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Carney Is the New Kick on the Block : AFC: He boots six field goals and sets record in San Diego's 18-17 victory over Houston.

September 20, 1993|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — John Carney kicked six field goals and set the NFL record for consecutive field goals at 29, the final one going 27 yards with three seconds remaining to lift the Chargers to an 18-17 victory over the Houston Oilers on Sunday.

"The record is exciting and I'm glad we have it behind us, because it was starting to be distracting," said Carney, who connected three times from 27 yards, twice from 34 and once from 36. "Now we can go back to business as usual."

Business hasn't been booming offensively for San Diego (2-1), which avenged a 27-0 loss at Houston last year. The Chargers have scored only two touchdowns in three games and the extent of their scoring in two home victories has been 12 field goals by Carney, who also went six for six in a season-opening victory over Seattle. Houston fell to 1-2.

Both starting quarterbacks were yanked in the second half, Warren Moon after his fourth interception and Stan Humphries after completing only seven of 26 passes for 73 yards.

Junior Seau intercepted two passes by Moon, returning the second one 42 yards three minutes into the fourth quarter to set up Carney's fifth field goal, a 36-yarder for a 15-14 lead with 9:21 to play.

But Houston backup Cody Carlson directed the Oilers on a 53-yard drive in nine plays, capped by Al Del Greco's 27-yard field goal with 4:59 remaining for a 17-15 advantage.

San Diego backup John Friesz then moved the Chargers on a 13-play, 75-yard drive on which the only third down was right before Carney's winning kick.

"I was hoping we'd score a touchdown and I'd only have to kick the extra point," Carney said. "But we moved it down and got it close. That made it nice for me."

Said Oilers defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan: "It's terrible. I don't understand how they could drive 75 yards when they couldn't drive five all day."

Carney got the record because the Chargers were ineffective again inside the 20-yard line.

"I don't know if there's anything the matter with (the offense), we've just got to make some plays," Humphries said.

San Diego Coach Bobby Ross said the coaching staff discussed their quarterback change at halftime.

"You can't put all that on Stan," Ross said. "There's a combination of a lot of things that happened in the throwing game--protection, routes, defense doing a good job, and then the throwing phase of it."

Ross said Humphries likely will be the starter Oct. 3 at Seattle. The Chargers are off next Sunday.

Moon completed 19 of 37 passes for 198 yards and one touchdown.

"I didn't want to come out," Moon said.

But, he said, "I felt I was rushing myself. I wasn't sharp today. Even the throws I completed, I wasn't throwing well. You just have days like that as a quarterback. In this offense, if you're not sharp as a quarterback, it's going to look ugly."

Humphries had the first crack at ugliness, throwing nine consecutive incompletions during San Diego's first three scoring drives. When he finally completed one it was for minus-one yard.

Carney entered the game with 23 consecutive field goals, two shy of the record set a week earlier by Morten Andersen of the New Orleans Saints. He kicked two 34-yard field goals before breaking Andersen's record with a 27-yarder 4:07 into the second quarter, giving the Chargers a 9-0 lead.

Carney's first three kicks were set up by turnovers. Darren Carrington intercepted Moon's pass and recovered Webster Slaughter's fumble on a reverse, both in the first quarter. Seau made a leaping interception, which he took 16 yards to the Houston nine early in the second quarter.

The Oilers scored twice in 2:18 late in the second quarter to take the lead.

Moon completed seven of nine passes for 69 yards on an 80-yard drive, connecting on short passes until he completed a 25-yard pass to Curtis Duncan into double coverage on third-and-two from the San Diego 30. Two plays later, Slaughter caught a two-yard scoring pass.

The Chargers opened their next drive with three consecutive running plays. On the fourth play, Humphries underthrew Nate Lewis and Darryll Lewis intercepted, returning it 47 yards for his second NFL touchdown and a 14-9 lead.

Friesz's first pass went 47 yards to Nate Lewis to the Houston 31. Lewis caught a nine-yard pass in the end zone, but his left foot came down out of bounds, and Carney kicked a 27-yarder to pull the Chargers to 14-12.

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