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Pro Football Spotlight : FATHER STILL KNOWS BEST (COACHING DOLPHINS HELPS)

October 02, 1995

For those of you keeping score at home, it's Shula 2, Shula 0.

Make that dad Don 2, son Dave 0.

The latest installment of the inter-family football fracas was at Riverfront Stadium, where Don Shula's Dolphins defeated Dave Shula's Bengals, 26-23.

In the first Shula-Shula coaching matchup last year, the Dolphins made mahi-mahi out of the Bengals, 23-7. The Dolphins weren't as dominating this time, needing a 16-yard touchdown pass from Dan Marino to O.J. McDuffie to win with 63 seconds left.

In fact, the lowly Bengals had a chance to tie one for Dave (and send the game into overtime), but a 45-yard field goal try was wide left in the final seconds.

The AP reported a touching scene: "Moments later, a crestfallen Dave Shula got a tender cheek-to-cheek hug from his father at midfield."

And: "In the end, he couldn't overcome Marino or his father."

RUNNING ON EMPTY

What is the definition of empty? A Saint fan watching the game against the Eagles put up a sign in the Superdome offering three possible definitions:

1. (Offensive coordinator) Carl Smith's playbook.

2. (Coach Jim) Mora's head when he cut Morten Andersen.

3. The Superdome next season.

BAD TEAM, MAN

Here's a real bulletin: New England Coach Bill Parcells is not a good loser. At least he's getting in some practice, the latest after the Patriots dropped to 1-3 by getting drubbed by the Falcons, 30-17.

Said Parcells: "We're just not a very good team. It's apparent that we are not. We just did not do a good job."

Enough already, said Scott Zolak, who filled in at quarterback for the injured Drew Bledsoe.

"He doesn't have to tell us that we're a bad team," Zolak said.

MORTON SALTS ONE AWAY

Kickers are overrated, right? Wrong. The Falcons' Andersen, who already has won two games in overtime this season with field goals, kicked five field goals, two in the last 9:42, in a 30-17 victory over New England.

YOU CAN'T BURY BARRY, NOT THE WAY HE BACKPEDALS

Dallas Coach Barry Switzer used a timeout in the third quarter of the Cowboys' 27-23 loss to Washington when he hesitated whether to kick a field goal on fourth down. It turned out to be a major goof, since the Cowboys had no timeouts left in the fourth quarter when they got the ball back with one final chance to win the game.

Apparently Switzer doesn't like to have his strategy (if that's what it is) questioned. He bristled when asked about the timeout after the game. Whose fault was it? Certainly not Barry's. He blamed his assistants for giving him poor information.

Switzer also said it wasn't his fault that the Cowboys didn't give the ball more to Emmitt Smith after quarterback Troy Aikman left the game because of a calf injury.

Said Switzer: "We went in with the same game plan and stuck with it. I don't know what we did. I didn't call the plays."

Uh, Barry, if you're open to suggestions, maybe a good place to find out exactly what you did in that game is to watch the game film. And better find that guy who's calling the plays.

NUMBERS GAME

7--The number of Carolina turnovers last week in a loss to the Rams.

4--The number of Carolina turnovers in a loss to the Buccaneers.

1--The number of times anybody should be forced to hear explanations like this of what happens when you make turnovers: Said Carolina quarterback Kerry Collins, "If you turn the ball over like that, you're not going to win."

0--The number of Carolina victories.

--Compiled by Thomas Bonk and Bob Cuomo

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