Pro Football Spotlight


Buddy Ryan continues to make good on his promise to bring in a new day for the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals lost to expansion Carolina and it wasn’t even an upset. The Panthers, favored by one point, won by 20, 27-7.

Arizona finished with 97 yards, its lowest total since being held to 86--40 years ago at Pittsburgh on Sept. 26, 1955, before moving to Phoenix or St. Louis, for that matter. In 1955, the team was still in Chicago.


“They do have a balanced offense,” said NBC’s Mike Ditka, once Ryan’s head coach, at halftime. “Twenty-six rushing, 22 passing. You do have a winner in town, Buddy.”

If you can’t lick ‘em, however, you can at least give yourself credit for their success. Last week Ryan said the Panthers’ blitzing scheme is a copy of his.

“They do a lot of things we do,” Ryan said. “They studied the Houston film [when Ryan was Oiler defensive coordinator]. Our offensive coaches have seen things that are a takeoff on what we do.”

Maybe Buddy needs to watch more Carolina film. The Panthers (5-6) have won five of six. If they win one more, they will double the first-year victory totals of the top previous new teams, the ’61 Vikings, ’66 Falcons and ’67 Saints.


Raider quarterback Jeff Hostetler was knocked out of the game before halftime after he was hit after throwing the ball by Chad Hennings of the Cowboys. The extent of his injury was not immediately known but he landed hard on his left shoulder. Hostetler was playing with a broken left hand. . . . Lion quarterback Scott Mitchell left after spraining his right ankle in the first half against the Chicago Bears. . . . Bear defensive backs James Burton and John Mangum and linebacker Barry Minter all sustained separated shoulders. Cornerback Donnell Woolford, whose absence forced Burton to start, will be out two more games because of a torn quadricep tendon. . . .Eagle rookie defensive end Mike Mamula sat out most of the second half against the Giants after dislocating his left shoulder. He had three sacks before then.


The Lions’ Barry Sanders gained 120 yards in 24 carries, joining Eric Dickerson as the only backs in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in their first seven seasons. . . . The Packers’ Brett Favre passed for 210 yards against Cleveland and is 87 shy of his fourth consecutive 3,000-yard season. Favre is on pace to reach 4,200 yards. . . . Green Bay’s Reggie White got his 10th sack of the season. He has reached double figures in sacks 10 times in his 11 years. . . . Colt quarterback Jim Harbaugh completed his first 11 passes....The Colts broke Patriot halfback Curtis Martin’s string of 100-yard games at two. The Colts haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 24 games. . . . Chicago’s Jeff Graham surpassed 100 yards receiving for the third consecutive game, tying Harlon Hill’s club record. . . . Herman Moore set a Lions’ single-season record for receptions. His six catches gave him 79, two more than James Jones in 1984.


In the wake of the Giants’ slide to 3-8, Coach Dan Reeves, a Georgia native, may be getting set to bail. Out of deference to Coach Ray Goff, he said he was upset by reports that he’d go to the University of Georgia. Last week, however, Goff was fired and Reeves sounded happy to have some place to go.

“I have a contract,” Reeves said. “If I do leave New York, I would like to leave a better team than it was when I came here.”

He’d better hurry, then. Reeves is being criticized for decisions, like the one to keep Phil Simms--released a year later--and let Hostetler go.

“There’s a lot of things I wish I knew how they were going to come out,” Reeves said. “I just hope my wife doesn’t say after 30-some years of being married, ‘I don’t want to be married to you. Let’s don’t do it.’

“If she leaves me now, I’m going to slap her. . . . Now, I don’t mean that. Hold it. No, I take that back. No, I would not smack her.”

Never mind.


For USC fans who need a little cheering up, Rodney Peete completed 14 of 20 passes in the Eagles’ 28-19 victory over the Giants. He’s 6-1 as a starter this season.

Of course, he left in the second quarter because of a sore right right hip flexor. He’s expected to play next week but it has been that kind of weekend in Troy.


Bengal linebacker Ricardo McDonald on Steeler fans who packed Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium:

“It ticked me off a little bit to see guys on the other team waving their arms around and getting the crowd up. This is our house and it’s up to our players to protect our house. That was disheartening to me.”