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Adrian Peterson short of Eric Dickerson"s record as Minnesota Vikings beat Green Bay Packers

Peterson falls short of Dickerson's record after carrying Minnesota Vikings into NFL play-offs

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UPDATED:

02:25 GMT, 31 December 2012

Touchdown: Adrian Peterson made it 10-0 in the first quarter

Touchdown: Adrian Peterson made it 10-0 in the first quarter

Adrian Peterson fell nine-yards shy of breaking Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson's all-time rushing record as the Minnesota Vikings claimed a wild-card spot with a thrilling 37-34 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

365 days after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, Peterson finished with 199-yards and a touchdown, becoming the seventh running back in NFL history to break the 2,000 yard barrier in a single season.

'Ultimately we got the “W”,' Peterson said after a career-high 34 carries. 'We said during the week, if it happens, it happens. Don't focus on it.'

With the clock ticking down and some excellent time management from quarterback Christian Ponder, the MVP-contender's final run of 26 yards put the Vikings within field goal range.

Up stepped metronomic rookie Blair Walsh to convert the winning field goal from 29 yards to send Mall of America field into delirium.

Outnumbered: The Green Bay Packers attempt to get to grips with Peterson

Outnumbered: The Green Bay Packers attempt to get to grips with Peterson

Peterson's 2,097 yards this season spearheaded an unlikely charge to the post-season, with the Vikings looking finished at 6-6 after a promising start.

But four straight wins against the Chicago Bears, the St Louis Rams, the Houston Texans and the NFC North winners set up another meeting between the two storied rivals at Lambeau Field next week.

David Lloyd – Bumble Test Diary: England will smash the Aussies (twice) but India need to forget IPL razzmatazz and get serious about Test cricket

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: I predict England will smash the Aussies (twice) but India need to forget IPL razzmatazz and get serious about Test cricket

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UPDATED:

17:16 GMT, 17 December 2012

NERVOUS COOK NEEDN'T WORRY, THIS WAS AN EPIC WIN

Alastair Cook said he was nervous going into the final day and feared one bad session could cost England but their two Bears (Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell) played wonderfully well. They helped themselves to a century each and, in the end, it was a very comfortable series win as expected. But this was also an epic win, an outstanding performance.

England coach Andy Flower

Smiler: Coach Andy Flower

SMILES BETTER FOR FLOWER

I've never seen coach Andy Flower with such a wide smile on his face. He understands what England have achieved. To turn India over in their own backyard is as good as any Ashes win, it's the holy grail, you just don't do it. When India bamboozled England in the first Test, they asked for spinning pitches because they wanted a 4-0 win, but it backfired badly and England pounced.

IPL PARTY IS NO EXCUSE FOR FAILING TEST

India now have a massive choice. They either get real about Test match cricket or they concentrate on the IPL, which is a fantastic event but it's just entertainment, a seven-week party. It's light years away from the discipline of Test cricket. How interested the India players are can be judged by the debutant in this Test (Jadeja) who is already a millionaire from IPL! So why should he care about Tests

U.S. singer Katy Perry performs at the Indian Premier League (IPL) opening ceremony in Chennai, India

Cheerleaders attracts the cricket fans at the inaugural match of DLF Indian Premier League cricket at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore

Just not (real) cricket: Katy Perry (left) and cheerleaders have added much glamour and fun to IPL cricket

KP'S CELEBRATIONS SHOW HE'S BACK IN THE FOLD

England have stabilised from the summer when the Kevin Pietersen issue dominated. There was a lot of love around during the celebrations at the end of the Test, particularly surrounding KP. And it was noticeable that Flower said 'we have had a tough time but we're back on track'.

Yorkshire gold: Tim Bresnan (left), Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow (right) celebrate England's series win with a beer and signing each others shirts (PICTURE POSTED BY @timbresnan ON TWITTER)

Yorkshire gold: Tim Bresnan (left), Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow (right) celebrate England's series win with a beer and signing each others shirts (PICTURE POSTED BY @timbresnan ON TWITTER)

NOW FOR THE INTEGRATION OF THE YOUNG TYKES

England go to New Zealand in the New Year who are second from bottom in the rankings. There can be no complacency and England must win in style. We've had the reintegration of KP and now look forward to the integration of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow as England get ready for the Ashes.

PICTURE DISPUTE

We are unable to carry live pictures from the
fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for
Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture
agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic
agencies. MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

TWO SPINNERS MAY NOT GO IN FLOWER'S PLAN FOR WORLD DOMINATION

As for Monty Panesar, my experience of New Zealand is that you can play two spinners, and Flower acknowledged he has two world-class spinners. But he also insisted that it was three seamers and one spinner who took England to the top of the world and pointedly remarked that Graeme Swann took the most wickets on tour, so Monty may just play here and there.

