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By Compiled from staff and wire reports
Published December 18, 2005

MARKING TIME

Browns running back Reuben Droughns handed out a few early presents last week - 13 diamond watches, valued between $3,000 and $5,000 each, for the team's nine offensive linemen, two fullbacks and two tight ends. The gifts were to thank teammates for helping him break Cleveland's 20-year streak without a 1,000-yard rusher. Each watch was different, with the total coming to about $50,000.

PLAYING SPOILER

San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer walked among his players Wednesday as they stretched at the start of practice and offered these words of inspiration: "Thirteen and one. Thirteen and one. Let's make it happen." Ruining the Colts' perfect season is not at the top of the Chargers' list - a win keeps alive their playoff hopes - but it does provide some motivation. "It's the best team in the NFL," guard Kris Dielman said. "We've got to look at it as we want to ruin their record." Quarterback Drew Brees said preparation is at an all-time high in practice and meetings. "It's not every day you get to play a 13-0 team that's trying to set an NFL record and do something nobody in the history of the NFL has done," Brees said. "There are a lot of reasons to be motivated for this game."

QUOTABLE

"I don't even run the ball on video games. I'm a wide receiver. We're up 100-0, throw the ball. We're down 100-0, throw the ball."

- Panthers receiver Steve Smith on whether he thinks Carolina should pass more.

HIT VICK

The Bears beat the Falcons 14-13 in 2002 and Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick complained that then-defensive coordinator Greg Blache was yelling, "Take his knees out!" Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said last week Vick's ire was misdirected. "I think he was getting mad because we kept tackling him," Urlacher said. "He didn't like getting tackled and was getting mad at Greg for us tackling him."

STAT OF THE WEEK

The combined record of the six teams the Vikings have beaten, including the Lions and Packers twice each, is 28-50. The combined record of the five teams they have lost to is 45-20.

IS THAT A ROOF?

Pittsburgh's Bill Cowher is the league's longest-tenured coach, but has never coached at the Metrodome. The Steelers play there today for the first time since 1986. Their most recent victory in a dome was 20-17 against Atlanta at the Georgia Dome on Oct. 27, 1996.

RETRO RIVALRY

Whitney Houston was falling in love with Kevin Costner in a bad movie, a gallon of gasoline cost about $1.02 and Bill Clinton was called the president-elect. That was December 1992, or the last time the Cowboys and Redskins played a late-season game that was meaningful for both teams. "Finally," former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann said. "We've all aged considerably since then."

The rivalry again carries significance as both teams fight for a playoff spot in the tightly contested NFC East. Washington's 14-13 victory in September - Mark Brunell threw two long touchdowns to Santana Moss in the final two minutes on Monday Night Football - puts the onus on Dallas in the rematch. If Washington sweeps, it possesses the tiebreaker. "It's good for football to have the Cowboys and Indians playing for something this late in the season," Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington said.

- Compiled by Times staff writer Joanne Korth using information from the Charlotte Observer, Chicago Tribune, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Minneapolis Star Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune and Washington Times.

[Last modified December 18, 2005, 01:02:23]


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