The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 20, 1996 · Page 37
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 37

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Sunday, October 20, 1996
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Page 37
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r THE SAUNA JOURNAL NFL SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1996 D6 T CHIEFS Ageless Allen keeps producing Chiefs' 36-year-old running back just one TD from tying record By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Marty Schottenheimer, who has a degree in English, has stopped trying to describe Marcus Allen. "You can't describe him. It's impossible," said the coach of one of football's most enduring stars. It's becoming a common sentiment as Allen, still accepting every assignment like a dutiful rookie, crosses milestone after milestone in this 15th season of a celebrated career. "Marcus is a quarterback standing five or six yards behind the quarterback," said Steve Bono, who passed for 194 yards in Kansas City's 34-16 victory over Seattle on Thursday night. "His knowledge of the game is phenomenal." In the first quarter Thursday night, the 36-year-old Allen jackknifed into the end zone behind Dave Szott's block to score his ! 108th rushing touchdown. ,', But when the third quarter began, he was noticeably limping on the sideline, wearing a baseball cap and merely watching as his offense took the field. Allen has a deep hip bruise and a bruised ankle, it was announced. But a short time later, he trotted onto the field with that same good-looking, effortless gait that's been his trademark since his Heisman Trophy-winning days at USC. A few minutes later, another . 1-yard run put the Chiefs on top 27-10, and left Allen just one rushing TD behind Walter Payton's NFL record of 110. . "I really wasn't that banged up," he said with a grin. "It hurt more when I walked. I could run The Associated Press Kansas City Chiefs running back Marcus Allen has 109 career rushing touchdowns, one behind Walter Payton's NFL record. fine." In a sport where the average running back's career lasts roughly five years, Allen is halfway through his second decade. And the Chiefs (5-2), who have every intention of making the Super Bowl, do not employ him simply as a museum piece. "He has a little wider perspective back there and can see things you may have missed," said Bono. "That knowledge of protections and where linemen are supposed to be and what defenses are doing, it's phenomenal." Besides providing smarts, he's also Kansas City's No. 1 back. Against the Seahawks he had more carries (14), yards (39) and touchdowns (2) than anybody else on his team despite the painful bruises. "You can say words and I can sit here and pontificate about him," said Schottenheimer. "But the guy is unbelievable. There are no words that I have that can express his talent and the respect I and his teammates have for him." Allen would prefer not to talk about such things as records. "I try to avoid thinking about it. But it's been virtually impossible," he said. "I just try to go out there and do my job. Scoring touchdowns is what an offense is about." All in all, it was quite a night for Allen. Not only did he score two touchdowns and help the Chiefs break a two-game losing streak, he also had a fight. Well, not much of one. On the Chiefs' first possession, the Sea- hawks picked up their first of 118 penalty yards when Corey Harris gave him a late shot out of bounds and sent him sprawling into a metal bench. Allen leaped to his feet and went after Seattle's Robert Blackmon, wrestling him to the ground as players, coaches and officials rushed over. "It was unfortunate that it happened, but sometimes you get into a little tussle out there," he said with a grin. "No. 30 (Harris) hit me out of bounds. I didn't see him. But I sort of felt obligated to go after somebody. It's unfortunate because Robert Blackmon, who I admire, was the guy I went after." The next thing he knew, both men were on the ground. "He's saying, 'I didn't do it,'" Allen recalled. "I said, 'I know you didn't, but I have to hit somebody.' "It was really sort of funny." Not only is Allen still scoring touchdowns. He's still having fun. Time change The scheduled start of the Chiefs' Nov. 