Spin twins: England spinners Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann (right) pose on Twitter after the draw in Nagpur. Swann's team-mates have been ribbing him for allegedly looking like Chandler Bing from the US sitcom Friends

Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel

Friends: Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann (left) pose after the draw in Nagpur. Swann's team-mates have been ribbing him for looking like Chandler from the sitcom Friends (right)… Judge for yourselves…

I EXPECT THREE WINS FROM ENGLAND'S NEXT THREE SERIES

I am a betting man and I predict three series wins for England next year, in New Zealand and home and away in the Ashes. England are the better team with, crucially, better players on the bench. When the likes of Monty, Root and Steven Finn can come in and take over, you're laughing.

More from David Lloyd…

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: I've done 'a Trott' and was not proud of it, but I'm less of a fan of Captain Beefheart
16/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Revealed – Anderson swings both ways and Nasser is the ice man
14/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: On your bikes, lads… Get on with the flipping game, India… You're 2-1 down!I was expecting someone to bring you tea and sarnies
13/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: A billion reasons why India must improve… (and leave Samit alone)
09/12/12

BUMBLE'S TEST DIARY: It's a case of 'after you Claude' for captain Cook but England can rely on their attack
07/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: How I nodded off and woke up dreaming of Monty and Bruno (but Beefy's wrong, it had nothing to do with Timothy Taylor)
05/12/12

BUMBLE TEST DIARY: Rolling Stones fan Bumble says – It's only an England Test victory in India… but I like it, like it, yes I do!
26/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Ryder Cup 2012: Chicago bearpit is America"s 13th man – Martin Samuel

Hope you packed earplugs! Chicago bearpit is America's 13th man

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 27 September 2012

A critical hole, Phil Mickelson called the 17th at course three, Medinah Country Club. He said its amphitheatre effect gave it a special significance. ‘You can really feel it as you play,’ he added.

And the United States will be hoping to feel it at Medinah this week, particularly on Sunday when the Ryder Cup hits its peak. They will be hoping to feel it from a breed known as the Chicago sports fans, much ballyhooed around these parts.

Just about every American player who has trooped through the media tent this week has fielded a question about the frenzy of the local support. Even Luke Donald, an Illinois resident for 15 years, was asked to characterise what makes a Chicago sports enthusiast special.

Patriot: An American golf fan watches play during Thursday's practice round ahead of the Ryder Cup

Patriot: An American golf fan watches play during Thursday's practice round ahead of the Ryder Cup

So notorious is this fervour that Saturday Night Live had a recurring sketch about it. Bill Swerski’s Superfans ran for two seasons, 1991 and 1992, and typically featured a group of blowhard Chicagoans gathered in the sports bar run by Mike Ditka, legendary coach of the Chicago Bears NFL franchise. They would gorge, smoke, drink and predict outlandishly huge victories for their favourite sports teams.

Skits had them discussing who would win out of Ditka and a hurricane (Ditka, unless the hurricane in question was Hurricane Ditka) or how many points Michael Jordan would score for the Chicago Bulls if he played the entire game alone, on a recliner (he might be kept to under 200).

The dialogue would invariably end in a heart attack caused by the over-consumption of Polish sausage — pronounced sassage — or a toast to ‘Da Bears’ or ‘Da Bulls’. All around the table wore dark sunglasses and thick moustaches, like Ditka.

On Sunday, the uniform is intended to be red, as the PGA of America implore those attending Medinah to show their support for the home team. Be our 13th man, is the instruction. Chicago sports fans will need every last drop of energy, however, if they are to drag this American Ryder Cup team over the line. For those sitting at the back of that critical 17th watching practice rounds on Wednesday, the home team were offering very little to paint the town red about.

Long before a hapless flunky had managed to roll the team buggy down a steep slope, there was disquiet in the bleachers. The 17th is a 193-yard par three across water, and, although no player got wet, not enough hit the green for the comfort of the home crowd, not even Tiger Woods. From the 12th hole, water is a feature at Medinah, with the 13th and 15th, in particular, offering the risk-reward combination that makes for thrilling matchplay.

Watery grave: The hazard by the seventeenth green could claim some high-profile victims this week

Watery grave: The hazard by the seventeenth green could claim some high-profile victims this week

‘The 13th will be vital momentum-wise as you’re heading down the stretch,’ said Mickelson. ‘My take on the 15th is that it is an easy birdie laying up, but while it is technically reachable from the tee, it is really not possible to drive. As disappointing as it will be for fans, we have to play what’s in front of us, and the lowest score will be the shot laying up.’

Desperate measures, however, may dictate otherwise. An impending defeat might inspire one last bid for glory. Here’s Bubba Watson on the same dilemma: ‘With my four-wood, depending on wind conditions, I can reach the 15th. There are a lot of factors that go on with that: wind, pin location, how I’m hitting that day, where we are in our match. They will all determine what goes on at that moment.’

Also by then, the boisterous mood may be pulling the participants in some strange directions, not least as cold canned beer was being sold even in the stands during practice rounds, just as it is in American sports arenas. Vendors walked with the supplies in cooler trays hung from the neck. ‘Beer man here!’

