A SOBER BOUNTY BOWL
When the Eagles gathered for their Saturday-night team meeting before facing Dallas at home on Sunday, they were in no shape to play a football game. Not because they were distracted by Bounty Bowl II, the soap opera involving former Eagle kicker Luis Zendejas and Philly coach Buddy Ryan that was being played out in the press. (Does Luis really have a tape recording of his phone call with Eagle special-teams coach Al Roberts confirming that Ryan had put a price on the kicker's head before last month's Dallas- Philadelphia game? Is Buddy guilty? Will Jimmy Smits play Luis in the miniseries?) No, the Eagles were upset because Philly quarterback coach Doug Scovil died of a heart attack Saturday. "The coaches were devastated," guard Ron Heller said. "Buddy, you could tell, had been crying."
The death was hard, too, on quarterback Randall Cunningham, who regarded Scovil as a mentor. "I think I had the best relationship with him that I'd ever had with a coach," Cunningham said. "He used to say my head was getting too big for my helmet." Cunningham and the Eagles shook off their grief long enough to beat the Cowboys 20-10 in a game marred only by words. "I have two Christmas wishes," Zendejas said afterward. "The first is, I'd like to get 15 seconds in a dark alley alone with Ryan so I could ask him why he did what he did. And the second wish is, I'd like to have another 15 seconds alone with him so I could beat the crap out of him."
Since Nov. 5, when Jim Kelly, the AFC's top-rated quarterback, returned after suffering a dislocated shoulder, Buffalo has gone 2-4. Defensive end Bruce Smith, one of the AFC's perennial sack leaders, had two sacks in those six games. On Sunday, in the Bills' stunning 22-19 home loss in the snow to the warm-weather Saints, Buffalo's vaunted rushing tandem of Thurman Thomas and Larry Kinnebrew gained 67 yards. This all adds up to an 8-6 record and the real chance that the Bills could miss the playoffs.
Bills fans spent much of the fourth quarter booing Kelly and calling for Frank Reich. Reich, you'll recall, went 3-0 when Kelly was out. Kelly threw two bad interceptions Sunday, and later his spirits seemed as low as they had ever been. Asked if he had lost confidence, Kelly said: "Maybe you could say that." You could say it of the Bills, too.
IT'S OVER, MIKE
?From late '84 through September '89, the Bears went 25-0 against Tampa Bay, Green Bay and Detroit. Since September, Chicago has gone 0-4 against them.
?On Sunday the Bears lost their fourth in a row, to the Lions 27-17. The last time they lost four in a row, Jim McMahon was a senior at Brigham Young.
? Chicago is a home underdog against Green Bay Sunday.