Advertisement

Kiel Comes Off Sideline to Rally Packers : Green Bay: Replacing injured Majkowski, he has pair of fourth-quarter scoring passes before time runs out in loss to Rams.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Blair Kiel has thrown two more touchdown passes than Jim Everett this season.

This statistic alone shows how severe the Ram quarterback’s slump is and how vulnerable the Ram defense can be.

Kiel, who has been released by three teams and has spent most of his seven-year career as a No. 3 quarterback, looked more like Joe Montana Sunday, shredding the Rams for two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Green Bay Packers cut a 23-7 deficit to 23-21.

But Kiel and the Packers ran out of time, the Rams held on for the two-point victory, and all Kiel had to show for his effort was some solid numbers, some praise from his coach and another loss, which dropped Green Bay to 1-4.

Advertisement

“I may have two more touchdown passes than Jim, but he got a win today and I didn’t,” Kiel said. “It’s hard to be happy about that. I think if we got the ball back one more time, we would have scored.”

Kiel replaced starter Don Majkowski late in the second quarter after Majkowski injured his shoulder diving into the end zone for a touchdown. Making his first appearance of the season, Kiel completed 11 of 15 passes for 149 yards.

On his only second-quarter play, Kiel handed off to Allen Rice, whose fumble led to a Ram touchdown. Kiel’s only third-quarter possession began at the Packer four-yard line and ended with a punt.

But given better field position on his two fourth-quarter possessions, Kiel led Green Bay to touchdowns, the first a two-yard pass to Perry Kemp and the second a five-yard pass to Vince Workman.

Advertisement

Kiel completed six of seven attempts on the first drive, including a 34-yarder to Kemp that gave the Packers a first down on the Ram nine.

Kiel began the second scoring drive with a 26-yard run, then completed a 21-yard pass to Sterling Sharpe and an eight-yarder to Kemp before throwing a touchdown pass to Workman that made it 23-21 with 10:11 left.

Everett must have been on the other sideline thinking, Geez, what’s so tough about this? But the Rams got the victory when they ran out the clock on their final possession.

“Blair played a fine game--I’ve always had confidence in him,” Green Bay Coach Lindy Infante said. “He got us 14 points and got us back into the game. He did everything we asked him to.”

Advertisement

Had this been last week or next week, Mike Tomczak, not Kiel, would have been asked to replace Majkowski. Kiel and Tomczak alternate spots on the active roster each week, with one serving as backup and the other designated the third quarterback, who can play only if the first two are injured.

“This just happened to be my week at No. 2,” Kiel said.

A four-year starter at Notre Dame, Kiel has spent most of his professional career at No. 3--not exactly the most strenuous position on game days. Backup quarterbacks carry clipboards on the sideline. No. 3 quarterbacks carry the backup’s pencils.

Kiel, an 11th-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1984, didn’t throw a pass in his first season, was released and spent 1985 out of football. He saw limited action in two seasons (1986-87) with Indianapolis before being released.

Advertisement

Kiel didn’t attempt a pass in his first two seasons (1988-89) at Green Bay--he was released on the final cut of the 1989 preseason and re-signed a month later--but had one shining relief appearance in 1990.

After replacing starter Anthony Dilweg late in the third quarter of a game against Seattle Dec. 9, Kiel completed 23 of 31 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns to trim a 20-0 deficit to 20-14. A short, fourth-down pass into the end zone that could have tied the score fell incomplete with a minute left, and the Seahawks held on for the victory.

“The bad thing for me is I’ve been stigmatized as being a No. 3 quarterback,” Kiel said. “I don’t believe I am. But timing in this league is everything.”

Kiel, for a change, was in the right place at the right time Sunday. He hit open receivers. He ran at the right time. He exploited a Ram defense that now has been outscored, 50-6, in the fourth quarter.

Advertisement

“They weren’t playing soft,” Kiel said. “They were double-teaming certain guys and leaving others open. All I had to do was get them the ball.”

Kiel was impressive, but it’s not as if his play will spark a quarterback controversy in Green Bay. The postgame scene in the locker room confirmed the Packers’ pecking order at quarterback.

Majkowski, whose injury is not considered serious, was swarmed by reporters when he returned to his locker, while only a handful of writers spoke to Kiel, Green Bay’s star of the game.

“It would be nice to be starting all the time, but I’m not envious of Don,” Kiel said. “I know what my role is. Until that changes, I do what I can.”

Advertisement


Advertisement
Advertisement