Lee Westwood says he was pursued by a supporter dressed as a ghost at Valhalla in 2008, the last time America won. ‘He kept jumping out and shouting “Boo!”,’ he recalled. Chicago’s sports fans are unlikely to be more refined, or even as subtle.

The players’ reaction to that could cut either way, of course. The eyes of Davis Love, America’s captain, filled with tears as he answered a mundane question concerning Mickelson two days ago, and Watson — known as Blubba after breaking down on winning this year’s Masters — admits he has already shed tears during practice rounds.

Inspired: Phil Mickelson (left) says he is relishing the atmosphere at Medinah Country Club

Inspired: Phil Mickelson (left) says he is relishing the atmosphere at Medinah Country Club

‘The first day going up on the first tee, I had a pretty big roar, and that was special to know that the crowd was behind us, behind me,’ he said. ‘It was an honour and I might have teared up a little bit, but nobody noticed, so it was good.

‘It’s just that trophy. It’s funny, it’s just that little trophy we want to win so bad. And it’s the United States flag. The military wears that flag everywhere they go; they give us the freedom to play golf, to play the Ryder Cup. People I’ve never met fight for our freedom, so I hope to hit some good shots for them.

‘I haven’t been in the military and unless there’s a draft I’m not going to be, so this is the one chance I get to represent our country and, I hope, represent it well. The passion comes from that. All the people that pull for me, even the ones who don’t like me in the US — now they cheer for me in this one event.’

Yet does America care as much as Bubba When the Chicago Tribune wrote last year of the city’s drive to attract more visitors, the prospect of hosting the Ryder Cup north-west of downtown did not rate a mention beside the G8 and NATO summits that took place in May. Nor is the city alive with Ryder Cup fervour. Sports talk here still centres on the NFL and the prospect of the Chicago White Sox reaching baseball’s post season.

Spooky: Lee Westwood (right) says he was pursued by a spectator dressed as a ghost at Valhalla in 2008

Spooky: Lee Westwood (right) says he was pursued by a spectator dressed as a ghost at Valhalla in 2008

So if the Ryder Cup has wider importance it is that it engages America in team competition against the rest of the world. The Olympics aside, that does not happen too often. FIFA are doing their best but the progress of US soccer players in the World Cup is hardly headline news back home. America still engages on its own terms: sending NFL teams to play a one-off fixture at Wembley rather than nurturing a global contest; calling a domestic baseball competition the World Series. The growth of the Ryder Cup, therefore, is uncharted territory.

‘It seems like each two years everything doubles,’ said captain Love. ‘The people watching, the number of cameras. Our country has caught on, thanks to Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer, really. It’s like the America’s Cup yacht races — I never heard too much about them, until we started losing. Then everybody got real interested. The PGA was having a tough time selling the Ryder Cup, but those guys made it something America is now passionate about.

‘There are golf fans who don’t know much but the Ryder Cup. We just went through an Olympics, and this is our Olympics. People realise our team is going up against an unbelievable team from Europe, and they want to see what happens.’

Bill Swerski’s Superfans would at this point predict a United States victory, 29-0, with Mike Ditka carding 52 while playing with a billiard cue, but realistically this should be another European win. It may, however, need steely resolve and a set of ear plugs.

‘Walking to the first tee on Tuesday, I knew we weren’t in Wales any more,’ said Matt Kuchar. ‘There was such an eruption of excitement when we got to there: it was an awesome feeling being on home turf.’

A Golf Channel poll, however, has 71 per cent of voters making America the underdogs. Whether Medinah can be another Valhalla for the men in red may well be out of the hands of Chicago’s sports fans.

Green Bay Packers 23 Chicago Bears 10

Dismal day for Bears as they are dominated by Packers and Forte limps off with ankle injury

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UPDATED:

11:02 GMT, 14 September 2012

The Green Bay Packers made amends for a shock opening week loss with a dominant 23-10 victory over division rivals Chicago Bears on Thursday, as visiting quarterback Jay Cutler endured a night to forget.

The home defence swarmed all over Cutler, who was given little protection from his offensive line as he completed just 11-of-27 passes for 126 yards and a lone touchdown.

Dominant: Green Bay Packers recorded an easy win over Chicago bears as Matt Forte (centre) picked up a knock

Dominant: Green Bay Packers recorded an easy win over Chicago bears as Matt Forte (centre) picked up a knock

To make things worse, the Bears’ quarterback was sacked seven times and threw four intercepted passes.

/09/14/article-2203209-1501A947000005DC-993_468x375.jpg” width=”468″ height=”375″ alt=”A tale of two quarterbacks: Jay Cutler (right) had a terrible game in comparison to Aaron Rodgers (left)” class=”blkBorder” />

A tale of two quarterbacks: Jay Cutler (right) had a terrible game in comparison to Aaron Rodgers (left)

Thud: Cutler was sacked seven times as he was offered little protection

Thud: Cutler was sacked seven times as he was offered little protection