Independent Press-Telegram from Long Beach, California on October 31, 1976 · Page 229
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Independent Press-Telegram from Long Beach, California · Page 229

Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 31, 1976
Page 229
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«h,e«ii».,$wi.,o.t.ji,i»7t INDEPENDENT, PRESS-TEIEGRAM--S-5 RICH ROBERTS The unlikeliest quarterback JIMZORN Last but not least Seahawks take Northwest by storm How to succeed without winnin "Our fans are unique... like, I threw six interceptions last week. They didn't boo that much. They hung right in there with me, and 1 really appreciated that." -Jim Zorn. Only a lefthander can understand the misery of going through life in a righthanded world, and only a person whose surname starts with Z can appreciate being anywhere except at the end of the line. Last in the alphabet, last in life, put down by can openers and maitre d's alike--this is the double curse carried by James Arthur Zorn, who plays quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. There are more than a thousand professional football players listed in the Football Register. Guess who's last. There are only two southpaw quarterbacks starting in the National Football League. Ken Stabler is one. Name the other. "Let me say," Zorn says, "I am pleasantly surprised by what has happened to me this year at Seattle." N O B O D Y E X P E C TED the Seahawks to win many games in their first year, so aside from playing for a team that is 1-6 coming into today's match against the Rams at the Coliseum, Zorn is in hog heaven. Ke gets to throw more passes t h a n anybody in the league--237 so far-and has more job security t h a n J a m e s .Harris, a quarterback whose team is 5-1-1. "Zorn is our quarterback," says S e a h a w k coach Jack Patera. "He's going to oe inconsistent because this is his first year, but when he gets time to throw he's a heckuva passer." Seattle's offense is based on one theme: Zorn drops back to pass, then (a) Zorn throws or (b) Zorn runs for his life. With 125 yards on 26 flints of desperation, Zorn is within 13 yards of being the Seahawks' leading rusher, and he may be that before the day is out. The two running backs ahead of him have been benched. "I scramble when 1 need to," he says. "If the receivers aren't open, I can't sit in the pocket and get smacked. That kinda hurts. Ever since 1 was in high school, if nothing was there I'd just take off." HIGH SCHOOL was Gahr in Cerritos, where Zorn won all-Suburban League distinction when he became a starter as a senior. The next two years at Cerritos College he was second string behind two different quarterbacks. Cal Poly Pomona and Wake Forest were the only four-year schools subsequently interested in mining this untapped talent -- "The only reason Wake Forest heard of me was because a friend of mine told the coach I was a great athlete," Jim says--but he repaid Pomona's faith by leading the NCAA's College Division in passing as a junior. "I was thinking about a pro football career in my senior year," he says. "Scouts were coming »rui;nd timing me and I got excited about it." BUT HIS statistics tailed off in his senior season and the scouts lost interest. "Last year was a downer," Jim admits. "I really thought I'd be picked somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft, but 1 wasn't selected at all. Disappointed? I mean, that was it. I was through. I wasn't going to play football anymore." But Dick Mansperger, the director of personnel for the Dallas Cowboys, suggested signing Zorn as a free agent. "We had seven quarterbacks in camp," Jim recalls, "not counting Roger (Staubach) and Clint Longley, and I had to beat out those guys just to be No. 3.1 was feeling pretty good about that." But a few days before the opener against