The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 13, 1999 · Page 95
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September 13, 1999

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 95

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Monday, September 13, 1999
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V J sac THE PALM BEACH POST MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1999 3CC Football "IT Giants struggle but slip past Bucs 'i $tumml; I ... w ml Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy said he had not decided whether Dilfer had lost the starting job. "He obviously didn't make some very good decisions," said Dungy, adding that he'll name his starter for Sunday later in the week. With about 12 minutes left in the game, Ellsworth's first interception set up Brad Daluiso's 36-yard field goal, giving the Giants their 17-13 lead. Eric Zeier replaced Dilfer with nine minutes to go. The backup quarterback's last pass, on fourth down with about a minute left, was intercepted by Phillippi Sparks. Two plays before, an apparent completion to Karl Williams across midfield was reversed after offi Tampa's Trent Dilfer benched after a fumble and two interceptions. The Associated Press TAMPA Christian Peter scored on a 38-yard fumble return and rookie Andre Weathers ran back one of GIANTS 17 New York's BUCCANEERS 13 four intercep-tions for a touchdown and the Giants beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-13 Sunday. New York won its fifth straight game with Kent Graham at quarterback, but its offense had virtually no success against a Bucs defense that allowed just 107 yards the second lowest total in team history. cials reviewed a video tape under theinstant replay rule. Graham, who led the Giants to a 5-1 record in the final six weeks of last season, completed 12-of-23 passes for 91 yards. Dilfer, under pressure to increase his production after failing to lead Tampa Bay to the playoffs in 1998, was 15-of-31 for 174 yards and one touchdown a 1-yard throw to Dave Moore that gave the Bucs a 10-7 halftime lead. Noteworthy: Tampa Bay tied a team record by allowing just four first downs. The Giants were l-of-14 on third-down conversions. . . . Without top running back Gary Brown, who's out with a sprained knee, the Giants were held to 27 yards rushing. . . . Dilfer has thrown seven interceptions and two TD passes in three games against New York. "We set our course to come down here and win the football game, whatever it took," Giants coach Jim Fassel said. Peter scored on the Bucs' third offensive play when Jessie Armstead sacked Trent Dilfer and forced a fumble that bounced right into the hands of the 300-pound defensive tackle. Weathers erased a 10-7 Giants deficit with his 8-yard interception return late in the third quarter. Percy Ellsworth picked off two Dilfer passes in the fourth quarter before the Tampa Bay quarterback was benched. "You keep hitting at something, it's got to break. That was our attitude," Armstead said. "I don't care who the quarterback is; you put enough pressure on him, you'll rattle the quarterback." STEVE NESIUSThe Associated Press Tampa's Reidel Anthony (85) is flipped over by New York's Phillippi Sparks (22) and Michael Strahan (92) in the first quarter. This time Andersen t . t off mark Jaguars dominate 49ers Steve Young passes for 96 yards, 2 INTs in San Francisco's worst loss since 1986. V tfKO'ANS Unlike the NFC title game, Falcons kicker is the one whose misses cost the most vs. Vikings. The Associated Press ATLANTA Eight months after Gary Anderson's improbable miss, the shoe was on another foot. Falcons kicker Morten Andersen failed twice inside 40 yards including a 39-yarder with 3:38 left and the Minnesota Vikings held off an Atlanta comeback for a The Associated Press JACKSONVILLE New and improved on defense, still running steady on offense, the Jacksonville Jaguars looked every bit a Super Bowl contender. But were JAGUARS 49ERS 41 3 those the real San Francisco 49ers? Looking old 3 17 14 VIKINGS FALCONS 17-14 victory Sunday in a rematch of the 7fA ! Ilk m m t 1 i S :v MARK DUNCANThe Associated Press Cleveland Browns players take the field for the team's first regular season home game since December 1995. appy to be back' and worn out, the 49ers lost 41-3 Sunday in a game that may have signaled a shift of power in the NFL "I think they might ask what's wrong with San Francisco before they say Jacksonville's the team," said Jaguars rookie cornerback Jason Craft, who returned a fumble for a touchdown. "You've got to figure San Francisco will be back next week They just got knocked off balance a little." Led by new coordinator Dom Capers, the Jaguars revamped defense clamped down on 37-year-old Steve Young, who was 9-for-26 for 96 yards with two interceptions in the rain. His favorite target, 36-year-old Jerry