SAILOR OF THE WEEK
Charger coach Dan Henning met America's Cup champion Dennis Conner this summer, and Henning was so impressed with Conner's confidence that he bought Conner's book, No Excuse to Lose. Last Saturday, Henning gave his team a pep talk, quoting extensively from Conner's book, which stresses tireless preparation. "Everybody thinks Dennis has a big ego," says Henning. "Even he says he has a big ego. But he says, 'I have a big ego because I'm good, and if I have a big ego, I have to live up to it.' A lot of these players have big egos, but if they want to have big egos and not be losers, they have to live up to it, too." The final on Sunday from the Dawg Pound: San Diego 24, Cleveland 14.
STAT OF THE WEEK
?Derrick Fenner, who was Seattle's 10th-round draft pick in 1989, had rushed for 82 yards in his pro career before Sunday's game at Denver. In the Seahawks' 34-31 loss, he gained 144 yards on 22 attempts. "Fenner didn't look very good on film, but he looked real good on the field," said Bronco linebacker Karl Mecklenburg.
STUFFING THE FISH
Former Giants linebacker Harry Carson watched from the sideline as his old team defeated the Dolphins 20-3 at Giants Stadium. "I'm standing there about halfway through the game," said Carson later, "and I'm saying, 'What a boring game!' "
Ahhh, the essence of pro football as coached by New York's Bill Parcells: Smash the ball into the defensive line (45 times on Sunday), hold on to it as long as possible (40 minutes, 18 seconds), establish supremacy early (the Giants ran 23 first-quarter plays to the Dolphins' four), intimidate the opponent with special teams (Reyna Thompson made several big plays on coverages) and shut down the opposition's key skill players (in this case, running back Sammie Smith and quarterback Dan Marino).
Smith, the NFL's rushing leader after two games, was held to nine yards on five carries. As for Marino, he threw for only 115 yards, the fourth-lowest total of his eight-year career. "That is the best 3-4 defense I've ever played against," said Marino to Giants safety Dave Duerson as they walked off the held.
Part of the legend of Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor is that he sneaks into games to take part in meaningless final plays and goal-line stands. That's what happened against the Dolphins. He inserted himself on the last drive of the game and strained his left hamstring chasing substitute quarterback Scott Secules. After he limped to the locker room, Taylor apologized to Parcells. The Giants are lucky that they have Dallas at home on Sunday and a bye the next week.
LET THE SLAUGHTER BEING
"Entering the season, it's like quarterbacks are going on a death march," says former NFL signal caller Gary Danielson. "Five or six will survive the season and play 16 games, but you never know who they'll be."
On Sunday, Mark Rypien (sprained knee) of the Redskins, Wade Wilson (torn thumb ligament) of the Vikings and all three Colt quarterbacks were knocked out of their games with injuries. In a 24-10 loss at Houston, Indianapolis starter Jeff George played with a pulled stomach muscle, but the pain forced him to give way in the second quarter to Jack Trudeau. Late in the fourth quarter Trudeau left the game with a sprained thumb after being sacked by Doug Smith. Enter Mark Herrmann, who injured his throwing shoulder two plays later when he was tackled by Sean Jones. George had to return to finish the game.