Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California on January 4, 1981 · Page 49
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Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California · Page 49

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Santa Cruz, California
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Sunday, January 4, 1981
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Page 49
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i m 2 50 Santa Cruz Sentinel Sunday, Jan. 4, 1981 San Diego Tops Buffalo, 20-14 FROM PAGE 47 Charles Romes knocked the ball loose from San Diego wide receiver Charlie Joiner and Buffalo safety Bill Simpson recovered at the Chargers' 33. Four plays later, Fergusbn found Lewis near the back of the end zone for the score. San Diego came alive offensively in the third period, driving 70 yards in four plays to open the second half with its first touchdown. Fouts hit Joiner on a 9-yard scoring toss that narrowed Buffalo's lead to 14-10 with 13:26 left in the third period. Another 22-yard field goal by Benirschke then narrowed the margin to one point early in the fourth period, setting up Fouts' late-game heroics. San Diego's game-winning drive started after Buffalo's Nick Mike-Mayer was short on a 49-yard field goal attempt with 3:59 remaining. The winning march took just four plays. San Diego safety Glen Edwards intercepted Ferguson with 1:16 remaining, allowing the Chargers to run out the clock. It was Edwards' second interception of the game. The triumph was San Diego's first postseason victory in 17 years and made the Chargers the home team in next week's conference showdown. Going against the stingiest pass defense in pro football, Fouts, who established four all-time NFL passing records this season, completed 22 of 37 throws for 314 yards. , Meanwhile, San Diego running back Chuck Muncie led game rushers with 80 yards in 18 carries and caught six passes for 53 yards.. The victory boosted San Diego, the AFC West titlist, to 12-5 on the season and left Buffalo, the AFC East champion, at 11-6. The Charger defense limited Buffalo rookie sensation Joe Cribbs to 53 yards in 18 carries, and permitted only 154 passing yards by Ferguson, who completed 13 of 26 and was intercepted twice. The Chargers, only the second team in 19 years to average 400 yards per game for a season, amassed 413 yards against the NFL's top-ranked defense. Buffalo managed a total of just 97 yards rushing. San Diego had not won a postseason game since 1963, when the Chargers blasted the Boston Patriots 51-10 for the championship of the American Football League. Buffalo reserve quarterback Dan Manucci came off the bench to run the Bills' offense when Ferguson was hurt on his team's first possession. That drive stalled after carrying to the San Diego 27 and Mike-Mayer hit the left upright on a 44-yard field goal attempt. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm wii.iRj.j.ttMigjiW " ' ..-HiJ .'iMJuiiwiiiiMMiiMiiiMuiiiiiiii m iiiimi ......ni. mu.m n mtiM 4 - . v 4i , - :pijt . il A " ' f -'1 (AP Laserphoto) It's not a dance, it's Philadelphia's Tony Franklin (1) and Ron Jaworski (7) and Minnesota's Keith Nord reacting to field goal block. Philadelphia Downs Minnesota, 31-16 FROM PAGE 47 ' in the end zone by Doug Martin and Matt Blair. Minutes later, however, Eddie Payton fumbled a punt and Wilkes, a linebacker, recovered for the Eagles at the Vikings' 18. It took the NFC East champion Eagles 2 minutes 19 seconds to score. Jaworski passed 6 yards to Harold Carmichael, and Montgomery ran twice for a Philadelphia first down at the Minnesota 5. Montgomery then swept left behind a crushing block by fullback Leroy Harris for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown with 1:18 left in the third quarter: The Eagles fell behind the NFC Central Division winners 14-0 with 5:36 remaining in the first half as Minnesota scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tommy Kramer to wide receiver Sammy White in the first period and a 1-yard scoring dive by Ted Brown. The Eagles tied the score on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Jaworski to Carmichael with 54 seconds remaining in the half and an 8-yard scoring run by Montgomery with 12:20 to go in the third quarter. The Eagles got a 33-yard field goal from barefoot kicker Tony Franklin with 7:31 left in the game after linebacker Frank LeMaster intercepted a Kramer pass. LeMaster returned it 7 yards to the Vikings' 15.. ' . ' . Still another pass interception, this one by cornerback Herman Edwards, led to Philadelphia's final score, a 2-yard run by reserve running back Perry Harrington. Edwards' interception put the ball at the Minnesota 31, from where Philadelphia score in eight plays. . . The Vikings fell apart in the second half with all eight turnovers either resulting in Philadelphia scoring or aborted offensive Minnesota drives. The Vikings wasted little time moving to a 7-0 lead, scoring on the pass from Kramer to White with just 2:40 gone in the first period. A turning point in the seven-play, 70-yard drive came on a third-arid-5 at the Minnesota 35. Kramer connected with Tucker, who attempted a lateral and fumbled with the Eagles recovering. But pass interference was called on linebacker Bill Bergey, and the Vikings had a first down at the Philadelphia 45. After two plays picked up 5 yards, Kramer hit tight end Joe Senser for 10 and connected with White for the score. Minnesota made it 14-0 in the second period on a 10-play, 69-yard drive, capped by Brown's short dive. Four Kramer pass completions, the last one a 22-yarder to Senser for a first down at the 1, set up the score. Philadelphia finally got on the board in the final 5'2 minutes of the half on a 13-play, 85-yard drive, climaxed by Jaworski's strike to Carmichael. Jaworski completed six passes in the drive, including throws of 12, 15, 13, 8 and 10 before the scoring toss to Carmichael. The Eagles took the second half kickoff and marched 66 yards in eight plays to tie the score at 14-14. Jaworski completed an 11-yard pass to Billy Campfield for a first down at the Philadelphia 41. With 7:28 remaining in the third quarter, Eagles rookie Roynell