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Wilson Upstages Jackson; Raiders Beat Bills, 34-21

December 07, 1987|JOHN NADEL | Associated Press

Bo Jackson came back down to earth Sunday. Marc Wilson was out of this world.

Wilson, the oft-maligned quarterback of the Raiders, passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns, one of them to Jackson, as the Raiders defeated Buffalo, 34-21, to knock the Bills out of a first-place tie in the AFC East.

Wilson, who completed 21 of 32 passes and wasn't intercepted, outdueled Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly, who hit 22 of 36 for 315 yards and also wasn't intercepted. Kelly threw for one touchdown, giving him at least one TD pass in 17 consecutive games.

"They threw a lot of different looks at us," Wilson said. "But our offensive line did a great job of keeping them off of me."

Wilson was starting his fourth game this season. He was elevated past the struggling Rusty Hilger last month.

For the second straight game, Wilson was sacked only once. The Raiders allowed the second highest total of sacks in the NFL last season. Kelly, meanwhile, was sacked twice.

"The Raiders just did a good job (of protecting Wilson), but the referees just didn't call the game fair today," Buffalo defensive end Bruce Smith said. "A couple of times they grabbed me and tackled me to the ground. I looked at the official and he said there wasn't holding."

Smith said of Jackson, "You better have on your fastest shoes; he's something else."

Jackson, playing in his sixth NFL game, gained 78 yards on 19 carries and caught four passes for 59 yards. Jackson, the two-sport pro who plays baseball for the Kansas City Royals, had a spectacular game last Monday night as the Raiders upset Seattle.

"Wilson played a fantastic game," Jackson said. "He came up with the big play when we needed it."

The Raiders scored on their first two possessions of each half in winning their second straight game after seven consecutive losses, their longest losing streak in 25 years.

Buffalo (6-6) is one game behind first-place Indianapolis in the AFC East, while the Raiders are 5-7.

"I thought Marc Wilson played an excellent football game, one of the best he's played for us," Raider Coach Tom Flores said. "I think everybody contributed today, but I want to point out one group--the offensive line. I really want to give them credit."

Buffalo Coach Marv Levy said he feared the Raiders entering the game.

"They're better than they were when they were losing," Levy said. "Last week they all of a sudden emerged as a good team. And obviously we had trouble stopping them today. We didn't make very many big plays."

The Raiders, who trailed 14-13 at halftime, went ahead for good by moving 75 yards on just three plays after receiving the second-half kickoff. The touchdown came on a 41-yard pass from Wilson to James Lofton, who had six receptions for 132 yards.

The next time they had the ball, the Raiders drove 77 yards on 13 plays, scoring on a 2-yard run by Marcus Allen to make it 27-14.

Buffalo responded with its second 80-yard, four-play drive of the game, scoring on Ronnie Harmon's second 8-yard touchdown run.

But the Bills were unable to get past the Los Angeles 28-yard line after that. Wilson threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Dokie Williams with 2:38 left to complete the scoring.

The Raiders moved 80 yards on 11 plays on their first possession of the game, scoring on a 14-yard pass from Wilson to Jackson. Then, they went 57 yards on nine plays before the Buffalo defense stiffened and Chris Bahr kicked a 22-yard field goal.

After Bahr missed a 44-yard field goal early in the second quarter, the Bills drove 74 yards on 11 plays and scored on Harmon's first 8-yard touchdown run, making it 10-7.

Bahr kicked a 33-yard field goal 3:17 before halftime, but the Bills responded by driving 80 yards on four plays to take a 14-13 lead.

The touchdown came on a 3-yard pass from Kelly to Butch Rolle after Kelly threw a 35-yard pass to Chris Burkett and a 37-yarder to Andre Reed, who had seven receptions for 153 yards.

Jackson had gained 221 yards on 18 carries and scored three touchdowns in the Raiders' 37-14 victory at Seattle last Monday night.

The defenses were pretty much non-existent Sunday as the Raiders and Bills combined for 881 yards in total offense.

The Raiders drove 68 yards on eight plays for the game-clinching touchdown. The big play of the drive was a 26-yard pass from Wilson to Lofton.

With the score 27-21 and 11 1/2 minutes remaining, Buffalo had a fourth-and-2 at the Los Angeles 36-yard line. Kelly's short pass intended for Walter Broughton was broken up by James Davis.

The Bills got into Raider territory after Los Angeles had scored its final touchdown, but they again turned the ball over on downs and the Raiders ran out the clock.

Harmon was Buffalo's leading rusher with 37 yards on eight carries. Allen gained 47 yards on 15 carries, completed a 23-yard pass to Jackson and caught five passes for 58 yards.

The game was played before 43,143 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

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