Goings-On Between Victories

Unconventional wisdom for a Wednesday morning . . . The Rams: In between victories, so much has happened. The last time the Rams won a regular-season game, Atlanta and Pittsburgh were in the National League playoffs, Magic Johnson was preparing for another Laker season, the Angels were wondering if they'd ever be able to replace Wally Joyner, and Jim Everett was drawing criticism for not completing enough passes to Henry Ellard.

Henry Ellard: So what's the deal? Ellard to Kansas City for Barry Word? Ellard to San Diego for Marion Butts? If the Rams won't throw to him, they might as well trade him.

Sean Gilbert: The franchise breathes easier now that The Franchise has sustained only a sprained ankle. But those were sobering moments Sunday afternoon when Gilbert lay motionless on the Anaheim Stadium field, with Ram defensive coordinator George Dyer trying to crawl under it.

New England Patriots: How bad were they? "In our worst nightmare," fullback John Stephens says, "I don't think we could have dreamed up that game." Tight end Marv Cook called it one of the worst games of his career, adding, "We've got to find a way to win. I'm willing to start cheating."

40,402: Sunday's in-house attendance, the smallest crowd to watch a Ram home opener since the move to Anaheim. Now that they've watched, will any of them be back?

Dan Marino: And look who's up next. As the Rams might have noticed Monday night, he's no Hugh Millen.

Wayne Cook: You can tell these coaches only so many times: This is what happens when you schedule games between UCLA and Cal State Fullerton.

Bret Johnson: Where is he now that the Bruins need him? Sitting on the bench in East Lansing, watching Michigan State lose to Central Michigan in its opener for the second year in a row.

Trendell Williams, Quincy Guy: According to my notes, these are the quarterbacks at Cal State Fullerton. Combined, they have a mind-benching quarterback-efficiency rating of 220.9. Of course, average 1.5 passes per quarter--12 attempts in two games--and this can happen for you, too.

Lou Holtz: He only looks like Woody Allen's dad, so controversy doesn't run in the family. But what was Holtz thinking, running out the clock against Michigan, playing for the tie, with Rick Mirer as his quarterback? If not a crime, that's at least a misdemeanor.

Jackie Sherrill: Brain-Dead Coaches, Vol. II. In the days leading up to Mississippi State's season opener against the Texas Longhorns, Sherrill gathered his players on the practice field and had them watch a bull being castrated. Sherrill claims he scheduled the event because it was "educational. That's probably the biggest reason." Of course. In the immortal words of Lou Holtz, "We didn't come to Notre Dame to tie."

Ray Perkins: At Arkansas, a coach loses one game by a touchdown and is fired. Across the state, at Arkansas State, Perkins gets outscored, 0-110, in his first two games and it's called "rebuilding."

Rob Johnson: The best quarterback in the Southland makes his second start this Saturday against Oklahoma.

U.S. Open: The five-hour matches, the early upsets of Jennifer Capriati and Martina Navratilova, the lengthier-than-expected runs of Michael Chang and Ivan Lendl, the combustible grand finale for John McEnroe . . . and the winners are Stefan Edberg and Monica Seles? Again? Re-shoot the ending, anyone?

Jimmy Connors and Martina Navratilova: Paul Haarhuis and Leila Meskhi were second-round losers at the U.S. Open, too, and no one's offering them $1 million to play in Las Vegas.

The Freeway Series: Good thing they don't play it in September.

Gary Gaetti: His 11 home runs put him 29 behind Juan Gonzales, but they lead the Angels. And, no, incredibly, this isn't the worst showing ever by an Angel home run leader. In 1976, Bobby Bonds was the only Angel to hit 10. His team-leading 54 RBIs were also a dozen behind Junior Felix's current 66. That's the thing with the Angels--the present may be lousy, the future's not all that bright, but it always could be worse. As a matter of fact, it was.

Blue Jays-Expos: Still the only World Series matchup worth rooting for. "The North American Pastime."

Cal Ripken: The Orioles are sinking in the East, their Fortune 500 shortstop is batting .240 with 10 home runs, but, no, Ripken doesn't need a rest and, no, The Streak isn't taking precedence over the team.

Oakland A's: As evidenced by the Jose Canseco trade--a.k.a., Rent-A-Sierra--it's all-or-nothing time for the A's, who are now burdened with 13 potential free agents. General Manager Sandy Alderson opens his briefcase and listens: "This team will self-destruct in 46 days. . . . "

Herschel Walker: "I am not a dog," Herschel has said, and now he has back-to-back 100-yard games to prove it. A running dog, perhaps?

Steve Young: Scary thought for the rest of the NFC West: Young completes 26 of 37 passes for 449 yards against a Buffalo team that blitzed the Rams, 40-7. Scarier thought: Jerry Rice accounted for just 26 of those yards, missing most of the game with a concussion.

Cleveland Gary: He says he's "bigger" and "faster" than Thurman Thomas. He says he's capable of doing the same things with a football as Thurman Thomas. Now he's even fumbling his thoughts.

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