It never felt quite right when Corey Dillon held the NFL single-game rushing record. Dillon ran for 278 yards against Denver in 2000, breaking a mark that Walter Payton had held for 23 years. Payton had broken O.J. Simpson's single-game record. Jim Brown once held the mark, too.
Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, Walter Payton … Corey Dillon?
Nope, that didn't seem right.
Adrian Peterson erased Lewis on Sunday.
The Minnesota Vikings rookie carried 30 times for 296 yards and three touchdowns against San Diego, a team that entered Week 9 allowing only 88.9 rushing yards per game and 3.6 per carry. It was the second time this season that Peterson has topped 200 yards, and the fifth time he's been over 100.
Peterson now has 1,036 rushing yards through eight games. The guy was only officially named the Vikings starting running back, like, two weeks ago. Other records are clearly at risk.
Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, Walter Payton … Adrian Peterson?
Yup, that seems OK. No complaints.
Peterson ran for 253 yards in the second half against the Chargers, but his most impressive run might have been the five-yarder in the first quarter with 5:35 remaining. He hurdled two defensive linemen, then spun, then lunged forward along the sideline. In the box score play-by-play, it just looks like "A. Peterson rushed to the left for 5 yard gain," but it was a little better than that.
The 64-yard touchdown in the third quarter was pretty good, too. So was the 46-yarder in the fourth. Good luck finding a run where Peterson didn't either leap, juke, plow over, shrug off or outrace at least three Chargers.
Next year's likely No. 2 overall pick in fantasy drafts, LaDainian Tomlinson, finished with 77 total yards and a touchdown.
It's almost like Peterson felt the need to assert his superiority over Razorback tailback Darren McFadden, who ran for 323 yards in a win over South Carolina on Saturday night. McFadden is probably the guy you'll think I'm an idiot for hyping next August.
On to the rest of the Week 9 games …
• Rookie Marshawn Lynch had a pretty nice Sunday: 29 carries, 153 yards and one TD. He also threw a touchdown pass to Robert Royal in the fourth quarter. Minutes after the TD pass, he ran 56 yards for another score. Somehow, Rashad Jeanty, Deltha O'Neal and Justin Smith all converged on Lynch in the backfield, and he eluded them. Left 'em all in a big pile, like Lynch was Chuck Norris and they were all lesser, unnamed karate dudes.
• What the heck was that, Larry Fitzgerald? If there's a wall of defensive backs immediately ahead of you, fine, step out of bounds. But no one was in front of you. No one. At least no visible people. Fine effort there. Not that any of my fantasy teams could have used the six points.
• Another phantom tackle: Damon Huard took a sack on the Chiefs' opening drive. Wasn't touched, didn't clearly slip. Looked like he just expected to be hit, went down, and waited … and waited…
Eventually, Corey Williams touched him.
• Which Frank disgusts you more today, Gore or Caliendo? Frank Gore was a game-time decision on Sunday, and the Niners ultimately decided, "No." Caliendo did an atrocious impression of David Letterman on the Fox pregame show. If that had been, say, a family member doing the impression, you'd have said, "Not bad, Uncle Stew. You need another Old Mil?"
The Paul Shaffer wasn't bad, though. I was ultimately more disappointed with Gore.
• Brandon Jackson's stock has fallen just a bit. He began the season as a sleeper rookie running back. Now he's a guy who commits silly penalties on special teams. Ryan Grant may have been concussed on Sunday, which explains Jackson's five late carries.
• Sweet kick return by Leon Washington to begin the day for the Jets. Spectacular cut to avoid Khary Campbell, and then it was over. The Kellen Clemens era began with not quite a win. The Jets lost in overtime, but Clemens finished with 226 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 48.
• Coming off that 42-yard passing effort in Week 8, this is all Vince Young did on the Titans' opening drive: 4-for-4, 22 passing yards, 19 rushing yards, one TD. That's seven fantasy points in less than six minutes, which is five more than Young had all day against the Raiders last week.
• The enormous Shaun Rogers sacked and injured Jay Cutler early in the second quarter. Seemed like it was going to be a right ankle sprain, but they later called it a left leg contusion. Cutler was taken to the sideline, then rode a cart to the locker room. Didn't look good. You usually don't get a cart for a contusion.
Patrick Ramsey entered on third and 16, and promptly threw a first-down strike over the middle to Brandon Stokley. And then he threw again. And again. And again. That fourth pass was another strike that should've gone for a first down, but it was dropped.
• Humiliated kicker of the day: Olindo Mare. On his 100-yard kick return, Maurice Jones-Drew put a full-speed move on Mare that should really be outlawed, at least when perpetrated against a kicker or punter. It should somehow fall under the roughing umbrella. Mare simply plopped to the ground, defeated. It was really the only move necessary on a well-blocked return; Jones-Drew basically traveled between the hash-marks the entire way.
• Don't you just have a violent dislike for the older brother in that Taco Bell ad? In life, most of us hate that guy. You're so much better than that, Nachos Bell Grande.
• Kurt Warner was 3-for-13 in the first half against Tampa Bay. He could have had a long touchdown pass, but Larry Fitzgerald seemed to get bored and distracted (see above). Warner finished 10-for-30 with 172 yards and two interceptions. You can almost always find a better fantasy option than whichever quarterback is facing Tampa Bay.
• Antonio Cromartie's return of the missed goal will technically go down as a 109-yard runback, but it really looked more like 109 yards, two feet and several inches. That's three touchdowns in two weeks for Cromartie. The missed FG return might be the most exciting play in football. And the easiest possible return, considering the personnel involved.
• Travis Henry's left knee was driven into the ground at the end of a 22-yard gain, and it didn't look great. He was the definition of "gimpy" thereafter, and sat out the fourth quarter.
