American Football: Vasher gains NFL honours as 108-yard play stuns the 49ers

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The Independent Online

It was the longest play in the history of the sport, and it helped the Bears to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 17-9. In blustery conditions, the 49ers surprisingly decided to attempt a 52-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

To nobody's surprise, Joe Nedney's kick fell short, but Vasher alertly fielded the ball over his shoulder and - to the surprise of the 49ers - started to run. A few seconds later he had established his new record.

"I'm still speechless," he said afterwards. "I was feeling like I was running the 400 metres out there. I just fell into the end zone. The NFL has been around a long time: for my name to be at the top is truly an honour."

Not to be outdone, the much-maligned Minnesota Vikings continued to restore some credibility to their season by becoming the first team in history to score touchdowns on an interception, a punt return and a kick-off return.

Darren Sharper returned one of his three interceptions for a 92-yard score, while Koren Robinson added an 86-yard kick-off return and Mewelde Moore a 71-yard punt return. To complete the scoring, Paul Edinger then converted a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining to give the Vikings a 24-21 verdict over the in-form New York Giants.

Three weeks ago Samkon Gado was labouring in obscurity on the Green Bay Packers' practice squad. But with their running backs falling like dominoes to season-ending injury, Green Bay gave their fifth-choice back his first career start.

Gado gained 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Packers stunned the Atlanta Falcons 33-25. The Nigerian-born Gado hopes for a career in medicine should his sporting ambitions founder: on this evidence, he could heal some of Green Bay's many ills for the remainder of the season.