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis has been moved to a later time, the National Football League said Friday. The game, which was set for noon, is now scheduled to start at 3 p.m. The move accommodates a request from NBC, which will broadcast the contest. Chiefs waiting for complete game Usually steady defense suffers breakdowns against Seahawks; attention now shifts to Broncos By ADAM TEICHER The Kansas City Star KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs played what was probably their best game of the season Thursday night, and that was enough to beat 2-5 Seattle by 18 points at Arrowhead Stadium. But the Chiefs still are searching for the solid, dominant-in-all-phases performance they turned in almost every week last season. They clearly would feel better about going into Denver for a showdown a week from Sunday against the Broncos with that type of game on their resume. The fingers are pointed this time at the defense, which was plagued by breakdowns against th§ Seahawks. "It's not just Denver," said free safety Mark Collins, still upset Friday about the defensive play. "We won't beat a lot of teams the way we're playing. The way we're playing, yeah, we'll beat the Seattles. But we should have beaten that team 40-something 'to 3." The Chiefs were improved on offense and special teams Thursday night. But to Collins, an 11-year veteran, the only value to the Seattle game was that the Chiefs snapped a two-game losing streak. That's no small factor, but it's not a real confidence builder for the game against Denver, 5-1 going into today's home game against Baltimore. "We're not where we should be at this point in the season," Collins said. "We're going on week nine, and we're still having too many alignment problems. That shouldn't be happening." Collins and Coach Marty Schottenheimer were most upset about an incorrect alignment on a 50-yard touchdown run by Seattle's Chris Warren in the third quarter. Collins was supposed to be in the middle of the field and, if he had been, would have tackled Warren after a shorter gain. But because as many as three players were aligned improperly, Collins was forced to cover one of Seattle's slot receivers. Linebacker Tracy Simien was there to fill the hole, but he missed a tackle, and Warren was gone. "I can live with a missed tackle because that's not a mental error," Collins said. "On that play they didn't pulverize us. I'm supposed to be there to make the play. But I'm covering for someone who isn't lined up properly. "When it comes down to crunch time and it's cold out and you've got the Colts coming in or Green Bay coming in, you have to be precise. You have to be on the money. If a play like that happens against Green Bay or Denver.We can get away with it against Seattle, but not against other teams." Neither Collins nor Schottenheimer would identify the players out of position on the play, but linebacker Anthony Davis has had trouble carrying out assignments in the past. He blew one on a crucial third-down play in last year's playoff loss to Indianapolis. He missed one against Seattle on a third-quarter play shortly before Warren's touchdown. "We call a man-to-man coverageand he's got Chris Warren man-to-man," Schotten- heimer said. "He drops back like it's a zone, and Chris Warren goes for 22 yards. "It's carelessness. Jt drives me crazy." That's as close as Schottenheimer will get to criticizing a player in public. But he clearly is unhappy with the way the Chiefs played, at least on defense. And he isn't the only one. "We're taking too many things for granted," Collins said. "Certain players here think we can just throw our hats onto the field and dominate like we did last year without working hard and studying. That's not the case." The message had better sink in soon. The combined record of the next three Chiefs opponents — Denver, Minnesota and Green Bay — is 16-4. Further down the line are games against Detroit, San Diego, Indianapolis and Buffalo. "It .doesn't get any easier," Schotten- heimer said. "It gets tougher. At some point in time, we'll have a breakthrough. Hopefully it will be against Denver. There's no reason it shouldn't happen if we can just get the people to do what they're supposed to do." Packers' Beebe: League's top bargain Longshot to even crack roster, speedster has shined for Green Bay By The Associated Press GREEN BAY, Wis. — Don Beebe, who'll no longer return kickoffs now that he's Green Bay's starting split end, has already pro- vi^ed the Packers with a magnificent return on their $325,700 investment. , He's the NFL's best bargain following the biggest month of his career. He was regarded as somewhat of a Jpngshot to crack the roster wl^en he arrived at a minicamp in May before showing he was still one of the league's fastest players. Beebe, who went to four Super Bo,wl8 with the Buffalo Bills but qaught just 14 passes with Caroling last year, has played an major role in the Packers' 6-1 start. ; In the last month alone, the diminutive 31-year-old speedster from tiny Chadron State has: '; * Turned a 5-yard pass into an $0-yard touchdown, his longest ever. •!