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NFL SPOTLIGHT / WEEK 3

Cowher Is Seeing Red After Browns' Victory

September 18, 2000|GARY KLEIN

Pittsburgh Steeler Coach Bill Cowher was steaming.

And, for once, Kordell Stewart had nothing to do with it.

Like just about everyone else at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday, Cowher had watched in amazement as the Steelers' chance to send the game into overtime disappeared.

Steeler quarterback Kent Graham was sacked by rookie Courtney Brown with eight seconds left, preserving the Browns' 23-20 victory.

The Steelers had a first-and-goal at the Browns' nine-yard line with 35 seconds left. They ran a running a play, and Graham spiked the ball on second down before he was sacked on third down.

The Steelers, with no timeouts, tried to line up for a game-tying field-goal attempt, but the clock ran out.

Graham couldn't find an open receiver on the pivotal play, but instead of throwing it away, he was tackled by Brown.

"I should have thrown it away," Graham said. "I was trying to give my receivers another chance by scrambling. I just got caught. I take the blame."

THIS BUS PASS SHOULD BE CANCELED

The Steelers' quarterback situation is a shambles, but don't look to Jerome Bettis as a solution.

Bettis, the Steelers' powerful running back, tried a halfback option against the Browns. His badly underthrown attempt was intercepted at the five-yard line by Corey Fuller.

"I'm not supposed to throw it if I feel it's going to get intercepted," Bettis said. "I threw it anyway."

THERE'S SAFETY IN SCREW-UPS

With just over two minutes to play in a 15-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcon running back Jamal Anderson broke free for a 42-yard run up the left sideline.

Then the fun began.

As he closed in on the end zone, Doug Evans knocked the ball out of his hands, recovered it and stepped into the end zone before rolling out.

The officials called it a safety, ruling that Evans' feet came down inbounds before he entered the end zone. That gave the Falcons a 15-10 lead with 2:12 to play.

"I knew I was close to the end zone and I thought if I went in it would have come out to the 20," Evans said. "It was a heads-up play that turned into a bonehead play."

Anderson said he was just as surprised as the Panthers were when it was ruled a safety.

"Remember those 'You make the call' commercials? I always got it wrong then too," he said.

IN A POSITION TO RECEIVE ACCOLADES

Some fantasy football owners were probably pulling out their hair when offensive lineman Randall McDaniel of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and cornerback Marcus Coleman of the New York Jets caught touchdown passes in their teams' victories Sunday.

McDaniel, playing fullback, caught a two-yard scoring pass from Shaun King to give Tampa Bay a 21-3 lead over the Detroit Lions. It was McDaniel's first touchdown of his 13-year career.

Coleman caught a 45-yard scoring pass from Vinny Testaverde on the final play of the first half, breaking a tie and lifting the Jets to a 27-14 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

"He would make a great receiver if the coaches allowed him to play both ways," Testaverde said of Coleman. "He was the guy I was looking for."

BETTER CALL TONY ROBBINS

The Cincinnati Bengals are off to a typical start. The Bengals dropped to 0-2 with their loss to Jacksonville and have scored only one touchdown.

"I'm sick of it," Bengal linebacker Takeo Spikes said. "I don't like anybody to call me a loser. I think this year will be better, but I've been saying that the last two years."

PRIME EXAMPLE OF HIGH PERFORMANCE

Say what you will about Deion Sanders, but he has lived up to his "Prime Time" nickname when he plays in Monday night games.

Sanders, acquired by the Washington Redskins as part of owner Daniel Snyder's $100-million spending spree, has five interceptions--one for a touchdown--and has also returned two punts for touchdowns in 15 Monday night appearances.

Tonight, he goes against his former Dallas teammates for the first time since leaving the team.

Not that the Cowboys are thinking about it or anything.

"It has nothing to do with Deion, it really doesn't, so I wouldn't even try to make this a Deion-Cowboys issue," Cowboy running back Emmitt Smith said. "Deion just happens to play for a team that we are playing up against."

OK.

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