Rice, caught only two passes for 17 yards. The 49ers hadn't lost this badly since the New York Giants beat them 49-3 in the 1986 playoffs. It was San Francisco's worst regular-season loss since Dallas won 59-14 in 1980. "We seemed a little helpless," Niners coach Steve Mariucci said. "There didn't seem like much we could do about it. What I told the players is that we have so much to correct, starting with me." Missing Garrison Hearst with a broken leg, the Niners' running game was ineffective. Other than Charlie Garner's 37-yard run before halftime, San Francisco's backs didn't manage a gain of more than 5 yards until late in the fourth quarter. Lawrence Phillips had just 8 yards before leaving the game with a concussion. The passing game that was supposed to be San Francisco's salvation didn't look any better. The Niners converted only l-of-14 third downs. For the Jaguars, Mark Brunell threw for 265 yards and Mike Hollis kicked field goals of 41, 32, 50 and 42 yards to extend his streak of successful kicks to 17, a team record. About the only thing missing for the Jaguars was a big run from Fred Taylor, who still finished with 24 carries for 74 yards, but didn't have a carry of more than 18 yards. . B Noteworthy: 49ers defensive lineman Bryant Young, who sustained what looked like a career-threatening broken leg last year, came back to start in the opener. He finished with three tackles. After a four-year absence from the league, the Browns return to fanfare and fun then a 43-0 loss to the Steelers. The Associated Press CLEVELAND Leave it to the Pittsburgh Steelers to trash the Cleveland Browns' NFL homecoming. The team's emotional return to the league following a nearly four-year absence began nicely. There was a spectacular pre- 43 game show, featuring 0 native comedian Drew STEELERS BROWNS NFC title game. "That's the humbling part," said Andersen, whose 3&yarder in Minneapolis sent the Falcons to the Super Bowl back in January. "You have to be very strong mentally to be a kicker. Everything is so cut and dried." Minnesota's Anderson also failed twice on field-goal attempts ending his NFL-record streak of 40 in a row during the regular season. He did make a 36-yarder. Of course, Anderson will always have the memory of failing on a 38-yarder in the NFC title game after making 3!of-35 during the regular season. That allowed the Falcons to score a tying touchdown in the final minute and win on Andersen's overtime kick. "Last year has no bearing on what's happening this year," said Anderson, who had a 26-yarder blocked and also missed from 30 yards. "Field goals are never automatic." Sunday's game certainly proved that point. Atlanta's Andersen was wide right on a 35-yarder in the second quarter as the Falcons fell behind 17-0, then had a chance to redeem himself in the final period when his team moved into position to force another OT with the Vikings. This time, he was wide left. "All the kicks that were missed (by both teams) were makeable kicks," Andersen said. Last season, Andersen was 23-of-28 on field-goal attempts and missed just once on 16 attempts inside the 40. During his 18-year career, he has missed only 22 times on 276 attempts inside the 40. Once it started, Atlanta made the kind of mistakes that were uncharacteristic of its improbable march to Super Bowl. The Falcons lost three fumbles, set up both Minnesota touchdowns with long pass interference penalties and couldn't rely on Andersen's normally reliable left foot Further compounding the Falcons' problems, quarterback Chris Chandler suffered a strained right hamstring late in the game. He missed an exhibition game after injuring the same hamstring and his status is uncertain for next Monday night's game at Dallas. "This time, it was hard to straighten my leg out," said Chandler, who iced the leg for more than an hour. "But we have eight days until the game. From a selfish standpoint, it's been 11 years since I have played on Monday Night Football. I want to play." Noteworthy: Minnesota ended Atlanta's streak of 11 straight victories at the Georgia Dome. . . . Randall Cunningham was 22-of-33 for 184 yards, while Chandler went 17-of-30 for 258 yards. ( "It's kind of hard to assess them or to judge them right now because they kind of ran into a bus," Bettis, a.k.a. "The Bus," said. Stewart was equally impressive, showing poise under pressure by tucking the ball under his arm when forced out of the pocket and picking up 33 yards on six rushes. He finished 15-for-23 for 173 yards. "It was fun tonight," Stewart said. "I don't want to say I didn't expect it, but it was nice." Pittsburgh took the opening kickoff and drove to the Cleveland 20, but Stewart was stopped on a sneak on fourth down, and the new Browns celebrated their first big play. It was the last time they could cheer all night Before the game, though, scoring didn't matter. "Anyone