YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Quarterbacks Weren't Biggest Surprises

September 23, 1997|T. J. SIMERS

A review of Week 4 in the NFL, and finally, a potential Super Bowl of parity featuring Vinny Testaverde versus Trent Dilfer.

This Week's Quiz

What was the most surprising development?

The arrest of three ticket scalpers outside Houlihan's Stadium in Tampa, some of whom were asking $300 for a pair of $26 tickets--and getting it.

This Week's Trend

The Colts, Raiders, Chargers and Oilers, a combined 3-12, are trying to persuade their fans to buy tickets. Really.

Indianapolis wants local business and political leaders to invest in the Colts' future to keep them from moving, but the Colts aren't worth a plugged nickel. . . . The Raiders are offering the highest-priced ticket in the league for last-second losses. . . . The Chargers are guaranteed 60,000 tickets sold a game, or the city of San Diego pays the difference, and pay it will this year. . . . The Oilers drew 17,737 in a loss to the Ravens, and apparently Tennessee is no place for a honeymoon.

Three Teams To Watch Closer

1. Tampa Bay--What will the environmentalists say when the yahoos in Green Bay start throwing away all those foam-rubber cheeseheads?

2. Dallas--After becoming coach, Jerry Jones will replace Emmitt Smith at running back.

3. Chicago--Now that the Bears have tried Erik Kramer and Rick Mirer, they will be going to Sid Luckman.

If the Planets Are Aligned

In two weeks, we'll get a preview of the NFC and AFC championship games, with Tampa Bay (5-0) at Green Bay (4-1) and New England (4-0) at Denver (5-0).

Luck the Only Explanation

Baltimore is 3-1.

Helped Themselves the Most

Kansas City Chiefs. They seem serious about scoring touchdowns, which looks like a lot of wasted effort merely to get eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Hurt Themselves the Most

Miami Dolphins. Jimmy Johnson's master plan has the Dolphins advancing to the Super Bowl in Year 3 of his reign to coincide with Miami's hosting of Super Bowl XXXIII. Only one problem--Tampa Bay has a better chance of getting there in Tony Dungy's third year of command.

There's Always Someone Worse

New Orleans quarterback Heath Shuler did not throw an interception, but his opposite number, Scott Mitchell of Detroit, threw three.

As Sure as the Sun Comes Up

The Raiders will find a way to lose. This week a missed extra point, a botched two-point conversion, and a blocked field goal that was returned 72 yards for the Jets' game-winning score. Al Davis hasn't lost it--his team has.

Return to Glory

Dan Reeves opened last season 0-4 as coach of the Giants, then upset the 4-0 Vikings. This week, his 0-4 Falcons are up against the 4-0 Broncos.

Everyone Can't Be Wrong

Indianapolis stinks.

Big Play

The Colts fell behind Buffalo, 30-29, with a little more than a minute to play, and the Bills had the ball. The game was all but over, but on the next play, Bills' running back Antowain Smith ran 54 yards for a touchdown. Everybody celebrated in Buffalo, but had Indianapolis let Smith score to get the ball back and still have a chance to tie with a touchdown and two-point conversion?

Big Blunder

If that was the case, it worked. The Colts got the ball back, scored and went for the tie, only to have an NFL official go weak in the knees. Said official, while directing his attention directly at the play, declined to call pass interference on Buffalo defender Kurt Schulz, although Schulz clearly had wide receiver Marvin Harrison all but tackled before the ball arrived. The Bills held on for the 37-35 victory.

Still Waiting for

New York Jet wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson to at least keep pace with the team's mascot, Wayne Chrebet.

How Bad Is it

After getting pounded by San Francisco, Atlanta Coach Reeves singled out fullback Bob Christian as the Falcons' top offensive performer. Christian had one carry for zero yards and one reception for six yards.

Not Everyone Can Be a Coach

The Rams have scored 39 points in their last three games, and to spruce up their attack they have decided to start rookie Orlando Pace at offensive tackle. Said Coach Dick Vermeil: "You say, 'What the heck? What can it hurt?' "

The Goat of the Week Is

San Diego quarterback Stan Humphries. He has turned the ball over six times in the last two games, and now Coach Kevin Gilbride will probably turn the ball over again--and give it to Jim Everett.

And the Week's MVP Is

Marion Bates. New Orleans Coach Mike Ditka wrestled with the decision of whom to start at quarterback, but the best decision he made all week was taking Bates off the bench, starting him ahead of rookie Troy Davis and letting him, rather than Shuler, throw for the game's first touchdown.

Three Examples of Bad

Football Being Fun

1. Buffalo fumbles six times, loses the ball on four occasions and throws it away one more time with an interception. And wins.

2. Oakland dominates the Jets, rolling up 468 yards in offense. And loses.

3. On a Sunday in September, 1997, Dilfer, Testaverde and Shuler look like Namath, Starr and Montana. OK, that's a stretch, but for once they weren't Larry, Curly and Moe.

Los Angeles Times Articles