FIRE UP THE COALS
That was some early showdown at Candlestick Park. At least that's what Sunday's game between the 49ers and Redskins was supposed to be. But Joe Montana (29 completions in 44 attempts, 390 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) and Mark Rypien (17 of 37,241 yards, one TD, no interceptions) had an unfair fight. The Niners played like Super Bowl champs, which they are. The Skins played like a good team trying to find its rhythm, which they are.
"I think the way we played today was close to the way we played at the end of last season," said Montana after San Francisco had improved its record to 2-0 with the 26-13 victory.
Montana, who was sacked six times by the Saints in Week 1, wasn't sacked at all against Washington thanks to first-rate protection provided by his offensive line. The Niner offense controlled the ball for 34:36, and the defense had a good day harassing Rypien. "The quarterback is always going to get barbecued, along with the coach," said Redskin coach Joe Gibbs afterward. "Get the fire ready."
JUST SPRINT, BABY
AI Davis always talks about the importance of team speed, and the homestretch of the Raiders' 17-13 victory at Seattle proved his point. L.A., which trailed 13-10 with six minutes left, got three big plays from former Olympic speedsters. Ron Brown started the winning drive with a 34-yard kickoff return. On third-and-eight at the Raiders' 37-yard line, Willie Gault caught a 22-yard pass over the middle. Then, after the Raiders had gone ahead on a touchdown with 1:26 remaining, Sam Graddy raced downfield on the ensuing kickoff and hemmed in Seattle return man Chris Warren and tackled him on the Seahawk nine. Ball game.
STATS OF THE WEEK
?It was 102� inside Texas Stadium and 122� in the sun on the artificial turf. Three Cowboys were treated for heat exhaustion during their 28-7 loss to the Giants, although the team had trained in broiling Austin, Texas, for the first time to improve its conditioning.
?The player who has led the Vikings in average yards per catch in each of the last four years is wide receiver Hassan Jones, who doesn't want you to know that about him. "Keep me hidden, and throw me the ball," says Jones, who in two games has averaged 19 yards per catch (nine receptions for 171 yards). He had four receptions for 103 yards in Sunday's 32-3 defeat of the Saints.
?Donald Igwebuike, who converted 41 of 41 field goal attempts for the Bucs from 34 yards or closer from 1985 through '89, was a popular player in Tampa. But he was cut before the season because the Bucs decided to keep free-agent kicker Steve Christie instead. In his first attempt in his first home game, a 35-14 loss to the Rams, Christie missed a 32-yard field goal try.
THE FISH CAN RUN