Jerome Bettis (left) ran for his career-high 12th touchdown in Pittsburgh's division-clinching win over the Jets and added a dimension by tossing a 10-yard TD pass. Steelers hero of Super Bowl X, Lynn Swann, is taking on a new look too: He's talking about running for Pennsylvania governor in '06.
Last year the hands-on Falcons owner saw his team bumble to a 5-11 season. He wrote a letter of apology to ABC for the team's bad game on MNF, and fans had taken to calling the Home Depot cofounder Arthur (blank!). On Sunday the 10-3 Falcons clinched their division, and Blank was embraced on the sideline and given the game ball.
Shady's new album, Encore, is near top of charts after run at No. 1, and Just Lose It video's creating controversy he adores. Carolina's M&M (Muhsin Muhammad)'s tune is "just win it." Receiver has led Panthers to five straight W's (98 yards, TD on Sunday), and with Marvin Harrison's new $67 million deal raising the bar, he can cash in as free agent.
Win over Sam Houston State (34-13) sent Grizzlies to Division I-AA title game, delighting coach Bobby Hauck, who lingered on Missoula field last Saturday watching fans tear down goalpost. Next day, all of the school's NFL alums--Falcons WR Jimmy Farris, 49ers OT Scott Gragg and Bills OT Dylan McFarland--were winners.
Ravens offensive consultant says beating his old team, the Giants, on Sunday was just another win. Yeah, right. His top pupil, Kyle Boller, had four-TD game as Baltimore neared wild-card position. Pretty good ad for a man prowling for a head-coaching job.
Coaching the Browns
Cleveland looks more inept (17--17!--total yards versus Bills) under Terry Robiskie (right) than it did under Butch Davis. "It was men against boys," Robiskie said after 37-7 loss. Guess you've got to get out of Dodge: Ex-Browns Bill Belichick (Pats coach), Marty Schottenheimer (Chargers coach) and Ozzie Newsome (Ravens G.M.) are thriving.
Last year Cowboys owner-G.M. saw his team go 10-6 and was hailed for hiring (and--gasp!--getting along with) Bill Parcells. On Sunday 5-8 Dallas all but ended playoff hopes, and in aftermath of spat with Parcells over who should be starting QB, Jones bowed out, saying, "I could make that call, but I'm making it Bill's call."
Bad week for Bears RB Adrian Peterson (right), who had no carries in 22-3 loss to Jaguars. (More painful: seeing brother Mike, a Jags LB, twist the knife with five tackles and a sack.) Oklahoma RB had loss of his own: to Matt Leinart for Heisman. Disappointed freshman to New York's Daily News: "I'm not going to be the person to dwell on things."
Sam Houston State
Loss to Montana eliminated Bearkats from playoffs, disappointing coach Ron Randleman, who later announced his retirement after 23 years in the NCAA. On Sunday all three of the school's NFL alums--Cowboys safety Keith Davis, Browns TE Keith Heinrich and Cardinals QB Josh McCown--were losers.
Fassel's replacement in N.Y. started season being voted NFL's worst head coach by players (SI PLAYERS, Sept. 20), and things have slid from there. Giants have lost six straight, and Coughlin's move to rookie Eli Manning in Week 11 is big reason his team lags in playoff race.
JASON COHN/ICON SMI (BETTIS)
JASON BELL/CAMERA PRESS (EMINEM)
CAPPY JOHNSON/WIREIMAGE.COM (FASSEL)
RICK STEWART/GETTY IMAGES (ROBISKIE)
OTTO GRUELE JR./GETTY IMAGES (PETERSON)
DOUG PENSINGER/GETTY IMAGES (COUGHLIN)