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

Click to follow
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.

Comments