The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on September 15, 1991 · Page 33
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September 15, 1991

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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 33

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Sunday, September 15, 1991
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Sunday, September 15, 1991 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER Pro f00tballC-9 m Pro football Brown unlikely to face Browns Kosar back on track, and his arm's fine again THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BEREA, Ohio Bernie Kosar's quarterback rating so far this year tells you at least two things: His arm is fine, and his offensive line is improved. Through the Browns' first two games, Kosar's rating is Giants (1-1) vs. Chicago (1-1) Key Stat: Jim Harbaugh is 12-4 as a starter over the last two seasons. Jeff Hostetler lost his first start last week and is 8-1 as a starter. Bears have won eight of the last 10 played in Chicago. Comment: These teams began playing each other in 1925. Giants hammered the Bears, 31-3, in the playoffs last season. The Giants must closely guard Neal Anderson as a pass receiver. He can be a deadly deep threat against a defense that is too eager. It will be a low-scoring and hard-hitting game, but the Giants still have more muscle. Giants 19, Bears 14. Indianapolis (0-2) vs. Raiders (1-1) Key Stat: Colts' Jeff George has completed more than 50 of his passes in 1 2 of his last 1 5 games. The Colts won the most recent meeting, 30-24, in 1 986 in Los Angeles. Comment: Someone asked Eric Dickerson last week about his first return to Los Angeles since his trade from the Rams in 1987. He thought the questioner was trying to brew trouble, but there is little doubt that he would love to shine here. He needs 94 yards to move past Franco Harris into fourth place on the career list. The Raiders aren't so giving. Raiders 31, Colts 17. New England (1-1) vs. Pittsburgh 1-1) Key Stat: Patriots linebacker Andre Tippett leads the league in sacks with 3.5; that equals his sack total in 13 games last season. Jon Vaughn ranks second in the conference in kickoff returns with a 24.3-yard average. Comment: Pittsburgh trailed Buffalo, 31-27, entering the fourth quarter before being blitzed in a 52-34 loss last week. The Steelers' No. 1 -ranked pass defense from last season was shelled and should regroup against a less than stellar Patriots passing attack. Pittsburgh beat New England, 24-3, last December. This time, it's Steelers 27, Patriots 10. Philadelphia (1-1) vs. Dallas (1-1) Key Stat: Cowboys' Troy Aikman has an 80-pass string of no interceptions. Emmitt Smith leads the conference in rushing yards (224, 5.2 yards a carry) and in receptions (14). Comment: A second week with Jim McMahon starting at quarterback should help the Eagles' offense settle down. They were eager but out of sync in their loss to Phoenix, but they were also outhit and outplayed. Dallas gave the Redskins fits Monday night. Its biggest weak spot is the secondary, This time, the Cowboys' offense covers for the defense. Cowboys 29, Eagles 27. Phoenix (2-0) vs. Washington (2-0) Key Stat: Cardinals have not won at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium 113.4, a mark that reflects his 69.8 completion rate, three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Perhaps most significant is his sack total. He's been brought down four times for losses totaling 27 yards in the two games; last season, he was sacked seven times in the first game alone. Kosar, however, doesn't want to hear the numbers. "Don't jinx me," he said. "Don't talk too much about that vet. I don't reallv 1 BY JACK BRENNAN The Cincinnati Enquirer CLEVELAND Wide receiver Eddie Brown's up-and-down injury report for the Browns game took a nosedive here Saturday. "I don't think he can play, and he'll probably be on our inactive list," Bengals coach Sam Wyche said as the team arrived at its downtown hotel. "He said his (bruised) shoulder actually felt a little more stiff today than it had the last couple of days." Second-year receiver Lynn James will start for the Bengals along with Tim McGee. Wyche said that linebacker Alex Gordon (hamstring) is also a candidate for the inactive list. Center Bruce Kozerski (calf) is expected to play, but line coach Jim McNally said Paul Jetton will start at center. BROWNS INJURIES: Cleveland will have to play with a new long snapper today. Randy Kirk, who had handled the job the first two games, has been placed on injured reserve with a hamstring pull. The Browns replaced him with Brian Kinchen, a tight end cut recently by Green Bay. "We've never kicked the ball with Brian," said coach Bill Beli-chick. "It's not anything you want to do, but I think we can work it out." Fullback Kevin Mack (ankle) is the only Browns player on the injury report. He's