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THE NFC CENTRAL
William F. Reed
November 20, 1995
Miracle Workers
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November 20, 1995

The Nfc Central

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"I've never had to play a game where I had to just sit there in the pocket," Favre said. Maybe he should try it more often. He distributed the ball to nine receivers; the most effective was wideout Robert Brooks, who continued his campaign to make Packer fans forget Sterling Sharpe by hauling in six passes for 138 yards and two TDs.

Nothing Special

Losers of two straight for the first time this season, the Bears can pin Sunday's defeat largely on the play of their special teams. Rookie Todd Sauerbrun had trouble getting distance on his kickoffs and was replaced by field goal kicker Kevin Butler after the Bears scored their third touchdown. Also, the Bears never came up with an answer to Antonio Freeman, who returned three kickoffs for 106 yards and three punts for 26 yards.

"It was frustrating," said Bear coach Dave Wannstedt, "especially in the first half when we gave up 21 points on less than 200 yards of offense. The field position caught up with us. In my mind, it was the difference in the game."

The Packers began four of their five first-half possessions beyond their own 40 and scored 21 points. By contrast the Bears started only one of their six first-half drives beyond their 26. That one began at their 37, and the Bears lost six yards on three plays.

"Green Bay is one of the most explosive teams in the league," Wannstedt said. "When you have a huge difference in field position, you give yourself no chance to win."

Double Trouble

During the holiday season only Santa Claus gets more airtime than James Stewart, the star of It's a Wonderful Life. So with the holidays just around the corner, it's a wonderful time to examine the lives of the NFL's two rookie running backs who bear the same name as the famous actor. Actually, neither's life is so wonderful right now. Both are backups who have been criticized for their effort—or lack thereof—and both are struggling to fulfill the suffocating expectations of impatient fans.

The James Stewart who plays for the Vikings came out of Miami. The other, who toils for the Jaguars, did his college running at Tennessee. They are similar in build—the Vikings' Stewart is 6'2" and 245 pounds; the Jaguars' Stewart, 6'1" and 221 pounds—and in style, combining size and power with speed.

In an NFL draft that set a record for the number of James Stewarts selected, Jacksonville traded for Kansas City's first-round pick so it could select Tennessee's Stewart. Miami's Stewart didn't go until the fifth round, much lower than was expected, after The New York Times reported he had tested positive for marijuana use. The NFL denied the report, and Stewart filed a lawsuit against the Times that is pending.

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