Tuesday, December 10, 2002

League admits to missed call

NFL notebook

The Associated Press

The NFL says the officiating crew at Sunday's Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings game made a mistake by not blowing the whistle when Minnesota receiver Chris Walsh took a knee in the closing seconds.

Antuan Edwards' hard hit on Walsh sparked a melee in front of the Vikings' bench after Darren Sharper's interception and 66-yard return on the next play sealed the Packers' 26-22 victory.

"Yes, we missed that one," he said.

Jim Daopoulos, the league's supervisor of officials, cited NFL Rule 7-4(a), which reads: "An official shall declare dead ball and the down ended when a player is out of bounds or declares himself down by falling to the ground and makes no effort to advance."


Doctors removed the cast from Donovan McNabb's broken ankle Monday, but the quarterback is still expected to be out for several more weeks.

McNabb broke his ankle Nov. 17 in the first quarter of a 38-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

"His status is improving, but his foot is still in a non-weight bearing stage, and he is still walking with crutches," the team said in a statement.


Carolina linebacker Dan Morgan needs surgery to repair his dislocated left shoulder and could miss the final three games of the season.


Rookie Patrick Ramsey will start Sunday against Philadelphia, the fifth quarterback change this season by Washington coach Steve Spurrier.

Ramsey replaces Danny Wuerffel, who sprained his throwing shoulder in the third quarter of Sunday's 27-21 loss to the New York Giants. Ramsey finished the game, completing 12 of 27 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown.

Spurrier, who said Wuerffel will be sidelined "a week or two," said he plans to stick with his first-round draft pick the rest of the season.


Quarterback Aaron Brooks, running back Deuce McAllister, offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley and cornerback Dale Carter are listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Minnesota.


Seattle could be without quarterback Matt Hasselbeck this week.

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said Hasselbeck sprained his left foot during Sunday's 27-20 loss to Philadelphia. Hasselbeck continued to play, but he had difficulty walking the next day.


Just in time for their push for the AFC South title, the Tennessee Titans will bring back defensive end Jevon Kearse this week, hoping he can play against the New England Patriots next Monday night.

Kearse, who made the Pro Bowl after each of his first three seasons, broke a bone in his left foot on the second play of the opener against Philadelphia and hasn't played since.

The Titans thought he had a chance to get into Sunday's game against Indianapolis, but chose to deactivate him.

Tennessee won the game 27-17, moving into a first-place tie with the Colts at 8-5. The Titans hold the tiebreaker, having swept the Colts.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that the team will release Kearse from work in the training room this week so he can resume meetings and practices.

"I think he's got a pretty good chance to do some things for us this week," Fisher said. "We've just got to see how he does during the week. He's very, very close. It would be nice to have him back this week."

Kearse still has pain in his left foot, which probably won't go away until the spring, Fisher said. If he does play against the Patriots, Fisher said he might shift him from left to right end so he can push off his right foot.


St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz didn't back down from Sunday's postgame comments, when he indicated that he couldn't count on some of his players.

Martz said Monday that too many players became demoralized by Dante Hall's two kick returns, plus a fumble return for touchdown in the first half of Sunday's 49-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He said past teams have been mentally tougher and more able to overcome mistakes.

"At the end of the game, I felt like defensively we had a tremendous letdown," Martz said. "In some respects, it's hard when you've given up points like that, but you still need to battle. We're certainly going to address that with the team. I want to know who wants to compete."

St. Louis (5-8) is out of playoff contention, and the immediate fallout from Sunday's debacle, the franchise's worst loss since 1963, concentrated on special teams coach Bobby April and kicker Jeff Wilkins.

Martz saved his harshest criticism for Wilkins, who's 14-for-20 and has tried kicking with his shoe off sometimes this year. Wilkins scuffed the ground on a 42-yard field goal attempt that never really took flight.

"I've lost a lot of confidence in Jeff," Martz said. "He's had a lot of those 'I've kicked the ground' routines.

Also, the Rams said that Marshall Faulk's playing time might be limited for the rest of the season because of a high right ankle sprain.


Peyton Manning walked into the Indianapolis Colts' locker room Monday with a heavily wrapped right knee and a limp, but he wasn't concerned about missing any playing time.

Manning said he had an inflamed bursa sac, an injury that caused swelling in the knee after Sunday's 27-17 loss to Tennessee. But the two-time Pro Bowler said it wasn't enough to keep him out of Sunday's game at Cleveland.

"A lot of players have them," Manning said of the injury. "It's an aggravating thing."

Manning hurt the knee on the Colts' final series when he slid after a 5-yard scramble on first down. He said he hoped to return to practice Wednesday.

Manning has started 77 straight games since his rookie season in 1998, the second-longest active streak among quarterbacks, behind Brett Favre's 170 straight.


Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin defended all the questionable decisions he made during Sunday's 21-20 last-second loss to Cleveland.

"The fact of the matter is, the strategy was right," Coughlin said. "But the execution of the strategy isn't as good as it could have been."

After getting to the Cleveland 4 and kicking a field goal for a 20-14 lead with 52 seconds left, kicker Danny Boyd - playing in his first NFL game - kicked off about 25 yards, and Cleveland began its desperation drive at the 47. Tim Couch then threw a 50-yard pass to Quincy Morgan, who had single coverage from Fernando Bryant. Safety Marlon McCree was late getting there.

"As it turned out, where the ball went, the coverage was the ideal coverage, because we had two people over the ball," Coughlin said.


San Francisco 49ers punt returner Jimmy Williams will miss the rest of the season with torn ligaments in his left knee.

Williams leads the NFC with 16.8 yards a punt return. He also was averaging 21.9 yards on kickoff returns.

Williams was hurt during the 49ers' 31-27 victory over Dallas on Sunday. He tore the medial collateral ligament and the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee when his foot got caught in the artificial turf, coach Steve Mariucci said.

"It's a big loss, and it'll take four or five months of rehab," Mariucci said.

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