This is an article from the Oct. 5, 2009 issue
They may not get to the playoffs, but, wow, just the fact that they're this close! Eight-and-a-half games out of the wild card on Sept. 9, Atlanta won 14 of 16 through Sunday to close within 2½ of Colorado. The Braves finish at home against the Nats. Said third baseman Chipper Jones (right), "We feel good."
What happy returns for Kansas State's senior—he brought back kickoffs 91 and 92 yards for TDs last Saturday against Tennessee Tech. "I just ran," he explained. Those weren't the only big plays for the little fella (5'7", 150): As a wideout, Banks took a short pass 64 yards.
Notre Dame is 3--1, and the thrill is in the details. Three straight games have been decided in the final minute, including last Saturday's win at Purdue on a TD pass by hobbled QB (right). Now the fun part: Washington, USC and BC the next three weeks at home.
With the NBA off-season ending—and, seriously, Shaq vs. was better than you thought, right?—the newest Cavalier was welcomed to Cleveland at a restaurant bash. Said Shaq approvingly of his new town, "Everything is here. The Browns are here, LeBron is here and now I'm here."
Maryland QB Chris Turner says his 1--3 team will be better "once we eliminate the turnovers." Good luck with that. The Terps have given up the ball nine times in their last two games, including Turner's four picks, and are off to their worst start in 12 years. Said coach Ralph Friedgen, "It all starts with me."
Fumbling on a kickoff return was bad enough. Muffing a punt after calling for a fair catch was worse. And the eye-daggers from Titans coach Jeff Fisher? Yikes! The rookie needed a place to hide after his miscues against the Jets. This week he may get it: on the sideline.
A 23--3 loss to Denver before a sparse crowd dropped Oakland to 1--2 and Texas Tech's Red Raiders are no fun either. Two days after losing to Houston, coach Mike Leach outlawed Twitter use by his team; that was after a linebacker tweeted that Leach was late for a meeting.
Roll over and die, why don't you? Hopes for a winning season ended long ago, but the O's 10 straight losses through Sunday—matching last September's streak in a 5--23 finish—could get them the AL's worst record. Said catcher Chad Moeller, "Embarrassing."
SI PLAYERS NFL POLL
WHO IS THE MOST DOMINANT DEFENSIVE PLAYER IN THE NFL?
Albert Haynesworth, Redskins DT 19%
Ed Reed, Ravens S 14%
DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys LB 13%
James Harrison, Steelers LB 10%
Ray Lewis, Ravens LB 8%
Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100 million deal in the off-season; his 14½ sacks over the previous two years with Tennessee were the most by an NFL tackle, and he had his first of this season on Sunday.... The Vikings' Jared Allen (seventh, 3.5%) got the most votes of any defensive end.... Among the 17 players who drew multiple votes, the Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha was the only cornerback.
Based on a survey of 296 NFL players