By the second half of their season opener, the Tennessee Oilers were down to their 39-year-old backup quarterback and a third-string center.
Kicker Al Del Greco and quarterback Dave Krieg pulled them through.
Del Greco was reliable when it mattered, making his first three field-goal attempts, and Krieg--taking over for an injured Steve McNair--was steady in Tennessee's 23-14 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Oilers were penalty-prone, injury-depleted and worn out at the end in the temperatures on the field that reached 106 degrees.
"We had too many penalties and mistakes. We were lucky to get out of here with a win," running back Eddie George said. "We played just good enough to win. We had key people go down, and others came in and we kept on going."
The Oilers were penalized 11 times for 94 yards and lost five players because of injuries.
McNair bruised his right elbow when he was tackled on the Oilers' final play of the first half. X-rays found no break, and the feeling returned to McNair's elbow in the second half, but he chose to let Krieg stay in the game because he was doing so well.
"Dave was in the zone," McNair said. "He was doing a great job moving the team up and down the field. It's a matter of doing what's right [for the team]. At that time, what was right was letting Dave stay in."
Krieg, who hadn't played much in two years, came out sharp and led the Oilers to a touchdown and two field goals. Krieg was seven of 13 for 129 yards without an interception.
"I was happy to know I can still go out there, but it was only a half," Krieg said. "It shows me I can still do it. I knew that, but I had to go out and show myself."