American Football: Cardinals display their old failings: Phoenix wear sackcloth on NFL's 'Throwbacks Weekend'

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The Independent Online
THERE was something entirely fitting about the performance of the Arizona Cardinals on the NFL's 'Throwbacks Weekend'. As the league marked its 75th season by dressing in old-fashioned outfits, the Cards wore a dismally familiar look in surrendering to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

The Cardinals were founder members of the league, but whether they were based in Chicago, St Louis or their current home in Phoenix rarely enjoyed prolonged success, posting a won-loss

record of 386-526 before this season began.

The arrival of the belligerent Buddy Ryan as head coach in the spring was supposed to change all that, and he quickly promised to fix just about everything short of the world population explosion. Buddy has long talked a good game. What his new side appear incapable of doing is playing one.

Defeats by the Rams and Giants were bad enough, but a 32-0 loss to the mediocre Browns suggests that Ryan has done little to alter a franchise imbued with failure. Buddy Ball still looks like buddy awful ball.

Ryan's attempt to invigorate the league's lowest-rated offense by playing Jim McMahon in place of Steve Beuerlein backfired badly. McMahon, a shadow of the quarterback who once guided the Bears to a Super Bowl triumph, was intercepted twice before being replaced by the club's third- stringer, Jay Schroeder. 'I don't deserve to start after the way I played,' McMahon said.

Ryan has made his name by fashioning brilliant defenses but here too the Cards were woeful, allowing the perenially vulnerable Vinny Testaverde to run for one touchdown and throw a couple more. 'I think we're playing with our best people. We've just got to play better with them,' Ryan said.

Miami's contribution to 'Throwbacks Day' was to wear the uniforms of their 1973 team, the only side to go through a season unbeaten in the modern era. Though it is far too early to talk in those terms, the '94 vintage continued its impressive start with Dan Marino throwing a pair of TDs in the 28-14 defeat of the New York Jets.

A couple of other AFC teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, matched the Dolphins' 3-0 record, the Chargers winning 24-10 in Seattle while Joe Montana threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns as the Chiefs beat Atlanta.

San Francisco were quick to bounce back from the damage Montana did to them last week, beating the Los Angeles Rams 34-19. The brilliant Deion Sanders, who plays baseball when the sport is not on strike and signed for the 49ers at the end of last week, made a quiet debut. 'I'm not in real good playing shape yet, but I should be okay by next week,' he said. The rest of the league has been warned.

NFL: Kansas City 30 at Atlanta 10, Minnesota 42 at Chicago 14, New England 31 at Cincinnati 28, Arizona 0 at Cleveland 32, Buffalo 15 at Houston 7, NY Jets 14 at Miami 28, Green Bay 7 at Philadelphia 13, Indianapolis 21 at Pittsburgh 31, New Orleans 9 at Tampa Bay 7, LA Raiders 48 at Denver 16, San Francisco 34 at LA Rams 19, Washington 23 at NY Giants 31 San Diego 24 at Seattle 10.

----------------------------------------------------------------- NFL STANDINGS ----------------------------------------------------------------- AMERICAN CONFERENCE Eastern Division W L T F A Miami 3 0 0 91 63 Buffalo 2 1 0 56 65 New York Jets 2 1 0 62 53 New England 1 2 0 101 105 Indianapolis 1 2 0 76 76 Central Division Cleveland 2 1 0 70 37 Pittsburgh 2 1 0 57 57 Cincinnati 0 3 0 58 86 Houston 0 3 0 45 80 Western Division San Diego 3 0 0 88 54 Kansas City 3 0 0 84 44 Seattle 2 1 0 76 40 LA Raiders 1 2 0 71 98 Denver 0 3 0 72 110 NATIONAL CONFERENCE Eastern Division New York Giants 3 0 0 79 63 Dallas 2 0 0 46 26 Philadelphia 2 1 0 66 57 Washington 1 2 0 68 83 Arizona 0 3 0 29 66 Central Division Minnesota 2 1 0 62 33 Detroit 1 1 0 34 38 Chicago 1 2 0 57 81 Green Bay 1 2 0 37 47 Tampa Bay 1 2 0 40 40 Western Division San Francisco 2 1 0 95 57 Atlanta 1 2 0 69 74 LA Rams 1 2 0 46 77 New Orleans 1 2 0 50 75 Not including last night's game between Dallas and Detroit. -----------------------------------------------------------------

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