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NFL REWIND: WEEK 1

Surest Way Not to Lose Other Than Open Date? Play Eagles

September 08, 1998|T.J. SIMMERS

A review of week one in the NFL, and a winning lottery ticket from the schedulemaker for Seattle Coach Dennis Erickson, who was 0-2, 0-3 and 0-2 to start the last three seasons, but finally got the chance to open against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Rams should be so lucky next year.

Cardinals, Cubs, Eagles

Which team lacks a deep threat? The Eagles' first-string offense, now guided by offensive coordinator Dana Bible, has scored one touchdown in one regular season and four exhibition games, prompting one fan to carry a sign around Veterans Stadium: "We've got a Bible but we don't have a prayer."

Opening Day Flukes?

* Dallas thrashed Pittsburgh on opening day last year, 37-7, and this year the Cowboys blasted Arizona, 38-10. Last year the Steelers went on to play in the AFC championship game, while Dallas cruised home with a 6-10 mark.

* Atlanta, which topped Carolina, has won six of its last seven games going back to last year--against the likes of St. Louis, New Orleans, Seattle, San Diego and Philadelphia.

* The Raiders scored eight points against the Chiefs, defying their critics.

Break Time

Running back Curtis Enis dazzled the Chicago faithful with 77 hard-charging yards, but then became the critics' target after the Bears lost to Jacksonville, 24-23, and it became known he had asked out of the game at a key juncture. Enis, playing on 21 of the Bears' 61 offensive snaps, sat out much of training camp while holding out for a richer contract and found himself out of shape as the Bears were about to put the game out of reach.

"Curtis was tired," said Bear Coach Mike Wannstedt.

So the Bears got to the one-yard line but had to settle for a field goal instead of asking Enis to work anymore, and the Jaguars came back to record a one-point victory.

"Enis is the man," wrote Chicago Tribune sports columnist Bernie Lincicome, "once Enis gets his breath."

Congrats

* Miami: In a league that insists secrecy means everything in achieving success, including closing practices, Jimmy Johnson said the Dolphins were going to run the ball to win, and the Dolphins ran the ball to win with Karim Abdul-Jabbar getting the team's third 100-yard performance in 17 games.

* San Diego: It's not every rookie quarterback who knows when to have his passes intercepted, but Ryan Leaf had two of his four wiped out by Buffalo penalties, securing a Charger victory.

* Minnesota: New owner Red McCombs honors Coach Dennis Green for picking Randy Moss when no one else would with a three-year contract extension. No telling what he would have given Mother Teresa.

Cheeseheads Poetic Justice

If still sober after watching Roell Preston return a kick 100 yards to seal Green Bay's win over Detroit, Cheeseheads could watch traitor Desmond Howard fumble not only a kick, but a punt in helping dismantle the Raiders on Sunday night TV.

Short of a free brat and another beer it doesn't get much better than that.

Stats to Ponder

Arizona was 0 for 10 on third down with a Joe Montana-like Jake Plummer at quarterback. . . . Twenty-two Cowboy defenders were credited with either a solo tackle, an assist or a sack. But Leon Lett, the team's best defender, had none of that, twice needing help to limp from the field after trying to play on a sprained left knee. . . . In the first 8 1/2 minutes of their game against the Chiefs, the Raiders had the ball 30 seconds.

Talk About a Headache

Washington quarterback Gus Frerotte was struggling through a miserable day. His performance was horrible, and he had already come to the sideline with an injured hand. Returning, he had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown, prompting teammate and linebacker Marvcus Patton to start yelling at him before being restrained by teammate Shar Pourdanesh.

Frerotte went back onto the field and got smooshed, leaving with a sore shoulder and head, replaced by seldom-used Trent Green, who went on to claim Frerotte's starting job by completing 17 of 25 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns.

Those Who Helped Themselves

* Danny Kanell: Some thought the Giants' quarterback was a stiff. Not when Frerotte is playing for the other team.

* Steve Christie: He was wide right from 21 yards, missed left from 39 with the chance to beat San Diego, but he knew what he was doing when he signed with the Bills, who will forever remember Scott Norwood as the only kicker to rip out their hearts.

* Kevin Greene: It makes you wonder if it was one of those prearranged wrestling matches, but Greene had his way with rookie tackle Ephraim Salaam, getting three sacks but losing in the end.

They've Lost It

* Carolina running back Fred Lane on the Atlanta Falcons: "They're not a better ballclub than we are." Final score: Atlanta 19, Carolina 14.

* St. Louis Coach Dick Vermeil offered no explanation, but did not dress rookie sensation Robert Holcombe or Greg Hill, who had starred in the preseason. Vermeil went with four backs you've probably never heard of, and they ran 20 times for 39 yards.

* The Redskins opted to take a train to Sunday's game at East Rutherford, N.J. A silly move, the Giants would have sent limos.

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