The Chalkboard

January 21, 1991|By Ken Murray

The most intriguing matchup of Super Bowl XXV will pit the Buffalo Bills' no-huddle offense against the New York Giants' rock-ribbed defense. The team that wins this matchup should win the game.

Since Jim Kelly returned to the lineup from a left knee sprain last week, Buffalo's hurry-up offense has looked unstoppable. The Bills totaled 95 points and 995 net yards in playoff victories over Miami (44-34) and the Los Angeles Raiders (51-3).

The desired effect of the no-huddle is to limit situation substitution by the defense. Certainly, the Raiders never found the right defensive mix to slow down the Bills. Five plays into yesterday's game, they had to burn a timeout to assess the situation.

In Tampa, that challenge will fall to the Giants' superb group of linebackers, headed by Pro Bowlers Lawrence Taylor and Pepper Johnson.

Although James Lofton and Andre Reed are dual deep threats in the Bills' passing game, they also are effective on crossing routes underneath the coverage. And Kelly can go to Thurman Thomas and Keith McKeller on shorter routes, too, a combination that overloads the opponent's secondary. Thomas had 60 yards rushing and 65 receiving in the Bills' 17-13 win over the Giants in Week 15.

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