listed as questionable, but most observers here expect him to play and perhaps to start. NEW RELATIONSHIP: Bill Parcells, who had Belichick as his defensive coordinator with the world champion Giants last year, will be NBC's analyst for today's Browns-Bengals telecast. Belichick inherits much of his penchant for restrictive rules on reporters from Parcells. But when Parcells noted the security guards patrolling the Browns' practice facility in Berea, he joked to Belichick: "Do your men pour hot lead on hole," said guard Bruce Reimers, "and with the speed our backs have, hopefully that's going to translate into a big day." The Bengals rushed for 384 yards in two games against Cleveland last year, and the stunting game of Cleveland's linemen isn't new despite a complete change in the defensive coaching staff from 1990. "We've seen it before," said Reimers, "and recently, we've caught them in the wrong places more often than they've caught us." STREAKING: The Bengals shoot today for a fifth straight victory over Cleveland, something they've yet to accomplish. This marks the third time they've managed a four-game win streak against the Browns. Cleveland beat Cincinnati five in a row from 1971 to 1973, but only once since than have the Browns managed to win as many as three in a row. Cleveland won six of the first seven meetings between the two teams, but the Bengals lead the series 21-13 since then. SHOOTING FOR SAM: Browns fans haven't tasted victory over Wyche since the Bengals coach provoked them with his "You don't live in Cleveland" remark to Cincinnati fans in 1989. Wyche says he hasn't had any trouble with Browns fans in Cleveland Stadium in several years, but he concedes he could sense their ire for him during their dog-bone throwing heyday. "I could literally turn the volume up or down in the stadium by stepping one step closer or farther from the stands before the game," Wyche said. BROOKS ROLLS: James Brooks has the last eight 100-yard single-game rushing efforts for the Bengals, including last week's 101-yarder against Houston. The last Cincinnati back other than Brooks to gain 100 was Ickey Woods against San Diego on Dec. 4, 1988. Bernie Kosar get too caught up in my stats. I think things are going OK. I take it just a game at a time." Many theories have been offered for Kosar's steady decline as a passer over the past three seasons. His quarterback rating peaked at 95.4 for the 1987 season, then dropped to 84.3 in 1988, 80.3 in 1989 and 65.7 during last year's disastrous 3-13 season. The most common notion was that Kosar's right elbow never recovered from the injury he sustained when he was hit by Kansas City's blitzing Lloyd Burruss in the opening game of the 1988 season. It's also been suggested that Kosar's numbers dropped because of the deterioration of his offensive line. Kosar is hoping the Browns' rejuvenated deep passing game will finally put to rest the questions about his arm. "Through preseason and even into the season, you can see the way we're throwing the deeper throws and I'm actually even overthrowing more than I would have liked the arm isn't a problem," Kosar said. "It really wasn't a problem over the last couple years." The revamped offensive line and a new approach to opponents' blitzes have made it possible for Kosar to look downfield again. me from those towers there if I try to get in?" NOW YOU SEE 'EM: The Browns' defensive line may lead the NFL in fancy footwork, a factor which could lead to a feast-or-famine game today for the Bengals' offensive line. "They're a hard team to prepare for," said offensive line coach Jim McNally. "They loop and stunt all over the place as you're getting ready to snap. "Really, there's no way to tell where they're going to be. If you run the wrong way, you're going to find 17 people in orange helmets in the hole." But there's a flip side to that, of course. "If you catch them right, you're going to find a gaping since 1978. Redskins has won 12 of the last 13 meetings over all, including five straight (31-0 and 38-10 last year). Comment: A huge game for Phoenix in its bid for the early conference lead. Washington will find a faster, stronger and deeper Cardinals team than in years past. The Redskins, however, are developing an knack for keeping their cool. Their steady play against Dallas on Monday was an indication that this is focused. It stays on track. Redskins 20, Cardinals 17. San Francisco (1-1) vs. Minnesota (1-1) Key Stat: 49ers have 1 0 straight victories in domed stadiums, has beaten Minnesota in four straight games (including the playoffs in 1988 and 1989) and has won 16 of its last 17 games on artificial turf. Comment: Jerry Rice complained about the 49ers' sluggish offensive plan in their opening loss to the Giants and zap, he caught nine passes for 150 yards in their 34-14 victory over San Diego last week. Steve Young is the NFC's top-rated passer at 109.1. Vikings seeks ball control with a rejuvenated Herschel Walker (second in the conference in rushing). 