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Monday, November 14, 2005 

Many Happy Returns

Yesterday was a record-setting and memorable day in the NFL.

Chicago Bears DB Nathan Vasher returned Joe Nedney's missed 52 yard field goal an NFL record 108 yards for a touchdown. It happened on the final play of the first half, which is probably why Vasher decided to try to bring the ball out of the end zone. Watching replays on TV, the wierdest part was the trajectory of Nedney's kick, which was pulled sharply to the right by the wind. Vasher broke the Ravens' Chris McAlister's previous record of 107 yards set in 2002.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings actually made news for a play on the field. For the first time in NFL history, a team scored on an interception return (Darren Sharper), a kickoff return (Koren Robinson), and a punt return (Mewelde Moore) in the same game. One fact that will get lost in history is that Sharper's return allowed the Vikings to reach halftime with a 7-6 lead even though they were outgained 196 to 6, an incredible margin on its own.

(See my Extra Points blog for some historical perspective.)

Lastly, Jon Gruden decided to one-up Dick Vermeil and go for two at the end of Tampa's game against Washington. The penalty on the initial extra point attempt and the unexpectedly porous Bucs defense certainly played into Gruden's decision. For the second straight week, a team felt that they had a better shot at going for a win instead of tying the game and hoping to win the coin toss in overtime. I just hope this doesn't lead to some kind of NCAA-style overtime system in the NFL.

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