"It was the kind of game a defensive lineman dreams about," said Jack Young-blood, the 34-year-old defensive end, after the Rams trounced the Giants, 33-12 Sunday. Conversely, it was a nightmare for Giant quarterback Phil Simms, who was sacked five times, once in the end zone by Youngblood and Reggie Doss, L.A.'s other end. The Rams got two more safeties—all three two-pointers came in the third quarter—to set an NFL single-game record.
Fritz Shurmur, the Los Angeles defensive coordinator, tried something new against the Giants, and it certainly worked. In their nickel defense (five defensive backs), the Rams used only three defensive linemen instead of the conventional four and kept inside backer Jim Collins in the game. Collins, who had 15 tackles, normally leaves for a pass rusher. "The linebackers [there were two others, George Andrews and Mel Owens, besides Collins] took turns blitzing," Collins said. "They didn't know who was coming."
Said Giant guard Billy Ard, "We just panicked."
Sam Rutigliano, Cleveland Browns coach, on Don Rogers, his hard-hitting rookie safety: "He'll cause a lot of receivers to hear a cat sipping milk at 100 yards."
After falling behind 21-0 against San Diego, Detroit had two chances in the final five minutes to go ahead. But the Lions had successive TDs called back. A three-yard end-around by Leonard Thompson was negated by illegal motion in the backfield, and an eight-yard scoring pass to running back James Jones was nullified by offensive pass interference on another receiver, Mark Nichols. Detroit settled for a field goal—and lost 27-24.... Green Bay still can't seem to make good use of the best receiving corps in the NFL. The 1-4 Packers have only four TDs via the air. Says coach Forrest Gregg, "We may never pass again the rest of our lives." ...The Cowboy defense has given up an average of only 134.6 net yards passing. In '83, it was 245.5.
With all the talk about rushing records, John Riggins, who has a bunch of his own, has expressed a typically iconoclastic viewpoint. "I consider myself an entertainer," he says. "I don't look at myself as a record-setting athlete. For example, what record does Frank Sinatra go by—how many nights he packs 'em in at the Hollywood Bowl?"
"So, we got another escapee from San Diego?" San Francisco guard Randy Cross said when he heard that Billy Shields, a former Charger offensive tackle, had signed as a free agent with the 49ers early last week. Two days later, San Francisco added yet another San Diegan to its roster, defensive lineman Gary Johnson. That makes nine erstwhile Chargers who've made their way to the 49ers since 1981 on what the San Francisco players call The Underground Railroad. Other former Chargers have been running back Amos Lawrence, offensive linemen Dan Audick and John Choma, linebacker Bob Horn, defensive back Jeff Allen (cut before the '83 season) and defensive linemen Louie Kelcher and Fred Dean. Kicker Ray Wersching, another ex-Charger, joined the 49ers in '77.
Other San Diego employees now with San Francisco: equipment manager Bronco Hinek, offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick, publications coordinator Rodney Knox, and, oh yeah, head coach Bill Walsh.
Jackie Shipp, the Oklahoma linebacker who was the Dolphins' No. 1 pick in last spring's draft, is a big bust so far. Shipp, the 14th pick overall, has had trouble picking up Miami's defensive schemes, particularly on pass plays. Meanwhile, coach Don Shula has activated linebacker A.J. Duhe, who has been on injured reserve because of off-season shoulder surgery. Though Duhe was once considered the key to the Dolphins' defense, Miami doesn't seem to have missed him all that much. In his absence, the Dolphins have given up the second fewest points in the NFL—76.
The Saints' offensive linemen, who normally wear black gloves and hand padding, on Sept. 23 wore white to blend in with the Cardinals' jerseys. They weren't flagged for holding all afternoon.... Bengal punter Pat McInally has a 100% pass-completion rate since his rookie season in 1976. With completions of 34 and 43 yards this season—both to Stanford Jennings—his career passing stats are 3 for 3.... Sam Wyche, the only coach in Bengal history to lose his first four games, didn't think things could get worse, but a storm blew out the power in his neighborhood last week and he was forced to draw up his game plans by flashlight.
From now on, George will be Etty's steady.
EVEN FOR GEORGE ALLEN THERE COMES A TIME TO SMELL THE FLOWERS
"I got too wrapped up with winning."
A leftover Dick Vermeil quote? Ara Parseghian? Try George Allen, who last week resigned as head coach of the USFL's Arizona Wranglers. He'll remain with the franchise as part owner and chairman of the board.
Allen says he wants to spend more time developing the team and working as chairman of the President's Council on Fitness and Sports. Around Arizona the word is that Allen got fed up with fighting with majority owner Ted Diethrich over money. After reportedly losing $14 million on the team in two years, Diethrich proposed a budget of $7 million for 1985. Allen wanted $9 million.
However, in a telephone interview shortly before his retirement announcement, the 66-year-old Allen sounded like a man who, after 14 years in pro football, had simply had enough. "If someone offered me $20 million to go through again what I did last year with the Wranglers, I'd say, "Thanks, but no thanks,' " Allen said. "I came to work at 6 a.m. and didn't go home until after midnight. Because of the heat, we practiced at night. When dust storms knocked out the lights, players drove their cars to the edge of the field and turned on their headlights. I felt I had to control everything. I was always tired. I existed on one meal a day—breakfast, which was a bowl of oatmeal with raisins. I lost 18 pounds.
"The worst part was leaving my wife, Etty, home in California. The heat would have been too hard on her. We were separated for six months. I really missed her. I often wondered if it was all worth it.
"Right now I'm sitting here in Palos Verdes Estates, looking out at my citrus trees. I like having time to do that. Etty and I leave at the end of the month for Europe. We'll be gone at least three weeks. That's something I haven't done enough of. I might have taken two or three days off, but I never relaxed. It's time I learned to do that, before it's too late."
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: New England quarterback Tony Eason completed 28 of 42 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns and ran four yards to score another TD as the Patriots beat the Jets 28-21.
DEFENSE: The Chiefs' Ken McAlister, a former safety starting at outside linebacker for the first time, had an interception, three sacks and seven other tackles as Kansas City defeated Cleveland 10-6.