- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Tim Vogler, the Bills' offensive guard who started for the first time in his six-year career Sunday, isn't exactly a household word around the league. So it didn't surprise him that his opponent—Cowboy All-World defensive tackle Randy White—hadn't heard of Vogler until he spoke to the Buffalo media during a conference call last Wednesday. "There are even people in Buffalo who don't know my name," says Vogler, who went to Ohio State. "I wouldn't expect them to know it clear down in Texas."
They do now, after the Bills upset the Cowboys 14-3 to turn the NFL East standings into a Gordian knot with Dallas, Washington and the Giants tied for first, all with 7-5 records. Vogler, who threw a key block on White to spring Greg Bell loose on a game-opening, 85-yard touchdown run, was still a bit disappointed. "I figured that was how I was going to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame—most years on a roster without starting. I could have been a Trivial Pursuit question."
Meanwhile, it's crying time in Dallas. "This is total humiliation," says Tony Dorsett, Cowboy running back. "There's no ifs, ands or buts, and that's with capital letters! If the guys on this team are not embarrassed by this performance, you're showing me a loser."
Says John Dutton, defensive tackle, "We were the worst team in football [Sunday]. We were the 0-11 team. There's no other way to look at it. We lost to the worst team in football 14-3. What else can you say?"
Answers Dorsett, "We're the laughingstock in the NFL right now."
Jack Lambert, the Steeler inside linebacker who has started only three games this season because of the dislocated big toe on his left foot, was hardly overjoyed when he heard coach Chuck Noll say that the injury could end the All-Pro's 11-year career. "Any time Jack comes in hard and puts stress on his toe, he reinjures it," Noll says. "It might be that the toe will never heal sufficiently."
Lambert has been pushing himself to return, taking injections to numb the pain. But he can't fool his Steeler teammates. They can see the worry in his grizzled face. "Sometimes he comes back to the huddle and says the toe hurts," says linebacker Robin Cole. "What I think he needs is a year off. But in pro football, you can't take a year off."
If Lambert is through—he's thinking about rehabilitative surgery after the season—and if tackle Larry Brown, who's having difficulty recovering from a recent knee injury, retires, only three members of the Steelers' four Super Bowl teams would remain: John Stallworth, Mike Webster and Donnie Shell.
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