Browns Will Find Out There Is No Mercy Rule


Times NFL writer T.J. Simers poses--and answers--the burning questions for this week’s games:

Question: In this yuletide season, would the Indianapolis Colts run up the score against the hapless Cleveland Browns if afforded the opportunity?

Answer: Yes. Indianapolis would like to give Cleveland a serious whipping. The Colts still have a chance to secure the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs but need Jacksonville to lose one of its final two games, sending the final outcome to a tiebreaker.


The relevant tiebreaker would be the point differential in conference games. Jacksonville has a 42-point advantage, scoring 108 more points against AFC opponents, while Indianapolis has scored 66.

“If we can win by one point, I’ll be happy,” Colt Coach Jim Mora said. “If we do get into a situation where we can score, I’m not hesitant to do it. I have to do what’s best for this football team.”

Translation: He’ll run it up against the Browns.


Question: When he played in Anaheim for the Rams, Jerome Bettis predicted he would run for 2,000 yards in one season; how’s he doing in Pittsburgh?

Answer: Sweating to get 1,000 yards. He needs 107 over the last two games to hit the milestone.

“If you get a 1,000-yard season, you’ve had an OK season in some people’s standards,” Bettis said.

“By my standards, it’s not particularly a great season at all.”


Question: How silly do those Mike Holmgren-is-a-genius stories look now?

Answer: The Seattle Seahawks were 8-2 and some people were ready to call Holmgren the greatest coach in NFL history, but now they are 8-6 and not looking much different from Dennis Erickson’s Seahawks last year.


Last year Seattle stood 7-7, giving up 338.9 yards a game on defense, while scoring 39 touchdowns. This year the Seahawks are allowing 344 yards on defense and have scored only 32 touchdowns.


Question: Do you like the New York Giants’ chances against the Minnesota Vikings?

Answer: No. The Giants have been outscored in their last four home finales, 50-3, and that could be the final score in this one.


Question: Besides Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning, what other quarterback has the chance to pass for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns this season?

Answer: Not Danny Wuerffel, who could play his whole career and never pass for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. Steve Beuerlein of the Carolina Panthers has passed for 3,851 yards and 29 touchdowns.