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Lynn Dickey passed for 333 yards and a Green...

By
GARY TAYLOR, UPI Sports Writer

HOUSTON -- Lynn Dickey passed for 333 yards and a Green Bay Packer team record tying five touchdowns but it almost wasn't enough against the Houston Oilers Sunday.

The Pack, a favorite to win their division, used kicker Jan Stenerud's 42-yard field goal in overtime after quarterback David Whitehurst replaced an ill Dickey to beat the Oilers 41-38.

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But it was the Oilers who served notice they may be back behind the running of Earl Campbell and passing of Archie Manning.

Those two combined for 471 yards offense and rallied the Oilers to three fourth-quarter touchdowns. Despite all that, it was Manning who was in awe of Dickey after the game.

'Dickey's amazing. The last time I played against him -- when I was with New Orleans -- he threw for five touchdowns. I don't want to ever see him again. Ten touchdowns in two games.

'I'll tell you, I play two years sometimes and don't get 10 touchdown passes.'

Dickey, who had been ill with headaches and a virus for days, became debilitatingly sick after his 74-yard scoring pass to James Lofton with three minutes to play gave Green Bay a 38-31 lead. He was taken from the field moments later and he did not return.

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'I'm glad it's over. In the first quarter I was wishing it was over. I really don't remember half of it. I never knew anything about a streak. When your line gives you time and your receivers don't drop the ball, you are going to have a good day,' he said.

Dickey completed the first 18 passes he threw, leading the Packers to a 28-10 halftime lead and making a good Oiler offensive effort look meaningless.

The Oilers grabbed control of the game in the second half, however, and pleased coach Ed Biles.

'We definitely grew up in the second half. The guys came from behind when they had to,' he said.

Stenerud, who is 40, said it was nothing new for him to be asked to win the game.

'The snap was perfect. The hold was perfect. I kept my head down and I nailed it,' he said. 'I can't be 100 per cent sure on every kick but if the distance is reasonable, I expect to make it.'

With Dickey's departure, it was left to Whitehurst to get the victory in overtime and he responded with Dickey-like precision. He hit rookie Phillip Epps with a key 10-yard, third-down pass at the start of the overtime drive.

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The extra period was necessitated after Manning and Campbell helped Houston come from behind twice in the last five minutes with drives of 61 and 81 yards.

The overtime period came after Archie Manning and Earl Campbell had helped Houston rally twice in the last five minutes with drives of 61 and 81 yards.

Campbell, who left the game late in the fourth period with a bruised knee, scored three touchdowns in the second half on runs of 7, 8 and 1 yard -- one more touchdown than he scored in all of 1982.

Whitehurst was called on to direct the team and after Green Bay won the coin toss and received the kickoff, he did a flawless job. He hit rookie Phillip Epps with a key 10-yard, third-down pass at the start of the drive. Stenerud was called on after the Packers failed to convert a 3rd-and-6 situation, leaving the ball at the Oilers' 27.

The overtime period came after Archie Manning and Earl Campbell had helped Houston rally twice in the last five minutes with drives of 61 and 81 yards.

Campbell, who left the game late in the fourth period with a bruised knee, scored three touchdowns in the second half on runs of 7, 8 and 1 yard -- one more touchdown than he scored in all of 1982.

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Manning hit 22-of-34 passes for 348 yards and found Tim Smith with a 47-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

Dickey's TD throws were for 25 yards to Paul Coffman, 11 yards to Gerry Ellis, 5 and 13 yards to John Jefferson and 74 yards to James Lofton. It was the 74-yarder that broke a 31-31 tie with three minutes to play and seemingly ended Houston's hopes.

But Manning, who already had directed Houston to two touchdowns in the fourth period, guided the Oilers 81 yards before rookie Larry Moriarty scored from the two.

Houston also scored on Florian Kempf's 49-yard field goal in the first quarter, his longest as a pro.

Stenerud also kicked a third-quarter field of 46 yards that made the score 31-17 and set up the first of Houston's last-period comebacks.

The loss was the Oilers' eighth consecutive regular season defeat. They ended the 1982 season with the Cincinnati Bengals' Ken Anderson setting the NFL consecutive completion mark of 20. Houston last won on Sept. 19, 1982, the second weekend of the strike-shortened season.

Dickey took advantage of a youthful Houston secondary where wholesale changes were made because of legal problems involving three starters. None of the three replacements in the secondary had played a full season in the NFL.

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