A 4--4 start was disappointing. Three straight wins and pulling away in the NFCWest? That's more like it. End Patrick Kerney (above) is especially pleased:Last year he was a Falcon. Today he's coming off back-to-back three-sack games.Said coach Mike Holmgren to his stud defender, "Keep eating the samebreakfast."
In Dallas the Stars and captain Brenden Morrow (right) have skated to fivestraight wins since they changed G.M.'s (SI, Nov. 26). On TV those dancingStars—IndyCar's Helio Castroneves had made it to the finals—continue to lead inthe ratings game.
The 5'7" Roughriders defensive back, who never played football as a highschooler in South Central L.A. and who once worked in an oil refinery, hadthree picks in Saskatchewan's Grey Cup final win on Sunday—good for MostOutstanding Player and a $10,000 bonus. Then he met the media dandling his babyboy (Desmond) on his knee.
Can't help but watch him. Back-to-back 34-point games, a rebounding average ofbetter than 14—no wonder those Celtics-slaying Magic were 12--3 at week's end.And the best is yet to come: Howard's still only 21.
Four straight wins were nice. The last two losses, by a combined 92--24? Not somuch. Bills QB J.P. Losman (above) had called last Sunday's game againstJacksonville "the most important game of my career." Then he had twopicks and lost a fumble. Winter's come early: Buffalo's playoff hopes arenearly dead.
The current one (Gus Frerotte) fumbled the ball one yard from the end zone toblow the game. The best one ever (two-time MVP Kurt Warner, now with Arizona)lost the ball in the end zone, where the 49ers picked it up for an OT win.
Guess who misses Jake Delhomme. The 5'9" Panthers receiver out of SouthCentral L.A. just isn't getting the ball—he's had only 16 receptions over thelast four games—which means he isn't scoring (zero TDS in that span), and now,harrumph, he isn't talking to the media, either. Oh, yes: His Panthers are4--7.
With Big Brother watching—literally, Peyton was on hand—the Giants QBunraveled. His lousy day against the Vikings (three picks returned for TDs,voluminous boos) may be just the start of his troubles; Eli struggles when thetemperature dips.
SI PLAYERS NFL POLL
Which NFL receiver is the easiest to intimidate?
Terrell Owens, Cowboys 20%
Chad Johnson, Bengals 8%
Randy Moss, Patriots 6%
Plaxico Burress, Giants 6%
Roddy White, Falcons 4%
Players could not vote for a teammate.... Owens and Johnson also ranked high inan SI Players poll asking who is the NFL's most courageous receiver.... Owens,the NFC leader with 1,093 receiving yards, is in the second year of athree-year, $25 million contract.... With 16 TD receptions through Week 12,Moss was just six shy of Jerry Rice's single-season record.
[Based on a survey of 278 NFL players] • For more onthe poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.
STEVE KAJIHIRO/CAL SPORT MEDIA (KERNEY)
SAM GREENWOOD/GETTY IMAGES (LOSMAN)
JEFF VINNICK/GETTY IMAGES (MORROW)
BOBBY YIP/REUTERS (HOWARD)
JOHN BIEVER (OWENS)
JOHN BIEVER (JOHNSON)