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The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio • Page 23
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The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio • Page 23

Akron, Ohio
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Akkon Beacon Journal Horse racing Pro hockey Scoreline: 375-8057 Monday, November 23. 1931 You can add Browns to critical list r5 Tom Melody Tit T'icnrrifiJ Beacon Journal photo by Paul Tople Pittsburgh holder Mark Malone (right) takes off on fake field-goal play in front of kicker David Trout Steelers put Cleveland out of race By Ed Meyer Beacon Journal staff writer CLEVELAND According to Sam Rutigliano, there are only two things critical in life. Death and surgery. He may now add a third. The Cleveland Browns' 32-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Cleveland Stadium was critical, because it all but eliminated the Browns from the playoff picture. Things were getting kind of fuzzy two weeks ago after an overtime loss to Denver, but now the fine-tuning is so out of whack the screen is about to go blank. Cleveland's only realistic chance of making the playoffs is to win the AFC Central Division championship, a feat that, if accomplished, would rank right up there with the loaves and fishes. In order for the Browns to win their division, three wildly improbable events must occur. Wildly improbable event No. I The Browns would have to win their final four games. Wildly improbable event No. 2 The Cincinnati Bengals, the most torrid force in the National Football League at the moment, would have to lose their final four, which would tie them with the Browns at 9-7 and give Cleveland the title on tie-breakers. Wildly improbable event No. 3 The Steelers would have to beat Cincinnati Dec. 13 and lose their other three games. If you believe all three events could occur, then you might also consider renting a solar-heated condo on the dark side of the moon. NOW THAT northern Ohioans have finalized their Christmas plans everyone around here will be staying home for the holidays the reason the Browns lost may be examined. They lost for the same reason they were supposed to win the entire shooting match this year Brian Sipe. By throwing six interceptions, he had the most miserable day by a quarterback in Browns' history. Frank Ryan, in a 19(i6 game, and Otto Graham (1954) had been tied for the club record with five interceptions. A funny thing happened to Sipe on the way to the locker room after the game. He was actually booed. This was, after all, the man who could do no wrong in 1980, the man who had inspired all that jibberish about going to the "Siper Bowl" this season. How did it feel to hear his name being used in vain? "The. people of Cleveland have treated me very nicely, so I can't say anything. I should be treated like everyone else who has a bad day," Sipe said. "When they catch almost as many passes as our guys do, I deserve it." SIPE SAID he learned a lesson about being booed several years ago. "A very good quarterback who shall remain anonymous told me that you don't earn your wings as a quarterback until you're booed." If that's the case, then Sie's wing span against the Steelers was almost as wide as a 717. In the first half, he threw three interceptions, ending drives that progressed to the Browns' 27, the Steelers' 28 and the Steelers' 11. The first See SIX, page Cti Fake FG play too obvious for Browns i I ill I Just winning not enough for Steelers CLEVELAND The Pittsburgh Steelers would have their pound of flesh and it would be the heart of the Cleveland Browns. Mere victory would not be sufficient, not for these bullies and most particularly their spiteful mentor, Chuck Noll. The Browns' pathetic ineptness, physical as well as mental, would have to be exposed, exploited, laid out for all to see. So it was in a game that was not a game at all, so it was on this day the Browns' season ended exactly as the Steelers willed it to end. With fans mocking the Browns by walking out on them in the fourth quarter, with Brian Sipe being booed, with the scoreboard showing the Steelers with 32 points and the Browns with 10. It was an embarrassing, humiliating, heartbreaking day for the Browns, the end of their mid-summer dream of a championship. And a perfect end to this day for Chuck Noll and his football team. In an altogether real sense, the Browns asked for what they got not long ago when they claimed Rick Tro-cano, a young quarterback the Steelers had hoped to slip through waivers. It was not the gentlemanly thing to do and rarely is it done in the National Football League. The Browns did it nevertheless and, for this day at least, they died with reason to regret it. Chuck Noll called for a fake field goal that led to a touchdown, Chuck Noll called for a tackle-eligible pass that produced a touchdown, Chuck Noll called for a touchdown pass to his most obscure running back, Rick Moser, in the last two minutes of the game, a time when most coaches would have considered a 15-point lead to be secure. Swann cracks back Oh, yes, there was another thing, the crackback block Lynn Swann was permitted to deliver to his antagonist, Ron Bolton. The crackback block is the most despicable block in football, the block that dislocates hips, breaks legs, destroys knees. The officials caught Lynn Swann, penalized the Steelers and, luckily, Ron Bolton was not injured. That scarcely seemed to matter, though, to those who could not view this act as no more than something that occurred in the course of this distaseful game. A vendetta. That's what it ap-leared to be. The Browns had wronged Chuck Noll, Ron Bolton had wronged Lynn Swann and they would pay, they would pay in every manner imaginable. Sam Rutigliano knew what was done to his team, knew why it was done, but it is the nature and the quality of this man to remain silent about such things. "We just had a bad day," he said. "We have no excuses." True. There could be no excuses. The Browns had to win this game, just as the Steelers had to win this game. But they performed poorly, sometimes not at all on offense. Six times Brian Sipe was intercepted, and never has a Cleveland quarterback completed more passes to the opposing team. Take dial Take that, you Browns. Your starting wide receivers, Dave Logan and Reggie Rucker, caught one ball apiece. We, the Steelers, have a tackle who caught