As far as New Orleans Saints fans are concerned, there's no rush to end the NFL strike. Certainly, replacement quarterback John Fourcade is in no position to argue, even though he might have won a job -- strike or no strike.
Fourcade got his first start in his fourth league yesterday in New Orleans and threw three touchdown passes to lead the substitute Saints over the Los Angeles Rams, 37-10, to the delight of spectators who chanted, "Stay on strike."
"If he can play like that week-in and week-out, he'll be in this league a long time," said Rams Coach John Robinson.
The crowd of 29,745 was the smallest by 1,191 in the 21-year history of the franchise, but was one of the largest of yesterday's NFL schedule.
Fourcade was cut by the Giants and the Saints in preseason camps in 1985 and 1986, after playing in the Canadian Football League and the U.S. Football League. He spent this summer in Arena Football before getting a call to fill in during the NFL strike.
Fourcade completed 16 of 21 passes for 222 yards and ran six times for 39 yards.
Fourcade's touchdown passes were one yard to Ken O'Neal in the first quarter, 11 yards to veteran wide receiver Eric Martin to open a 20-point second quarter and 82 yards to tight end Mike Waters in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't seem to connect," said Robinson. "We weren't on the same page. I have no comment on the quality of play. I have enough trouble doing my job."
Robinson said it was probably a mistake using quarterback Steve Dils, who rejoined the Rams Friday. Dils was 10 of 27 for 109 yards.
Colts 47, Bills 6:
Using a team heavy with NFL experience, Indianapolis dominated strike-depleted Buffalo as Gary Hogeboom threw for five touchdowns to tie a 22-year-old team record.
Only 9,860 fans showed up at 80,000-seat Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., the second-lowest attendance in team history to 8,876 for a Raiders-Bills game in 1960, the team's first year.
Hogeboom, wide receiver Walter Murray and cornerback Jim Perryman crossed the picket line to play with the substitute Colts, but that was enough against the Bills, one of 13 teams with no regulars who defied the two-week-old strike.
The five touchdown passes tied the team record set in 1965 by Gary Cuozzo.
The Colts, who had started the season 0-2, gained 300 more net yards and averaged four more yards per play than the Bills.
"I knew it was a possibility that we could lose, but not quite as badly as we did today," said Coach Marv Levy. "It was the worst margin of defeat of any team I've coached."
Oilers 40, Broncos 10:
A crowd of more than 38,000 -- half filling Denver's Mile High Stadium -- dwindled to a few thousand in the second half as Houston quarterback Brent Pease directed the rout.
Four Broncos who crossed the picket line last week played in the game, compared with one Oiler, but the Broncos were no match for Pease and Co.
Pease, a late cut of the Minnesota Vikings, ran one yard to cap a 50-yard drive and give Houston its first score midway through the opening quarter. His 24-yard pass to Keith McDonald set up the first of four field goals by John Diettrich in the second quarter.
Buccaneers 31, Lions 27:
In Pontiac, Mich., Tampa Bay came back from a 17-0 first-quarter deficit with 21 points in the second quarter, and scored the winning points with 2:17 left in the third quarter on Harold Ricks' one-yard touchdown run two plays after Detroit punter Mike Black fumbled the snap on the 3-yard line.
The Lions built a 17-0 first-quarter lead when quarterback Todd Hons hit Darrell Grymes with a 36-yard scoring pass, Mike Prindle kicked a 23-yard field goal and Angelo King returned John Reaves' fumble nine yards for a touchdown.
Raiders 35, Chiefs 17:
Vince Evans, who had not played in the NFL since 1983, passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as Los Angeles won in a game played before 10,708 people at the 92,000-seat Coliseum.
Evans, who played college ball for Southern Cal, completed his first pass for a 27-yard touchdown to Carl Aikens to put the unbeaten Raiders ahead for good after just 55 seconds of play.
Evans completed 10 of 18 passes for 248 yards and rushed for 63 yards on four carries. He scored his touchdown on a four-yard bootleg run early in the second quarter.
Million-dollar backup quarterback Marc Wilson, who cited contract reasons for crossing the picket lines, was used only as a holder on place kicks.
Bears 35, Eagles 3:
Mike Hohensee, just two weeks ago a bartender, threw three touchdown passes to give Chicago the victory in Philadelphia before 4,074 -- the smallest crowd in the NFL yesterday.
Hohensee, who formerly played with the USFL Washington Federals and in the CFL, completed 12 of 22 passes for 157 yards and threw scoring passes of nine yards to Anthony Mosley, 20 yards to Glen Kozlowski and three yards to Don Kindt.
The Bears also scored on a nine-yard return of a blocked punt by Mosley and a one-yard run by Chris Brewer.
Philadelphia was penalized 10 times for 60 yards and Chicago was penalized 11 times for 65 yards. The Bears also recorded 11 sacks and the Eagles had three.
Packers 23, Vikings 16:
Alan Risher, stockbroker-turned-quarterback for the NFL strike, paid dividends for Green Bay, passing for one touchdown and running for another in a the game played before a record-low crowd of 13,911 in Minneapolis.
Mostly there was silence in the Metrodome and, when there was noise, it was often laughter. The game between NFC Central rivals had been a 63,000-seat sellout before the strike.
Risher, a New Orleans stockbroker who last played in 1985, threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Lavalle Thomas in the first quarter and had a 13-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, helping the Packers to a 20-7 halftime lead.
Former Redskin Max Zendejas kicked field goals for Green Bay of 35, 43 and 34 yards.
Browns 20, Patriots 10:
Larry Mason, released on Cleveland's final cut in training camp, ran for two touchdowns and the Browns won a mistake-prone game by strike substitutes before the smallest crowd in Sullivan Stadium history.
The 61,000-capacity stadium in Foxboro, Mass., was originally sold out, but rain at the start of the game and cold and wind throughout combined with the players strike to hold attendance to 14,830.
The Browns lost all three of their fumbles. The Patriots lost one of four. There were many off-target and dropped passes.
Seahawks 24, Dolphins 20:
Bruce Mathison threw for two touchdowns and 326 yards to lead Seattle to victory at home.
Mathison's 49-yard bomb to Jimmy Teal set up Rick Parros' one-yard touchdown run in the final minute as the Seahawks overcame a 20-17 deficit.
Earlier, Mathison, who had his first practice with the replacement Seahawks Wednesday, threw scoring passes of 24 yards to tight end Mark Keel and 25 yards to Curtis Pardridge.
Steelers 28, Falcons 12:
The smallest October crowd in Atlanta history, 16,667, watched quarterback Steve Bono lead Pittsburgh to victory.
Bono (12 of 22 for 164 yards) scored on a one-yard sneak and threw a five-yard scoring pass to Russell Hairston from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md., for another score.
Backup Reggie Collier hit Joey Clinkscales with an 11-yard scoring pass and the other Pittsburgh score came on a one-yard run by Earnest Jackson, a nonstriking all-pro.
Chargers 10, Bengals 9:
Jeff Gaffney, a former Virginia place kicker and soccer all-America, kicked a 24-yard field goal in the closing minutes to give San Diego the victory in Cincinnati.
Gaffney's kick with 2:44 to play drew boos from fans, many of whom said they were attending the game as a protest against striking players. Gaffney, of Whitman High School, was cut by San Diego this summer.
Only one striking regular crossed the picket line -- Cincinnati linebacker Reggie Williams, who played the entire game.