As the Oakland Raiders funneled off the field Sunday, one of their astute fans congratulated the local lads for having “chewed them up.”
It was an appropriate choice of words because the Raiders disposed of the Seattle Seahawks by taking numerous giant bites.
Racking up nine plays with gains of 20 yards or more, the Raiders turned a close game into a 34-14 romp in front of 50,213 at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium.
And what had seemed like gradual improvement of the Seahawks in recent games came to an abrupt halt against the 5-1 Raiders.
In two straight victories preceding the Oakland game, the Hawks had:
Put together a dominating running attack. But Sunday, Chris Warren got only 57 yards on 16 carries.
Seen steady improvement of quarterback Rick Mirer, who seemed increasingly more comfortable guiding the offense. But Sunday, Mirer was only 15-for-33 with two interceptions.
Held opponents to 14 points of offense. But Sunday, the Raiders amassed 531 yards of offense and piled up 21 points in the game’s last 24 minutes.
“There’s not much to say other than they just kicked our rear ends pretty convincingly,” Seahawk coach Dennis Erickson said after the Hawks slipped to 2-3. “They beat us every which way.”
And for the third time this season (all losses), the Hawks allowed an opposing player to rush for more than 100 yards and another to gain more than 100 receiving.
Sunday, Raider Harvey Williams exploited poor Seahawk tackling while making more cutbacks than the Republican Legislature.
“The cutback was there because this is a team that pursues really hard,” said Williams, who had a career day with 160 yards on 19 carries.
Tim Brown, meanwhile, pulled down five passes for 143 yards, including the Seahawks’ back-breaker, an 80-yard score late in the first half.
For most of the early going, though, it looked as if the Hawks were going to be able to slow down a Raider scoring machine that had hung up 48 and 47 points in their last two games.
Thanks to great returns, the Raiders started their first three possessions at or near midfield but got nothing but a 37-yard Jeff Jaeger field goal with 1:39 left in the first period.
The Hawks got lucky late in the first period when Pat Swilling forced a Mirer fumble. Anthony Smith recovered and returned it for a touchdown. The play, however, was blown dead because Seahawk tight end Christian Fauria had been whistled for a false start.
A sensational broken field draw by Williams, in which nearly every Seahawk defender missed shots at him, helped the Raiders drive to the Hawk 8.
But in three downs, Oakland could not push it in - with a heads-up deflection by Rafael Robinson breaking up what appeared to be a wide-open Andrew Glover in the end zone.
The Raiders once again came away with only three points on a 24-yard Jaeger field goal.
In the past two games, Mirer has led the Hawks on important scoring drives before half, but when Seattle got the ball with 1:46 left in the half, Mirer overthrew receivers three times.
The effects were twofold: the Hawks remained scoreless and the dangerous Raider offense got another chance.
On the first play of the possession from the Raider 20, Hostetler found Brown on a crossing route. Taking it in stride, Brown ran under the zone coverage and came up, man-to-man, against Hawk Pro Bowl safety Eugene Robinson at the Hawk 40.
Without breaking stride, Brown planted and cut back to his right, leaving Robinson holding nothing but air.
The 80-yard scoring play was the longest of Brown’s career and deflated a Seahawk team that certainly had to be looking at going into the locker room down by only six.
“I really stopped on that route and my eyes were bulging out,” Brown said. “And I just wanted to get (Jeff Hostetler’s) attention so he would throw it to me.”
Brown was the third-receiver read on that play, but Hostetler (20-33, 333 yards), as he did all day, was masterful in finding the open man.
Mirer, though, did come back in the final 40 seconds, connecting with Joey Galloway for 27 yards and James McKnight for 21 yards.
But a try to Brian Blades in the end zone failed to score and kicker Todd Peterson was sent on for a 37-yarder off the baseball infield that he pooched badly to the right.
“Missing Brian in the end zone was a big play,” Mirer said. “It might have only missed by a couple of inches, but that might have made this a different game.”
The Hawk offense snapped out of it in the third period, driving 64 yards. At the Raider 21, the Hawks caught Oakland in a blitz and Steve Broussard sprinted through a giant hole for a touchdown.
“Anybody could have scored that one,” said Broussard, who was impressive with 56 yards on just eight carries.
Oakland came back furiously, though, and from the Seattle 25, Williams took a pitch left, saw nothing open and cut it back to the middle. At the 15, he juked Carlton Gray so badly he never touched Williams. Near the goal line, Williams simply broke a tackle by Eugene Robinson and took it in to send Oakland up 20-7.
Continuing the string of big plays, the Raiders then wound down the third period with a 97-yard scoring drive. On third-and-1 at the Hawk 12, Williams took a sweep to the right, pulled up and passed for a touchdown to Glover, who slipped unattended into the end zone.
Seattle’s hopes continued to unravel on the very next play as Swilling hit Mirer as he tried to throw. The ball flew wildly and Raider Terry McDaniel picked it off at midfield.
That led to yet another Raider score when tight end Kerry Cash beat Rafael Robinson and pulled in a 16-yard scoring pass to make it 34-7.
Seattle’s highlight on a dim day came when Galloway leaped over Albert Lewis to pull in a Mirer pass for a 35-yard touchdown with 12:06 left in the game.
The game ended with a fitting punctuation. Mirer passed to Robb Thomas all the way to within a few inches of the Raider goal line.
Raiders 34, Seahawks 14
Seattle 0 0 7 7 - 14
Oakland 3 10 14 7 - 34
Oak-FG Jaeger 37
Oak-FG Jaeger 24
Oak-Brown 80 pass from Hostetler (Jaeger kick)
Sea-Broussard 21 run (Peterson kick)
Oak-H.Williams 25 run (Jaeger kick)
Oak-Glover 13 pass from H.Williams (Jaeger kick)
Oak-Cash 16 pass from Hostetler (Jaeger kick)
Sea-Galloway 35 pass from Mirer (Peterson kick)
Sea Oak First downs 19 24 Rushes-yards 20-114 32-196 Passing 229 335 Punt Returns 1-10 4-29 Kickoff Returns 7-157 3-104 Interceptions Ret. 0-00 2-23 Comp-Att-Int 15-23-2 21-34-0 Sacked-Yards Lost 1-7 3-11 Punts 7-41 4-39 Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0 Penalties-Yards 8-40 9-55 Time of Possession 26:05 33:55
Individual statistics RUSHINGSea, Warren 16-57, Broussard 8-56, Mirer 3-1, S.Smith 1-0. Oak, H.Williams 19-160, Kaufman 6-18, Hostetler 4-9, Fenner 2-7, Ismail 1-2. PASSINGSea, Mirer 15-23-2-236. Oak, Hostetler 20-33-0-333, H.Williams 1-1-0-13. RECEIVINGSea, Blades 5-63, Galloway 4-87, Thomas 2-32, McKnight 1-21, S.Smith 1-17, Warren 1-14, Broussard 1-2. Oak, Brown 5-143, Hobbs 4-68, Glover 4-45, Cash 2-28, Ismail 2-20, Williams 2-16, Jett 1-22, Fenner 1-4. MISSED FIELD GOALSSea, Peterson 37. Oak, Jaeger 28.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos (1 Color)
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