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Pro Football Spotlight

October 23, 1995

SECOND-STRING, BUT NO LONGER SECOND FIDDLE

Elvis Grbac going deep to John Taylor, connecting with the wide receiver in the end zone? Vince Evans firing a bomb to Rocket Ismail, who scores from 76 yards out?

This is becoming the year of the backup.

There were eight quarterbacks starting in Week 8--either because of first-stringers' injuries or ineptitude--who were on the bench opening day:

Bubby Brister (New York Jets); Bernie Kosar (Miami); Mark Brunell (Jacksonville); Kerry Collins (Carolina); Gus Frerotte (Washington); Jim Harbaugh (Indianapolis); Grbac and Evans.

BERNIE AND THE JETS

Kosar, playing in place of injured Dan Marino, came up with the understatement of the year after leading the Dolphins, who lost, 17-16, to the lowly New York Jets:

"This was a game we should have won," he said.

Gee, really?

It was a game Miami, with Marino at quarterback, did win earlier this season, on opening day, 52-14. Kosar threw three interceptions this time around.

Miami has crumbled without Marino, losing two in a row (the Dolphins have lost three in a row overall) since he underwent surgery on his right knee. He is expected back in the lineup next week.

The Jets, meanwhile, are beside themselves, having improved to 2-6.

"It was a lot of fun out there," quarterback Bubby Brister said. "Whoever said that I can't and we can't; well, we did and we can."

ADD JETS

Brister and the Jets shouldn't get too carried away. They still don't have much of an offense.

They beat the Dolphins despite gaining only 200 total yards, converting only one of 10 third-down attempts and holding the ball for only 24:12.

One has to wonder how the Jets would be faring, though, had they made better use of first-round draft picks over the years:

--In 1983, with Marino available, they took Ken O'Brien.

--In 1985, with Jerry Rice available, they took Al Toon.

--In 1990, with Emmitt Smith available, they took Blair Thomas.

Guess which three are headed for the Hall of Fame, and which three are no longer playing football.

HE'S NOT MY FATHER

Sonny Bono, singer-turned-politician, appeared on ESPN to comment on the success of Kansas City Chief quarterback Steve Bono.

Sonny said Steve was upholding the tradition of the Bono name, and babbled about the Bonos being stretch runners, not coming out of the gate leading, but then all of a sudden pulling away from their competition.

Then the interview got really corny.

"He's an 'I Got You Babe' kind of a quarterback, I'll tell you that," Sonny said.

Had he heard that, Steve would probably be the first to point out that the two are not related.

HE COULD HAVE JUST TOLD HIM TO TAKE A HIKE

In an interview with XTRA radio's Jim Laslavic, San Diego Charger long-snap specialist David Binn was asked if defensive linemen ever tried to intimidate him before he hiked the ball.

"One guy threatened to tear my head off," Binn answered. "I thought he was going to do it too. He got his arms around my neck and started twisting and pulling. I squirmed out of it, though. Then I told him I was going to shoot him."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

TOP PERFORMANCES

PASSING

*--*

Player, Team Att. Cmp. Yds. TD ERIK KRAMER, Bears 41 24 349 2 VINCE EVANS, Raiders 35 23 335 2 SCOTT MITCHELL, Lions 50 30 327 3 V. TESTAVERDE, Browns 34 20 299 1 CHRIS CHANDLER, Oilers 38 24 296 2 BRETT FAVRE, Packers 43 22 295 4 JEFF GEORGE, Falcons 37 24 295 3 GUS FREROTTE, Redskins 39 21 245 1 JIM EVERETT, Saints 48 27 241 0

*--*

RECEIVING

*--*

Player, Team Rec. Yds. TD ISAAC BRUCE, Rams 9 173 0 JEFF GRAHAM, Bears 9 137 1 ROCKET ISMAIL, Raiders 3 125 2 BERT EMANUEL, Falcons 9 121 2 BRETT PERRIMAN, Lions 6 115 1 HENRY ELLARD, Redskins 6 112 1 CURTIS CONWAY, Bears 3 111 1 RICO SMITH, Browns 6 106 1

*--*

RUSHING

*--*

Player, Team Car. Yds. TD MARCUS ALLEN, Chiefs 21 121 1 BERNIE PARMALEE, Dolphins 24 120 0 CHRIS WARREN, Seahawks 18 112 2 TERRY ALLEN, Redskins 24 110 2 RASHAAN SALAAM, Bears 29 109 1 NATRONE MEANS, Chargers 26 91 1

*--*

--Compiled by Bob Cuomo and Pete Thomas

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