PRO FOOTBALL : For Moon, Boos Turn to Cheers

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

When introduced Sunday, Houston Oiler quarterback Warren Moon was loudly booed by hometown fans frustrated by the recent NFL players’ strike and the regular team’s 1-1 record.

The Oilers’ player representative was booed again when he threw an interception on his third pass of the game.

But that was all forgotten and forgiven when he completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Duncan with 27 seconds left to lead the Oilers to a 37-33 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.


The victory lifted Houston to 4-2, while Atlanta dropped to 2-4.

“I knew it was important for us to come in here and win,” said Moon, who completed 15 of 34 passes for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was intercepted twice.

“I was nervous when the game started. I figured I would get a negative reaction and with the help of my teammates was able to fight through it. Sometimes it helps to be a little nervous, but the fact that I knew I would probably be booed and hadn’t played in four weeks added to the nervousness.”

Moon’s performance and a 144-yard rushing day by Mike Rozier, who had 29 carries, offset four field goals by Atlanta’s Mick Luckhurst, including an 18-yarder with 2:24 left. Luckhurst had earlier tied the score, 30-30, with a 45-yard field goal with 6:45 left. He also converted from 39 and 37 yards.

Houston began the winning drive at its 20-yard line as Moon completed passes of 29 yards each to Drew Hill and Ernest Givens. Rozier carried twice for 8 yards to put the Oilers at the 14.

Moon then passed to Duncan alone in the corner of the end zone. Duncan had earlier scored on a 41-yard touchdown pass play.

Moon threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Givins, Rozier added a 14-yard touchdown run and Tony Zendejas kicked three field goals for Houston.


Atlanta’s Scott Campbell completed 14 of 26 passes for 187 yards and 1 interception. He threw touchdown passes of 29 yards to Stacey Bailey, 3 yards to Ken Whisenhunt and 10 yards to Floyd Dixon.

The Falcons were led by Gerald Riggs, who gained 113 yard in 21 carries.

Atlanta’s Sylvester Stamps had first-half kickoff returns of 20, 43 and 74 yards. Stamps was injured at the end of his 74-yard return, but neck X-rays were negative.

The game drew a crowd of 29,062, with 4,825 no-shows. That was a bit below a normal crowd at the Astrodome and 4,000 below the attendance for the home-opener against the Rams, the only game here before the strike.