a hit by Bruce Smith. X-rays were negative.

"It wasn't my intention to hurt Kerry," Smith said. "It was my intention to knock the heck out of him."

Some of the Giants were a little miffed at Smith because the hit came on a play officials blew dead for delay of game.

Neither Collins nor Smith or referee Walt Coleman heard the back judge blowing his whistle.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Washington and eliminated New York from the playoffs.

Hasselbeck threw scores of 6 yards to Darnerien McCants and 7 yards to Rod Gardner. John Hall added two field goals.

Dorsey Levens scored on a 5-yard run for New York.

The hardy fans who stayed booed as the final gun went off in what might be coach Jim Fassel's next-to-last home game.

Former Giant Jessie Armstead had two sacks and a fumble recovery.

Steelers 27, Raiders 7

PITTSBURGH - A week after labeling them the dumbest-playing team in America, Oakland coach Bill Callahan offered little criticism after their latest loss.

The Raiders' collapse after reaching the Super Bowl continued as Antwaan Randle El's playmaking led Pittsburgh.

"In the middle of the third quarter, maybe they gave up," Steelers receiver Hines Ward said. "They were ready to go home. It was cold (30 degrees) and they had a long flight home and they've had problems with their coach."

Callahan kept his postgame news conference short.

"We just didn't get it done," he said.

Oakland led 7-0 on Tyrone Wheatley's 22-yard run late in the first quarter, the Raiders' only touchdown in two games, but offered little resistance after that.

Randle El, the elusive receiver and kick returner who set NCAA records at Indiana for his versatility, enjoyed the best game of his two-season NFL career. He set up three scores with catches of 24 and 15 yards and a 51-yard punt return, and had a 26-yard punt return and an 18-yard run.

"I don't think people expected us to come out and play this well," said Steelers QB Tommy Maddox. "But a lot of guys were wanting to play just to play."

49ers 50, Cardinals 14

SAN FRANCISCO - Jeff Garcia tried to disguise his shock as he moved under center. Terrell Owens stood 2 yards from the end zone and the Cardinals somehow forgot to cover him as he stood alone on the left.

"I was trying to look around to see where the cornerback was hiding," Garcia said. "I just tried not to blow the throw, which is so easy in that type of situation."

Garcia completed the gift-wrapped score to Owens, and though the rest of the quarterback's six touchdowns weren't quite as easy, San Francisco threw quite a 30th birthday party for Owens.

Owens caught seven passes for 92 yards and two scored and Garcia threw four touchdowns and ran for two. Kevan Barlow rushed for a career-best 154 yards and a touchdown as the 49ers nursed their faint playoff hopes with their sixth win in seven games at Candlestick Park.

Owens and Garcia led the Niners to their highest-scoring performance since 1994 a week after a 44-6 loss to Baltimore.

Arizona fell behind 34-0 at halftime.

"It was a total domination of the 49ers' offense over our defense," Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis said. " It was clear that we were not covering their receivers and they were moving at will."

Bills 17, Jets 6

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - What's a little pain for Travis Henry when he can run on adrenaline?

"I'm all right," the Bills running back said. "Now, (today) I might be sore. My adrenaline's still flowing, but right now I feel all right. (Sunday,) I was just in a zone."

Showing no effects from a broken bone in his right leg and torn rib cartilage, Henry ran for a career-high 169 yards and a touchdown as Buffalo remained on the fringes of the playoff hunt.

It was the latest in a string of good performances for the third-year running back, who is showing he's second to no one on a team that has injured first-round pick Willis McGahee on the sideline.

Bills tackle Sam Adams had two sacks and seven tackles. Buffalo allowed two field goals,the first time in Chad Pennington's 18 career starts that New York has failed to score a touchdown.

"Every area they outplayed us," Jets running back Curtis Martin said. "There's no excuse. We got our butts kicked. It doesn't get worse than this."

At the start of the second half, Henry carried eight times for 52 yards on an 11-play, 85-yard drive he capped with a 4-yard score.

Jaguars 27, Texans 0

JACKSONVILLE - The Texans came into Sunday seeking their first winning streak. They left without a win or a point and claimed a new respect for the Jaguars.

Tony Brackens had two sacks to lead Jacksonville's improving defense, which handed Houston its first shutout and ruined rookie quarterback Dave Ragone's debut.

"That was, by far, the most physical defense I've ever played against, seen or heard of," said tight end Billy Miller, a fourth-year veteran. "I don't know what the head coach told those boys, but from the first game to this game (a 24-20 Houston win in Week 4), I think they went out and got 11 new guys on defense."

The Texans missed starting quarterback David Carr and running back Domanick Davis.

The Jaguars, who came in with the league's sixth-ranked defense, allowed 124 yards. Jacksonville has allowed 33 points over the past four games.

"I know there was a turning point, but I didn't mark it down on my calendar," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "I just kept my head down, grinded through things and pushed and demanded because I felt this group is capable if they'll make the commitment."

[Last modified December 8, 2003, 01:46:15]


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