My Two Cents

Please explain to me how the Steelers are winning with a Kordell
Stewart-Kent Graham rotation at quarterback.... No coach works
harder and cares more than the Lions' Bobby Ross, whom you may
have seen throw a headset on Sunday in Indianapolis. The man's
coaching with a blood clot in his leg.... Troy Aikman (below)
took six cortisone shots in his lower back early in the week,
then lasted less than a quarter against the Jaguars on Sunday.
The Cowboys have to persuade Aikman to retire, regardless of the
cap implications.... There is no more clutch performer than Rams
running back Marshall Faulk, who, with a bad shoulder and bruised
knee, had 144 total yards and four touchdowns in a 34-24 win at
San Francisco.

The Book

An NFL pro personnel director sizes up Tampa Bay's second-year
defensive tackle Anthony (Booger) McFarland, a run stuffer who
has also contributed 5 1/2 sacks in his first season as a starter:

"It's comical now that there was an outcry when the Bucs cut Brad
Culpepper. They had to make room for McFarland, who is every bit
the player Warren Sapp is. He holds the point of attack as well
as any run player, even though, at 300 pounds, he's not the
biggest tackle. He's aggressive too. He surprises you with how
quickly he can knife through the guard-center gap. The Bucs can
leave him in on passing downs. He chased down Charlie Batch twice
in one series at Detroit, which shows what kind of pass rusher he
can be."

The Buzz

The Steckel Effect
In 1984 Les Steckel coached the Vikings to a 3-13 record. On
Sunday, Steckel, now the Bucs' offensive coordinator, helped
hand Minnesota its first loss, 41-13. All week Tampa Bay players
and coaches talked about going back to the run. "We threw you
reporters a bone," said tackle Jerry Wunsch, "and you ran with
it." Then the Bucs won with four touchdown passes from Shaun King.

Break Up the Bengals
A two-game winning streak with a total of 75 net passing yards?
Only in Cincinnati. Only with throwback coach Dick LeBeau, who,
like Woody Hayes, believes that three things can happen when you
pass, and two of them are bad. Only with Corey Dillon, who has
415 yards rushing over the past two weeks, including 137 in a
12-3 win over the Browns.

The Prime of Mr. Kyle Brady
The Jaguars tight end, who's known primarily as a blocker, has
18 catches for 249 yards over the past two weeks. He caught 10
balls in an upset of the Cowboys on Sunday and is tied with the
Chiefs' Tony Gonzalez for the league lead in receptions among
tight ends, with 41.

Match Game

The license plate of which player?

A. Bills nosetackle Ted Washington
B. Former Bills kicker Scott Norwood
C. Bills quarterback Rob Johnson

Answer below
Answer: Washington

COLOR PHOTO: L.M. OTERO/AP (AIKMAN) COLOR PHOTO: JOE TRAVER

The Last Word

"I'm starting to think after 18 years in this league that
winning isn't so much overcoming your opponents. It's overcoming
yourself."
--39-YEAR-OLD TITANS GUARD BRUCE MATTHEWS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)