Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, September 13, 1999

N F L _F O O T B A L L

Kreutz solid as
Bears win opener

By Pat Bigold


Olin Kreutz was the invisible factor in the Chicago Bears' 20-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday.

In his first regular-season start at center, Kreutz played well enough to make Shane Matthews' debut as starting quarterback a breeze.

The fact that Matthews was able to throw for 245 yards and two touchdowns, and the fact that neither Matthews nor rookie Cade McNown was sacked all day, was a tribute to the way Kreutz handled the ball and the line calls.

It was only a few weeks ago that he beat out fourth-year veteran Casey Wiegmann, the 1998 season starter.

Seven of the 11 players with Hawaii ties listed on NFL rosters saw action on the opening Sunday.

Two others play in the Denver Broncos' Monday Night Football opener against Miami.

"Oh I think it really had to do with him (Matthews) going in there and calling a great game," said Kreutz, deflecting any credit for the Bears' win.

Kreutz said he still had anxious moments in the Soldier Field opener.

"Just making calls, trying to make my blocks," he said. "I made some mistakes."

Kreutz said the opening day win meant everything to the Bears, trying to rebound from back-to-back 4-12 seasons.

"Now we all have confidence," he said.

In other opening day action involving Hawaii players:

Bullet Molokai native Kimo von Oelhoffen of the Cincinnati Bengals, subbed for starting nose tackle Oliver Gibson and recorded two solo tackles.
Bullet Tight end Itula Mili (Kahuku), who started the last two preseason games for the Seattle Seahawks, gave way to Christian Fauria in the starting lineup for yesterday's 28-20 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Bullet In Carolina's 19-10 loss to New Orleans, Panthers' backup defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo (Kailua) had two solo tackles.
Bullet For the Saints, Chris Naeole (Kahuku) started again at right guard while backup linebacker Ink Aleaga (Pac-Five) subbed for starter Mark Fields but didn't record a tackle.
Bullet In Arizona's 25-24 victory over Philadelphia, Adrian Murrell (Leilehua) rushed 24 times for 53 yards, and caught five passes for 47 more yards.
Bullet Defensive end Ma'a Tanuvasa (Mililani) and placekicker Jason Elam start for the Broncos today against the Dolphins.

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