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PRO FOOTBALL SPOTLIGHT

FLYING INTO THE WIND

It wasn’t quite like outrunning the wind, but it was close enough for Raiders’ fleet receiver Raghib (Rocket) Ismail.

Sprinting into a New Jersey wind that was gusting up to 40 m.p.h., Ismail was able to chase down a high toss from quarterback Jeff Hostetler, turning it into a 40-yard touchdown reception.

Ismail was open down the middle, so the only question was: Could Hostetler throw it that far into the gale?

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Yes, so far that Ismail needed the wind to slow it down for him.

“Into the wind, that definitely surprised me,” Ismail said. “There was a lot of juice on it, and the wind helped me get to it.”

Maybe, Ismail suggested, Hostetler was revved by his first game in front of a Giant crowd since he left the Giants three years ago.

“Jeff was pumped, man,” Ismail said.

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“Even in the pregame, when he was throwing, he was saying, ‘I want to win this game, I want this bad.’ ”

INJURY REPORT

Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman left his game against the 49ers because of a bruised left knee and is scheduled to undergo X-rays today. . . . Oiler quarterback Chris Chandler suffered an injury to his right leg after suffering a third quarter sack, and did not return. X-rays on Sunday showed no ligament damage, but his status for upcoming games was not yet determined.

Denver quarterback John Elway suffered a concussion in the first half against Philadelphia and did not return. . . . Chicago safety Mark Carrier twisted his left knee. . . . Indianapolis quarterback Paul Justin sprained his right knee. . . . Dolphin guard Chris Gray sprained his left ankle. . . . Atlanta defensive back Anthony Phillips broke his left leg.

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CHEMISTRY LESSON

Ram safety Torin Dorn returned a fumble for a touchdown in St. Louis’ 28-17 home victory over the the Carolina Panthers, but that wasn’t the most exciting part of the day.

Dorn is from Charlotte, and his wife, Rhonda, gave birth to the couple’s first son, Torin Dorn Jr., at 6 a.m. Sunday.

Dorn said he talked on a cellular phone with his wife throughout the night and got about an hour’s sleep.

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“But it was well worth it,” Dorn said. “Playing against Charlotte, I guess it’s some kind of chemistry.”

In the third week of the season, Dorn returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-10 Ram victory over Carolina.

THE INCREDIBLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING JACKIE SLATER

Ram offensive tackle Jackie Slater was carried off the field by teammates after St. Louis beat Carolina, but not because he was injured.

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After sitting out the first nine games because of an elbow injury, Slater, 41, was activated from injured reserve for the first time this season, and played in a game for the 20th season. Slater is third on the all-time games played list with 259 and is the only player to last 20 seasons with one team.

“That kind of caught me off guard,” Slater said of the post-game celebration. “I know that somebody is going to have a hernia because of that. I’ve got to be the heaviest guy ever carried off the field.”

A BROKEN RECORD: MARINO0 BREAKS RECORD, LOSES GAME

The numbers and the records keep piling up for Miami’s Dan Marino, but so do the key losses. Marino’s latest milestone came Sunday, when he passed Fran Tarkenton’s NFL career record for passing yardage.

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Marino threw for 333 yards in the Dolphins’ loss to New England, passing Tarkenton’s mark of 47,003 career yards.

“Breaking Fran’s record, one of the all-time great passers, is something special to me,” Marino said. “Unfortunately, the thing is, you want to win the games that you’re playing when you’re breaking records.”

Marino, who needed 38 yards to beat Tarkenton’s yardage mark, surpassed Tarkenton’s career record for completions earlier this season, but Miami lost that game too. He needs three touchdown passes to top Tarkenton’s record of 342.

“For a guy who’s had a career like Dan, I’d love to have him enjoy his accomplishments,” Miami Coach Don Shula said. “He’s not enjoying them now, I can tell you that.”

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QUOTEWORTHY

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, responding to questions about the perceived instability of the league due to franchise movement:

“After the AFL-NFL merger in 1966, which was the last great period of turmoil, it created a 26-team league in 25 cities, and we’re still in every one of those cities--except two [Baltimore and Los Angeles].” San Diego Charger Coach Bobby Ross, after his team dropped to 4-6 with a 22-7 loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs:

“It almost seems like some of the time we’re wanting the season to get over with.”

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Chicago Bear cornerback James Burton, on being beaten on two Packer quarterback Brett Favre touchdown passes:

“He was just Favre. He made a lot of things happen, he made the plays.”


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