Kevin Glover, the Detroit Lions' center, pulls a well-thumbed scouting report from his locker. The report, left behind in the opponents dressing room, says Barry Sanders might be losing a step.
"We can sit back and laugh," Glover says. "When you see a report like that, those are the games when he has a real good game against somebody."For the past 10 weeks, the somebody has been everybody.
After gaining only 53 yards in the first two games, Sanders broke out with 161 yards on 19 carries against Chicago. He has gone over 100 yards in every game since and now has 1,427 for the season.
The Bears (2-10) get a chance to snap Sanders' streak today when they face the Lions (6-6) in the annual Thanksgiving Day game.
"He's like an earthquake," Lions' quarterback Scott Mitchell says. "You just never know when he'll erupt. As long as you're not in your own end zone, you're in range for him to score."
That last remark was a reminder that Sanders, despite a 107-yard day, was tackled for a safety in a 22-13 loss at Buffalo during the sixth game. Still, there is no doubt that Mitchell enjoys giving the ball to Barry.
"You have to see how he runs," Mitchell says. "He seems to be able to take on a tackle and not get hurt. He doesn't run like anybody else.
Sanders, who ran for 216 yards in Sunday's win over the Colts, needs 108 yards against the Bears to pass Eric Dickerson (13,259) and become the second-leading rusher in NFL history.
"There is probably no other experience quite like handing the ball to Barry," says Bears quarterback Erik Kramer, who used to play for Detroit.
"Everybody else is busy blocking for him. So the quarterback probably has the best seat in the house. Some of the stuff he does is just incredible. It's scary when he gets on a roll like this."
Sanders is the first running back in NFL history to go over 100 yards in 10 straight games in one season. Marcus Allen had an 11-game streak, but it was spread over two seasons.
When he scored from 80 yards out on the first play of the second half against the Colts, Sanders also became the first back in NFL history to have three touchdowns of 80 yards or more in one season.