Box Score Bank: Long Live Marion Butts!

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Box Score Bank: Long Live Marion Butts!

Tuesday's a quiet day around the NFL. Every day's a quiet day for the Red Sox. Hockey's taking a nap. The NBA still a few weeks out. And here on Standing Room Only, that means three words: Box. Score. Bank.

I wanted to go with a Pats game today, so I started looking back through the years hoping to find a September 18th date that was worthy of some press. Here's what I found:

The last time the Pats played on 918 was way back in 2011, when they beat the Chargers in Week 2. (Think we'll skip that for now.) The last time before that? September 18, 2005 when the defending champs were upset by Stephen Davis and the Panthers. (No thanks.)

And the last time before that?

September 18, 1994.

Yes.

So let's set the Box Score Bank for 18 years ago today . . .

The Lion King was the top movie at the box office, narrowly edging Forrest Gump and not narrowly edging House Party 3. "I'll Make Love To You" by Boyz II Men was in the midst of its 14-week run atop the Billboard charts. A month earlier, Major League Ball called it quits on the '94 season. Two months later, the Jacksonville Jaguars were announced as the NFL's 30th franchise. Bill Parcells was in his second year as coach of the Patriots. Aaron Hernandez was four years old.

And over in Cincinnati, the Pats were riding high on the back of big 'ol Marion Butts.

Final Score: Patriots 31, Bengals 28

Butts probably shouldn't get all the credit. After all, Drew Bledsoe had a solid game, completing 30 of 50 passes for 350 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and patting the ball in the pocket an NFL record 117 times. The great Michael Timpson had a nice game with 10 catches for 125 yards and a TD. Not to be outdone, the Pats D picked up seven sacks on David Klinger. But mostly because his name is Marion Butts, I'm giving the game ball to Marion Butts, who ran for two touchdowns (including the clincher in the fourth) in the Pats big Week 3 win.

It was a season of streaks for the Pats back in '94. This win over Cincy broke a two-game drought. After that, they ran off three straight wins. That was followed by four straight losses. And finally, a seven-game winning streak that powered New England to a 10-6 record and their first playoff appearance since 1986.

There, they met the Cleveland Browns and a 42-year-old named Bill Belichick, in the first playoff game on head coaching career.

The Pats dropped that one, 20-13. Not so coincidentally? Marion Butts spent the entire game on the bench.

"Don't take any signals," Parcells said afterwards. "I was just doing what I thought for that particular game. It has nothing to do with Marion Butts."

Butts was gone the next year.

But he'll always have Cincinnati.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)