the Rams, the Cowboys, hurting for running backs, jumped at a chance to sign Preston Pearson, so somebody had to go. Guess who. "What a blow," Zorn says. "It wasn't that another quarterback beat me out. I knew then that I could play, but I didn't know if anybody else knew I could." THE RAIWS invited Zorn to Blair Field for a tryout and were considering signing him after last season when Mansperger, now with the Seahawks, became twice Zorn's saviour. Seattle's training camp, a Devil's Island type of complex in eastern Washington, truly tested Jim's perseverance. "When I got to camp there were nine quarterbacks--nine!" he says. "I was just another free agent-certainly not the favorite. Every day a different guy looked good. "But I just kept doing the best I could each day and then, all of a sudden, the coach told me I was No. 1 before the opener against St. Louis." Patera, who coached the defensive line at Minnesota for seven years, says, "Jim Zorn reminds me of a young Fran Tarkenton, the kind of quarterback that m a k e s things happen--sometimes good, sometimes bad." IT WAS mostly bad last week--a 41-14 loss to Detroit in the Kingdome. "Our fans are unique," Zorn notes. "They really support us. When it's time to boo, they boo. When it's time to yay, they yay ... like, I threw six interceptions last week. They didn't boo that much. It was amazing. Usually, you throw two and a crowd would boo you right out of the stadium. "But they hung right in there with me, and I really appreciated that." . . After his impressive showing in Dallas' camp last year, Zorn, 23, had offers from other NFL clubs but says, "I'm glad I chose the Seahawks. I like it in Seattle. I miss the sun and the surf somewhat, but it's nice." ALTHOUGH HE is a native of the Southland, Zorn never has played in the Coliseum. He came close last year. "When Dallas played the Rams in that charity game I just about got to play, but the Rams kept the ball the last nine minutes and ate up my time. "It's going to be exciting because ! 'mow a lot of people. I'll be down in December after the season for awhile, t o o . . . see my family for Christmas and then go to the Super Bowl." Hopefully, Jim Zorn's application for a ticket will not be filed alphabetically. By RICH ROBERTS Staff Writer "Every week has been like Super Bowl Sunday," the man says. He is Don Andersen, the Seattle Seahawks' public relations m a n , so such hyperbole is not unexpected. But read on. "We promote ourselves as the professional football team of the Northwest." Good luck, you say? "We have 350 season ticket holders in Alaska, 500 to a thousand in Vancouver and Victoria, Canada, and some in eastern Washington, Montana and Idaho. "Three thousand come to the games by ferry from the islands in Puget Sound. They come in by p r i v a t e planes, private yachts, Amtrak ..." The team is 1-6 but still they come, those owners of 58,000 season tickets-quite a few thousand more than the Rams (5-1-1) sell, by the way--arriving by land, sea and air to cheer one of the most Incredible success stories in sports. But success as in spinning turnstiles, not in wins and losses. Yet. The Seahawks are 21- point underdogs against the Rams in the Coliseum Season records 30 10 24 31 0 20 16 nT 11 1 21 13 20 1] 14 RAMS (H-!) Atlanta Minnesota N.Y. Giants Miami San Francisco Chicago New Orleans SEATTLE (14) St. Louis Washington San Francisco Dallas Green Bay Tamoa Bay Detroit 14 to 10 28 16 12 10 100 30 31 37 2B 27 10 41 today (1:05, Pacific Standard Time).. Coach J a c k Patera does not argue with the odds. "We don't pay a whole lot of attention to whether we're big underdogs," he says. "We were favored against Tampa Bay. We really didn't know how to handle that." That was Seattle's only w i n , 13-10, a result to which Patera ties little significance. "Tampa Bay lost and came back and