An NFL Trend
Undated (AP) _ This is not yet a year to mourn quarterback injuries.
This is, however, a week to lament the quarterbacks yanked for inefficiency - Warren Moon, Bernie Kosar and Stan Humphries.
Also, Rodney Peete was lifted because he was hurt but could have been lifted for inefficiency. And then there was Jim Everett, who probably should be lifted when the Los Angeles Rams go on the road.
Two of the benchings came in San Diego, where the Chargers finally beat the Oilers 18-17 on John Carney’s sixth field goal of the game.
There was only one touchdown scored on offense - Houston’s second was on Daryll Lewis’ 47-yard interception return.
Moon (19 of 37 for 198 yards with FOUR interceptions) was lifted for Cody Carlson in the fourth quarter, shortly after Bobby Ross yanked Humphries (7 of 26, 73 yards) for John Friesz.
Friesz’ 47-yard pass to Nate Lewis set up one field goal by Carney, Junior Seau’s interception set up another and then Friesz took the Chargers down the for Carney’s winning kick.
The Moon benching looks like a precursor of more strife on the Oilers as coach Jack Pardee heads for unemployment.
″It was a disgrace that they pulled him out of there,″ said Haywood Jeffires, Moon’s best receiver. ″We don’t even know what we want to do. All of a sudden, our offense is at a standstill.″
Vinny Testaverede did what he was supposed to do when Cleveland signed him to back up Kosar.
More mobile than the man he also backed up at the University of Miami, Testaverde was inserted with 12:42 left in the game to slow down the Los Angeles Raiders’ pass rush. The Raiders were leading 13-0 and Kosar had been sacked three times and thrown three interceptions.
So Testaverde threw for 159 yards in the fourth quarter and led a comeback that gave the Browns a 19-16 win. His key completions - 17 and 16 yards to Mark Carrier, his old Tampa Bay teammate, that set up Eric Metcalf’s 1-yard scamper for the winning touchdown with two seconds left.
Kosar, Moon and Humphries will be back next time, Moon vs. Everett and the Rams. Everett doesn’t like the road - he completes more than 60 percent at home, just over 50 percent on the road and was 11 of 28 for 135 yards and two interceptions in the Rams’ 20-10 loss to the Giants.
Peete? He bruised his left knee in the midst of a five-sack pummeling by New Orleans against a Detroit offensive line missing starters Lomas Brown and David Richards.
AND. Seattle’s Rick Mirer was the winning pitcher for the first time in his career as No. 2 in the draft beat No. 1 - New England’s Drew Bledsoe is 0-3. But Bledsoe rallied the Patriots from a 17-0 deficit after Mirer (12 of 16, 117 yards and his first NFL TD) went out after being poked in the eye.
Bledsoe was 20 of 44 for 240 yards. But the Pats’ rally fell short when Scott Sisson’s 54-yard field-goal attempt hit the crossbar and fell short.
RUNNERS. In the first two weeks of the season, running backs went over 100 yards in a game only four times. On Sunday, eight guys did it in four fewer games.
Two were rookies - Reggie Brooks of Washington (22 carries for 154 yards) Derek Brown of New Orleans (25 for 121).
Two were workhorses - Rodney Hampton of the Giants (41 for 134) and Chris Warren of the Seahawks (36 for 174). Hampton sat in ice after the game grateful for next week’s bye.
And then there was Erric Pegram of Atlanta - 192 yards in 27 carries against the 49ers. Pegram entered the game with 1 yard on three carries and before Sunday, he had gained 439 yards in his two-plus years.
The others: Ricky Watters of the 49ers (112), Barry Foster of the Steelers (106) and Tommy Vardell of the Browns (104).
IN THE WINGS. Emmitt Smith had 45 yards on 8 carries for the Cowboys against the Cardinals. With 13 games left, it’s still a good bet he’ll lead the NFL in rushing - he’s 299 behind Hampton, the current leader.
KICKERS. Carney is the Michael Jordan of football with 41 of his team’s 53 points.
His six field goals Sunday marked his second six-field goal game in three weeks, and he allowed Morten Andersen’s record for consecutive field goals to live for a week.
Andersen’s ended at 25, Carney’s is now at 29.
The Rams’ Tony Zendejas is the official three-point champ, a Dan Majerle, perhaps?
Zendejas, last of the Flying Zendejas Brothers (and cousins) left in the NFL, hit a 52-yarder against the Giants, his eighth straight from more than 50 yards. That’s an NFL record and gives Zendejas 14 of 18 from outside 50 in his career.
SURPRISE. The Giants and Eagles lead the NFC East at 3-0 and the Cowboys are 1-2.
The Giants aren’t a huge surprise given their schedule - they’ve beaten only the Bears, Bucs and Rams (1-6 combined) and could be 3-3 in a month after the Bills, Redskins and Eagles. What is a surprise is that Dan Reeves’ team is playing like Bill Parcells’ - the Giants had the ball for 43 minutes and 29 seconds against the Rams and are averaging 37:28 in time of possession for the season.
They were supposed to plummet with the loss of Reggie White and the discontent centering on owner Norman Braman. Instead Randall Cunningham is having a career season (well, three games) and has pulled out the last two in the final seconds.
Last week, he brought Philadelphia back from a 17-7 deficit in Green Bay and on Sunday he drove the team down 83 yards in the final 1:50 for the winning TD, a 10-yard pass to Calvin Willliams.