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NFC Notebook: Will it be Rattay by the Bay?

Sunday, November 09, 2003

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

The Steelers might see a different quarterback when they play in San Francisco next Monday night.

Tim Rattay subbed for injured starter Jeff Garcia and led the 49ers to a 30-10 upset of the Rams last week.

There's a quarterback controversy brewing by the Bay, and Garcia doesn't like it as the 49ers take this weekend off.

"That's why I don't read your articles or watch the news," Garcia said. "As far as any controversy, if that sells papers, then you've got to do what you've got to do."

Reports that the San Francisco Chronicle's circulation tripled the past week proved incorrect.

That ripped-off feeling

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackle Kenyatta Walker lost what amounted to his Super Bowl check Monday when he returned to his car in the middle of the day and discovered it had been burglarized.

Gone from his Ford Excursion: a $50,000 chain and pendant and a $25,000 Rolex watch. The Buccaneers also lost the previous day to slip to 4-4.

"That's just the kind of weekend it was," Walker said. "The robbery was like the icing on the cake. It's gone. I have to move on, I've got a game on Sunday."

Question: If you had a $50,000 chain and pendant and a $25,000 Rolex watch, why are they in your car and not around your neck and wrist?

Long time coming for Short

It took four years, but McKeesport's Brandon Short had what they're calling his breakout performance for the New York Giants Sunday.

The strongside linebacker normally leaves the field on passing downs, but the Jets rarely went to three wide receivers, so Short stayed on the field more. That allowed him to make 14 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

But it won't get him more time in the Giants' defense. Coach Jim Fassel said Short won't play any more than normal against the Falcons today.

"As a competitor, you're frustrated, but I have to make the best of the opportunities I have," Short said. "That's the situation I'm in. It's not the happiest situation."

Quick slants

Chris Chandler completed 50 of 95 passes for 580 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in his three starts for the Chicago Bears. In Kordell Stewart's first three games, he was 52 of 99 for 413 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions.

The Detroit Lions try again to end a streak in which they've gone 44 games without winning two in a row. They previously did it in 2000, when they actually won three consecutive games. "What we have to do this year -- somehow -- is accomplish some things that maybe haven't been done recently," coach Steve Mariucci said. "And winning a couple of games in a row would be one of them."

No one plays better away from home than Pennsylvania's two teams, at least in this century in the regular season. The Philadelphia Eagles have gone 21-7 (.741) on the road since 2000, the best mark in the NFL, and the Steelers are No. 2 at 17-11 (.630).

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Chris Hovan, on what a victory does for players: "Women look better. Beer tastes better. And you get more sleep."

Today will be the seventh meeting between Buffalo Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe and Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, the man who drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick in New England in 1993. Parcells is 4-2 vs. Bledsoe. "We're not playing solitaire out here," Parcells said. "He's got a cast of characters with him, and you have to deal with all of them combined."

San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos bought a full-page advertisement in the Arizona Republic to thank the owner of the Cardinals -- the "Bidwells" -- for their help in playing host to the Oct. 27 Monday night game between San Diego and Miami in Sun Devil Stadium. It's the Bidwills, Alecks.

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