nearly beat Miami," he says. "We won and came back and got trounced by Detroit." Halfway through the first season, Patera offers no evaluation. "We didn't set anything we'd like to do except win every game, and we certainly haven't done that," he says. "We felt if we could put a solid foundation down, the qualification would be made next year. "We've tried to be cons i s t e n t in w h a t we've done. We've made some really good p l a y s , but where are they when you need them?" Patera came into the job defensively oriented-a pro linebacker for seven years, a defensive l i n e coach for 13. His first selection in the college draft was Steve Niehaus, a defensive tackle from Notre Dame. In the expansion draft, he plucked linebackers Mike Curtis from Baltimore and Ken Geddes f r o m the Rams. But offense--specifically the passing game ROBERTS' ROUSER: Rams 31, Seahawks 10 exercised by rookie quart e r b a c k Jim Zorn--has been the team's strength. Defensively, the Seahawks if have given up more points (204) than any NFL team except Kansas City (213). "With the defensive background I have, I think it was interpreted that I'm going to have a great defense," says Patera, who developed t h e R a m s ' Fearsome Foursome of the sixties. "Curtis happened to be our 'name. 1 I don't think Tampa Bay came out of the. veteran allocation with a name--but the f i r s t thing they did was trade for a quarterback. * * HARRIS STARTS TODAY James Harris, who missed two games due to a shoulder injury, will be the Rams starting quarterback against the Seattle Seahawks today. "James Harris' shoulder is well," coach Chuck Knox said Saturday. "He has been throwing well in practice and has earned and deserved to start and be the No. 1 quarterback." Harris' three-year record as a starter is 19 victories and 5 losses. He currently ranks fourth among NFL passers. Pat Haden will be the first backup, ahead of Ron Jaworski. BRUINS SMASH SEATTLE JINX, 30-21-- (Continued From S-l) The talkative B r o w n also delivered some kind w o r d s a b o u t h i s roommate, Owens. "J.O. came in during a p r e s s u r e situation and r e a l l y c a m e through," said Brown. "His TD was the key one." UCLA led by only four points, 17-13, w i t h f i v e minutes of the third quarter remaining when the of- "So John McKay I _ came an offensive coach with Steve Spurrier and I became a defensive codobaH with Mike Curtis. I do-feeJriv; t h a t to become a chamT,i pion, you have to build; a very solid defense, but^a .-.i lot of this stuff gets 1 out of proportion." The other side of oddity is that Seattle scored twice as ma..,, points (112) as Tampa Bitfy! 1 " 1 It's a far cry frorn Super Bowl Sunday, ijitt'?;' it's a start. v ' olit RAMBLING: The quarterback situation been in such a state of that if James Harris were i to throw at least one ps. _, today, he would not quallfy.52 for next week's league ratings for lack of enough attempts!...,, As it is, he rates fourth in the NFL (97.0) behind Dallas'ScI Roger Staubach, 107.1; Baffin,, more's Bert Jones, 103.3, aad ,, Oakland's Ken Stabler. 10KV 7 Zorn is far down the line'auW ·48.5 and leads the leaguej-ijin interceptions with 15. The,, ·. Ram secondary also leads, m" interceptions with 16, and Monte Jackson remains ,ti»)i: individual leader with six. t . . n ] The Seahawks are without 1 their best offensive lineman?'-: tackle Norm Evans (e?