Saturday, October 11, 2003
Manning faces unbeaten Panthers, Dante Hall heads to Lambeau
JERSEY CITY, New Jersey - Fresh off his "Monday Night
Miracle," Peyton Manning faces the unbeaten Carolina Panthers,
while the "Dante Hall Show" heads to Lambeau Field on Sunday in
Week Six of the NFL.
Manning's Indianapolis Colts (5-0) and Carolina (4-0) are two of
the NFL's four unbeaten teams, along with Hall's Kansas City
Chiefs (5-0) and the idle Minnesota Vikings (5-0).
Indianapolis did Carolina a favor last Monday with a stunning
come-from-behind 38-35 overtime victory over the Super Bowl
champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While the Colts moved two games ahead of the Tennessee Titans in
the AFC South, the Panthers also increased their advantage to
two games over the Buccaneers in the NFC South.
Carolina's young defense will have to deal with Manning, the Pro
Bowl quarterback who rallied the Colts from a 21-point deficit
with less than four minutes remaining in Monday's road win.
Manning, who threw for just 66 yards in the first half, finished
with 386 yards on 34-of-47 passing with one interception and
two touchdowns - both to Marvin Harrison, who had 11 catches for
The Panthers yielded 344 total yards in last week's 19-13 win
over the New Orleans Saints.
The Colts hope to be bolstered by the possible return of
Edgerrin James, a two-time rushing champion who has missed the
last two games with back problems. Without James, the Colts
have used Ricky Williams, James Mungro and Dominic Rhodes in the
backfield. Carolina yielded 124 rushing yards to Deuce
McAllister last week.
The Panthers have a workhorse in their backfield in Stephen
Davis. Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Davis has
rushed for more than 100 yards in each of Carolina's first four
games, totaling for 565. He had a season-high 159 yards and a
touchdown on 30 carries in last week's win over New Orleans.
The last NFL player to rush for 100 or yards in each of the
first five games was O.J. Simpson for Buffalo in 1975.
The Chiefs are 5-0 for the first time in their 43-year history
entering Sunday's interconference matchup with the Green Bay
Kansas City has a balanced offense and a much improved defense,
but the biggest reason for the unblemished record is Hall, who
has already tied an NFL record with four touchdowns on kick
returns this season.
With first place in the AFC West on the line, Hall scored on an
electrifying 93-yard punt return with 8:20 to play, lifting the
Chiefs to a 24-23 win over the Denver Broncos.
Two weeks ago, Hall returned a kickoff 97 yards for the winning
touchdown in a 17-10 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
"He's like Michael Jordan, a human highlight reel," Chiefs
defensive end Eric Hicks said.
The Chiefs have plenty of weapons on offense with Priest Holmes,
Trent Green and Tony Gonzalez, but Hall has inflicted the most
damage on opponents. Three weeks ago, he returned a punt 73
yards for a score in a win at Houston. On September 14, Hall
took a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Pittsburgh.
Kansas City has allowed just 16.2 points in five games this
season, a drastic improvement from its average of 25.0 per game
The defense will face quite a challenge from quarterback Brett
Favre and running back Ahman Green, who helped the Packers score
touchdowns on five consecutive possessions in last week's 35-13
rout of the previously unbeaten Seattle Seahawks. Favre passed
for 185 yards and two touchdowns and Green rushed for 118 yards
and two scores.
The Broncos (4-1), who fell out of a first-place tie with Kansas
City in the AFC West, host the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3).
Quarterback Patrick Ramsey will be facing what likely will be an
angry defense when the Washington Redskins (3-2) host the
Trying to establish themselves as one of the NFL's all-time
great defenses, the Bucs surrendered just two touchdowns in
their first 15 quarters this season.
But in the fourth quarter Monday, Tampa Bay watched its vaunted
defense collapse as it surrendered 28 points in the fourth
"I haven't had an experience like that since I was in the
dentist chair and had my teeth pulled out," Bucs coach Jon
At the season's quarter pole, coach Bill Parcells has the Dallas
Cowboys (3-1) in first place in the NFC East ahead of
Washington, the Philadelphia Eagles (2-2) and New York Giants
After going 5-11 in each of the last three seasons, the Cowboys
have been one of the early surprises under Parcells, who was
brought in to resurrect the once-proud franchise. They host the
Eagles, who have captured the last six meetings by an average
of 23.3 points.
The Giants visit the New England Patriots (3-2) in an
interconference matchup before they host the Eagles on October
The Miami Dolphins (3-1) have won three straight games and lead
the Patriots and Buffalo Bills (3-2) in the AFC East. They
visit the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4), while the Bills face the
winless New York Jets (0-4).
Rookie Ken Hamlin may have his sights set on Terrell Owens on
Sunday night when the Seahawks (3-1) host the San Francisco
49ers (2-3) in an NFC West matchup.
A second-round pick out of Arkansas, Hamlin won the starting
free safety job for the Seahawks and already has established
himself as a physical presence. One of the NFL's top receivers
and biggest showboats, Owens may want to be on the lookout for
The Seahawks have some added incentive regarding Owens, who
caught a pair of touchdown passes in a 28-20 win at Seattle in a
Monday night contest last October. He turned his second TD
reception, into a souvenir that infuriated the Seahawks.
After his catch, Owens pranced into the end zone, grabbed a
marker from his sock, autographed the football and handed it to
his financial advisor. Owens said he did not mean to disrespect
"Everyone's always saying I'm being disrespectful or I'm a bad
guy," said Owens, one of the best receivers in the game. "But
I'm just trying to be creative and having fun."
But Seahawks coach Paul Holmgren was incensed by Owens' action,
calling it an "embarrassment to the NFL."
In other games, the Titans (3-2) host the Houston Texans (2-2);
the struggling Oakland Raiders (2-3) visit the Cleveland Browns
(2-3); the Ravens (2-2) face the Arizona Cardinals (1-4); and
the Chicago Bears (1-3) meet the New Orleans Saints (1-4).
Michael Vick was supposed to make his debut on Monday Night
Football. Instead, he will again watch from the sidelines when
the Atlanta Falcons (1-4) visit the St. Louis Rams (2-2).
With one of the NFL's most electrifying players in Vick, the
Falcons were scheduled for their first Monday night game since
the 1999 regular-season finale.
But Vick suffered a fractured right fibula during the preseason
and remains sidelined. The Falcons are hoping to get their star
quaterback back within a few weeks.
Without Vick, the Falcons have struggled under Doug Johnson.
After a season-opening win at Dallas, Atlanta has dropped four