The difference between this Los Angeles quarterback controversy and all the others--starting with Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin--is that public opinion is so one-sided. . .
If you think Todd Marinovich should be starting for the Raiders instead of Jay Schroeder, about the only people who will disagree are Art Shell and Al Davis. . . .
What made the defeat Sunday in Denver so frustrating is that the Raiders played one of their best defensive games since moving to Los Angeles in 1982. . . .
Anthony Smith, the young lineman, could have been confused with Bruce Smith. . . .
The secondary, especially Terry McDaniel and Ronnie Lott, was superb. John Elway actually didn't throw that badly the first three quarters. It is difficult to complete a pass when nobody is open and you have three guys in your facemask. . . .
The piano movers up front dominated the underrated Denver defense most of the night, but were hampered by Schroeder's turnovers and inaccurate passes, and the customary, unimaginative play calling from the sidelines. . . .
If it had been hockey, the game, with its numerous altercations, would have been called "chippy." . . .
Final score: Buffalo 40, Rams 7. Time of possession: Rams 30:11, Buffalo 29:49. . . .
KMPC sports talk host Doug Krikorian, who watched portions of six NFL games on television Sunday, said there were eight calls that would have been reversed if the instant replay review rule was still in effect. . . .
There were two in the Raider-Bronco game alone--Eric Dickerson's fumble that was caused by his hitting the ground and Eddie Anderson's interception return that should have been aborted at the Raider two-yard-line when he stepped out of bounds. . . .
Then again, who knows if the officials in the press box would have had the courage and wisdom to overrule the officials on the field? . . .
The demise of Lawrence Taylor has not been greatly exaggerated. . . .
Cleveland Brown quarterback Bernie Kosar, who had an NFL record streak of 308 passes without an interception during a stretch last season, was intercepted twice in the first half by the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. . . .
Among the first artificial turf victims of the season was Seattle Seahawk wide receiver Brian Blades, whose shoulder blade was broken when he fell hard on the Kingdome rug. . . .
It is amazing how many passes NFL teams complete from inside their five-yard line. . . .
Barry Sanders' 43-yard touchdown run against the Chicago Bears will be in highlight films the rest of this century. . . .
Don't hold your breath until the next time 31 points are scored in the fourth quarter of a Bear game. . . .
Randall Cunningham was so nervous about his return to the Philadelphia Eagles' lineup that he forgot to have his ankles taped until just before the kickoff. . . .
One reason the Minnesota Vikings got rid of Herschel Walker was that new Coach Dennis Green liked another running back, Terry Allen. On opening day, Walker rushed for 114 yards during the Eagles' victory over the New Orleans Saints, but Allen rushed for 140 during the Vikings' overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers. . . .
As demonstrated by the ludicrous call against Tim Harris of the San Francisco 49ers, too many penalties again are being called for taunting. . . .
Pittsburgh Steeler Coach Bill Cowher might have one thing Chuck Noll lacked--an imagination. A reverse play and a fake punt both worked during the upset victory over the Oilers at Houston. . . .
CBS commentator John Madden already is in midseason form. He remains the best in the business, and it doesn't matter whether his partner is Pat Summerall, or as it was Sunday for the San Francisco-New York Giant game, Verne Lundquist. . . .
Remember when Dick Butkus played with a crewcut? His son, Matt, a reserve center at USC, wears a mohawk. . . .
The new, enlarged logos on the USC helmet are Trojan heads. The old ones actually were Spartans. . . .
San Diego State vs. USC Saturday outdrew the San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, 52,168 to 45,024. . . .
News item: Kings acquire Pat Conacher from the New Jersey Devils for future considerations. Reaction: Was that the big deal we had been waiting for? . . .
Maybe Edgar Martinez of the Seattle Mariners will become a household name outside his own house now that he is running away with the American League batting title. . . .
This has been a dreary year for the Boston Red Sox, but Roger Clemens is in contention to lead the AL in five important categories--wins, earned-run average, strikeouts, shutouts and complete games. . . .
We should have known Fay Vincent was going to resign when he gave himself a vote of confidence.