-nj Miami), who has missed three.,, games with an injured kneei '·'"' . . The Rams' Larry Brooks and Seattle's Niehaus lejad their clubs with six sacks,-, each. . . . About 55,001)^ By MORT OLSHAN GAME OF THE WEEK Dallas 24, Washington 17 The Dallas Cowboys meet the 'Washngton Redskins in the nation's capital today in what could be a Shootout between crippled quarterbacks for the National Football Conference East Division lead. The division-leading Cowboys have won six of seven, losing only to St. Louis two weeks ago. Washington, 5-2, is tied with the Cardinals for second place. Important, however, is that a victory by the Redskins would leave them the only team without a loss to another team in the division. Starting quarterbacks for both teams, Dallas's Roger Staubach and Washington's Bill Kilmer, have been injured this season but it is doubtful that either will sit out this important contest. Despite tradition of Washington beating Cowboys at RFK and Dallas returning favor in Texas Stadium, game pits youth vs. age and therein lies. the difference. Forecast of Dallas win is based on Staubach's playing. The rest of the winners: Home team capitalized. SR: Series record includes official league games only. TODAY RAMS 31, Seattle 0 -- Seattle's nightmarish experience vs. Detroit last week may be a portent of things to come. Unable lo run the ball. Seahawks will find airlanes clogged by. Ram interceptors. Statistics tell the story of Seattle s fense. Ram runners, receivers and passers, whoever they migni be. should have a field day. SR: First meeting. . BUFFALO 27, N.Y. Jets 13 - Both teams plagued by problems on and off the field. Can't believe Jets capable of sweeping anyone this season. Gary Marangi may give Buffalo shot m arm and O.J. is getting rhythm back. SR: Buffalo, 18-15. ., . CINCINNATI 27, Cleveland 17 -- Cincinnati has won rune of last 10 regular season games in Riverfront and rare but decisive win at Houston suggests team is beginning to reach potential. Cleveland had lost 11 in a row on road before nipping Atlanta two weeks ago. Bengal defense ranks among top three in NFL. Condition of Ken Anderson and Greg Pruitt an important factor forCincy. DETROIT 20, 'Green Bay 13 - Green Bay's 212 rushing vards against Lions in earlier meeting this year were the most bv Packers since end of '73 season. Pack has played four good games in a row but team is 3-15 on road over the past two-plus seasons. When aroused, few teams play defense more tenaciously than Detroit. Lions will be aroused after upset loss to Packers a few weeks ago. SR: Green Bay, 45-35-6. , Kansas City 27, TAMPA BAY 16 -- Don t believe Tampa.'s 20-point splurge last Sunday represents a significant change m over-all inept attack. Chiefs don't own the best defense around but have more than enough scoring weapons to outpoint Bucs. SR: First meeting. .. Minnesota 20. CHICAGO 13 -- Bears have been waiting for this since they blew opportunity to win first meeting three weeks ago by missing two extra point attempts. Opportunity will not knock twice. Vikes have begun to blend running with passing and there's no reason to believe they won't rack up ninth in row over Chicago. SR: Minnesota, 16-13-2. New England 27, MIAMI 17 - Although Pats have, not defeated Miami in Orange Bowl since Dolphins' first year in the league (1966). Grogan's Heroes appear primed to end that streak. New England's 278 rushing yards home win over Miami last month, most ever recorded against a Don Shula-coached Miami team. Dolphin defense a near-disaster area. New Orleans 20, ATLANTA 14 - First meeting this vear saw Saints chalk up most decisive victory (30-0) in clubs history. Atlanta couldn't have played worse -seven turnovers. Falcons among really weak teams in NFL, while New Orleans is proving it is a cut above that category. N.Y. GfANTS 26, Philadelphia 17 - Giants' situation is growing more desperate every week. However, most brutal part of schedule is over now. Question remains whether even drop in class vs. wounded Eagles, who are in own tailspin, will really help. SR: New York, 4944-2. , ,, OAKLAND 23. Denver 16 -- Surprisingly, Denver has fought Raiders tougher at Oakland than at home where, earlier in season, they blew at 10-0 lead and lost. 16-10. Oakland's specialty teams among league's best and could