Roger Ruzek hit his first game-winning field goal for the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday. He kicked a 46-yarder with 1:45 to play in the Eagles' 24-23 win over Atlanta. The former Weber State placekicker had a game-winning extra point at Dallas - his old team - a few weeks ago with :06 left, but this was the first winning field goal for his new team.
"When the kicker does it," mused Ruzek, "it's always, `I won the ballgame,' but I have to give credit to the guys who drove down with it and gave us the opportunity."It comes with the job, but you hope it doesn't happen too often," said Ruzek. "It's a pressure situation, but I was confident. I was hitting the ball extremely well from long distance in practice."
Ruzek's holder, Jeff Feagles, who punted well against Atlanta's Deion Sanders, said, "He knew he hit it good. That probably would've been good from 55."
San Francisco's Steve Young, who threw his first complete pass of the season Sunday, a 14-yarder, spent much of Sunday's game being glad he wasn't still with Tampa Bay as the 49ers whipped up on the Bucs 31-7 for their 18th straight win. Young, from BYU, was traded from Tampa to the West Coast Bay team in 1987.
He remembered running for his life in Tampa, the way Chris Chandler did Sunday. "It looked familiar, didn't it?" Young said to Knight-Ridder newspapers. "I've seen it before."
Young and Chandler spoke after the game, each telling the other he was a personal hero, according to Knight-Ridder.
Chicago Tribune's TV sports writer gave his "best line of the week" to NBC's Charlie Jones, who noted Kansas City fans' welcome to his broadcast partner, Todd Christensen, formerly of the Raiders and BYU. "They spelled his name correctly - and they booed him," Jones said.
Christensen, in his first year as color man for NBC broadcasts, is the subject of a glowing report by Associated Press's John Nelson, who did a national wire feature on him centering of Christensen's wit and intelligence.
New England, 1-8 and on a seven-game losing streak, was shut out by Buffalo, which was 8-1 on a seven-game win streak, but the Bills were impressed with the Pats' tenacity in the 14-0 game. "Their defense held us to 14 points. They're coming together," said Bills' quarterback Jim Kelly.
New England, with Marc Wilson of BYU quarterbacking, had two scoring chances. On the first, Coach Rod Rust chose to run on fourth down from the Bills' 1-yard line rather than kick a field goal. Bills' linebacker Ray Bentley stopped it, saying he could see in the Patriots' eyes before the play that they would run rather than pass.
Wilson blamed crowd noise and was unhappy referee Johnny Grier turned a deaf ear to his complaints. "Clearly, we couldn't hear the snap count. It took any advantage that we had away from us," Wilson said.
On the Pats' second scoring chance, on a drive started with about four minutes left, Wilson moved them well to the Bills' 38, then tried to pass for a tying touchdown to Irving Fryar with about two minutes left. It was intercepted at the goal line. "It was where it was supposed to be," said Wilson. "The guy made a good play." The Bills ran 80 yards on the very next play for their second TD.
Denver Bronco nose tackle Greg Kragen, the ex-Utah Stater, told the Chicago Tribune that the John Elway-Dan Reeves difficulties were hard on the whole team because talk about it wouldn't go away.
"It was very distracting," Kragen said, "and we couldn't get away from it. It was in the newspapers every day and on the radio or TV everywhere. It was frustrating."
Perhaps it helped the Broncos pull together as a struggling team took the 9-1 Bears to overtime before falling by a field goal. "Everyone was really sticking together. The defense pulled for the offense, the offense pulled for the defense," said Kragen. "Guys were helping each other out much more than in the past."
On another subject, Kragen didn't dispute the hamstring pull that almost kept Chicago's Neal Anderson out of the game, but Kragen said the Broncos could see no affect from it in Anderson's running. "None of us could tell by the way he was running that he was hurt," he said. Anderson gained 111 yards on a career-high 28 carries after deciding Saturday to chance playing. He didn't practice until Friday.