Young intercepted a Kramer pass at the Eagles' 7. On first down; Montgomery lost 4. Then a Jaworski pass fell incomplete. Jaworski tried another pass but was down in the end zone for a safety that put the Vikings on top 16-14 with 8:29 on the third-period clock. (AP Laserphoto) Son Diego's Chuck Muncie (46) is brought by Buffalo's Shane Nelson (59), Jim Haslett (55) and Sherman White (83) on a run. Bills, Vikes Suffer The Sting Of Losses Buffalo DB Simpson Just 'Got Beat' Minnesota Wanted To Prove Point SAN DIEGO (AP) - Buffalo safety Bill Simpson sat at his cubicle in the dressing room and calmly recalled a play he'd rather forget. . ; "It was red dog (blitz), man-to-man coverage and I got beat," Simpson said , after jton Smith caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Dan Fouts with 2:08 ! - remaining to give the San Diego Chargers a 20-14 AFC semifinal playoff victory over Buffalo Saturday. "That's life in the National Football League." Seven minutes earlier, Simpson had intercepted a pass intended for Smith at Buffalo's 7-yard line to snuff out a bid by the Chargers, to take the lead. In the first half, Simpson recovered a San Diego fumble that set up the second touchdown for the AFC East champions. "I had a good game, but everybody is going to remember the last play, including myself, ' said Simpson, who was a teammate of Smith on the Los Angeles Rams in 1978. The loss abruptly ended a remarkable turnabout season for the young Bills, who went from a 7-9 club to an 11-5 division winner in 1980. . "It's an empty feeling," said Simpson. 1 Quarterback Joe Ferguson had put the Bills ahead 14-3 at halftime, although he had to spend some time on the bench after reinsuring his left ankle that he had sprained last month. "It was in good shape before the game," said Ferguson. But after the injury, on the fifth play of the game. "I couldn't move around like I thought I would be able to before the game." Ferguson was sidelined briefly but returned on the next Buffalo series and-directed a 72-yard touchdown drive that put the Bills ahead 7-3. "At halftime, the doctor took the tape off," said Ferguson. "They taped it back up, gave me a pain-killer and hoped for the best." Bothered by the ankle, Ferguson was intercepted three times in the second half, sacked three times during the game. Meanwhile, the Chargers' offense came alive, scoring 17 unanswered points against the NFL's No.l defense in the final 30 minutes. "The interceptions turned around the game," Ferguson said. "The Chargers came from behind like a championship team. "We had breaks, but we didn't take advantage of them. The young players are taking it hard." Joe Cribbs. the Bills' rookie running back sensation who was limited to 53 yards rushing, said, "It's been a good year, but nobody is going to be satisfied until we go to the Super Bowl." Coach Chuck Knox praised the courage of Ferguson and the rest of the Bills. "Today they (the Chargers) were six minutes better than us," said Knox. "But. we battled our butts off." The Chargers entered the game as 5'-point favorites. PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings went into Saturday's playoff game with Philadelphia intent on erasing the rap that they somehow didn't belong on the same field with the National Football League's finest. And even though a final score of 31-16 loomed large in the eyes of a national television audience, Vikings' players insisted the Eagles were handed advancement to the NFC championship game on a silver platter. "We played them even." said quarterback Tommy Kramer. "We just had too many turnovers in the second half. They got some awfully easy scores from us." The 25-year-old Kramer, who had only six interceptions in the final eight games of the regular season, suffered five second-half thefts by the Eagles. In addition, the Vikings fumbled three times in the second half and could do nothing with Philadelphia's three turnovers. "Those things happen in football," said Kramer. "That's why anybody can beat anybody on any Sunday in this league. Our defense kept getting the ball back for us and we'd give it back to them." It was an unfitting ending for a team which had lost just three fumbles during the entire 16-game regular season. "The turnovers certainly made the difference," said Coach Bud Grant. "We haven't been a fumbling team. Maybe the percentages just caught up with us." The crowd of 66,434 at Veteran's Stadium sat in stony silence as Minnesota assumed a 14-0 lead courtesy of Kramer's 30-yard scoring pass to Sammy White and a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Ted Brown. But the Eagles scored with 54 seconds left in the first half and just 2:40 into the second half to tie the game and completely alter the complexion of the contest. "We felt we needed more than 14 points," said receiver Ahmad Rashad. "They have the ability to come back from much more than a 14-point deficit." Minnesota did not fold, however. The Vikings trapped Ron Jaworski in the end zone for a safety ahd a 16-14 lead. But the Eagles then scored on a 5-yard run by Wilbert Montgomery following Eddie Payton's fumble on the ensuing free kick. Tony Franklin later booted a 33-yard field goal after arr interception to give the Eagles a 24-16 cushion. Payton was in tears in the locker room following the game and would not speak to reporters until he had composed himself. "To the victors go the spoils," said Payton. "They weren't a Super Bowl team today, but I wish them well. We've come a long way this year. We were better than a lot of people gave us credit for." Kramer said his team never felt out of it until the very end. "With seven minutes left and only eight points down, we felt we could still win the ballgame," he said. That was the situation three weeks ago when Kramer rallied his club past Cleveland on a last-ditch pass which clinched the division title for the Vikings. But Saturday against the Eagles there were no miracles, only the memories of . what could have been and thoughts of what might be next season. Your Transportation Specialists Welcome You To Our New Chrysler-Plymouth Service Department MP7 Chrysler Corp. Products Only. 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