neutralize much of Denver's offensive Ihrust by keeping Unchurch in tow. Must win for Denver but Stabler t Co. too explosive. PITTSBURGH 27, 'San Diego 14 -- Indications are the "real" Stcclers have returned and are quite serious about defending their title. Chargers have demonstrated an ability to score -- only once held to less than 17 points -- but Steel Curtain playjng with great pride and that's bad news for Dan Fouts confidence. Sail Francisco'20,'ST. LOUIS 17 - Classic matchup between high-powered Card offense .and airtight 49er defense, which hasn't yielded a touchdown in last three, games. Scheduling break for San Francisco, which has played its best games on the road this season. 49crs get eight days between games, St. Louis only six. SR: St. Louis, 4-3. MONDAY NIGHT BALTIMORE 34, Houston 13 - Colts look like the complete team. Bert Jones is best young quarterback in the league and Baltimore defense has to rank near the top. Once highly-rated Houston defense has been shredded past two weeks and there has always been some question about Oilers ability to compete with quality teams. Baltimore, with eight consecutive regular- season victories at home, is definitely a quality team. SR: Even, 1-1. , fense took possession at its own 36. Six plays and a costly pass interference p e n a l t y l a t e r , O w e n s slashed over Eck and Coppens, broke one tackle, veered to his left and sidestepped another Husky before crossing the goal line. F r a n k C o r r a l ' s k i c k pushed the advantage to 24-13. It was not a good day * Ik- How they scored UCLA 7 7 10 6--3(1 Washington 0 13 0 8-21 FIRST QUARTER I'CLA 7. Wish. 0: T. Brown 29 run (Corral kickl 2:50. Drive: 72 yards in 8 fllays. Key plays: Owens 10 run. Henry 17 pass from Dankworth. SECOND QUARTER UCLA 7, Wash. 3: Robbins .11 Held coal 2:59. Drive 64 in 15 plays. Key plays: UCLA roughing the lacker penalty giving UW first down at mid- Held. Greenwood 15 pass frrom Moon. Earl 6 run on 3rd ana 4 at UCLA 26. UCLA 11, Wash. 3: Brown 15 ran (Corral kick) 6: 13. Drive: 80 vards in 9 plays. Key plays: Sarpy 14 pass Irom Dankworth, Dankworth 30 run to UW 15 on 3rd and 4 a t U W 4 5 . I.TLA 14. Wish. 10: steele S9 kirk off return (Robbins kick) 6:27. UCLA 14, Wash. 13: Rohbins 32 field goal 14:55. Drive: 65 yards in 11 plays. Key plays: Gaines l pass from Mnon. Greenwood 16 pass from Moon. Philips 15 pass frrom Moon on 4th and 4 at UCLA 35. THIRD QUARTER t'CLA 17, Wash. 13: Corral 25 field coal 9: IS. Drive: 69 yards in 17 plays. Key plavs: Owens 4 on 3rd and 3 at UO.A 43. UW pass interference for first down a l U W 14. Un.A 24. Wish. 1.1: Owens 34 run 'Corral kick! 12:54. Drive: 64 yards in 6 plavs. Key plays: Owens 4 on 3rd-and-3 at CCLA 43. UW pass interference lor first down at UW34. FOURTH QUARTER UCLA 24, Wash. 21: Greenwood 28 pass from Moon (Rowland pass from Moon) 8:08. Drive: 80 vards in Splays: Kev plavs: Moon 13 scramble. Gaines 13 pass from Moon. Garret! 10 pass from Moon Rowland 11 run. UCLA 30 Wash 21- T Brown 51 run (Corral wide left) 11:22. Drive: 85 vards in 8 plays Kev plays: Brown 9 run, Owens 3 on 3rd and 2 at UCLA 46. Alt. 47.719. for the kicker -- or even a good weekend. He missed the team plane Friday morning and arrived too l a t e for the afternoon w o r k o u t . S a t u r d a y he missed field goals of 51, 47 and 30 yards and even an extra point. Luckily for the Bruins, those points were not vital. The offensive line saw to that "They just blew Wash^ , TEAM STATISTICS Wash. UCLA Firstdowns 15 32 by rushing B 24 bypassing 8 5 by penalty 1 3 Rushing attempts 35 77 Yds. pained rushing 125 454 Yds. lost rushing 14 3 Net yards rushing Ill 451 PA-PC-HI . 