49ers' defense is too strong. 49ers 26, Vikings 19. Tampa Bay (0-2) vs. Green Bay (0-2) Key Stat: Four of the past seven games in this series have been decided by 3 or fewer points. Green Bay is averaging three turnovers a game. Comment: These teams just can't get it right. The winner finally gains hope while the loser continues to labor and spin toward a 10-plus loss season. Blair Bush, the Packers' 14-year center, makes his 165th NFL start. For Bush, this one ends happily. Packers 27, Buccaneers 17. Atlanta (0-2) vs. San Diego (0-2) Key Stat: Atlanta ranks second in NFC in rushing (150 yards a game), but 13th in defending the run. Of the three previous meetings in this series, the visiting team has won each game. Comment: Atlanta keeps losing close games, first to the Chiefs and last week to the Vikings. The Chargers need Marion Butts to run strong against Atlanta's slipping run defense and for John Friesz (four interceptions) to limit his mistakes. Andre Rison seeks his first 100-yard receiving game after recording five last year. Falcons 24, Chargers 21. Miami (1-1) vs. Detroit (1-1) Key Stat: Don Shula seeks his 300th career victory, matching only George Halas (325) as NFL coaches who have won 300. Shula is 9-3-2 against Lions, where he began as assistant coach in 1960. Comment: These teams have not met since 1985, when Detroit won, 31 -21 . Detroit has Barry Sanders and Miami has Mark Higgs, the Bengals CONTINUED FROM PAGE C-l James Francis will today move back outside, where he starred last season. He'll serve as a book-end with top draft pick Alfred Williams. Francis, sworn to secrecy on his position, is far from reticent on his general plans for today's game. "I'm hungry to make some big plays, to get a sack or an interception or cause a fumble," he said. "I'm sure we're all hungry, but career 5.2-yard rushing average against the Bengals. The Bengals have had some of their better rushing games on the soft natural turf of Cleveland Stadium 233 yards in 1990 and 257 in 1986. "I love my team," said Bengals halfback James Brooks. "We've lost two, and everybody's giving up on us. But wait a few weeks. They'll all be back on the personally, I'm starving." Williams barely played last week as all linebackers save Francis saw light duty against the Oilers' run-and-shoot offense. "It was frustrating," Williams said. "I'm ready to get back in and do my thing, which is get pressure on the quarterback. That's why they brought me here." Williams, though only a rookie, spoke with feeling last week on the anguish of being 0-2. "I don't have much to say after a loss. It's always been hard on me. I'm just not a good loser. I hate it. It makes me sick to my stomach to lose." Kevin Mack, the 230-pound Cleveland fullback with two Pro Bowls on his resume, will be a key factor in determining whether Cleveland can check Cincinnati's pass-rushing commitment with a rushing threat. He's expected to play today after sitting out most of the young season with injuries. He has a Shula's teaching produces 299 wins The career NFL coaching record ot Miami head coach Don Shula, who will be seeking his 300th victory today against Detroit: REGULAR SEASON Year, Team W L T Pet 1963 Baltimore.... 8 6 0 .571 1964 Baltimore-y. 12 2 0 857 1965 Baltimore.... 10 3 1 .769 1966 Baltimore.... 9 5 0 643 1967 Baltimore.... 11 1 2 .917 1968 Baltimore-y. 13 1 0 .929 1969 Baltimore .... 8 5 1 .615 1970 Miami 10 4 0 .714 1971 Miami-y 10 3 1 .769 1972 Miami-x 14 0 0 1 000 1973 Miami-x 12 2 0 .857 1974 Miami 11 3 0 .786 1975 Miami 10 4 0 .714 1976 Miami 6 8 0 .429 1977 Miami 10 4 0 .714 1978 Miami 11 5 0 .688 1979 Miami 10 6 0 .625 1980 Miami 8 8 0 .500 1981 Miami 11 4 1 .719 1982 Miami-y 7 2 0 .777 1963 Miami 12 4 0 .750 1984 Miami-y 14 2 0 .875 1985 Miami 12 4 0 .760 1986 Miami 8 8 0 .500 1987 Miami 8 7 0 .533 1988 Miami 6 10 0 .375 1989 Miami 8 8 0 .500 1990 Miami 12 4 0 .750 1991 Miami 1 1 0 .500 Totals 282 124 t .692 POSTSEASON Totals... 17 14 0 .548 OVERALL Total ...299 138 ( .(84 x-Super Bowl winner: y-Super Bowl or NFL Championship runner-up. surprise back of the season with two consecutive 100-yard-plus rushing games. Dan Marino and his receivers, however, figure to give the Lions fits. The Detroit secondary ranks 15th against the pass. Dolphins 26, Lions 17. Buffalo (2-0) vs. Jets (1-1) Key Stat: Bills are averaging 558 yards a game and are the first NFL team to open with 500-plus yards in each of their first two games. Thurman Thomas ran for nearly half that against the Jets last year. Comment: Buffalo has won seven straight in the series and enters with the league's No. 1-ranked passer, Jim Kelly, the league's No. 1 -ranked offense and the conference's No. 1 ground game. That's a lot of No. 1 's for the Jets' defense to contend with. Running back Blair Thomas' sore back might slow him (he's listed as probable). This could get ugly. Bills 