A few days after generously deciding to pay out-for-the-year safety Ken Hamlin's entire salary (they were entitled to withhold $245,882), Seahawks put a whupping on Arizona and passed a gut check: Shaun Alexander (above) overcame a badly upset stomach to run for 173 yards and two TDs.
You go, Coach! Instead of kicking a game-tying chip shot field goal, Chiefs head man went for the win--and got it--as time expired against the rival Raiders. "Wow, was I scared," said Vermeil. "That's the first time I've ever done that."
Miami's crushed Marcus Vick and Virginia Tech (page 80), keeping alive their NCAA title hopes. Carolina's won seven straight to take control of the NHL's Southeast Conference. Later this month: a 35-song Hurricane Relief CD, with folks like Diddy and Faith Hill.
Goodbye, Larry. Under new coach Flip Saunders, Detroit's off to a 3-0 start, including 20- and 33-point wins. Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace to The Miami Herald: "[Saunders] likes to put them points on the board."
Six days after a fourth-quarter loss to Steelers, Baltimore's birds (2-6) went quietly to the Bengals, undone by the struggles of once-fearsome back Jamal Lewis (see SI PLAYERS poll, below). Meanwhile, some Ravens whined about bad officiating. Said frustrated CB Chris McAlister (above), "They should take away these guys' stripes."
Ouch, Coach! In loss to Atlanta, Dolphins offensive coordinator ran two fruitless gimmick plays and drew heat for passing on third-and-two on Miami's last possession (result: interception) instead of running with Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown. Next up? New England.
Boston College's gave up a TD on the first play, then fell to unranked North Carolina. Philadelphia's feudin' (T.O. vs. world), stumblin' (just 45 rushing yards on Sunday) NFLers fell into last place, and a new lawsuit could push the bald eagle off the endangered species list.
Hello, Larry. New, $10-million-a-year coach Brown started 0-3. There's been fighting at practice (7'1" Jerome James vs. 5'8" Nate Robinson), poor scoring, and even before a trip out West, Brown said he was "worried to death."
SI PLAYERS POLL
Who is the toughest player to tackle in the NFL?
Jamal Lewis, Ravens RB 22%
Jerome Bettis, Steelers RB 12%
LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers RB 11%Dante Hall, Chiefs WR-KR 8%
FAST FACTS: Poll was taken just before the season.... Lewis, who before this year averaged 4.7 yards a carry, had gained just 3.0 yards a rush through eight games.... The Falcons' Michael Vick (fifth, 7%) and the Vikings' Daunte Culpepper (ninth, 2%) were the only QBs to draw multiple votes.... All but five of the top 25 vote-getters are running backs.
[ Based on a survey of 357 NFL players ] • For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/Players.