SPOTLIGHT / A GLANCE AT THIS WEEK IN THE NFL : CAN’T KEEP HIM DOWN
All season, Bill Parcells has asked the New York Giants’ walking wounded to play hurt. On Sunday, he did the same himself after spending Saturday night in a hospital with kidney stones.
“When you give those bumps-and-bruises guys the message that we need you today and not in three weeks, you’d better do the same yourself,” said Parcells, who checked himself back into Morristown Memorial Hospital after his team’s 23-15 victory over Minnesota.
He said he would remain there “a day or two.”
Ron Erhardt, the Giants’ offensive coordinator, said Parcells was stricken before a coaches meeting at 8:30 Saturday night and checked himself into the hospital.
He was let out Sunday morning on what Betty Mills, a nursing supervisor at the hospital, called “a pass to go to the game.”
Parcells didn’t come out for his team’s pregame warmup but spent the entire game on the sideline, at one point getting into a spirited discussion with officials after a fumble by Minnesota’s Rich Gannon went out of bounds 12 yards from where it was lost.
“It wasn’t an argument,” he said after the game, his facing appearing drawn and pale. “I just wanted to make sure they knew the rules and didn’t give them the extra yardage on the fumble.”
Parcells’ presence had a clear effect on his players.
“He’s our leader. He’s like a father,” linebacker Johnie Cooks said. “When you don’t have your leader, you don’t know which way to go.”
“I don’t think they told everybody about it,” fullback Maurice Carthon said. “They told me and told me to keep it quiet. I saw him this morning and he was hurting. But he said all week that guys who are hurting have to come back. He came out and proved that.
“That’s the type of people we have on this team.”
Dexter Manley, suspended for a year by the NFL after three violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, made his return Sunday with the Phoenix Cardinals in a 23-14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
“I feel grateful to be back where I belong,” said Manley, a defensive end, who played only in passing situations.
Manley made his first appearance with just under six minutes left in the first quarter.
“He was like a racehorse before the game,” Phoenix Coach Joe Bugel said. “He wanted to get some snaps and we wanted to get him in the game as soon as possible.
“I’m just glad he played. He’s sitting in his locker right now, and feels he accomplished something.”
Manley, 31, who had 87 sacks in eight seasons with the Washington Redskins, didn’t get any Sunday, nor was he credited with any tackles.
“I felt like I was a little rusty.” he said. “At times I played good and it was exciting. I thought I hustled well, although I didn’t play all that well.
“I’m just happy to be back.”
Ram running back Marcus Dupree suffered torn cartilage in his nose during the first quarter, but returned for special teams duty at the start of the second half.
The Cincinnati secondary suffered another major setback when safety Rickey Dixon broke his leg in the fourth quarter. The team said Dixon broke his right fibula on the 29-yard pass play from Joe Montana to Jerry Rice that started San Francisco’s drive to the game-tying field goal. Cornerback Lewis Billups also missed several plays after aggravating a sprained ankle late in the game.
NAMES AND NUMBERS
New York’s Ottis Anderson became the eighth back in NFL history to rush for 10,000 yards. Anderson gained 26 yards in 15 carries and has 10,012 in his career. He also scored two touchdowns, the 78th and 79th of his career, putting him alone in seventh place. He had been tied with Tony Dorsett and he is now three shy of former Packer Jim Taylor. . . . The Vikings, who had a winning streak ended at five games, now have lost 14 of their last 15 games outdoors, including eight in a row. Minnesota is 20-2 indoors during the same period. . . . Bill Parcells is now 10-0 at home versus NFC Central teams.
Cleveland has allowed 30 or more points five consecutive weeks. . . . Houston leads the NFL in third-down efficiency. The Oilers converted six of 10 against the Browns, giving them 77 of 143 for the season. . . . Eric Metcalf’s 101-yard kickoff return was the longest against the Oilers in franchise history. The previous record was 100 yards by two players, Buffalo’s Art Baker in 1962 and Denver’s Goldie Sellers in 1966. . . . Warren Moon, who has 310 completions this year, broke the team record of 293, set by Ken Stabler in 1980.
Green Bay rushed for 13 yards, four fewer than the previous club low of 17 set against Boston in 1933. The Packers had only 10 carries, the fewest since they ran the ball only 11 times against the Bears two years ago.
The 49ers have won 17 consecutive games on the road, extending their NFL record. . . . . . . San Francisco’s Roger Craig caught three passes to match Dwight Clark’s club record of 506 career catches.
Pittsburgh has shut out seven of its last nine opponents in the second half. . . . New England has been outrushed 2,066 to 1,104 and allowed an opposing back to rush for 100 yards for the seventh consecutive game and the 10th time in 13 games.
