- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
For those who live solely by the stat sheet, reports SI's Pat Putnam, the Doug Flutie NFL show opened and flopped in Tampa: one run for minus-one yard; one pass that flew over wide-open tight end Emery Moorehead in the Buccaneer end zone; two handoffs and two pitches to running backs, which netted Chicago just 13 yards. Not much, you say, for 2� minutes' work against the worst defense in the NFL. Then why was the 5'9" Heisman Trophy winner from Boston College grinning in the locker room?
"I got my feet wet, I played," said Flutie, who was given the green light from coach Mike Ditka with 4� minutes left in Chicago's 23-3 victory and the Bears on Tampa Bay's 17. "And I think I can play.
"One play I called wrong," said Flutie, who received help from the Chicago bench by hand signals that corresponded to a crib sheet of numbers attached to his armband. "I thought it was going to the right and it went left." Flutie went right and bounced out-of-bounds for a yard loss. While calling another play he left out a word and everyone in the huddle said, "Whoa!" Luckily, fullback Matt Suhey knew the correct call and filled in the missing blank.
And on the missed connection with Moorehead, which should have been an easy score from the five, Flutie said, "Frustrating. It was a play we ran 50,000 times at Boston College. I expected Moorehead to drag across, and he pulled up. I just overthrew him."
Discouraged? "No way," said Flutie. "When I went out there everyone was on my side. It was a good feeling." After all the turmoil that followed his signing, that was a big plus you'll never find on a stat sheet.
The decline of St. Louis quarterback Neil Lomax, benched last week after 52 straight games as the team's starter, has been a curious one. In 1984 Lomax had seven 300-yard passing games. In the 26 games since the start of the '85 season, he has had only one.
Past and present Cardinals say Lomax's problems begin with his fragile confidence. They say he is easily intimidated and rattled—to the point of calling plays in the huddle that don't exist.
Coach Gene Stallings believes Lomax is his own worst enemy. "He puts too much pressure on himself," says Stallings, who started Cliff Stoudt against the 49ers on Sunday. "He tries so hard to make things happen, and he winds up choking himself."
Lomax, whom the team is reportedly trying to trade, says, "I'm going to take this as a positive thing, a chance to sit back, reflect and look at things and ask what I can learn from this situation. I need to improve. I know that."