Day in review

December 02, 1996

Top performances

300-yard passers

Player, Team, C-A, Yds., TD

Brunell, T.B., 21-34, 356, 1

Blake, Cin., 23-39, 313, 3

100-yard rushers

Player, Team, No., Yds., TD

George, Hou., 28, 141, 2

Johnson, Car., 26, 111, 1

Davis, Den., 26, 106, 1

Bettis, Pit., 24, 105, 0

Watters, Phi., 29, 104, 0

Morris, Ravens, 28, 100, 0

100-yard receivers

Player, Team, No., Yds., TD

Alexander, Ravens, 7, 198, 1

Smith, Jac., 7, 162, 0

Freeman, G.B., 10, 156, 0

C. Johnson, Pit., 8, 117, 0

Early, Buf., 3, 113, 1

Bruce, St.L., 4, 112, 1

Pickens, Cin., 7, 109, 3

Sanders, Hou., 3, 102, 1

They said it

"I've been saying all week that NFL means 'Not For Long.' Sometimes, just when you think you've arrived, you get humbled, you get knocked back a rung."

Cardinals' Boomer Esiason, after passing for a four-week- low 270 yards

"I wouldn't say my career has been reborn, because it never died."

Packers' Desmond Howard, who returned his second punt for a

TD this year

Injury report

Neil O'Donnell, Jets QB: Suffered a pulled leg muscle during warm-ups. Did not play.

Jim Everett, Saints QB: Suffered a concussion. Did not return.

Brett Maxie, Panthers S: Suffered a concussion. Did not return.

Marcus Dowdell, Cardinals WR: Suffered a pulled hamstring. Did not return.

Stan Humphries, Chargers QB: Suffered a concussion. Did not return.

By the numbers

Milestones: Tim Brown of the Raiders set the NFL career record for punt returns when he returned his fourth punt of the first half. Brown's total of 293 broke the mark of 292 held by Vai Sikahema, who played for the Cardinals, Packers and Eagles until 1993. Richard Dent sacked Todd Collins in the first quarter, bringing his career total to 133 and moving him past Lawrence Taylor into third place on the league's career list. Buffalo's Bruce Smith is second with 139. Quinn Early's 95-yard touchdown reception was the longest in Bills history. It broke the record of 94 yards by Jack Kemp to Glenn Bass in 1964. John Elway of the Broncos has surpassed 3,000 yards each of the past four seasons and 11 of the past 12. He became the ninth NFL quarterback with 250 touchdown passes.

Streaks: Mark Brunell has thrown for at least 200 yards in 15 straight games, the longest current streak in the league and longest since Dan Marino did it for 16 consecutive games four years ago. Cary Blanchard's Colts record of making 13 straight field goals ended when his first kick, a 33-yarder, was wide right.

Next week

Broncos (12-1) at Packers (10-3): A Super Bowl preview? The Broncos have the AFC's best record, and the Packers have the NFC's.

Panthers (9-4) at 49ers (9-3): The NFC's Nos. 2 and 3 teams square off, and the West title is still up for grabs.

Tonight's game

Time: 9, chs. 2, 7

Line: 49ers by 9 1/2

Vs. spread: 49ers 6-6; Falcons 4-8.

Last week: 49ers beat Redskins in OT, 19-16; Falcons lost to Bengals, 41-31.

Outlook: QB Steve Young is back in 49ers' saddle. Judging from last week's performance, he feels fine. Everyone gets healthier against Falcons, who have one of most generous defenses in league. Falcons aren't likely to get enough pressure on Young to force him into making bad plays. And 49ers defense will pressure Atlanta QB Bobby Hebert relentlessly.

By the numbers: 49ers are only team in NFL with three starting defensive linemen with eight sacks or more. Falcons have allowed 100 points in past two losses.

Injuries:

49ERS: Out: LB Daved Benefield (knee). Doubtful: RB Derek Loville (toe). Probable: LB Gary Plummer (knee), DT Dana Stubblefield (back), DT Bryant Young (hamstring).

FALCONS: Out: CB Tim McKyer (arm). Doubtful: DT Moe Gardner (ankle), Questionable: DE Lester Archambeau (hip), CB Elbert Shelley (hamstring), T Bob Whitfield (back), DE Chuck Smith (knee), Probable: S Nate Odomes (knee), S Devin Bush (ankle)..

' Statistical comparison:

Off. Def.

NFL RANKINGS, Tot., Rush, Pass, Tot., Rush, Pass

San Fran., 9, 10, 12, 5, 3, 11

Atlanta, 14, 28, 6, 25, 22, 23

Yds. Yds.

PER GAME, Pts., rush, pass, TO, Sacks

San Fran., Off., 24.2, 115.4, 219.7, 1.5, 2.7

Def., 15.6, 87.9, 198.9, 2.2, 3.0

Atlanta, Off., 18.6, 89.1, 236.1, 2.3, 2.7

Def., 29.9, 119.9, 232.8, 1.3, 2.3

Pub Date: 12/02/96

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