Terry, Terry, Terry.
How could you?
After all you've meant to the success of "Playing Football" over the years, last Sunday was a heart-wrenching way to end your season.
Pittsburgh led, 28-17, early in the final quarter and, when Dan Fouts missed Kellen Winslow on a third-and-eight, the game appeared to be over.
There was no way, with Pittsburgh leading by 11 and having possession of the ball with slightly more than 10 minutes left, that the Chargers could come back. The Steelers' offense would see to it, against that sad San Diego defense.
Terry Bradshaw, of course, made the highly publicized blunder, throwing across the field on the run when he could have dashed for the first down. Interception! The Chargers suddenly had a chance. They rallied and won, 31-28, on the strength of their wonderful attacking forces. I blew an imaginary $275.
What made the loss so gnawing was not that Bradshaw put up a poor pass, but that Pittsburgh turned the game around when it was on the verge of victory by playing directly into San Diego's hands.
All the Steelers had to do was to continue to run their offense as they had through the first 50 minutes. But no. They became cautious.
The ultraconservative play selection by Pittsburgh on its last two possessions gave the Chargers a better opportunity of holding on. Doesn't the pro football world know by now that when you have San Diego down, you must go for the jugular?
The fear of losing has led to the defeat of many a good team in recent playoff history.
I also lost $275 on Cincinnati Sunday. In last week's column, I had assured readers that the Bengals would put the clamps on Freeman McNeil and the New York Jets' running game. McNeil ran for more than 200 yards. Such "analysis" leads straight to the poorhouse. I also was surprised by the way San Diego ran against Pittsburgh.
So much for the Lost Weekend. The point spread on the four conference semifinal contests shows Washington favored by six at home against Minnesota, Dallas favored by seven at home against Green Bay, San Diego favored by 1 1/2 at Miami and the Los Angeles Raiders a 3- to 3 1/2-point choice at home over the New York Jets. Both numbers are available on the Jets-Raiders. Shop accordingly.
The least attractive of the four games, for betting purposes, is Green Bay-Dallas. The Cowboys are not at the top of their form, but they have the sort of pressure defense against the pass that can unsettle Lynn Dickey and send him into a Doug Williams-like tailspin. I like Dallas to win. Give the seven at your own risk. I pass.
Minnesota has a good chance of covering, getting six at Washington. The Redskins' 31-7 romp over Detroit was not as overwhelming as it might appear.
Tommy Kramer is one of the few top quarterbacks Washington has encountered this year. And I'm not at all convinced the Redskins have solved their problems accruing from the injury to Art Monk.
What keeps me off the Vikings is the incredible string of good luck that has accompanied Washington's efforts this season. The Redskins are making, and getting, the breaks. The ball keeps bouncing their way, which keeps me from picking against them.
Once again, the AFC games will be clearly superior to the quality of performance presented by the NFC survivors. I'm taking the Jets for $250, getting the 3 1/2 at Los Angeles. They have the balance, on offense, required to keep the Raiders' defense honest. And I never believe Jim Plunkett's passing will blow out anybody. The Jets should keep things close.
The most interesting matchup involves San Diego at Miami: great offense against superior defense. Maybe, just maybe, the Dolphins can come up with an inspired effort against Fouts. But that's not the way to bet. I'll give the 1 1/2 for $250. Last week Season Totals Minus $550 +$1,475
Last week's results: Pittsburgh, giving 1 1/2, lost to San Diego, 31-28, minus $275; Cincinnati, giving four, lost to the New York Jets, 44-17, minus $275.
Won-lost record: 17-11.