40, Jets 27. Seattle (1 -1 ) vs. Denver (1 -1 ) Key Stat: If the game goes into overtime, as it did last season at Mile High Stadium, look for Denver to win. Broncos are 4-0 against Seattle in overtime games and are 10-3 at home against the Seahawks. Comment: Jeff Kemp, in his first start since November 1988, led Seattle to victory over the Jets last week. He has played in six games against Denver and has yet to throw a pass. Denver is second in the conference against the run (93 yards allowed per game) and John Elway is 8-6 against Seattle. Broncos 19, Seahawks 7. Rams (1-1) vs. New Orleans (2-0) Key Stat: John Robinson is 8-8 against the Saints, including two losses last year. New Orleans owns the league's No. 1-ranked rushing defense. Comment: Saints have their best start in their history, and to keep it up, they need continued consistency from Bobby Hebert and punch from their big-hitting defense. Few expected the Rams to topple the Giants last week, but Los Angeles showed that when it holds on to the ball, good things happen. Too bad New Orleans pops the football loose again. Saints 20, Rams 16. Kansas City (1-1) vs. Houston (2-0) Key Stat: Warren Moon threw for 527 yards against the Chiefs last season, the second-highest yardage total in league history. Receiver Haywood Jeffries produced 245 receiving yards on 9 catches. Comment: Chiefs have waited a year for revenge. Seeking to clinch the AFC West Division title last year, they were embarrassed by the Oilers in this matchup and eventually lost the crown. Chiefs' secondary ranks fourth league-wide, but the offense has produced only 24 points in two games. Houston has scored 77. Chiefs just can't keep pace with the run-and-shoot. Oilers 24, Chiefs 1 6. NEW YORK TIMES L "7 II. ..r A -iW ,,-rtirg ,1 ' J . r ' THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MIAMI A news conference with Don Shula is winding down, and the Miami Dolphins' coach tries to explain how he has won 299 games in the NFL. "Coaching is teaching," Shula says. "It's not what I know the Xs and Os it's what I can transmit to the people I'm responsible for that have to execute under heavy pressure. That's how you're judged." Shula looks at his watch. He has limited patience for questions about the looming 300-victory milestone. It was time for another practice, time to coach and teach and encourage and chew out his players as they prepare for today's game at Detroit. With a win, Shula would become the only NFL coach other than the late George Halas to reach the 300 mark. But Shula would rather be on the practice field or in the film room than bask in anticipation of his achievement. "Now is not the time for me to enjoy it," he says. There's too much work to do; at 61, Shula remains one of the most intense and organized coaches in a league known for them. "He's such a hard-working man," marvels receiver Jim Jensen, the senior member of the Dolphins with 11 seasons under Shula. "He's so dedicated to the game. It's incredible, the work ethic that he transmits to the players and the other coaches." Shula takes pride in working hard. It shows when he's asked if victories are the ultimate gauge of a coach's performance. "To me the most important ine Associated Kress Don Shula had a 73-26-4 record and a trip to Super Bowl III to show for his tenure with the Baltimore Colts. thing is my own peace of mind," he it." Shula will be the last NFL coach to reach 300 wins for a while. Pittsburgh's Chuck Noll is second on the list of active coaches with 203. "It shows tremendous perseverance and success over a long period of time," says Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese, who helped the Dolphins win the Super Bowl in 1972 and 1973. "A lot of coaches are good for 10 years, but times change. He's won through all of them." Shula's method is meticulous he has saved every practice schedule since becoming the NFL's youngest head coach at age 33 in 1963. His focus is narrow he says. "And that comes from the satisfaction of feeling you've given everything you have to give to your responsibilities." Such a thing can't be measured with numbers. "But if the numbers are there," Shula says with a smile, "that helps your conviction that you're doing the right thing." Shula's numbers are there. With a record of 299-138-6 in 29 NFL seasons at Baltimore and Miami, he could pass Halas (325-151-31 in 40 seasons) by 1993. "That's a record th?t I'd like to someday have," Shula says, "but I'm not going to spend a lot of time today and tomorrow thinking about was introduced to actor Don Johnson of Miami Vice and thought Johnson was a real cop. He is a devout Catholic and family man who has spoken candidly about losing his wife to cancer last February. Yet Shula is perhaps best known for an icy stare and hot temper and yelling at officials. With Halas' record 26 wins away, there's no talk of Shula retiring. 1 V

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