22 - 31 - 2 ---5th Ranked
198.27 Yds/Game ---7th Ranked
195.89 Yds/Game ---4th Ranked
Reports from Saint camp indicate that the struggling Archie Manning will be benched in favor of the lesser talented, but thus far, more productive Bobby Scott. Manning is 3 of 14 for 20 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT in two games this season.
Bobby Scott has seen limited playing time, and is completing just 28.7% of his passes, but Scott’s only completions nearly brought the Saints to overtime against the Vikings in Week 2. Scott first connected with Don Herrmann for a late score to cut the Viking lead to seven points. On the next drive, and with the clock dwindling to zero, Scott hit a leaping Henry Childs on what was nearly the equalizer. Childs was taken down at the 5-yard line, and the Saints lost the affair, but Scott was the spark that the Saint passing game has otherwise lacked this season.
If Manning is not in fact permanently benched expect the disappointing Manning to be tethered to a short leash. Saint’s coach Cheapcatch said he is, `less than amused with (Archie`s) performance thus far,` and, `isn’t in the market of watching passes either drop like dead weights or sail off course like some amateur skipper.`
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With just less than a full quarter left to play the Patriots had gained momentum in a game that had previously been deadlocked in a near stalemate, with the Falcons leading 3-0 off of a first quarter field goal.
Late in the third quarter Tim Fox gobbled up his second pick six of the year, returning an errant Scott Hunter throw 60 yards for the go ahead score. Later the Falcons decided twice that they would go for it on fourth down in their own end. The first time they managed to keep the drive going, but on the second chance the Patriot defense waived the `Dikembe Mutombo’ finger. This led to a Grogan TD pass to Daryl Stingley. The Patriots were riding high, finally out of the woods, ready to leave the Falcons in the dark of the forest. But we are all too familiar with the game of Tecmo stealing one`s good fortune lickety-split. Like a gang of bandits from the bushes, the Falcons assured that New England`s spoils would be temporarily held.
The Patriot defense played perhaps its best game of the season, with cornerback Mike Haynes completely negating Atlanta`s biggest receiving threat, Alfred Jenkins. What is the scourge of many a Tecmo team, the Patriots immediately gave up a score following their second TD of the game, after Hunter found a leaping Jim Mitchell (TE) for 60-yards. It was the only cheap catch the New England gave up all game. In fact, 60 of the Falcons total 138 yards passing came on that play.
Could the Falcons pull off the onside kick, forcing the Patriots to defend their lead? No. New England made no contest about it, as they promptly recovered the kick, settling in at midfield with about two and half minutes left. This is where poor play calling meets a poor player. New England ill advisedly called a play action pass that was called by Atlanta, but Steve Grogan refused to stop the negativity there. Grogan, hit by a bevy of Falcon defenders, fumbled the ball. Atlanta scooped up the loose ball, returning it to the Patriot 1-yard line, scoring one play later on a run up the middle.
The Patriots now had 1:30 to try and tie or win the game. After two straight incompletions, one of which was a completely off target duck that traveled toward the center of the field when the receiver was running a streak down the sideline, New England debated on whether to pop in back up Tom Owen, an equally ineffective QB with a penchant for missing targets. Instead the Patriots gambled, running the ball with Sam Cunningham, as Atlanta was in a pass defense, and coach Chaos was commanding the 13 HP cornerback, Roland Lawrence. By all intents it was not a bad option, as Cunningham burst past midfield with the clock winding down. Perhaps Sam-Bam stepped out of bounds a second or two early (there were :04 left when Cunningham did so), but he did allow John Smith one last attempt at redemption (Smith was 0-2 on the day until that point). The current attempt would be a 57 yarder. Smith`s kick for the third straight time hit the upright, bouncing harmlessly away from the goal posts. Atlanta won the game on the wings of the Tecmo two-minute drill, and Steve Grogan, the turnover maestro, should get much credit for chipping in.
Grogan has 9 turnovers this season (7 INTs and 2 fumbles). He has SUCKED. He has more INTs than TDs, an amazingly difficult feat to accomplish in Tecmo. Last season only two regular starters finished with more INTs than TDs. This season Grogan shares that distinction with Gary Huff, Jim Hart, and Steve Bartkowski. Worse, for Grogan, is the fact that he only threw five total INTs last season, and that was in an offense that liked to frequently chuck the ball up into coverage.
New England, after two straight losses (one of them a SKP game loss), is sitting at (3-3), good for a second place tie in the AFC EAST. Meanwhile Atlanta, also (3-3), positioned themselves into second place in the NFC WEST, behind the undefeated Ram-Its.
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|Scrimmage Yards||Forced Fumbles||Punt Returns|
22 - 31 - 2
8 - 19 - 0
14 - 12 - 2