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Smith Shows There’s Something in Tank

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Old man Emmitt isn’t ready for the rocking chair yet.

Emmitt Smith earned another NFL record with his 77th 100-yard rushing game -- and threw the first pass of his 15-year pro career. It went for a touchdown, no less, in Arizona’s stunning 34-10 beating of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

The NFL’s career rushing leader had 127 yards in 21 carries.

“It means more to win right now than anything,” said Smith, who had a 29-yard touchdown run with 5:02 left to seal the victory. “Nothing out there but open grass? All I have to do is run? I just picked up my wheelchair and pushed myself on into the end zone.”

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But it was his wobbly 21-yard touchdown pass to fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo with his gloved hand late in the first half he probably will remember most.

“I don’t want to throw the ball ever again,” Smith said. “If I throw another pass, I want to throw to my son and let him catch it.”

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Carson Palmer and Troy Polamalu were roommates when the two played at USC, but their reunion during Cincinnati’s visit to Pittsburgh had a rather halting moment.

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Palmer, the Bengal quarterback, struggled in a 28-17 loss, but Polamalu gave him more to lament after the Steeler defensive back returned an interception 26 yards for a clinching touchdown.

As Polamalu weaved his way through Bengal players, breaking six tackles in the process, Palmer turned out to be the last line of defense. But Polamalu barreled right through his friend at the goal line to complete the return. His reaction afterward?

“I wish everybody could experience laying on your back and seeing about 20 people -- it seemed like -- just looking down at you and smiling,” Polamalu told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “It was probably one of the greatest moments of my life.”

After the game, Palmer and Polamalu spoke for about 30 seconds.

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“I said, ‘Why did you have to do that to me?’ ” Palmer said. “That one hurt.”

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Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre sustained a concussion in the third quarter of the Packers’ 14-7 loss to the New York Giants when defensive lineman William Joseph knocked him to the ground. He sat out two plays but returned to throw a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Coach Mike Sherman said he shouldn’t have sent Favre back into the game.

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“Well, he was standing there on the sideline. I said, ‘Are you OK?’ He said yes. So, I put him back in,” Sherman said. “He threw the touchdown pass and then the doctors told me after that they didn’t want him back in the ballgame.”

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Bear linebacker Brian Urlacher sat out for the second consecutive game because of a pulled hamstring.... Buffalo lost starting center Trey Teague to a left knee injury and left tackle Jonas Jennings to a concussion.... Raider running back Tyrone Wheatley dinged his left shoulder in the second quarter and was held out as a precaution.... Jaguar tackle Mike Pearson damaged ligaments in his left knee against the Colts and could be out for the year.... Panther linebacker Mark Fields, who sat out all of last season because of Hodgkin’s disease, left the game against Atlanta because of back spasms. Teammate Rod Smart sprained his left knee on a kickoff return.... Falcon running back Warrick Dunn strained his left hamstring against the Panthers.... Steeler linebacker Kendrell Bell sat out his fourth consecutive game because of a groin injury.... 49er cornerback Mike Rumph broke his right arm against St. Louis.... Patriot receiver Troy Brown did not return after hurting his arm in the first quarter.


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