Atlanta wide receiver Andre Rison became only the fourth Falcon to have more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
Brad Muster’s fumble set up Washington’s Chip Lohmiller for a 35-yard field goal with 2:14 remaining as the Redskins defeated the Bears, 10-9.
Joe Montana completed three passes to Jerry Rice on the first possession of overtime, setting up Mike Cofer’s 23-yard field goal, giving San Francisco a 20-17 victory over Cincinnati.
Pete Stoyanovich’s 34-yard field goal with three seconds left forced an overtime, and his 39-yarder with 2:28 to go in sudden death lifted the Miami Dolphins past the Philadelphia Eagles, 23-20.
WILD, WILD CENTRAL
It is a cold winter in Southern California when someone runs away with the AFC Central title. With Pittsburgh and Houston winning Sunday and Cincinnati losing to San Francisco, the division is a three-team standoff on paper at 7-6.
The Steelers, however, remain longshots to win the division title. If the Steelers tie with Cincinnati, the Bengals would advance as division champions because they’ve beaten Pittsburgh twice. The Steelers beat the Oilers earlier and finish the regular season in Houston on Dec. 30.
Seattle’s victory over Green Bay damaged the Steelers’ hopes of advancing to the expanded playoffs as a wild card. Seattle, Houston and Pittsburgh are currently tied for the third and final wild-card berth.
Cincinnati safety David Fulcher on the Bengals’ overtime loss to San Francisco: “We beat that team. It goes the same way again. We beat them and then we give it up. We’ve got to do something to stop people from doing what they do to us late in the ballgame.”
Cleveland linebacker Clay Matthews after 58-14 loss to Houston: “You figure a team can’t lose this bad unless people are quitting. But I disagree. I think we had a great effort. They just beat us.”
Giant quarterback Phil Simms on 23-15 victory over Minnesota: “We played it pretty close to the vest all game. It was a little cautious, but it turned out to be the right choice.”
Minnesota quarterback Rich Gannon on Lawrence Taylor: “He’s relentless. He’s a one-man wrecking crew and he took over in the fourth quarter. We just couldn’t stop him. Every time I turned around, he was in my face.”
Green Bay quarterback Blair Kiel, who had a big game coming off the bench in 20-14 loss to Seattle, but missed on a fourth-down, fourth-quarter pass in the end zone: “I was in a no-lose situation with nothing to lose and everything to gain. I’ll probably dream about that last play. It was there, I think. When I look at the film, I’ll probably puke.”
New England Coach Rod Rust after the Patriots’ 11th loss in a row: “It’s inevitable this is going to end, but when is certainly a big question. I’m not going make any more remarks about it because I’m tired of hearing about it and tired of talking about it.”
Indianapolis Coach Ron Meyer on a 31-7 loss to Buffalo: “I said all week the Bills were the best team in football at the moment. We did absolutely nothing to disprove that.”
OH YOU KIEL
“Kiel, Kiel, Kiel.” That was the chant going up from County Stadium in Milwaukee as Green Bay quarterback Anthony Dilweg struggled against Seattle. He completed only six of 22 passes for 69 yards and missed on 10 in a row during one stretch.
Blair Kiel relieved and completed 23 of 31 passes for 198 yards after not having played in two seasons. The Packers, however, came up short against the Seahawks, 20-14.
“One minute they love you, one minute they hate you. That’s part of the business,” Dilweg said. “It goes in one ear and out the other.”
Kiel, who has been mostly a spectator as the Packers’ No. 3 quarterback, says he was just glad to have a chance.
“I don’t get involved in the quarterback derby and I know (Coach) Lindy (Infante) doesn’t,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, I just filled in in a relief role and if Anthony is healthy, I think he’ll probably be the starter (next week).”
Dilweg has started the last three games while Don Majkowski’s sore shoulder heals.
The New England Patriots have lost 11 consecutive games. They aren’t delivering many shots these days, but they’re certainly taking some from opposing running backs.
Last week, Kansas City’s Barry Word had the last word, saying the Patriots’ defenders avoided contact and were soft hitters.
The Steelers’ Tim Worley made several similar comments Sunday, despite fumbling twice while running for 83 yards in a 24-3 victory.
“They don’t like to hit you up there (the upper body),” Worley said. “Maybe it’s because they’ve won one game, maybe that has something to do with that. Their secondary’s not that big to begin with and they won’t really try to take a shot at you . . . They’ll kind of side-step you.
“They were kind of diving at your feet. It seemed like they just don’t want to tackle you real hard.”