SEATTLE — You thought things couldn't get any worse for the Raiders?
For whatever sins they're being punished--try excessive pride and failure to plan ahead in an intelligent manner--after seven straight losses, they get this for tonight's Mission Improbable: Dropped behind enemy lines and ordered to the Kingdome, where they have been getting their arms and legs torn off by the Seattle Seahawks for almost the entire length and breadth of the '80s.
The visitors are a large, nine-point underdog, not without reason. Not since 1981, or before they left Oakland, or before Chuck Knox arrived in the Pacific Northwest, have the Raiders won here.
They have lost five in a row in the Kingdome, but that doesn't adequately describe the carnage.
--In the five losses, they have averaged getting sacked seven times, and five turnovers.
--They haven't scored a touchdown since 1984.
--The scores of the last two were 33-3 and 37-0.
--At halftime, the scores were 26-0 and 24-0.
Whichever honcho at ABC wanted this on prime time had better have something can't-miss for intermission. And those last five were played when the Raiders were still pretty good and the Seahawks mere hopefuls. Now the Raiders are 3-7, the Seahawks 7-3 and the Red Cross is monitoring the situation.
What's gone wrong for the silver and black up here?
Oh, little things here and there.
The Raiders are 6-2, on a five-game winning streak. They get off the bus throwing deep, perhaps remembering the 13-7 loss here in the '84 playoffs when Al Davis second-guessed the offensive game plan as too conservative.
Their second play is a bomb by Marc Wilson, which Seattle safety John Harris fair catches.
Wilson throws two more interceptions by halftime, one of which cornerback Terry Taylor returns for a touchdown. Taylor also blocks a field goal try by Chris Bahr--"with his face," notes the play-by-play sheet--and Byron Walker returns that for a touchdown.
The Raiders out-gain the Seahawks, 282-234, en route to getting trounced.
The Raiders are 8-5. They've won of 8 of 9 until the Eagles stun them the week before. Suddenly, this is a game they have to win if they're going to the playoffs.
They don't come real close.
Jim Plunkett gets sacked twice on the first Raider possession.
He throws an interception on the second.
He gets sacked once on the third.
He takes sacks No. 4 and 5 on the fourth.
He is gone by the fifth, with the shoulder injury that now appears to have ended his career.
Marc Wilson gets sacked twice on the fifth possession.
Are you sure you want to let your kids watch this one?
Howie Long, who has suggested in the past that some of his teammates wimp out at the thought of going under the roof, states again that he doesn't mind the Kingdome.
"I don't have a problem with it, personally," he says. "I enjoy going there.
"What's so bad about the Kingdome? Are people jumping you on the way into the place? Are you getting stabbed at halftime? What's so bad about the Kingdome?
"Now, the Orange Bowl? You get out of a taxi at the Orange Bowl, man? People are saying things to you in languages you never heard of.
"People are nice in Seattle. They're fans. There's nothing wrong with that. I don't have a problem with that. The Denver fans are five times as vulgar as they are. The Seattle fans are generally reflective of the area. They're just nice people. The same people who are yelling at you during the game are bringing you a Coke after the games."
Why not? After a 30-point victory, whose fans wouldn't be in a good mood? Come back soon, y'all and bring your hubris with you.
After the recent routs here and the 35-13 Seattle walkover at the Coliseum in the first meeting, can the Seahawks still get up for the Raiders? Curt Warner went on television last week, discussed the future challenges of the schedule and mentioned four upcoming foes--including the Steelers and the game at Kansas City--but not the Raiders. . . . Is this the week the Raiders try the Bo Jackson offense? His 6.2 rushing average notwithstanding, 13 carries last week is the most he's had in a game and Coach Tom Flores is being second-guessed for it. . . . The Raiders, once 24-3-1 on Monday night, now have their first Monday night losing streak: last year's game here and the 30-14 strikeball loss at Denver this season. . . . Howie Long says Seattle fans are good at knowing when to make noise--when the other offense has the ball. "For a while here in L.A., we had a problem with the wave," he says. "They didn't quite know when to wave. (Laughing) We've kind of eliminated that one. See there? We've taken care of that one problem. The only wave I'm getting now is when I go to my car: 'Go home!' "