27-11-0 I3-7-I Yds. gained passing 132 69 Total offensive plays 62 90 Total not yards 243 520 Avg. gain per plav 3.9 5.8 Punt returns/yard 0-0 5-33 Kickoff returns/yard ..4-141 4-76 Fumbles/lost 1-u 3-1 Penalties/yards 5-55 2-30 Punts/average 7-39 1-27 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS Rushing I'CLA - TCB NT C Avg. LG TD Tyler II 53 4.S 11 0 T. Brown ... .32 220 6.3 51 3 Dankworth . . 9 55 6.1 30 0 Owens 22 123 5.6 34 I Wash. T C B N V G Avj. LG TD Slcele 7 18 2.5 4 0 Earl 13 58 4 4 7 0 Rowland'...! '. 9 29 3.'l 11 0 Moon 6 -13 1.1 13 1 U C L A PA'PCHI Yds. LG TD Dank-worth 12 77 i 69 17 0 T . Brown . . 1 0 1 0 0 0 W a s h . PA PC HI Y d s . LG TD Moon 27 11 0 132 28 1 Receiving UCLA No. Yds. LG TD Henry 4 53 17 0 Tyler 1 4 4 0 Sarpv 1 14 14 0 T . Brown 1 - 2 - 2 0 Wash. No. Yds. LG TD Greenwood 3 59 28 1 Stwlo 1 2 2 0 Gaines 2 30 17 0 Rowland 2 0 2 0 1'hillips 1 15 15 0 Garrell 2 26 16 0 ington off the line and all I had to do as f i n d the hole," said Owens. "That, and concentrate on holding onto the tall. I knew I'd get a chance some time and I had to prove myself to the coaches." " W h e n one of y o u r backs runs 9.3 (Owens) and the other 9.6 (Brown), our job isn't that tough," said Taylor, a guard. "I t h i n k Washington saw what Stanford did against us with a 4-3 front and thought that could stop us. But it takes a whole year to perfect that -- not one game." The Huskies deployed in a five-man, Okie f r o n t early, but jumped into a 43 with nose guard Charles Jackson playing middle linebacker. "We had never seen that in their films," said Kahn, "and I think it hurt them to use it. Jackson isn't fast enough laterally and I was able to get to him and cut him down on nearly every play." The Bruin offense was somewhat hampered by the wet sidelines and failed to get their pitch game in gear. "I switched from dry to wet turf shoes in the third quarter," said B r o w n , "but that didn't seem to help. They did a great job shutting us off outside." That was about the only phase of Washington's game plan that worked. "extras" are expected to-Bfe!' on hand. During the first f}.ye.'j minutes of h a l f t i m e a se- " quence will be shot for a 'TV' ; movie, The Loneliest Runner'.' ·! . . . Fullback John CappeUetti left the New Orleans game, .j early with a pulled hamstripg 1 ' but is expected to start todajv^- ' . !!!' ·"./.HI; [ · tt y( - i- r)Ta ^~ T .T .![., S T yv jj^f^Jl-Vafl'.'." AMERICAN CONFERENCE !'.;',',^ Eastern Division ./J.IM W L T Pel. PF PA Baltimore 6 1 0 .957 203 111 New England 5 2 o .m 1« m': Miami 3 4 0 .42! 142 150 Buffalo 2 5 0 J94 W\Vf N.Y. Jets 1 4 0 .143 5 0 IB,, Central Division ' · M ' Cincinnati 5 3 0 .714 171n-?6ft Houston 4 3 0 .571 121 HS, ' Cleveland 4 3 0 .571 1483.Wij ' Pittsburgh 3 1 0 .429 15! Hi . · Westtrn Division Oakland 6 1 0 JS7 141 151 . Denver 4 3 0 J7I 171 93 . San Dirao 4 3 0 .571 HS'lfo'. Kansas City 2 S 0 .286 150 !)3- , Tampa Bay 0 7 0 .000 S'-W- NATIONAL CONFERENCE ' Eastern Division Dallas t 1 0 -«57 181." Yo?' St. Louis 5 7 0 .714 174 139 Washington 5 2 0 .714 U7 114 Philadelphia 2 5 o .284 W-.\59' N.Y. Giants 0 7 0 .000 If \. Central Division 'ML~, Minnesota 6 0 1 .m 152 r 7i4 Detroit 3 0 .429 128 '* Chicago 3 0 .429 IMrlH' Green Bay 3 0 .4» m f43 Western Division San Francisco 6 0 J57 154 ,43. Los Angela s i .Tit lar-lffl 1 New Orleans 2 5 0 .236 ni:'|tn Atlanta 1 6 C .143 64 133 , Seattle 1 6 0 .143 112 .204*. TODAY'S GAMES Favorites, point spreads indicated Seattle vs. RAMS (21) at Colisennn ( , San' Francisco at ST. LOUIS' fSlC. Channel 2, 11 a.m. lenver at OAKLAND (71. Channel 4 1 p m "VJP Philadelphia at N.Y. GIANTS (4). . N.Y. Jets at BUFFALO (11). ^ ,S*j NEW ENGLAND I2K) al Miami- New Orleans at ATLANTA (1). San Diego at PITTSBURGH 112). '-· Cleveland at CINCINNATI (111. " " Green Bav at DETROIT (51. . - / i j H MINNESOTA (S) at Chicago. DALLAS (1) M WashhSto. MONDAY'S GAME '" J 'vJ Houston al BALTIMORE (91. ChajilC; nel 7. 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