The Salina Journal Sunday, January 5,1986 Page 11 Miami explodes in 2nd half to avoid Browns' upset bid 'A" AP Rams running back Eric Dickerson turns the corner to get outside on this run against Dallas. Dickerson has record day as Rams blank Cowboys ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Eric Dickerson, just an ordinary running back for most of this holdout-plagued season, donned Superman's cape again Saturday just in time to propel the Los Angeles Rams to within a game of their second Super Bowl. With a mighty assist from a defense that shut out the Dallas Cowboys for the first time in 36 postseason contests, Dickerson rushed for a National Football League playoff record 248 yards as his Rams beat Dallas 20-0. Among his carries were a 55-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage of the second half and a 40-yard TD sweep 56 seconds into the fourth quarter. The first run opened up a dreary game after a first half in which the Rams held a 3-0 lead. A little more than a minute later, Mike Lansford kicked a 34-yard field goal following a fumble by Kenny Duckett on the kickoff. "Not too shabby was it?" said Dickerson, who ran for 1,234 yards this year and failed to make the NFC Pro Bowl squad after setting an NFL record with 2,105 yards in 1984. "I know some people have been saying I wasn't playing hard. But I love to play football. Every time I go out, I give my best because it might be my last game," Dickerson said. "He played as great a game as I've ever seen a man play," coach-John Robinson said of Dickerson, who broke the playoff record of 206 yards set by Keith Lincoln of the San Diego Chargers in the 1963 AFL championship game. Dickerson, who outgained the Cowboys all by himself, had to share top billing with an unyielding Los Angeles defense that registered five sacks and forced six turnovers as the Rams moved into the NFC title game against the winner of today's game between the New York Giants and Chicago Bears. LA. RAMS VS. DALLAS COWBOYS GAME IN STATS Dal 15 66-61 182 50 24-43-3 5-35 7-47 3-3 5-30 First downs Rushes-yards Passing Return Yards Comp-Att Sacks by Punts Fumbles-Lost Penalties-Yards Time of Possession 0 0—0 10 7—20 LA 15 64-269 47 )03 6-22-1 1-3 7-41 3-1 4-29 30:45 29:15 Individual Statistics RUSHING—Dallas: Dorset) 17-58, Newsome 1-3. Los Angeles: Dickerson 34-248, Redden 621, Brock 1-0. PASSING—Dallas: White 24-43-3-217. Los Angeles: Brock 6-22-1-50. .RECEIVING—Dallas: Dorset! 8-80, Cosbie 661, T.Hill 5-41. Newsome 3-10, Powe 1-19, J.Jones 1 -6. Los Angeles: Ellard 2-33, Redden 1 15, D.Hill 1-3. Hunter 1-3, Dickerson l-(-4). MISSED FIELD GOALS—None. Scoring Summary Dallas 0 0 Los Angeles 3 0 First Quarter LA—FG Lansford 33. 5:19. Third Quarter LA—Dickerson 55 run (Lansford kick). :21. LA—FG Lansford 34, 1:28. Fourth Quarter LA—Dickerson 40 run (Lansford kick). :56. A—68,576 The defensive effort, which held Dallas to 213 total yards, was led by end Gary Jeter, who had three sacks, drew two holding calls and forced one of five Dallas turnovers. He was aided by LeRoy Irvin, who intercepted one pass, deflected another in the end zone, knocked down a fourth- down pass and three times dropped Cowboy ballcarriers for losses. "We're just something, there's no great mystery. We say, 'Here we come, stop us,'" Jeter said. While Robinson was effusive about Jeter and Dickerson, he said: "It was a total team victory — offense, defense and special teams." It was the defense that impressed Cowboys quarterback Danny White. "I'm more impressed with the Rams than I was going in," said White, who besides being sacked five times was harried on numerous other attempts. "I haven't faced a better defense this year, and I played against the Bears. It was a very helpless feeling out there." That helpless feeling suited Dickerson. "My previous two years here, we were not very strong," he said. "This year I think we can go all the way. I think we're as good as the Chicago Bears or New York Giants.'' The Rams led just 3-0 at halftone on Mike Lansford's 33-yard field goal 5:19 into the game. But Rafael Septien, trying to keep the ball away from Ron Brown on the second-half kickoff, squibbed the ball out of bounds and pulled a muscle in the process. Punter Mike Saxon replaced him, and Charlie White returned his squib kick 14 yards to the 45. On the first play, Dickerson took a pitchout from quarterback Dieter Brock, started right, then cut back up the middle behind a block from center Tony Slaton and ran away from the Cowboys secondary. Kenny Duckett fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Vince Newsome recovered for Los Angeles, setting up