• OK, that is how you celebrate a touchdown. Shaun Alexander can just stop consulting with Joey Fatone now. After taking a screen pass 30 yards and lunging for the goal line, Larry Johnson took a Chiefs flag from … well, I don't know exactly what to call the guy who waves the giant flag amid other cheering personnel, but LJ took the flag from that dude. He waved it briefly toward the crowd, then stuck it in the ground. Best TD celebration we're likely to see all year. Strangely, it wasn't penalized. Joe Buck seemed to want Johnson impaled with the flagpole for the infraction.
• The catch of the day may have been Donald Driver's 44-yard, one-handed grab immediately following LJ's touchdown. It was what Doug Collins would have called a "degree of difficulty" play.
• Or it's possible that the catch of the day was Chris Chambers' 19-yard grab at the end of the third quarter in Minnesota. The coverage was perfect, the throw took the receiver over the sideline, yet he somehow managed to drag both shoes inbounds.
• Uh-oh. A.J. Hawk brought down Larry Johnson at the end of a nine-yard reception, and a lot of weight came down on LJ's right ankle, which twisted unnaturally. Johnson was helped off the field, hopping. That's not good. No question he's done for the day, and you have to hope – at least those of us who own him have to hope – that it's not a multi-week or season-ending injury. But it looked that serious. Priest Holmes is the obvious add. He plunged into the end zone for a two-point conversion just minutes after LJ's injury.
I anxiously await the first email that attempts to link Johnson's ankle sprain to his 2006 workload.
• Shaun Rogers delivered a spectacular stiff-arm on his fourth quarter interception return, humbling Selvin Young. Despite the fact that many tacklers were drawn to Rogers' immense gravitational field, none could disturb him. That was awesome. We seem to discuss Rogers quite a lot in this column. That guy makes plays.
Entering Week 9, the Lions defense led the NFL in interceptions with 13. But since Brian Griese had thrown seven of them, I wasn't really much of a believer. That defense scored 29 public league fantasy points on Sunday, though, getting five sacks, four turnovers and scoring two touchdowns. Maybe it's time to think differently.
• Who are you people, and what have you done with the Saints? Didn't they start the season 0-4? They did, right?
Drew Brees threw for 445 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, Marques Colston had 10 receptions for 159 yards and Reggie Bush had 115 combined rushing and receiving yards with two TDs. Lance Moore and David Patten had touchdowns, too. New Orleans lit up a pretty good Jacksonville defense, scoring 41 points.
Adrian had a decisive victory over Mike in the battle of the Petersons.
• The Morten Andersons beat the Joe Nedneys, 20-16. Warrick Dunn had his best game of the year for the Andersons, carrying 27 times for 100 yards.
• You know somebody did something pretty special on Sunday – in Week 9, it was clearly Peterson – when Clinton Portis runs for 196 yards and a touchdown and he's buried in the 24th bullet-point. Great game for Portis, who's not the first back to treat the Jets defense as a big green turnstile.
I had an opportunity to obtain Portis from Scott Pianowski last week, but instead I opted for…
• Shaun Ale-(expletive)-xander. My thinking was that if you can't run on Cleveland, you can't run on anyone. The Browns have allowed 4.7 yards per rush attempt. The verdict on Alexander? He can't run on anyone. He finished with 14 carries for 32 yards, and I'm sure we'll discuss him further in the Week 9 Duds and Disappointments webcast. Maurice Morris carried nine times for 55 yards.
The big fantasy scorer in that game was Jamal Lewis, who rushed for an Alexanderian 37 yards on 20 carries, but scored four touchdowns.
• Justin Fargas seems to own the Raiders running back job. He had 23 carries for 104 yards and a fourth quarter touchdown on Sunday, and LaMont Jordan did nothing noteworthy. Fargas should have been added to fantasy rosters last week – it's not like the expert community neglected him. But if he's available in your league, he'll be the big waiver add next week. (Well, him or Priest Holmes).
Oh, yeah. The Colts and Patriots played, too.
Tim Jennings simply disappeared behind Randy Moss on that touchdown reception in the second quarter. Jennings is 5-8 and Moss is 6-4. Doesn't seem like that's such an easy one-on-one matchup. Moss became the Patriots' record holder for touchdown receptions in a season on that play … and it's only Week 9. Looks like he's going to put that team record in a fairly safe place.
Our third candidate for catch of the day was Moss' one-handed grab of what was, honestly, a terrible throw by Tom Brady in the third quarter.
• Joseph Addai had a massive fantasy day: 112 rushing yards, 114 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Laurence Maroney had yet another perfectly ordinary fantasy day: 15 carries, 59 yards, no TDs. If the Patriots are somehow able to draft McFadden with the 49ers first round pick … no, let's not speak of such things. Not yet.
Let's just enjoy the Tecmo absurdity that the 2007 Patriots provide. Tom Brady has now thrown at least three touchdown passes in nine straight games. Moss already has 924 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Wes Welker has caught seven TDs.
Sunday's result might have shown us why, exactly, Bill Belichick has insisted on throwing late, often and mercilessly in New England's blowout wins so far this season. Against the Colts – who might be the only rival worthy of the Patriots – they needed two fourth quarter touchdowns, and they got them. In last season's AFC Championship, they also needed touchdowns in the fourth quarter … but they only managed field goals. They lost the quarter 17-6 and, obviously, lost the game.
This year it's TDs, no matter the situation, no matter the score, no matter the opponent. You can debate the ethics of that approach, but not the results. The NFL is lucky that the Belichick-Dungy postgame handshake didn't end in violence. Those two sure didn't seem chummy.
And they'll clearly meet again.
- Walter Payton
- Adrian Peterson
- Corey Dillon