Raiders 38, Bills 17
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—During the preseason, LaMont Jordan hustled to the sidelines and told Norv Turner what plays to call, checking later with the coach to make sure he hadn’t overstepped his bounds.
This past week, Jordan met with Turner and asked to shoulder the load with the season slipping away and Randy Moss nursing several injuries.
Jordan did just that Sunday. And his Oakland teammates contributed, too— even the banged-up Moss.
Jordan ran for 122 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, Moss added a 22-yard TD catch after being listed as doubtful to play, and the Raiders beat the Buffalo Bills 38-17.
“Those are the runs I’ve been waiting for all year,” Jordan said. “It means a lot to me. I’m a competitor.”
Kerry Collins, sacked on Oakland’s opening drive and booed afterward, completed nine of 10 passes on consecutive touchdown drives late in the second quarter and early in the third as the Raiders (2-4) took control. He finished 19-for-27 for 261 yards for Oakland, which scored more than 20 points for the first time all season.
Doug Gabriel had five catches for a career-high 101 yards, and Moss had three receptions for 43 yards in a limited role after bruising his ribs, straining a groin and bruising his pelvic area last Sunday against San Diego.
Moss even made a key block on Jordan’s second TD, a 17-yard run in the third.
“We thought he was going to be out,” defensive end Bobby Hamilton said. “You can’t coach heart. That motivates you.”
Jordan took charge with his second 100-yard rushing game with the Raiders and added four catches for 40 yards. During the week, he emphatically called for more touches, saying the team needed to give him the ball 23-26 times per game to win. He pointed to the only other game Oakland won, a 19-13 victory over Dallas on Oct. 2, when Jordan ran 26 times for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Jordan had a career-high 28 carries Sunday and his three rushing touchdowns are the most by a Raiders player since Rich Gannon did it Sept. 10, 2000, against Indianapolis.
“When I was in New York, people were saying I was disgruntled,” Jordan said of his four seasons as Curtis Martin’s backup with the Jets. “It had nothing to do with that. It’s just that when my team loses, I take it personal. Being out here in Oakland, being a big part of whether we win or lose, I’m going to make sure I’m on the winning side of that.”
Moss went out for the coin flip and made his first appearance late in the opening quarter, catching a 15-yard pass on his second play to set up Sebastian Janikowski’s 25-yard field goal.
“Whether it was running the ball or giving up the Moss touchdown, we really had no chance to stop them,” Bills coach Mike Mularkey said. “We lost the line of scrimmage on both sides.”
Derrick Burgess sacked Kelly Holcomb twice, giving him seven sacks on the year—three more than any Oakland defender had all last season. He anchored a defense that held Willis McGahee to 50 yards on 16 attempts a week after he ran for a career-high 143 yards in the Bills’ 27-17 victory over the Jets.
McGahee said this past week that he is the NFL’s best running back, and the Raiders’ defense took that as a challenge.
“He’s a good back, but he wasn’t someone we were going to fear,” Oakland defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. “No, no doubt about it. Just step up to the challenge and put ourselves in position to where, ‘Hey, come on, you want something it’s a four-quarter game, you get 60 minutes and I hope you get 40 carries. But we’re going to do something about it.”’
Holcomb, also sacked by Sapp, lost for the first time in three games as Buffalo’s starter after replacing J.P. Losman. Holcomb threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reed on the first play of the fourth quarter to pull the Bills (3-4) to 24-17. Lee Evans caught a 5-yard TD pass as Buffalo used the first 8:23 of the game and scored on an opening drive for the sixth time in seven games this season.
“You don’t ever want to say this as a football team, but I think they were more physical today than we were,” said Holcomb, who finished 19-of-27 for 159 yards. “We had some protection problems. Their defensive line put some pressure on us. I don’t think I’ve ever been hit so much. Even after the play was over, I was getting hit.”
Gannon, the 2002 NFL MVP quarterback who retired after breaking his neck last season, worked as television analyst for CBS. But the game was blacked out locally. “I’m ready to roll, man,” Gannon joked on the field beforehand. “I feel good, ready to throw the ball.” … The Raiders paid tribute to Bill King, their former radio announcer who died Tuesday at age 78. … Oakland lost DBs Derrick Gibson (left wrist) and Charles Woodson (right leg) to injuries in the first half.
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