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San Antonio 21 at Houston 491985 Week 17 - Monday, June 17, 1985
Attendance: 11,780, TV: ESPN
HOUSTON (AP) - Houston Gamblers quarterback Todd Dillon says he got angry after one of his passes was picked off by the San Antonio Gunslingers and returned a record United States Football League 103 yards for a touchdown.
Dillon, starting his third consecutive game for the injured Jim Kelly, completed 25 of 33 passes for 365 yards and ran for another touchdown as the Gamblers routed their cross-state rivals, 49-21 at the Astrodome Monday night.
The victory gave the Gamblers,10-7, the eighth and final spot in the USFL playoffs.
Dillon said he felt relaxed during the game, but he became angry when Charles Armstead picked off his pass and returned it 103 yards for a touchdown to give San Antonio a 7-0 lead in the second quarter.
"That interception was enough to tick you off and say,'Dammit, we have to win this game, so let's get out and get into the playoffs,"' Dillon said.
The Gamblers had lost two in a row and four of their last five games.
Gambler receivers' coach Bob Ford said last week that Dillon had to throw more often to his inside receivers, Richard Johnson, Clarence Verdin and Ricky Sanders.
Verdin caught two touchdown passes and Johnson and Sanders caught one each.
"I figured if I couldn't win one of four games, I'd go back to selling insurance in California,"Dillon said. The Gamblers quickly wiped out the 7-0 San Antonio lead as Dillon threw two touchdown passes and ran for one himself and the Gamblers held a 28-7 halftime lead.
"They came easy after the interception," Dillon said. "You could see it in San Antonio's eyes. They didn't know what they were doing."
Dillon's touchdown run came ater Todd Fowler's 6-yard run and Toni Fritsch's extra point tied the game at 7-7.
Three Gunslingers collided in midair as they attempted to tackle Dillon, clearing the way for him to dash 36 yards up the sideline for the go-ahead score.
"The guys almost cut me off," Dillon said. "I figured I could fool them once with that."
"We responded to a game we needed to win to get into the playoffs," Gamblers coach Jack Pardee said. I'm proud of the way we came back after that (interception) touchdown.
"Todd moved around well and made the super effort with that run of his. He emerged from this game with a good taste in his mouth," Pardee said.
In the third quarter, Dillon threw two more touchdown passes. One was 20 yards to Verdin and the other 19 yards to Johnson that made it 49-14 as the quarter expired.
Luther Bradley picked off two Rick Neuheisel passes and returned one 36 yards for a Houston touchdown in the third quarter that gave the Gamblers a 35-7 pad.