Sent in to replace struggling starter Stan Humphries with 10:23 left in the third quarter and Washington trailing Detroit 35-14, Rutledge completed 30 of 42 passes for 363 yards and one touchdown. He also ran 12 yards for a score on a quarterback draw with 18 seconds left in regulation, a play that shocked everyone in the Silverdome. In overtime, Rut-ledge's pinpoint 40-yard pass to Art Monk, thrown from his own end zone on third-and-15, kept the winning drive alive.
"I may never play again," said Rutledge, 33, afterward, "but you can't take away what happened to me today." A 12-year NFL veteran, Rutledge was a Plan B signee with the Redskins in the off-season after eight years with the Giants.
The Lions did as much to lose the game as Rutledge did to win it. They entered the fourth quarter with a 17-point lead and with Barry Sanders, arguably the best back in the game, available to run out the clock. But on their last three possessions of regulation, a total of seven plays from scrimmage, Detroit called six pass plays, used up only 3:21 and did not make a first down. Sanders didn't carry the ball in the fourth quarter or in overtime. Hey, Lion fans, don't blame the run-and-shoot for this defeat. Blame the play-calling.
Speaking of jokes, the Bears scored all their points in a 26-6 win over the Buccaneers during a 27-minute span of the second and third quarters. In that time, Tampa Bay quarterback Vinny Testaverde completed none of 11 passes and threw four interceptions. "We might just scrap the entire passing game," said Buc coach Ray Perkins after Tampa Bay had lost its third game in a row to fall to 4-5.
THE END ZONE
When Mark Carrier met Mark Carrier before the Bears-Bucs game in Tampa, they shook hands and smiled. "Finally!" said Mark Carrier.
To explain. Chicago free safety Mark Carrier is a distant cousin of Tampa Bay wideout Mark Carrier, and though they were aware of each other's football prowess—with the Bears' Carrier starring at Southern Cal and the Bucs' Carrier at Nicholls (La.) State—they had not met before Sunday's game.
Testaverde completed five passes to the Carriers: three to his receiver and two to the Chicago free safety. On two plays, Carrier deflected passes intended for' Carrier. "We didn't have a chance to talk during the game," said the Bears' Carrier. "It was a little too hectic today to talk about the family tree."
However, they did exchange phone numbers, and they talked about getting together with family in the off-season to try to sort out just how they connect as cousins. Too bad the game wasn't played in the Carrier Dome.
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