Husted fails to make his point and Bucs get stuck

Week 9 In Review

October 28, 1997|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Chris Boniol made his and the Philadelphia Eagles won.

L Michael Husted missed his and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost.

The extra point -- the most automatic play in football -- spelled the difference in a pair of big NFC divisional games in Week 9.

It provided the winning margin in the Eagles' 13-12 victory over Dallas in the NFC East. And Husted's miss ultimately robbed the Bucs of an opportunity to kick a tying field goal in the waning seconds of a 10-6 loss to Minnesota in the NFC Central.

With his extra-point kick in the final 45 seconds in Philadelphia, Boniol was able to finish in Week 9 what he couldn't in Week 3 at Dallas. That's when Eagles holder Tom Hutton flubbed a snap with Boniol lined up for a chip-shot, game-winning field goal.

Revenge has rarely been sweeter. The Eagles led most of the way in Texas, only to lose, 21-20. Sunday, they trailed until Rodney Peete found rookie tight end Chad Lewis for an 8-yard touchdown pass in the final minute. Boniol jumped to the Eagles this season as a free agent after three years with the Cowboys.

There were 52 touchdowns scored on Sunday, and of the 39 extra-point kicks attempted, 37 were good. That's a percentage of 94.87. The two kicks that failed belonged to Husted, who hit the right upright, and San Diego's Greg Davis, whose PAT was blocked.

Husted's miss was critical when the Bucs, trailing by four points, drove the ball deep into Vikings' territory as the game wound down. Instead of kicking a field goal that would have forced overtime, the Bucs had to try for a game-winning touchdown pass in the end zone, which quarterback Trent Dilfer missed badly.

Automatic? Husted has missed three of his last five PAT attempts after making the first 78 of his career.

Davis' miss did not affect the outcome of the Chargers' 35-19 romp over Indianapolis. After kicking five field goals, Davis had a 40-yard attempt blocked (and returned for a Colts touchdown) in addition to his extra point.

There were 12 attempts at two-point conversions Sunday, but only two teams -- the Kansas City Chiefs (twice) and Oakland Raiders -- made good. There was no PAT or two-point try after the 52nd touchdown, an overtime score that lifted Pittsburgh past Jacksonville.

Winning for Peete's sake

A healthy Peete may be the Eagles' best option at quarterback in their second-half playoff drive -- at least at home. Counting Sunday's win over Dallas, he is 10-0 when he starts and finishes a game for the Eagles in Veterans Stadium.

Peete, who replaced Ty Detmer in Week 8, is 2-0 this season and 15-6 overall as a starter with the Eagles. That's a somewhat shaky 2-0, though. He threw two interceptions in a 13-10 overtime victory over Arizona a week ago, then completed 13 of 31 for 126 yards against the Cowboys.

Eagles coach Ray Rhodes doesn't care how ugly those wins were.

"I don't think this game's a beauty pageant," Rhodes said.

"When it turns into a beauty pageant, I've got to get out of it."

On shaky ground

Washington Redskins quarterback Gus Frerotte is under fire with three losses in his last four games, but Sunday's 20-17 setback against the Ravens put him in further jeopardy.

Of the previous seven quarterbacks who have lost to the 2-year-old Ravens, four have lost their jobs (Oakland's Billy Joe Hobert, New Orleans' Jim Everett, Pittsburgh's Mike Tomczak, New York Giants' Dave Brown).

For now, anyway, Frerotte joins the group who kept their jobs -- Cincinnati's Jeff Blake, Tennessee's Steve McNair, and St. Louis' Tony Banks.

Red zone blues

The Cowboys are so bad in the red zone, they may give rookie kicker Richie Cunningham a shot at an NFL record. Through Week 9, Dallas has scored touchdowns on just nine of 32 trips inside the red zone (the opponent's 20-yard line).

At the halfway point, Cunningham has kicked 25 field goals, on a pace to hit 50, and that would shatter the NFL record of 37 by Carolina's John Kasay, set last year.

Dream weaver

Who could have imagined the New York Giants at 6-3, in first place in the NFC East at the halfway point? Well, Giants coach Jim Fassel, for one.

Asked Sunday if in his wildest dreams he could have envisioned this scenario, Fassel had this reply: "In my wildest dreams, certainly I did, but I had a lot of wild dreams."

After their bye week, the Giants get Tennessee in the Oilers' Memphis tomb on Nov. 9, sinking Arizona on Nov. 16, and the reeling Redskins on Nov. 23.

lTC Can Fassel envision 9-3? You bet he can. And not just in his wildest dreams.

Pub Date: 10/28/97

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