NFC notebook



New York Giants coach Jim Fassel didn't get any style points for his team's 13-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the victory, Fassel was grilled about his inept offense and refusal to yank quarterback Kent Graham, and his decision to try a pooch kickoff with one second left on the clock. It went too far into the hands of Deion Sanders. With several laterals, the Cowboys returned it to the end zone, but a forward lateral nullified the score. On top of that, kicker Brad Daluiso was lost for the season with a knee injury trying to make a tackle on the play. Fassel, though, tried to put a positive spin on the game. "You are missing something," he told reporters. "We won. The New York Giants had never beaten the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football before. That's all that matters." Washington's new owner, Daniel Snyder, has made it obvious that coach Norv Turner is going to get fired if the Redskins don't make the playoffs. Now he seems to be raising the stakes with the team 4-1 as it goes to Dallas. "Our goal is not just to be 4-1, but it's to make and dominate the playoffs." He didn't specify what would qualify as dominating the playoffs, but stopped short of saying the Redskins were a Super Bowl team, conceding they "had a long way to go." Snyder also banned Washington TV stations from using the team's nickname in any of their pro football shows unless they pay the team. Philadelphia quarterback Doug Pederson has thrown three touchdown passes and one interception in the past two games after throwing one touchdown and five interceptions in the first four games. Arizona's Jake Plummer is supposed to miss four to six weeks with a broken finger, but he thinks he can make it back sooner. Dave Brown will fill in until Plummer returns.


Green Bay's Antonio Freeman was thrown 10 passes last week, and made just one catch for 9 yards against Denver. "I personally didn't make any plays," he said. It was Freeman's least productive game since the 1997 opener since he was blanked by the Chicago Bears. Former Washington quarterback Gus Frerotte, who came off the bench in the second half after Charlie Batch was injured to lead the Lions to the victory over Minnesota, hopes to only play a season or two with the Lions and will then try to find a starting job with another team since Batch is the future in Detroit. Tampa Bay quarterback Trent Dilfer is giving the current brand of football in the NFL a thumbs-down. "I think the league is very, very bad right now, us included. It's bad football every week by a different team, by different groups of teams. This is the worst football I've seen in my short career collectively. The team that gets hot, whoever they might be, can run the table and do whatever they want." Rookie Cade McNown will make his second NFL start against Tampa Bay in place of ailing Shane Matthews. Former Ravens running back Leroy Hoard will replace Robert Smith, who had surgery to repair a hernia, in the Vikings' starting lineup.


St. Louis Rams tight end Roland Williams is going to have a chat today with his former college teammate, Cleveland rookie Kevin Johnson, who guaranteed the winless Browns will upset the unbeaten Rams. "We're going to win this game. I'm putting it up," he said. When he was asked if he wanted that to get back to St. Louis, he said, "So what? I said it." Williams called his college friend a "dumb rookie" and said he'd have to explain the NFL facts of life to him. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue will make his first visit to St. Louis since the Rams moved there in 1995. Tagliabue's about as popular in St. Louis as he is in Baltimore because he tried to block the team's move. Team president John Shaw jokingly said, "We'll welcome him graciously. We're asked him to sing the national anthem." Steve Beuerlein threw for four touchdowns in the Carolina Panthers' 31-29 victory over San Francisco last Sunday and became the father of a new baby boy on Monday. "Yeah, it's been a good week," he said. Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis is probably looking forward to facing the Atlanta defense. It has given up five 100-yard rushing efforts in six games. Mike Ditka was happy the Saints got 409 yards of offense last week against Tennessee, but he wasn't happy that 354 came in the air. "We didn't bring Ricky [Williams] in here to pass the ball 50 times a game." Garrison Hearst may miss the entire season in San Francisco. He hasn't played since breaking an ankle in a playoff game in January vs. Atlanta and must be activated by Nov. 9 if he's to play this year.

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