NFL 1979: Big Pauly’s Week 2 Recap
DENVER 31, LA RAMS 28 (Thursday Night): The Rams started strong, building a 21-10 lead in the 2nd quarter. Their lead was a trim 28-24 one in the fourth when a bizarre play occurred. Pat Haden hit Preston Dennard for what looked to be the score to put the game out of reach. But Dennard fumbled the ball away, and Louis Wright picked up at his own 3 yard line. Running around, he found an opening through the jumble of players attempting to tackle him and ran the fumble back all the way for a TD 97 yards later. That score held up as Denver held on for the win to go to 2-0, the Rams fall to 1-1.
SAN FRANCISCO 42, DALLAS 24: If the Dallas media thought something was wrong with the Cowboys after their debacle in St. Louis, alarm bells must be going off now after their sojourn to Candlestick park. Dallas built a 17-7 in the second before the upstart 49ers when on an unanswered 28 point barrage. Steve DeBerg lead the attack with a 20 for 27 passing effort for 258 yards with 2 TD’s. The Niners are now 2-0, the Cowboys 0-2.
WASHINGTON 20, DETROIT 13: Both teams start the season with 0-1 marks in this game at the Pontiac Silverdome. Washington put their points on the board with sustained drives, as they converted 12 of 17 3rd down attempts and held possession of the ball for 36:31 of the 60 minute game. Joe Theismann lead the way, throwing for one TD, running in another.
NY GIANTS 31, ST. LOUIS 28: You’d think the Cardinals would come to New York sky high after their shocking victory over Dallas last week, but they put forth a mediocre effort against the G-Men. It was a topsy turvy day for Phil Simms, who only threw for 148 yards, but wound up with 3 TD throws. Both teams are now 1-1.
BALTIMORE 21, TAMPA BAY 7: Both teams played bad enough to lose, but Tampa Bay played the worst with 4 turnovers in key spots. Greg Landry led the way for Baltimore with two TD’s depsite the Bucs did giving him fits with only a 12-for-27 effort. The Colts looked ready for a shutout in the 4th, but the Bucs found paydirt with a Cedric Brown pick-six. The Colts are now 2-0, the Bucs 1-1.
CHICAGO 33, MINNESOTA 31: The Vikings were embarrassed by the 49ers last week, so they try to make amends in the Windy City against a solid Bears squad. The Vikes held a 31-23 lead late, but a Walter Payton 3 yard TD cut it to 31-30 with 2:38 left. The Vikes quickly went three and out, giving the Bears a final crack. Mike Phipps found Walter Payton for a huge 41 yard gain to the Minnesota 3 yard line with time running out with no time outs to spare. The Bears kicking team raced on the field, with Bob Thomas hitting the game field goal as the ball was snapped with a mere second to go. The Bears go to 2-0, the Vikings 0-2.
NEW ORLEANS 59, GREEN BAY 41: No, that score is not a typo. The Saints came to Green Bay smoking hot, building a 45-14 lead even before halftime. Lynn Dickey, coming in to the game in relief of the injured David Whitehurst, and rallied the Pack back to 45-34 in the fourth quarter. The Saints then recovered, putting up two TD’s before Green Bay got a late consolation score. Dickey went 35-for-61, throwing 3 INT’s and 6 TD’s for 562 yards, the second highest passing yard total in a game in NFL history behind Richard Todd’s efforts last week. James Lofton had a great pass catching day for the Pack in the losing effort, 13 catches for 271 yards. The Saints go to 2-0, the Packers are now 0-2.
SEATTLE 45, MIAMI 33: The Seahawks traveled to the Orange Bowl for this game played in a heavy rain most of the way. The Seahawks took a 7-3 lead in the opening quarter and would never relinquish it. Sherman Smith led the way with 3 TD’s on the ground, as the Seahawks and Dolphins are now each 1-1.
NEW ENGLAND 31, NY JETS 25: It wasn’t the passing attack that kept the game respectable for the Jets, but a running game that gave the New Yorkers two 100 yard plus rushers in Scott Dierking (23 carries for 144 yards) and Clark Gaines (20 for 157 and a TD). But the Jets couldn’t convert in the red zone which kept the game close. Steve Grogan ran in the deciding score with 22 seconds left on a sweep from shotgun formation from 15 yards out. Both teams are now 1-1.
CINCINNATI 44, BUFFALO 10: The Bengals come to Buffalo and immediately put 23 points on the board to start the game on the way to another blowout against the Bills, who are not off to a good start in ’79, being outscored 84-30. Pete Johnson led the way with 3 rushing TD’s and 98 yards, and the running game was so effective that backup QB Jack Thompson, pressed into service after Ken Anderson was found to have been injured after week one, only had to throw the ball 10 times the entire game. The Bengals are 1-1, the Bills 0-2.
PITTSBURGH 42, HOUSTON 31: The Oilers came to play, the Steelers just played better. Earl Campbell scored twice on electrifying runs that even wowed the hardened Three Rivers Stadium crowd, once from 75 yards, once from 83 yards out. Franco Harris, meanwhile, rushed for 4 TD’s to lead the Steelers and their 569 yards of total offense. The Steelers go to 2-0, the Oilers 1-1.
KANSAS CITY 42, CLEVELAND 25: The Browns traveled to KC and ran into a freight train by the name of Ted McKnight. McKnight would tie an NFL record set 50 years earlier by Ernie Nevers by scoring six rushing TD’s in one game and also joined Nevers, Dub Jones, and Gale Sayers as the only players to score six TD’s in a game. He ran for 213 TD’s on 29 carries, and his scores were from, respectively, 8, 19, 10, 8, 17, and 2 yards out. The Chiefs go to 1-1, the Browns go to 0-2.
SAN DIEGO 38, OAKLAND 16: The Chargers had a lot easier time hosting Oakland than they did last week up in Seattle. Dan Fouts looked like the sharp veteran QB he is, throwing three TDs for 320 passing yards, plus one rushing TD. The Chargers are now 2-0, the Raiders now 0-2.
ATLANTA 30, PHILADELPHIA 24 (Monday Night): It was the Falcons, 0-1 after a blowout to the Saints, who proved that their win over the Eagles in the 1978 NFC Wild Card game was no fluke by doing likewise at the Vet. William Andrews led the way with 113 yards and a rushing TD. Ron Jaworski threw two passing TD’s and ran in a third in a losing effort, evening each team at 1-1.