Eric Dickerson ran for 215 yards and two touchdowns today, breaking O.J. Simpson's NFL single-season rushing record and leading the Los Angeles Rams to a 27-16 victory over the Houston Oilers.
Dickerson, in his second year out of Southern Methodist, needed 212 yards entering the game to surpass the 11-year-old mark set by Simpson in a 14-game season with the Buffalo Bills. Dickerson gained 106 yards in the first half and 54 in the third quarter.
With 3:12 left in the game, he took a handoff from Jeff Kemp -- his 353th carry of the season compared to 332 by Simpson to get 2,003 yards -- and followed a block by tackle Bill Bain to pick up nine yards and the record -- 2,007 yards.
The fans celebrated while Dickerson's teammates ran onto the field to congratulate him. He left the game at that point and sat on the bench, clutching the ball he carried to the record.
"I can't explain the feeling," he said. "I'm just on a natural high. I don't know what to say to O.J. I still respect him. He's still the best. He did it in 14 games and I did it in 15.
"But no one has done it since O.J."
It was Dickerson's 12th 100-yard-plus game of the year, surpassing the NFL record of 11 held by Simpson and Earl Campbell.
The victory left the Rams with a 10-5 record and in solid position for an NFC wild card berth. Houston is 3-12.
Dickerson, who set a league rookie rushing record last season with 1,808 yards, scored on a six-yard run with 5:49 remaining as the Rams finally shook off the Oilers (3-12). Houston, within striking distance most of the game, had pulled to within 20-16 on Joe Cooper's third field goal of the game, an 18-yarder midway through the third quarter.
Dickerson's other touchdown run was a seven-yard run that staked Los Angeles to a 14-3 advantage 10:32 into the game.
The Rams' other scoring came on a 57-yard pass from Kemp to Drew Hill with less than two minutes played, and field goals of 35 and 19 yards by Mike Lansford.
Houston's only touchdown was a four-yard run by Larry Moriarty in the second quarter. Cooper also had field goals of 21 and 42 yards in the losing effort.