• ,» Sprinted 90 yards for his first touchdown on a kickoff return in bis; eight-year NFL career. I • Set career highs with 11 receptions for 220 yards in the Packers' victory over San Francisco in the NFL's biggest game of the season. "The little guy can play, can't he?" said coach Mike Holmgren. "This has probably been the best month of my professional career," said Beebe, who has won back-to-back NFC player of the week honors — on special teams and on offense. "They're thinking of switching me to DB, so I can win defensive player of the week," Beebe said. "No. Just joking." But he's not being funny when he says he wants to keep returning kicks. Beebe became the starting split end Monday night when flanker Robert Brooks, the Packers' most reliable receiver, was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruci- ate ligament and ruptured patella tendon in his right knee. He was scheduled for surgery Friday, and will miss nine to 12 months. "I am reluctant to use starters as return men," said Holmgren, who will likely hand those duties to Desmond Howard, who already returns punts, or to rookie Derrick Mayes. "I still want to return kicks," Beebe said. "It was the same way in Buffalo, they didn't want me to return kicks there, either. "It's something I really enjoy doing. To be honest with you, I enjoyed returning that kick against the Chicago Bears moi-e than I did having 220 yards. It's just a play that is so exciting to be in. So I'm gong to talk to Mike." Holmgren won't be easily swayed. Beebe is too important on offense now that Brooks is gone and second-year pro Antonio Freeman has moved over to flanker. When Freeman dropped three passes against the Niners, Brett Favre effectively made Beebe his go-to guy, and they hooked up on a 59-yard TD. Beebe's 220 receiving yards were the third-most ever in the team's annals, behind Bill Howton's 257 in 1956 and Don Hutson's 237 in 1943. RALPH WEIGH Bonds - Insurance Phone 827-2906 115 East Iron DUCKS UNLIMITED BANQUET Saturday, November 2nd, 6 p.m. Couples Welcome! Abilene Elks Lodge For information call: (913) 263*1216 or 263-1920 NFL MATCHUPS: WEEK 8 New England (3-3) at Indianapolis (5-1), noon New England had its three-game winning streak snapped at home by Washington and must avoid falling three games back in the AFC East. Indianapolis, though, struggled at home against Baltimore. Still, the Colts are 5-1 for first time since they were in Baltimore (1977). Indy won both meetings against the Patriots last season, and is 10-3 in its past 13 games in AFC East. The Patriots offense is beginning to show signs of recapturing its former luster, but the Colts defense appears to be too resilient. Miami (4-2) at Philadelphia (4-2), noon Miami has had much success against the Eagles and in Philadelphia, winning the past five meetings between the teams, including the past two in Veterans Stadium. The most recent time was Don Shula's 325th career victory, making him winningest coach in NFL history. But, after beating the Bills in Buffalo, can Miami make it two in a row on the road? With Craig Erickson? Well, the Eagles with Ty Detmer struggled to beat the Giants last week. Their NFC No. 2 rush offense will have a hard time against the Dolphins' AFC No. 1 rush defense. New York Giants (2-4) at Washington (5-1), noon Washington already owns one victory against the Giants this season — 31-10 at Giants Stadium in Week 3. Previously, though, Giants had won past six meetings with Redskins, proving, conclusively, that streaks are of little consequence except on windows. The Redskins are coming off a 2722 road victory against an upstart New England team and feature the NFC's top rushing attack. Terry Allen had 147 yards in first meeting against the Giants. He might have that by halftime. Atlanta (0-6) at Dallas (3-3), noon Dallas, which already has the NFL's top defense, gets two starters back, including DE Charles Haley. That could be terribly distressing news for Atlanta, which follows this game with another against a Super Bowl team with a good defense — the Steelers. The Cowboys have won three of their past four meetings with the Falcons, including 28-13 last season. About the only way they can lose is if the players get caught up thinking about their next game. In case you don't remember: It's Miami and Jimmy Johnson. New Orleans (2-5) at Carolina (4-2), noon Ray Zellars certainly responds to discipline. One week after being suspended