who's told a Cleveland joke before you can now officially shut up," Carey shouted as the Browns ran onto the field and fireworks exploded overhead. Downtown Cleveland was awash in orange, brown and goofy outfits a full four hours before kickoff. Scalpers got $200 for tickets and were asking as much as $500, fans said. In parking lots stretching more than a mile from the new stadium, people set up camp behind cars, trucks, buses and vans, firing up their grills and cracking open a few cold drinks. All the Clevelanders were loving their Browns and ready to celebrate with anybody wearing a dog bone. passes. The Steelers did more than just beat the Browns. They humiliated them. It was the worst shutout loss in Cleveland history and the worst season-opening loss. The Browns gained just 9 rushing yards on nine carries. The 43-point margin was the second-worst loss in Browns history, surpassed only by a 51-3 defeat to Minnesota in 1969. Browns starting quarterback Ty Detmer was unable to get anything going on offense, and rookie QB Tim Couch, Cleveland's No. 1 draft pick, made his pro debut with 10:38 remaining. Detmer went 6-for-13 for 52 yards and one interception. But Couch was as bad as the rest of the Browns, throwing an interception on his first attempt. Once the pickoff was made, thousands of Browns headed for the exits as an historic night that began with such promise ended dreadfully. "This is kind of tough day to come in down 36-0," Couch said. "I tried to make something happen when there was nothing there. I forced the first one and after that point it was downhill." Bettis looked fresh and completely recovered from knee surgery in the first half as he bowled over Browns tacklers, and ran around others. He finished with 89 yards on 16 carries and spent most of the second half standing on the sideline in a baseball cap laughing along with his teammates as the rout unfolded. Carey, eye-popping fireworks and a jet flyover above the Browns' new stadium. It was all Steelers after that Kordell Stewart rushed for one TD and threw for another as Pittsburgh, Cleveland's hated division rival, dominated the expansion Browns from the opening kickoff until the final gun with a 43-0 rout. "We got our butts kicked. That sums it up," defensive tackle Jerry Ball said. Richard Huntley scored three TDs, Jerome Bettis rushed for 80 yards in one half and the Steelers outgained the Browns 460-40 in total yards despite playing most of the second haft with its reserves. Mike Tomczak, the Steelers' second-string quarterback, went 8-for-8 with two TD Favre leaves Raiders in tears, then sheds some of his own The Associated Press GREEN BAY, Wis. There's no crying in football . . . especially at Lambeau Field, right? Well, Brett Favre wept. After engineering a PACKERS RAIDERS 28 fourth-quarter comeback 24 drive, breaking the hearts catch at the Raiders 14, but officials ruled the pass incomplete. Rhodes challenged the call by pushing his beeper, and the call was reviewed and ruled a completed pass. "I don't think about that stuff," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. "Congratulations for the beeper system." . . . Tyrone Wheatley, released by the Dolphins at the start of training camp, rushed for 52 yards on 15 carries In his debut as Raiders QB, Rich Gannon was 16-of-31 for 227 yards with one INT. . . . Favre, who is 49-6 in starts at Lambeau Field and County Stadium in Milwaukee, has the best home record in NFL history. 'h touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis said Favre called all but the first two plays of the final drive. Afterward, Favre said his hand, which he smashed into Russell Maryland's helmet in the third quarter, hurt more than it did when a similar incident occurred in an exhibition game against Denver. The Packers said X-rays of the injury showed no broken bones. "I don't want to think about it," Favre said. B Noteworthy: With 8:10 left in the fourth quarter, Tyrone Davis dived for a we won the game." The Green Bay Packers beat the Raiders 28-24 Sunday behind Favre, who led the Packers on an 11-play, 82-yard drive in the final 1:51. He finished the 11th fourth-quarter comeback and the 14th game-winning drive of his career with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeff Thomason with 11 seconds left. "Those are the types of drives the Favres, the Montanas, the Elways make," said coach Ray Rhodes, who won in his Green Bay debut. Favre, who also had three passes intercepted, was 28-of-47 for 333 yardjs and four of the Oakland Raiders and doing it all with an injured throwing hand he didn't mention to the Packers coaches, Favre was so overcome by emotion and pain he could barely speak. "I'm so drained right now," he said, tears streaming from his eyes. "I just can't believe I played I could hardly feel the ball, but

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