Injuries overshadow Anderson's record

The World Series may be dominating the American sporting scene, but after a weekend of shattered records and broken bodies, it seems the gridiron game is reluctant to be relegated to the sidelines.

The World Series may be dominating the American sporting scene, but after a weekend of shattered records and broken bodies, it seems the gridiron game is reluctant to be relegated to the sidelines.

Leading the pack in the jostle to grab the headlines was the Minnesota Vikings kicker, Gary Anderson, who became the league's all-time leading scorer, taking his tally to 2,004 points in helping his team retain their unbeaten record with a thrilling 31-27 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

The Cincinnati Bengals, previously winless and hopeless, confounded all expectations by demolishing the Denver Broncos 31-21, with the running back Corey Dillon setting a single-game rushing record with 278 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The St Louis Rams, themselves on course for an assault on the record books after a sizzling start to the season, found themselves on the wrong end of a 54-34 mauling in Kansas City. Of greater concern to the defending champions than the loss of their unbeaten record, was the broken finger sustained by their quarterback Kurt Warner, and a shoulder injury to the running back Marshall Faulk. Both await test results with anxiety, Warner facing a four-week absence.

The Tennessee Titans made short work of the Baltimore Ravens, prevailing 14-6, but celebrations were muted following the departure of their running back Eddie George with a knee injury. Few players are as crucial to their team's welfare as George is to the Titans and he spent yesterday undergoing medical examinations in an effort to determine the extent of the damage.

Among others spending quality time with their doctors are a group of battered quarterbacks, including Kansas City's Elvis Grbac, Cade McNown from Chicago, Cincinnati's Akili Smith and the Seattle pair of Brock Huard and Jon Kitna, all of whom were forced out of the action on Sunday.

With records and bodies seemingly broken in equal measure, Anderson's achievement was almost put in the shade. His record-setting kick, a routine 21-yard field goal, capped the scoring in the Vikings triumph over the Bills, but the game's big play had occurred moments earlier, when the receiver Randy Moss made a spectacular catch in the end zone to give his team the lead with three minutes remaining. The Vikings, now the league's only unbeaten team, came back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Quiet and unassuming by nature, the 18-year veteran from South Africa savoured his moment. "It can't have happened in a more special way," Anderson said. "To get a chance to kick a field goal in front of the home crowd in that kind of setting, I couldn't have asked for a better script myself."

Nor could Dillon, who surpassed Walter Payton's mark of 275 yards in a breathtaking display, as the Bengals achieved their first win of the season in extraordinary fashion. Led by Dillon's 278 yards and two touchdowns, Cincinnati chalked up a total of 407 rushing yards, the fifth-highest tally in the league's history.

Four years ago, Dillon eclipsed Jim Brown, another gridiron legend, when he set the single-game rookie rushing record. He is in exalted company, but seems to know his place. "I'm not even in their league right now," he said of Payton and Brown, the best runners ever to play the game. "I just wanted to make a big play and ended up with 278."

The Washington receiver Albert Connell delivered 211 yards and three touchdowns as the Redskins demolished Jacksonville 35-16.

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