for getting into a shouting match with Coach Jim Mora, the Saints' running back had career-best 174 yards in team's second victory in a row. He won't get that at Carolina, where the Panthers have four in a row and eight of nine. You didn't think Dom Capers was going to let Kevin Greene go unclaimed without one last look. Well, look at this: Greene has seven sacks and, last time we checked, was getting separation from his pursuers on that 66-yard fumble return. Pittsburgh (5-1) at Houston (4-2), 3 p.m. How does Michael Buffer do it? "Llllllletttt's get ready to RUMBLLLLLE." They fined 35 guys enough money the last time these teams met to purchase a new house in the suburbs. OK, not quite that much. One thing, though, the Steelers shouldn't have to worry about crowd noise unless it's from echo. If the Steelers get by this, they'll be 10-1 by the time they play on Monday night again (Nov. 25 at Miami). Baltimore (2-4) at Denver (5-1), 3 p.m. It's bad enough playing Denver in Mile High Stadium, where the Broncos are 3-0 this season. But, to get them after a bye week. The Broncos are 6-1 following a week off and play three of their next four games at home, which could give them a considerable edge in the tightly contested AFC West. John Elway is going for a third straight 300-yard game. Did you know Ted Marchibroda is the only coach to have coached the same team in two cities (Colts in Baltimore and Indianapolis) and two teams in the same city (Colts and Ravens in Baltimore)? Cincinnati (1-5) at San Francisco (4-2), 3 p.m. First, the good news. Cincinnati has won three of its past four games against NFC teams. Bad news: None of those was against San Francisco. How do you think Jeff Blake, who was sacked 10 times by Steelers, felt watching Brett Favre get banged around by the 49ers? Of course, how do you think Bengals owner Mike Brown feels about watching his team start 1-5 at a time when he is trying to garner public support for a new stadium? Dave Shula's time as a head coach is tenuous. Problem is, who do you bring in now? I got it — Don Shula. Buffalo (4-2) at New York Jets (0-7). 3 p.m. Frank Reich, who knows a thing or two about comebacks (Bills-Oilers, 1992 AFC playoffs), will attempt another one today — bringing the Jets back from the scrap heap. I know, the Jets are the NFL's Courtney Love — pathetic, painful to watch, a mess. But this streak can't continue, can it? Reich's former teammates aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut. They've scored an AFC-low 79 points, seven last week against the Dolphins. It's hard to bet on Rich Kotite, who has lost 27 of the past 30 games he has coached, but here goes. The Upset Special. Jacksonville (3-4) at St. Louis (1-5), 3 p.m. Jacksonville needs one more victory to match its total from last year's inaugural season. They may get it against St. Louis, which played road kill for Carolina's 18-wheeler last week. Speaking of rash decisions, how do you think Rich Brooks feels now about changing his offense and allowing Jerome Bettis to leave for, effectively, a fourth-round draft pick? The Jaguars are getting lot of production from QB Mark Brunell, who leads the NFL with 1,875 yards. The way things are going, they're gonna start calling Steve Young the next Mark Brunell. Tampa Bay (1-5) at Arizona (2-4), 3 p.m. OK, let's not get carried away here. Just because we picked Tampa Bay in the Upset Special last week doesn't mean the Buccaneers are going to turn this thing around. But they stand a good chance to make it two in a row against Arizona. The Cardinals, though, hung with the Cowboys longer than anyone expected last week, and held the defending Super Bowl champs — with Michael In/in back — to 17 points. The Buccaneers have 'to play near-perfect to defeat the Cardinals, which they did against Minnesota (0 turnovers). Oakland (3-4) at San Diego (4-2), Monday night These AFC West teams have already met this season, with San Diego winning a. high-scoring affair (40-34) at Oakland. But, that was in Week 4, before the Raiders started playing the way everyone expected. The Raiders have used a balanced running and passing game — each ranks third in the AFC — to win their past two games. The Raiders have an NFL-best 33-13-1 record on Mondays. In fact, the Raiders will play their next two games (with a bye week in between) on Monday night, the first time in league history a team has done that. * Smoky Valley | Tree Spade & Nursery | Jlet T4$ tf ~ Scotch Oi 2592 13th Ave. Undsborg, KS 67456 913-227-3111 The Largett Trer Sped* la Kentat / Qffmr good 'til Oct. 31,1996

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