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THE NFL
Peter King
September 23, 1991
Now Hear This
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September 23, 1991

The Nfl

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?Cardinals coach Joe Bugel is 0-3 against the Redskins, with whom he spent nine years as an assistant. In those three games, Phoenix has been outscored 103-10, including 34-0 on Sunday.

?In the first 50 minutes of their 15-13 win over the Bucs on Sunday, the Packer offense advanced as far as the Tampa Bay 32-, 4-, 13-, 26-, 22-and 31-yard lines on six of their 10 possessions—and scored a total of three points.

?The Falcons' 19-game road losing streak, which ended with a 13-10 victory in San Diego, lasted 1,029 days, was accomplished in 13 states and was witnessed by 1,044,323 fans.

?The 49ers fell 17-14 to the Vikings on Sunday for their second straight away loss this year. After their last such two-game dip on the road, in 1988, they won their next 21 away games.

?The Bears are 22-2 in the month of September since 1985.

Life with Sam
The 0-3 Bengals are the NFL's most disappointing team, but assistant general manager Mike Brown says he plans no major changes involving coaches or players right now. Cincinnati coach Sam Wyche certainly doesn't expect any moves to be made, judging by his reaction when a writer asked him about the emotional toll of losing 14-13 to the lowly Browns: "I'll be danged if I'm going to listen to you people or anybody else make us feel like we ought to die, or feel like dying, because it isn't worth it. This game isn't worth it, the NFL isn't worth it, and listening isn't worth it. If a writer here wants to go on some campaign to fire the coach, we're going to have a good chuckle about it. If there's a bunch of people on talk shows saying, 'Change this, or change that, this is horrible, horrible, horrible,' well, what's horrible about coming to see a good football game knowing there's always one winner and one loser by rule. There's golf to be played and tennis to be served out there, and other things to be done out there other than worrying about some frigging football game."

Heinie of the Week
The Patriots are still bringing up the rear. New England's Bryan Wagner, punting from his own end zone, had his kick blocked by the buttocks of Eugene Lock-hart, the upback in the punt formation. Lockhart took a step back to block, and Wagner booted the ball into Lockhart's derriere. The Steelers fell on the ball for an insurance touchdown in a 20-6 victory. Said New England coach Dick MacPherson, the Casey Stengel of the NFL, "I guarantee if we were out there alone, we'd have won."

Dispatches
The Cowboys gained yardage on only seven of their 19 first-half plays in their 24-0 loss to the Eagles, who sacked Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman 11 times. "They were hitting us from everywhere," said Cowboy tackle Nate Newton. "It felt like I was at Pearl Harbor."...In their win over San Diego, the Falcons got an assist from backup quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver, whom Atlanta acquired from the Chargers on Aug. 28. Tolliver roamed the sideline trying to steal San Diego's offensive signals across the field. "Hey, a guy's got to earn his keep somehow," said Tolliver.... Who, or what, is a Bryce Paup? He's a 6'5", 247-pound plodding inside linebacker from Scranton, Iowa (pop. 583), who plays for Green Bay. A sixth-round draft pick out of Northern Iowa in 1990, Paup was a backup last season, but his playing time has increased significantly this year. With inside linebacker Brian Noble out with a strained ligament in his right knee and pass-rushing demon Tim Harris holding out in a contract dispute, Paup is making headlines. In Week 1, he knocked Randall Cunningham out for the season with a knee injury, and he had 4� sacks on Sunday against Tampa Bay. "This is a day I'll remember forever," Paup said. "I'm just trying to show the coaches I'm not a flash in the pan."...Bills defensive coordinator Walt Corey probably will have Bruce Smith back on Sunday for a game against the Bucs. The All-Pro defensive end missed the first three games of the season while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery in the preseason, and the Bills have allowed 28.6 points without Smith in the lineup. "If he doesn't come back soon," Corey says, "there's going to be a moving van in front of my house."

Game of the Week
Seattle at Kansas City, Sunday. When these two teams played last season in Game 9, the Seahawks were looking to break a 10-year losing streak at Arrowhead Stadium. On the last play of the game, Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas, who already had made a league-record seven sacks, steamed in and wrapped his arms around quarterback Dave Krieg once again. But Thomas's momentum caused him to lose his grip on Krieg, who then found Paul Skansi for a 25-yard TD. Ball game. Seattle 17, Kansas City 16. Thomas is still haunted by the play. "If I make that play," he says, "we'd have been home for the playoffs." Instead of winning the AFC West at 12-4 and hosting a divisional playoff, K.C. finished 11-5 and met the Dolphins in a wild-card game in Miami—which the Chiefs lost, 17-16.

The End Zone

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