that many. How about your quarterback, the soul of your team? Hear those boos? Better take him out, better put in the kid you stole from us. What good did you think the kid was going to do you? Tell you our plays, tell you about our pass defenses? Did he mention the fake field goal, the tackle-eligible pass, did he mention how much we like to throw to Rick Moser? In case you didn't notice, Rick Moser also caught as many passes as did Dave Logan and Reggie Rucker. So the Steelers left this dispirited town with they came for, the heart of the Kardiac Kids. There will be no championship season, perhaps not even a .500 season. Nothing more than a season of negative excesses some by the Browns, some days by an opponent. By Ed Meyer Beacon Journal staff writer CLEVELAND As hard as the Pittsburgh Steelers tried, the Cleveland Browns could not take the hint. Early in the third quarter of Sunday's 32-10 loss to the Steelers, the Browns trailed 12-10 and were very much alive. Soon, they would have one foot in the casket and the other on an oil slick. On fourth-and-four from the Browns' 19-yard line, the Steelers lined up for a 36-yard field-goal attempt. At that point, the Browns' field-goal unit should have realized that the Steelers were not going to kick. For two reasons. David Trout had already missed two extra-point attempts, and furthermore, reserve quarterback Mark Malone had run onto the field to replace regular holder Craig Colquitt. WHEN BROWNS cornerback Ron Bolton saw Malone enter the game, he began yelling to watch for the fake. The Browns watched all right. They watched Malone take the snap and run left for a 5-yard gain and a first down at the 14. Four plays later, Franco Harris scored from the 2 to give the Steelers an 18-10 advantage and the ballgame. Were the Browns suddenly numbed by an exploding canister of nerve gas or something? "When a situation like that comes up and it's so obvious, it's our fault," Browns coach Sam Rutigliano said. "There are no excuses for that. We just didn't execute." Oh, yes, they did. The Browns executed themselves. For one thing, no one heard Bolton, who was lined up on the other side of the field away from the play. "With the crowd yelling, it's hard to hear on :4 Sre steelers', Bengals, Anderson blitz NFL's top defense page C6 Brian Sipe on sidelines This fall their 9-3 start is the best in the American Conference. And victory No. 9 Sunday was their finest opus yet, a 38-21 lambasting of the previously impressive Denver Broncos. Quarterback Ken Anderson, who threw three Cincinnati touchdowns and scored another, completed 25 of 37 passes for 396 yards as the Bengals accumulated a net of 571 against the top-rated defense in the National Football League. "Football is fun here again," Ander From Beacon Journal wire services CINCINNATI Throughout their brief history, the Cincinnati Bengals, who were born in 1968, have been possibly the most erratic team in pro football, up for a year or two and then down for a year or two. That was noticeably true in the '60s and '70s under their founder, Paul Brown, and it has proved true again in the '80s under Forrest Gregg, who coached the Bengals through a 6-10 season last year. 4 Beacon Journal photo by Dennis Gordon after fifth of his six interceptions son said. "The last couple of years haven't been much fun." THE BENGALS were 4-12 in 1978 and '79 before Gregg came. They didn't improve their record much in Gregg's first year, but this year, they are "the best football team we've played," Denver coach Dan Reeves said Sunday. Saiil Denver's defensive coordinator, Joel Collier, the builder of what has become a rather famous platoon: "Their THE NFL Week 12 Sunday Imtjm's ROLAND HOOKS caught a tipped pass in the end zone with five seconds left to give the Buffalo Bills a 20-17 victory over New England. Page C4. (EOK(iE ROGERS took over the NFL rushing lead by gaining 142 yards in New Orleans' 27-21 victory over Houston. Page C4. RAY WEKS('HIN(i kicked fourth field goal of the day, a 37-yarder, as time ran out to give the San Francisco liters a 33-31 victory over Los Angeles. Page C4. Complete ro www of the liivwns' loss jilus Sunday's othvr KFL action. Cl-7. Memphis changes name and ends Force's OT jinx (the Bengals; offense is the finest we've seen." Reeves: "We were never really in it." And that's a fact. Starting a 11-1) first quarter, Cincinnati fullback Pete Johnson raced through the Denver line for a 39-yard touchdown. And by half-time the Bengals were ahead 2S-7 on drives of 46, 82 and 44 yards. Steve DeBerg, who went all the way at quarterback for Denver replacing See BENGALS, page St. title game will he Saturday Associated Press COLUMBUS The Division 111 state football championship game between St Vineent-St. Mary and Washington Court House has lxen switched from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. Ohio High School Athletic Association Commissioner Dick Armstrong said today. The game now ill be played at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Upper Arlington High. OHSAA associate commissioner Fred Dafler said the game was moved at the request of both schools to allow more fans, esK'cially those who must work Friday, to attend the game. Tickets for the game are $3.50 and will lie on sale at St. Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. p.m. Siamoncovic cot the game-winner on a shot which involved a bit of luck and a lot of surprise. Stamencovic was to the left of the Cleveland net, his back to the goal, when the ball was cleared on his side. Stamencovic knocked it backward off the right heel and sonofagun! the thing rolled into the net. That gave Stamencovic the stai-of-the-game honors, and left Force goalie John Houska with something to think about in his dreams last night. Perhaps in his sleep, Hous-ka's desperate lunge succeeded, as it did See MEMPHIS, page C8 Special to the Beacon Journal MEMPHIS, fenn. Last season, when the Memphis Americans were the Hartford Hellions of the Major Indoor Soccer League, the team played into overtime sessions with the Cleveland Force on three occasions and lost them all. Other than changing address, the Americans also changed that overtime habit Sunday, defeating Cleveland in a sudden death period, 7-6, thereby handing the Force its first loss of the MISL season. The end came with 10:25 elapsed in the overtime session. Memphis' Stan

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