a 34-yard field goal by Lansford. Then, early in the fourth quarter, Dickerson sealed it, skirting right end into the end zone to cap by far his best day of the season. His previous high was 150 in the season's third game and his first after a 47-day holdout. Dickerson's 248 yards was the most ever gained against the Cowboys. The previous mark was 232 by Jim Brown of Cleveland in 1963. It also broke Willie Ellison's single- game rushing mark of 247 and represented 78 percent of the Rams' 316 total yards. Brock completed just six of 22 passes for 50 yards and was minus-4 in the second half. White, meanwhile, was 24 of 43 for 217 with three interceptions. Tony Dorsett was limited to 58 yards in 17 carries as the Cowboys never got beyond the Rams 20. MIAMI (AP) - With Miami dangling perilously close to elimination from the National Football League playoffs Saturday, Dan Marino and the Dolphins did what they do best — find a way to win games in the Orange Bowl that seem like hopeless causes. Marino brought the Dolphins' high- powered offense to life midway through the third quarter and Miami's defense turned stingy after Cleveland built an 18-point lead to key a 24-21 come-from-behind victory. The triumph on coach Don Shula's 56th birthday sends the Dolphins into the AFC title game for the third time in four years. Miami whipped the New York Jets for the AFC crown three years ago and downed the Pittsburgh Steelers last season but went on to lose to the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers, respectively, in Super Bowls XVII and XIX. "That was a gut check if there ever was one," Shula said after Ron Davenport scored touchdowns on runs of 1 and 31 yards to pace the comeback. "I told them at halftime that we were going to find out what kind of team we had. "To their credit, they were able to come back and win the game. Now we just want to win two more." Marino, who completed 25 of 45 passes 238 yards, lit a fire under the Dolphins with a 74-yard drive he capped with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Nat Moore that cut Miami's huge deficit to 21-10 with 5:13 in the third quarter. Davenport scored on his 31-yard run 3:42 later and the reserve fullback plowed into the end zone from one yard out to complete a nine-play, 73-yard march that provided the winning touchdown with 1:57 to go in the game. First downs Rushes-yards Passing Return Yards Comp-Att Sacks by Punts Fumbles-Lost Penalties-Yards Time of Possession CLEVELAND VS. MIAMI GAME IN STATS Cle 17 37-251 62 46 10-19-1 0-0 6-37 1-0 6-49 Mia 20 19-92 238 25 25-45-1 V 5-42 5-42 1-0 2-20 29:17 ' 30:43 Individual Stallitlci RUSHING—Cleveland: Byner 16-161, Mock 13-56, Dickey 6-28, Kosar 2-6. Miami: Davenport 6-48. Nathan 7-21, Bennett 4-17, Carter 26. PASSING—Cleveland: Kosar 10-19-1-66. Miami: Marino 25-45-1-238. RECEIVING—Cleveland: Byner 4-25, Newsome 2-22, Holt 2-2, Weathers 1-12, Fontenot 15. Miami: Nathan 10-101, Hardy 5-51, Moore 429, D.Johnson 2-17, Rose 1-17, Clayton 1-15, Bennett 1 -6, Carter 1 -2. MISSED FIELD GOALS—Miami: Reveii 47. Scoring Summary Cleveland 777 Miami 3 0 14 Flnt Quarter Mia—FG Reveii 51, 4:26 Cle—Newsome 16 pass from Kosar (Bohr kick), 13:36 Second Quarter Cle—Byner 21 run (Bohr kick), 14:02 Third Quarter Cle—Byner 66 run (Bahr kick), 3:38 Mia—Moore 6 pass from Marino (Reveiz kick), 9:47 Mia—Davenport3\ run (Reveii kick), 13:19 Fourth Quarter Mia—Davenport 1 run (Reveizkick), 13:03 A—75,128 0—21 7—24 The comeback spoiled a 161-yard, two touchdown rushing effort by Cleveland's Earnest Byner and made a loser of Browns rookie quarterback Bernie Kosar in his return to the stadium where he led the University of Miami to a national championship two years ago. Byner, one of two Cleveland runners who gained more than 1,000 yards this season, scored on a 21- yard run that gave Cleveland a 14-3 lead just before halftime. The second-year running back burst 66 yards for another score 3:38 into the third period as the AFC Central Division champions built a commanding 21-3 advantage. "We expected them to be tough," Miami's Ron Davenport pushes his way into the end zone for the winning touchdown against Cleveland. Shula said. "They hadn't played good defense the past three weeks, but we could see from watching film that they had a good team." Patience was the key to Miami's turnaround, both offensively and defensively. Marino never hit the panic button and defensively, the Dolphins kept fighting to wrest control from a Cleveland offense that rolled up 251 yards rushing. "Eventually we knew things would turn around," said linebacker Hugh Green, who led Miami with eight tackles and one