My Two Cents

Unless Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf robbed owner Alex Spanos's
house last week, second-year coach Mike Riley's decision to
bench him is downright idiotic. Since Leaf didn't play all of
last season, how do you determine if he's your future in two
games?...For a team that can afford his $188,235-per-game
salary, Steelers running back Jerome Bettis (below), eligible to
be a free agent after this season, might be a heck of an
acquisition before the Oct. 10 trade deadline. He appears
healthy after two seasons of nagging knee injuries.... The
Giants might be undefeated, but their sloppy special teams play
will cost them a game somewhere down the line. Brad Daluiso
missed a 34-yard field goal, and two others were blocked in a
14-7 win over the Bears.... Detroit's Desmond Howard, who had
first-quarter kickoff returns of 63 and 70 yards against the
Buccaneers, is the best return man in NFL history.

The Buzz

Courtney Brown Arrives. The first pick in the 2000 draft, Brown
sacked the Steelers' Kent Graham three times, including the
potential game saver with seconds to play, as Cleveland beat
Pittsburgh 23-20. "He's everything they've touted him to be,"
says Steelers tight end Mark Bruener.

Daunte's Inferno. He won with his legs in Week 1. He won with his
arm in Week 2. In his first road test, at New England, Vikings
quarterback Daunte Culpepper won with his legs (12 carries, 59
yards) and his arm (two scores). "He's playing some serious
football," says Minnesota safety Robert Griffith. And the 3-0
Vikings look like serious contenders.

Fish out of Water. On a night when Dan Marino's number was
retired, Dolphins fans couldn't have been happy with what they
saw in their offense, despite a 19-6 win over the Ravens in the
rain. The defense has been rock solid in the first three weeks,
but Miami will be going nowhere fast if the offense doesn't get
untracked.

Match Game

The license plate of...

A. Packers center Frank Winters
B. Giants running back Ron Dayne
C. Steelers long snapper Mike Schneck

Answer below
Answer: Schneck

The Book

A pro personnel scout sizes up Saints wideout Joe Horn, the
former Chief who increased his NFC-leading reception total to 24
with seven catches in a 20-10 loss to the Seahawks.

"Excellent size, good hands. He's working hard to get open.
Experiencing a little success against San Diego [12 receptions
for 116 yards and two touchdowns] whetted his appetite for more.
The key is, Can he sustain it? He'll fight for the ball. He'll
catch it in traffic. It looks like all he needed was an
opportunity. He's still got to get better separation from
corners, and he's got to be more disciplined running his routes.
He's got to use some moves getting off the line of scrimmage.
But he might be the next Jimmy Smith [the Jaguars' Pro Bowl
wideout who was released by the Cowboys], a guy who had to go
somewhere else to get a real shot."

COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS (LEFT) COLOR PHOTO: SCOTT GOLDSMITH

The Last Word

"I have never seen someone so cocky. I have no respect for him
as a player or a person."
--DOLPHINS LINEBACKER ROBERT JONES, on Vikings wideout Randy Moss

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