Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At a Glance

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At a Glance

Article excerpt


Trent Dilfer got his first taste of regular-season life in the NFL, and Heath Shuler got his first significant sniff. But it just may be the beginning. Dilfer and Shuler, the top quarterbacks picked in the draft last spring, both may get their first pro starts next week after coming in for mop-up duties on Sunday.

Dilfer drove Tampa Bay 72 yards and into scoring position in his first effort. Dilfer, who replaced starter Craig Erickson to begin the fourth quarter with Tampa Bay trailing 23-3, did not get the Bucs into the end zone. But he did move the team, completing five of 10 passes for 73 yards in his two series.

The next move now belongs to Bucs coach Sam Wyche, who hedged on naming next week's starting quarterback.

Coach Norv Turner yanked John Friesz in favor of Shuler with the Redskins trailing Atlanta 27-13 with eight minutes to play. Shuler played a handful of downs in the opener against Seattle, but these were the first meaningful snaps of his career. And he handled them well.

Shuler completed 10 of 16 passes for 93 yards and twice steered Washington into touchdown range. Shuler took the Redskins 55 yards on his first series before the drive died at the Atlanta 14 on a fourth-down incompletion. He later steered the Redskins 50 yards in eight plays for their final touchdown in the closing minutes on a 3-yard run by Ricky Ervins.

Shuler had one last chance to pull out a miracle win when Washington took possession at its 35 with 15 seconds left. But a final "Hail Mary" pass was intercepted by Atlanta safety Scott Case.

Turner said he would think "long and hard the next two days" about giving Shuler his first NFL start against the Cowboys next week. INJURY UPDATE

Dolphins RB Terry Kirby of the Dolphins injured his right knee on an unsuccessful 2-point conversion run at the end of the first half, was carted off the field and did not return. It is thought he will be out for the season. . . . Buccaneers LB Hardy Nickerson suffered a severely sprained left ankle on the game's first play, was carted off and didn't return. …

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