assist. "We were saying, 'Be patient, be patient.' After the offense scored that first touchdown, we knew we could do it." Cleveland, whose 8-8 regular- season record was the worst of any division titlist in NFL history, entered the game 10%-point underdogs. But coach Marty Schottenheimer said giving Miami a scare only to lose was little consolation. "I've always been a strong believer that nothing good ever comes out of losing," he said. "I told the team — and I really believe this — that the only thing we did was run out of time," Schot- tenheimer said. "We didn't run out of effort." Miami moves into the conference championship game against the winner of today's AFC semifinal between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders. If the Raiders win, the game will be in Los Angeles; if the Patriots win, the championship game will be in the Orange Bowl. A crowd of 75,128 boosted the Miami comeback effort. Marino keyed the 13-play drive leading to his touchdown pass to Moore with completions of 15 yards to Mark Clayton and 10 yards each to Dan Johnson, Bruce Hardy and Moore. Tony Nathan also contributed a 12-yard run and the Dolphins ben- efitted from a 15-yard personal foul penalty against Browns safety Don Rogers. Davenport scored his first TD after Jeff Gossett's 25-yard punt gave Miami field position at the Cleveland 48. Five plays later, Davenport took a handoff from Marino, flattened Rogers at the 25 as he headed off left tackle and bounced outside to complete his 31-yard scoring trip down the sideline. Marino, who threw for 4,137 yards and 30 touchdowns during the regular season, highlighted the game- winning drive with a 39-yard completion to Nathan. In the first half, Miami's offense sputtered after Marino took advantage of a 29-yard punt by Cleveland's Gossett and 17-yard run by fullback Woody Bennett to set up Fuad Rev- eiz's 51-yard field goal. That gave the Dolphins a 3-0 lead just 4:26 into the game. The Dolphins' quarterback completed just two passes to wide receivers in the first half — both to Moore in the final minute as Miami drove toward a 47-yard field goal attempt by Reveiz that sailed wide left as time expired. Cleveland, meanwhile, controlled the ball with an impressive ground attack spearheaded by Byner, Kevin Mack and Curtis Dickey, who ran for 31 yards on four carries while the Browns were building their 14-3 halftime advantage. Kosar, who completed 10 of 19 passes for 66 yards, threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Ozzie Newsome to cap a 10-play, 82-yard drive and give the Browns a 7-3 lead with 1:24 left in the opening quarter. Wild-card winners go for second taste of playoff success Bears, Giants come full circle to renew rivalry CHICAGO (AP) — In the days when Mike Ditka had a crewcut and the New York Giants had a quarterback whose first name began with a Y, football games between the Chicago Bears and the Giants really meant something. It will seem like old times today when the Giants meet the Bears in a National Football Conference playoff game at Soldier Field, with the winner advancing to the conference title game. "These two teams have been down a long time," said Ditka, who this season coached Chicago to a 15-1 record, best in the National Football League. Ditka was a tight end for the Bears when they beat the Giants and quarterback Y.A. Tittle for the 1963 National Football League title, the last time Chicago was the home team for a playoff game. "It's good for football," Ditka said, "when you get two teams that were forerunners of most of the NFL teams.'' The last time the teams met was in 1977, with the Bears winning to earn a wild-card spot in the playoffs. The Giants, who finished 1GM> during the regular season and beat defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco 17-3 in the NFC wild-card game last weekend, have the distinction of facing the two teams with the NFL's best records for two seasons in a row in the playoffs. "Does this all seem familiar?" asked Len Fontes, the Giants' defensive back coach. "Last year the 49ers were 15-1 and headet for the Super Bowl. We played them tough, tougher than anyone, and lost (21-10). "This time the Bears are 15-1, and everybody has them going lo-the Super Bowl," Fontes said. "You can't tell me we don't have a better team this time." The Giants feature the second-best defense in the NFL, trailing only the Bears. Their offense is keyed around diminutive running back Joe Morris, the player the Bears consider the key to the game. "I'm going to have a hard time tackling the guy," 6- foot-5 defensive tackle Dan Hampton said of the 5-7 Morris. "I've got a 