Day in review

December 15, 1997

Top performances

300-yard passers

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

Brunell, Jac. .. 24-32 .. 317 .... 0

100-yard rushers

Player, Team .... No. .. Yds. .. TD

Sanders, Det. ... 19 ... 138 .... 0

George, Ten. .... 26 ... 129 .... 0

Lane, Car. ...... 19 ... 119 .... 1

R. Smith, Min. .. 20 ... 101 .... 1

100-yard receivers

Player, Team .... No. .. Yds. .. TD

Freeman, G.B. ... 10 ... 166 .... 2

Hill, N.O. ....... 5 ... 124 .... 1

Irvin, Dal. ...... 9 ... 117 .... 0

Scott, Cin. ...... 4 ... 112 .... 1

Conway, Chi. ..... 7 ... 109 .... 1

Sanders, Ten. .... 7 ... 100 .... 0

Dilger, Ind. ..... 5 ... 100 .... 3

They said it

"It was a little sore. But that was too important a kick at that time to worry about how my hamstring was feeling."

-- Morten Andersen, Falcons kicker, who beat the Eagles with a last-play field goal.

"If people want to put the blame on me, I don't care. That's fine. That's part of the job description when they give it to you."

-- Kerry Collins, Panthers quarterback, after completing seven of 26 passes for 56 yards.

Injury report

Andre Reed, Bills WR: Separated his shoulder. Out for final game.

Ty Hallock, Jaguars RB: Injured his neck. Did not return.

Ernie Logan, Jets DT: Fractured his left ankle. Out for season.

Calvin Jackson, Dolphins S: Injured his neck. Did not return.

Randal Hill, Saints WR: Sprained his ankle. Did not return.

Junior Seau, Chargers LB: Sprained his left knee. Will have MRI today.

By the numbers

Milestones: Thurman Thomas of the Bills gained 30 yards and moved into seventh place with 11,377 yards. He passed John Riggins (11,352 yards). Morten Andersen's 33-yard field goal as time expired was the 25th game-winning kick of his career and second this season. The Cowboys' Emmitt Smith overcame a sore shoulder and an intestinal virus to reach 1,000 yards rushing for the seventh consecutive season. The Eagles' Ricky Watters went over 1,000 yards for the fourth time in his career. Barry Sanders had his 67th career 100-yard game, second to Walter Payton's 77. Along with his NFL-record 13th straight 100-yard game, Sanders extended his mark for 100-yard road games to 10.

Ups: The Bengals have won three of four since Boomer Esiason replaced Jeff Blake at quarterback. The Falcons have a chance to become the only team other than the 1984 Packers to finish with a .500 record after starting 1-7.

Downs: The Panthers were 9-0 at Ericsson Stadium last season but are 2-5 at home in 1997. The Cardinals allowed five sacks, giving them 76 allowed for the season -- second-most in NFL history.

Next week

Patriots (9-6) at Dolphins (9-6): Does anybody want to win the AFC East?

Jets (9-6) at Lions (8-7): The winner goes to the playoffs.

Tonight's game

Time: 9 p.m., chs. 2, 7.

Line: 49ers by 3 1/2 .

Vs. spread: Broncos 8-6; 49ers 9-5.

Last week: Broncos lost to Steelers, 35-24. 49ers beat Vikings, 28-17.

Worth watching: After tearing up his knee in the opener, WR Jerry Rice is scheduled to return to the 49ers. Broncos RB Terrell Davis looks to continue his huge season (1,722 yards rushing).

Outlook: Is this the Super Bowl preview? Considering that the Broncos couldn't beat the Steelers or the Chiefs in recent weeks, it might not be. The real significance might be the return of Rice. How much he can help San Francisco down the stretch could determine how dominant the 49ers can be in the playoffs.

Notable: Game matches Denver's No. 1 offense against San Francisco's top-ranked defense.

Injuries:

BRONCOS: Out: G Mark Schlereth (back). Probable: WR Ed McCaffrey (hamstring); DT Maa Tanuvasa (ankle); DT Keith Traylor (wrist).

49ERS: Out: RB Garrison Hearst (clavicle). Probable: S Curtis Buckley (elbow); WR Jerry Rice (knee); TE Greg Clark (rib); DT Bryant Young (ankle).

Pub Date: 12/15/97

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