American Football: Eagles buck the Broncos' rising trend

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The Independent Online
THE Denver Broncos' visit to Philadelphia was billed as a potential glimpse of this year's Super Bowl, and perhaps that is where it started to go wrong for the visitors. They were thrashed again.

After humiliations in three Super Bowls in the late Eighties, the Broncos have regrouped impressively and, after winning their first couple of games of the season, appeared to be justifying the expectation that they will make the big game again this year. However, the Philadelphia Eagles nurture Super Bowl aspirations of their own and the match became an all- too-familiar AFC-NFC confrontation: the Eagles winning as easily as the 30-0 scoreline suggests.

'It was an old-fashioned butt-kicking,' John Elway, the Denver quarterback, said. 'When you play against a team that has a chance to go to the Super Bowl, you want to see how you stack up. We didn't stack up.'

Not by a long way. Denver's defense restricted Herschel Walker to 53 yards, but only by exposing themselves to Randall Cunningham's arm. The Eagles quarterback had his best day since returning from the injury which kept him out for most of last season, throwing for 270 yards and three touchdowns. The Broncos were restricted to 82 yards total offense.

It was the Eagles' best victory of a promising opening to the season, and suggests that this year their Super Bowl hopes are realistic. Denver may yet join them. They remain a strong side, with only Buffalo (comfortable victors over Indianapolis) boasting more talent in the AFC.

Philadelphia's NFC East rivals Dallas and Washington also won again, Dallas beating Phoenix 31-20 and Washington seeing off Detroit 13-10. As with last week, the Redskins dominated without putting points on the board (Mark Rypien threw three interceptions) and came close to losing when the Lions rallied in the fourth quarter.

The day's biggest shock came in Los Angeles, where the Browns arrived without a quarterback, without a win, and apparently without a prayer. Bernie Kosar, their starting quarterback, broke his ankle last week - he played on - which opened the way for a debut from Todd Philcox, who has yet to become a household name in his own kitchen.

Philcox performed reasonably, but the dazzle in an astonishing 28-16 defeat of the struggling Raiders came from running back Eric Metcalf, who claimed four touchdowns, three from receptions. The Raiders' miserable start to the season continued with Todd Marinovich, who replaced Jay Schroeder as starting quarterback, throwing three interceptions. Even so the Raiders got 27 first downs to Cleveland's seven.

Pittsburgh won again under Bill Cowher, their new head coach. The Steelers crushed San Diego - who are winless under their new boss Bobby Ross - 23-6 .

Houston came from behind to beat Kansas City, though quarterback Warren Moon was left wondering what he had to do to please his side's volatile fans. Moon was nearly flawless in a 23-20 overtime victory, but his one interception brought a chorus of boos.

There was more censure at the end of the game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the New York Jets played host to San Francisco. The Jets were optimistic going into the season, but two bad defeats engendered an air of desperation, with their head coach Bruce Colset apparently guaranteeing victory against the 49ers. The Jets were beaten 31-14, but Colset was unrepentant: 'I said we'd win, what am I supposed to say? I'll say the same about next week.'

The 49ers' victory was marred by serious injuries to wide receiver John Taylor and lineman Larry Roberts. Taylor broke his left leg and will be out for at least eight weeks. The weekly battering is already taking its toll, with many teams deprived of key personnel, but one player not complaining is Brett Favre of Green Bay, who stepped in when quarterback Don Majkowski damaged an ankle late in the game against Cincinnati.

Favre orchestrated a spectacular fourth-quarter revival to give the Pack their first victory of the season, and then thanked his opponents. 'The more I got hit the easier things got,' he said. 'They knock all the stupidity out of you.'

NFL: Green Bay 24 Cincinnati 23, Philadelphia 30 Denver 0, Houston 23 Kansas City 20 (OT), New Orleans 10 Atlanta 7, San Francisco 31 NY Jets 14, Seattle 10 New England 6, Minnesota 26 Tampa Bay 20, Cleveland 28 LA Raiders 16, Washington 13 Detroit 10, Miami 26 LA Rams 10, Dallas 31 Phoenix 20, Pittsburgh 23 San Diego 6, Buffalo 38 Indianapolis 0.

----------------------------------------------------------------- NFL STANDINGS ----------------------------------------------------------------- AMERICAN CONFERENCE EAST DIVISION ----------------------------------------------------------------- W L T Pct PF PA Buffalo. . . . . . . . .3 0 0 1.000 112 38 Miami. . . . . . . . . .2 0 0 1.000 53 33 Indianapolis. . . . . . 1 2 0 .333 24 61 New England. . . . . . .0 2 0 .000 6 24 NY Jets. . . . . . . . .0 3 0 .000 41 78 ----------------------------------------------------------------- CENTRAL DIVISION ----------------------------------------------------------------- Pittsburgh. . . . . . . 3 0 0 1.000 79 40 Cincinnati. . . . . . . 2 1 0 .667 68 48 Houston. . . . . . . . .2 1 0 .667 67 59 Cleveland. . . . . . . .1 2 0 .333 54 57 ----------------------------------------------------------------- WEST DIVISION ----------------------------------------------------------------- Denver. . . . . . . . . 2 1 0 .667 38 56 Kansas City. . . . . . .2 1 0 .667 70 40 Seattle. . . . . . . . .1 2 0 .333 20 53 LA Raiders. . . . . . . 0 3 0 .000 50 69 San Diego. . . . . . . .0 3 0 .000 29 68 ----------------------------------------------------------------- NATIONAL CONFERENCE ----------------------------------------------------------------- EAST DIVISION ----------------------------------------------------------------- W L T Pct PF PA Dallas. . . . . . . . . 3 0 0 1.000 88 58 Philadelphia. . . . . . 3 0 0 1.000 76 27 Washington. . . . . . . 2 1 0 .667 47 50 NY Giants. . . . . . . .0 2 0 .000 42 65 Phoenix. . . . . . . . .0 3 0 .000 41 85 ----------------------------------------------------------------- CENTRAL DIVISION ----------------------------------------------------------------- Minnesota. . . . . . . .2 1 0 .667 66 71 Tampa Bay. . . . . . . .2 1 0 .667 74 36 Chicago. . . . . . . . .1 1 0 .500 33 52 Detroit. . . . . . . . .1 2 0 .333 65 57 Green Bay. . . . . . . .1 2 0 .333 47 77 ----------------------------------------------------------------- WEST DIVISION ----------------------------------------------------------------- New Orleans. . . . . . .2 1 0 .667 51 28 San Francisco. . . . . .2 1 0 .667 93 62 Atlanta. . . . . . . . .1 2 0 .333 44 51 LA Rams. . . . . . . . .1 2 0 .333 31 66 -----------------------------------------------------------------

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