39-inch in-seam and I think he's 38 inches tall. We'll have a hard time wrapping that guy up," Hampton said. Morris gained 1,336 yards during the season, scoring 21 touchdowns, but he has been practicing the past week with a flak jacket because of bruised ribs. The Giants' Phil Simms, ranked No. 6 among NFC quarterbacks, was selected to the Pro Bowl game after throwing for 3,829 yards and 22 touchdowns during the season. But he was intercepted 20 times, and the Bears led the NFL with 34 interceptions. Chicago quarterback Jim McMahon is healthy, after missing four starts because of tendinitis in a shoulder. But he still finished second among NFC quarterbacks, throwing for 2,392 yards and 15 touchdowns, with only 11 interceptions. It will be McMahon's first playoff appearance, after missing last year with a lacerated kidney. But it probably will be the defenses that decide the outcome, especially if the Chicago weather is bad. "The Bears' philosophy is to come out and intimidate you, but that doesn't work with the Giants," said New York defensive end Leonard Marshall, another member of the NFC's Pro Bowl team. "We weren't expected to do anything against the 49ers last week and we beat them," New York defensive lineman Casey Merrill said. "We have nothing to lose. I don't see how we can possibly be in a better position." Raiders, Patriots have varied playoff histories LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Raiders have a history of being enormously successful both before and during the National Football League playoffs. The New England Patriots have been a study in mediocrity over the years with very little postseason experience or success. The Raiders, shooting for a third Super Bowl victory in the past six years and a fourth overall, and the Patriots, who never have been champions, meet today at the Los Angeles Coliseum in an American Football Conference semifinal playoff game. Since they were established in 1960 in the now-defunct American Football League, the Raiders have a 238-12411 record, best in professional football. The Patriots, also established 26 years ago as a charter member of the AFL, are 174-190-9. The Raiders are 19-11 in postseason action. Playing in Oakland at the time, they made their first playoff appearance following the 1967 season, beating Houston 40-7 in the AFL championship game before losing to Green Bay 33-14 in Super Bowl II. The Patriots, meanwhile, have a 2-4 record in postseason games. They are a playoff team for only the fifth time. The game will be the second between the teams in a span of a little more than three months — the AFC West Division champion Raiders, 124 during the regular season, handed the Patriots their only home-field loss of 1985, winning 35-20 Sept. 29. "A lot of things have happened since that time," coach Tom Flores of the Raiders said. "They're a much different team now, and a much better one than we saw. They're playing with a lot of confidence. They seem to believe in themselves. "But we're also a different team, and we're a better team than we were at that time." About the Raiders' playoff history, Flores said, "It's a tradition. We've been in the playoffs so many years. We have the experience of preparing for them on the field and off." Patriot coach Raymond Berry said the kind of experience the Raiders possess can make a difference, but how big a difference, he wasn't sure. "Those things can give you a lot of help," he said. "Continuity and stability are some of the greatest assets a pro football team can have, and it's measurable in real clear-cut ways and it pays of f." The Raiders' offense revolves around running back Marcus Allen, who led the NFL in rushing with 1,759 yards on 380 carries and caught 67 passes for 555 yards. The Patriots warmed up for Allen by holding Jets' star Freeman McNeil to 41 yards rushing eight days ago. Los Angeles quarterback Marc Wilson will be making his first playoff appearance. Wilson, who took over at quarterback for the Raiders when Jim Plunkett suffered an injury to his left shoulder Sept. 22, has completed 193 of 388 passes for 2,608 yards and 16 touchdowns with 21 interceptions. Allen's efforts notwithstanding, it's on defense where the Raiders truly have shined. Led by defensive end Howie Long and cornerback Mike Haynes, the Raiders allowed only 4,603 yards while amassing 5,408 yards. Offensively, the Patriots are led by running backs Craig James and Tony Collins, who rushed for 1,227 yards and 657 yards, respectively. New England quarterback Tony Eason completed 168 of 299 passes for 2,156 yards and 11 touchdowns.
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