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NFL '97 WEEK 2 | SAN DIEGO 20, NEW ORLEANS 6

Script an Award-Winner to Everett

September 08, 1997|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Jim Everett was the star in his own Hollywood production Sunday.

"Someone told me: 'Write the script for this game.' Well, it was written, and with an exclamation point on the last touchdown. It couldn't have happened any better," Everett said after defeating his former team and the man who cut him loose in the San Diego Chargers' 20-6 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

It was far from pretty, however.

Everett, who believes new Coach Mike Ditka didn't give him a fair chance to retain the starting spot with the Saints, sealed the San Diego victory by capping a 52-yard drive with a 21-yard scoring pass to Freddie Jones with 2:10 left. It was the only offensive touchdown of the game.

The only other scoring came on field goals and a fumble recovery by the Chargers in the end zone.

San Diego (1-1) had 229 total yards and 11 first downs. The Saints (0-2) gained only 243 yards and had only 14 first downs.

Everett, who replaced the injured Stan Humphries, completed 17 of 29 passes for 195 yards, was sacked twice and intercepted once, all in the third quarter. He got little support from the Charger runners, who gained only 62 yards. Gary Brown led San Diego with 46 yards in 21 attempts.

"At times he looked good," Charger Coach Kevin Gilbride said of Everett. "When we gave him protection, he made some key throws for us. He didn't play as well as he's capable of playing. I'm sure there are a couple of plays he'd like to have back. but he led his team to a victory, that's what he needed to do, and that's what you look for with your starting quarterback."

The first half was so lackluster the loudest cheer came when Saint safety Vashone Adams downed a punt on the San Diego 1. The play came right after a 15-yard Charger punt set up a Saint drive on their 49. But New Orleans gained only five yards.

New Orleans had two first-half field goals to account for all its scoring.

"Our defense did a fabulous job of giving us the ball, and offensively we didn't execute," Saint quarterback Heath Shuler said.

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