Around the NFL - Week 5
It was a remarkable three weeks for the Washington Redskins. Not one regular player crossed the picket lines, but the replacement team
won three games in a row, two of them against teams with several regulars. The winning streak left Joe Gibbs with fond memories of his
substitute team. “I’m really proud of these guys for the way they played” he said. “I’ve never seen a team give so much on the field. I’ll
certainly miss them. But it will be good to get everyone back. I think the regular team stayed together during the strike and that will help us
down the road.”
Before heading down that road, the Redskins upped their record to 4-1 with a 13-7 defeat of the Dallas Cowboys, a team that fielded seven
regular players including six starters. Dallas had four of those veterans on the defensive line for former Redskin and Giant RB Lionel Vital
rushed for 136 yards to help the Redskins control the ball for 36 minutes. On defense, the fill-in Redskins sacked Danny White six times and
forced RB Tony Dorsett to fumble twice, one of them setting up a fieldgoal.
Two other teams went 3-0 during the strike, San Francisco and San Diego, both of whom found themselves top of the overall standings on
the season at 4-1. The 49ers and Cardinals had nearly 20 regulars when they met in San Francisco but only the 49ers had Joe Montana. He
passed for 334 yards and four touchdowns as the 49ers won 34-28. Cardinal and future Buc RB Derrick McAdoo rushed for 111 yards and
In Los Angeles, the Raiders, with 16 regulars, were heaving favoured over San Diego who had none. And with the score tied at 17-17, former
Bears QB Vince Evans marched Los Angeles to the Chargers’ 33-yard line inside the final minute. But with 18 seconds left, CB Elvis
Patterson, who had been cut by the Giants after the first regular season game, intercepted a pass and raced 75 yards down the left sideline
for the winning score. “It was a nightmare” said Evans. “You see those in the highlight films but you never think it’s going to happen to you.”
Four days before the New Orleans-Chicago game, the Saints signed former Oiler K Florian Kempf who played in the NFL from 1982 to 1984.
And against the Bears, Kempf kicked four fieldgoals, the last a 21-yarder with 4:30 remaining to give the Saints a 19-17 victory over the
previously undefeated Bears. “It was a short extra point” Kempf said of his game-winning kick. “But it was a special extra point”.
The Bears were a little overmatched as the Saints played with 10 regular players while Chicago had none. The Bears also played without
starting replacement QB Mike Hohensee who had a knee injury. Saints CB Reggie Sutton, one of the 10 regulars, had three interceptions,
the last of which came with 1:30 remaining to clinch victory.
The Bears traded QB Doug Flutie to New England during the week while he was still on strike. He packed his bags, joined the Patriots, and
after just four practices, led his new team to a 21-7 defeat of Houston. “Doug Flutie did an absolutely remarkable job” said Patriots’ head
coach Raymond Berry. “You can’t possibly appreciate what he did with only four practices.” What he did was complete 15 of 25 passes for
199 yards and a touchdown, and run for 43 yards on six carries.
In 1986, the Jets and Dolphins played a wild overtime thriller with Dan Marino and Ken O’Brien passing themselves silly in a 51-45 shootout.
The two teams did it again with replacement players in 1987 with Jets back-up QB Pat Ryan duelling Miami replacement QB Kyle Mackey.
Ryan threw four TD passes, the last one an eight-yarder to future Buc QB Eddie Hunter 34 seconds before the end of overtime and New
York won 37-31. Hunter, a rookie who was cut by the Jets in pre-season, also caught a seven-yard scoring pass and rushed for 94 yards.
Mackey, a former Cardinals and Eagles player, passed for two touchdowns and ran for one more.
In Cincinnati, QB Gary Danielson, one of nine regulars, threw four TD passes as the Browns swamped the Bengals 34-0. WR Brian Brennan
caught 10 passes for 139 yards and a TD and WR Perry Kemp, cut by the team in camp, caught two TD passes. “There’s no question we
had a personnel advantage” said Browns head coach Marty Schottenheimer.
In Atlanta, the Rams with nine regulars, also had a personnel advantage as they lined up against the Falcons with only one regular player. At
half-time, Los Angeles held a 17-0 lead behind the passing of Steve Dils who threw for two scores and RB Charles White who gained 155
yards in the game. But in the second half, QB Erik Kramer, a rookie who had been cut by the Saints in the summer, passed for three
touchdowns including a 19-yarder to WR Lenny Taylor that won the game with 5:40 left. Falcons head coach Marion Campbell was beaming
after the game. “They beat the odds,” he said of his team.
Future Hall-of-Fame WR Steve Largent returned to the Seattle Seahawks during the week and caught 15 passes for 261 yards and three
touchdowns in their 37-14 win over Detroit, in spite of sitting out the final 21 minutes of the game. His reception and yardage totals broke his
own club records as he teamed with QB Jeff Kemp who four TD passes in all. Lee Morris, a rookie WR from Oklahoma who barely missed
making the Packers’ squad in training camp, caught six passes for 132 yards including a 46-yard TD as Green Bay edged the Eagles 16-10
in overtime. Morris also caught 12 and 27-yard passes on the winning touchdown drive.
Quote of the week
Mike Ditka on why he alternated replacement QBs Steve Bradley and Sean Payton (yes THAT Sean Payton), against New Orleans who had
several regular players on defense: “I was trying to save their lives.”