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What Kosar accomplished against Phoenix was remarkable. One of the smartest quarterbacks in football, Boomer Esiason, says that he needed 2½ years to master the Cincinnati offense when he came out of college. Kosar—albeit well schooled in the pro game—learned the nuts and bolts of the Dallas attack in three days. His numbers for the day: 13 completions in 21 attempts for 199 yards with no interceptions and the touchdown pass to Novacek.
"I don't want to make Bernie bigger than life," said Johnson on Sunday night. "Troy's playing great, and he's our quarterback. That's not going to change. But I'll take Bernie Kosar on my team the rest of my coaching career. Period. For him to share time in three practices and do what he did today is just unbelievable. I don't think people have any idea what you have to go through to play an NFL game at quarterback. And in three days he learns it!
"Unbelievable," Johnson continued. "Hey, the guy guns the crossing patterns, doesn't he? You know, I'm watching the game, and I'm seeing the same guy I saw at Miami. He runs and throws the same as when I first saw him—gangly, sidearm, like he's on the sandlot. Don't evaluate his throwing motion. Don't evaluate his stance. Don't evaluate his fluidity. Evaluate his winning. He can win football games. The bottom line on Bernie Kosar is this: Given the right supporting east. he's a winner. He wins football games."
He almost got away, though. Kosar was on the verge of coming to terms with the Dolphins when Johnson called. He told Kosar that he would start five days hence if he signed with Dallas. Jones then threw $1 million, guaranteed, at Kosar for the last two months of the season, and Kosar was a Cowboy.
Two days before the game Johnson decided to let Garrett, in his second year with Dallas, take the first snaps, but Kosar was assured that he would not spend much time on the bench. When the game was over, Kosar peeled off his new uniform with the 18 on it (he had worn 19 during his years in Cleveland), and he looked like the happiest man in the world. "What a difference a week makes," he said. "They let me fire it around out there. It's an incredible feeling to do that again."
STATS OF THE WEEK
•Here's the tally on the Browns' first game of the post-Kosar era: zero touchdowns, five points and seven turnovers in a 22-5 loss to Seattle. Young Todd Philcox, making his first start, completed nine of 20 throws for 85 yards.
•Want more? The two starting wideouts whom Cleveland coach Bill Belichick turned loose in the past two years, Webster Slaughter and Reggie Langhorne, have combined for 37 catches and 527 yards in the last two weeks for the Oilers and the Colts, respectively.
•In 1991 and '92, reserve Houston running back Gary Brown rushed for a total of 172 yards. On Sunday in Cincinnati, subbing for the injured Lorenzo White, Brown gained 166 yards—and he didn't play the last 20 minutes.
•The Jet offensive line, which was lightly regarded before the season, has not given up a sack in six of its nine games. For all of last season, the league leader for number of games without allowing a sack was Dallas with five.