Somewhere, there's a magician who wears silver and black and weaves spells to help the Los Angeles Raiders on Monday night.
The wizard had to use a special triple whammy last night when Detroit's run-and-shoot offense finally lived up to its billing and the Lions rolled to a surprising 24-14 second-quarter lead.The spell took hold about then and the Raiders recovered to post a 38-31 victory and push their Monday night record to 29-6-1. It also helped them keep pace with the surging Kansas City Chiefs and stay in a tie for the lead in the AFC West at 9-4.
Bo Jackson, who gained 129 yards on 18 carries, began a 21-point Raider outburst with a 55-yard touchdown run down the left sideline, closing the gap to 24-21.
"I really wouldn't say that run broke it open, but it helped," Jackson said. "We've been playing pretty nasty ball out there, but we're doing enough to get the job done."
Jay Schroeder threw for two third-quarter touchdowns, a 10-yarder to Mervyn Fernandez and a 3-yarder to Tim Brown - his first TD since 1988 - to make it 35-24, Los Angeles, at the end of the period.
The early part of the matchup resembled a basketball game. It took both teams only seven plays from scrimmage to score three touchdowns in the first 3:47. They needed only seven more plays for another seven points with only 8:39 gone.
"Everybody got their money's worth," Raiders coach Art Shell said. "I told the team to play for 60 minutes, and they did. I told them the Lions would make a lot of plays, but so did we."
Detroit (4-9) scored first - on the fourth play of the game when Barry Sanders burst up the middle for 35 yards.
Then, on the next play from scrimmage, Schroeder and Willie Gault teamed up on a disputed 68-yard touchdown pass.
Gault caught Schroeder's bomb on the Detroit 20, fell down on the 15, then got up and ran into the end zone. He was given the score even though his feet appeared to touch the legs of Lion safety Bennie Blades.
The TD call stood despite a replay review by officials, drawing a chorus of boos from a sellout crowd of 80,066 at the Pontiac Silverdome.
"I will not say a word about the officiating. Nothing," said Lions coach Wayne Fontes. "I voted for it (replay review) because I thought it would help change bad calls, but I'll have to rethink my position."
Detroit came right back, however, with Sanders scoring from the 5. The 66-yard, two-play drive was sparked by a 56-yard pass from Rodney Peete to rookie Jeff Campbell.
"We felt going into the game that we were going to make some plays and they were going to make some plays. We knew we had to keep up with them and let our defense do its job," Schroeder said.
"We're happy to get out of here with a win. This run-and-shoot offense? It's a nightmare. I hate it. The best way to stop it is to fly up here and shoot Wayne Fontes," said Los Angeles defensive end Howie Long.
The Raider comeback overshadowed the play of Sanders, who went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second time.
Sanders racked up 176 yards on 25 carries, giving him 1,081 on the season and making him only the 10th player in NFL history to gain 1,000 yards in each of his first two years.
Denver's Bobby Humphrey became No. 9 on Sunday.
"We were effective the whole game. We just weren't as effective as in the first quarter," Sanders said. "Everyone fought hard, but we just came up short."