Pro Football Spotlight


After beating the 49ers, the Carolina Panthers have won four in a row and are 4-5, giving them more victories than nine established teams.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were idle, saving the established teams potential further embarrassment.



The season used to stand still when the Cowboys played the 49ers, but after the 49ers’ loss to Carolina, their third in four games, next week’s game at Dallas doesn’t seem the same.

In the last two seasons, the Dallas-San Francisco game decided the home field in the NFC finals. Both home teams won in the playoffs, the Cowboys two seasons ago, the 49ers last season, and went on to their Super Bowl championships.

Defending the championship has been problematic for both and this season, it’s the 49ers’ turn in the barrel. After their Super Bowl victory, they lost Ricky Watters, Deion Sanders, offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes.

“What happened after we won the Super Bowl,” 49er president Carmen Policy told ESPN, “was truly traumatic.”

Said tackle Harris Barton: “As soon as the next day [after the Super Bowl] guys were starting to talk to teams, starting to go around and look at other opportunities. Our coaching staff was decimated.”

The new salary cap was another problem. Last season, Policy was lionized for figuring out how to squeeze in Sanders. This season, the Cowboys got Deion. The 49ers, meanwhile, are playing Elvis Grbac at quarterback because they let Steve Bono go to create cap room.


San Diego’s Natrone Means, the AFC’s leading rusher, strained a groin muscle and left in the first quarter against the Dolphins. . . . Green Bay defensive end Reggie White, the NFL’s career sack leader, limped off the field at Minnesota because of a sprained knee after a collision with teammate Sean Jones in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Brett Favre left in the second quarter because of an injury to his left ankle, returned and then left for good. Backup quarterback Ty Detmer suffered torn ligaments in the thumb on his throwing hand and may be out for the season. . . . Oiler quarterback Chris Chandler suffered an elbow injury but expects to play next week. . . . Jet quarterback Glenn Foley was lost for the season when he sustained a dislocated right shoulder on his team’s final offensive play. Foley was hurt when he was sacked by New England’s Aaron Jones with 21 seconds remaining in the Patriots’ 20-7 victory. The Jet starter, Boomer Esiason, has not played since sustaining a concussion at Buffalo Oct. 8. . . . Giant safety Vencie Glenn was taken off the Kingdome field on a stretcher in the third quarter after colliding with teammate Thomas Randolph. Randolph’s knee appeared to hit Glenn’s face mask and Glenn, a 10-year veteran, lay still in the end zone for about 10 minutes. The injury was not considered serious.


Viking quarterback Warren Moon threw for three touchdowns and 237 yards against the Packers to become the sixth passer to reach 40,000 yards, joining Fran Tarkenton, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas. Moon did it in 164 games, faster than anyone but Marino, who did it in 153. John Elway became the seventh to reach 40,000, throwing for 256 against the Cardinals. It took Elway 183 games. . . . Ram wide receiver Isaac Bruce caught eight passes for 135 yards to record his fifth 100-yard day in a row and become the Rams’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Henry Ellard’s 1,052 in 1991. . . . Second-year halfback Mario Bates became the first Saint to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games since 1990. Bates ran for 106 against the 49ers last week and 106 against St. Louis Sunday. . . . Saint kicker Doug Brien, signed to replace struggling Chip Lohmiller, kicked field goals of 35, 26, 47 and 42 yards. The crowd gave him a standing ovation when he kicked his first point-after-touchdown. A crowd of 43,120 watched in the Superdome, the Saints’ smallest non-strike attendance since 1985. . . . Falcon quarterback Jeff George, who berated receiver Bert Emanuel and argued with Coach June Jones last week, threw for 362 yards in a victory over the Lions. Emanuel caught seven passes for 104 yards. . . . Favre’s streak of 17 consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass ended. He played less than three quarters because of a sprained left ankle. . . . The Raiders beat David Shula for the first time in three tries; Shula is only 12-42 against the rest of the league. The Raiders are 11-6 against his father, Don.


Maryland Congressman Ben Cardin on the report the Browns will move to Baltimore: “I don’t think it’s right for cities that have supported a team to have to lose it. But Baltimore has to play within that framework.”

Tim McDonald, 49er safety, on latest loss: “We’re hurting. I thought it couldn’t get any worse.”

Stevon Moore, Brown safety: “I saw this team quit.”