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Around the NFC

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 5, 2000

BEARS: Quarterback Cade McNown said Vikings defensive end Talance Sawyer should be severely fined for a helmet-to-chin late hit in the fourth quarter.

CARDINALS: Keeping up a trend, they failed to score in the first quarter of the opener against the Giants. Arizona was whitewashed in the opening quarter the entire 1999 season. ... They had had one penalty for 5 yards.

COWBOYS: Quarterback Randall Cunningham faced the Eagles, his first team, for the first time in his career. He did not face them in three years with Minnesota.

EAGLES: Duce Staley became the team's first player to run for more than 200 yards since Steve Van Buren in 1949. Van Buren carried that team to consecutive championships. "It's a good feeling, watching him run down the field," tackle Jon Runyan said of Staley to the Philadelphia Inquirer. "All it takes is a little hole opening up. Arm tackles are not going to bring Duce down." ... They won at Texas Stadium for the third time in 11 years.

FALCONS: Receiver Terance Mathis played after hurting his hip during the pregame workout. He caught three passes for 72 yards. ... Offensive lineman Bob Whitfield set a team record by starting his 113th consecutive game.

49ERS: Running back Fred Beasley scored the first touchdown of the NFL season. With 4:35 elapsed in the first quarter at Atlanta, Beasley caught a 4-yard pass from Jeff Garcia. Beasley scored three times in the game.

GIANTS: Receivers Ike Hilliard and Ron Dixon overslept and missed Saturday's walkthrough. Coach Jim Fassel said they would be fined the maximum allowed. Hilliard caught three passes for a team-high 62 yards, and Dixon returned two kickoffs for 27 yards.

LIONS: Robert Porcher's 39 sacks over the past three seasons leads the NFL. But going against Saints lineman Kyle Turley, who was second in the league last year with two sacks allowed, Porcher couldn't get to the quarterback. ... Including the playoffs, they have been held to 17 points or fewer in six straight games.

PACKERS: They couldn't manage a drive longer than 4:22 or 39 yards in the first three quarters against the Jets. Their only offensive touchdown came in the first quarter when Darren Sharper's 29-yard interception return set up a 4-yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Davis. ... Ryan Longwell kicked field goals of 45, 42 and 42 yards.

PANTHERS: Kicker Richie Cunningham missed a 27-yard chip shot field-goal attempt in the three-point loss to the Redskins. But quarterback Steve Beuerlein didn't blame Cunningham: "We didn't play nearly as well as we can, and we have to to win," he said of his offense. "We have to hold up our end of the bargain."

RAMS: Former coach Dick Vermeil said he felt melancholy on the first weekend in 48 years he was not involved in football as a coach or an announcer. Vermeil spent Sunday and Monday calling various coaches, including Mike Martz, and some players to wish them well.

REDSKINS: Cornerback Darrell Green played in the first game of his franchise-record 18th season. Though he has been eclipsed as a starter by Deion Sanders, Green was introduced with the starters before kickoff. ... The attendance was 80,657, a franchise home record.

SAINTS: They committed 12 penalties and had three turnovers and allowed a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown by the Lions' Desmond Howard, spoiling the day for a sellout crowd of 64,900 and the coaching debut of Jim Haslett. "Obviously, I'm disappointed," Haslett said. "I didn't think we did anything well (on offense)." ... They had their first sellout since Dec. 6, 1998. ... Their opening-day record is 9-25.

VIKINGS: Chris Dishman, who joined the team Wednesday, started at left cornerback. ... Chris Liwienski made his first start at left guard in place of Corbin Lacina (knee) but was replaced by Brad Badger after spraining his right knee. Liwienski is expected to miss up to three weeks. ... Daunte Culpepper's 13 rushing attempts were a team record for a quarterback. Receiver Randy Moss's 66-yard catch was the second-longest of his career.

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