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THE NFC CENTRAL
William F. Reed
December 11, 1995
'Tis the Season
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December 11, 1995

The Nfc Central

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On the play that led to his ejection, Dilfer had just released a pass when Randle hit him around the knees. Dilfer jumped on Randle, and the fight was on. After the two were separated, Dilfer was ejected, as was Viking defensive end Roy Barker.

"It was all unnecessary," said Randle. "He jumped up and told me it was a dirty thing and started cursing me. He pushed me and hit me with his fist or open hand."

"I was trying to make a point," Dilfer said. "I think what he does is cheap. I don't know if I took a swing at him. If I would have swung at him, I probably would have hit him."

Well, maybe.

At the time of the ejection, Dilfer was 9 of 18 for 148 yards. He had been intercepted once and sacked six times (the Vikings also sacked Weldon twice). In other words Dilfer had again failed to come up big in a game the Bucs desperately needed. At 6-7, Tampa Bay probably should forget about the playoffs and begin concentrating on avoiding its 13th straight season of double-digit losses.

"We couldn't be much more desperate," said Wyche. "That [a playoff spot] is not out of the picture. As long as it's not out of the picture, we're in the picture."

If it sounds like Wyche's fine-tuning knob needs a little adjusting, it must be understood that his future is anything but secure. But to his credit, he took full blame for the Bucs' sloppy performance. "I didn't push the right buttons," he said.

The ejection button is the one that should concern Wyche now.

Punting Funk

The Bears still aren't sure what to make of Todd Sauerbrun, the rookie kicker from West Virginia and a second-round pick in the April draft. Sauerbrun averaged an NCAA-record 46.2 yards per punt during his college career. And his kickoffs were so deep that only 100 of the 215 he made for the Mountaineers were returned. The Bears were so high on him that they relieved 11-year veteran Kevin Butler of his kickoff duties.

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