AMERICAN FOOTBALL: Stampeding Broncos look hard to stop

TRADITIONALLY, THE half-way point of the season is a time for pundits to assess whether those teams which have so far managed to avoid defeat can maintain their progress and join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only team in history to have enjoyed a perfect campaign.

This year, only the Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings have maintained an unblemished record, and while the Vikings have some difficult games in prospect, it is becoming difficult to see who can topple the Broncos.

The defending Super Bowl champions were expected to be given a severe test by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the 37-24 scoreline barely reflects Denver's superiority. It was the Broncos 12th win a row, and their 20th at home.

The win will be remembered for two individual performances. The Denver running back, Terrell Davis, gained 136 yards on the ground, thereby giving him 1,000 for the season. Only gridiron legends Jim Brown and O J Simpson have ever achieved that feat in seven games, and Davis is on course to beat the single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards set by Eric Dickerson in 1984.

The Denver kicker, Jason Elam, is less likely to be remembered as one of the game's greats, but his date with destiny came just before half- time, when he converted a 63-yard field goal, equalling the all-time record set by Tom Dempsey of the New Orleans Saints in 1970.

The kick prompted wild celebrations on the Denver sideline. "The goalposts looked pretty skinny from way back there, so I tried not to look at them too much," he said. "It's an old record, and I'm proud to have a piece of it."

No such heroics in Detroit, where the Vikings' unbeaten record looked in danger as the Lions enjoyed a 13-10 advantage at half-time. However, the second half was a different affair. The quarterback, Randall Cunningham, threw a 10-yard touchdown to Cris Carter, the running back Robert Smith scored on a 57-yard run, and Jimmy Hitchcock thrilled Vikings fans with a 79-yard interception return for a touchdown as the Vikings ran out comfortable 34-13 winners.

Afterwards Cunningham gave credit for the victory to his head coach, Dennis Greene, whose famed powers of motivation certainly had an effect on his players.

"He came in at half-time and said a few things that came from the heart," he said. "I believe he's going to be a preacher one of these days."

Another win for the San Francisco 49ers, and more honours for the receiver Jerry Rice. Rice set a new record by catching a pass in his 184th consecutive game, then picked up a touchdown pass from Steve Young, the 79th time that the partnership has connected for a score, equalling the record established by Dan Marino and Mark Clayton of the Miami Dolphins. The 49ers were too strong for the St Louis Rams, their 28-10 triumph confirming that they remain genuine Super Bowl candidates.

Elsewhere, the Buffalo Bills stampeded to their fourth win in a row, overwhelming the Carolina Panthers, 30-14. The victory was inspired by their reserve quarterback, Doug Flutie, who continues to confound his critics. "I can't throw deep, I'm too old, I'm too short, I can't play in the cold. I've heard it all," he said. After Flutie completed 18 of his 22 passes for 282 yards and two scores against the Panthers, his detractors may elect to maintain a low profile.

After enduring some sticky moments in recent weeks, the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints all returned to winning ways at the expense of the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers respectively.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears