KANSAS CITY — The Raider fairy tale finish jerked to a halt Sunday, a little ahead of schedule. Not long after the clock struck 3, central myth-stomping time, Bo Jackson sprained his ankle and retired with a 0.3 rushing average.
And the offense turned back back into a pumpkin.
Marc Wilson's string of no-interception games ended with a flourish. He threw three, including the killer to cornerback Kevin Ross in the final seconds, after a long look in that direction, as O.J. Simpson, sitting with Raider officials in the press box, yelled, "Oh come on, you can't throw that ball!"
Oh, yes he could.
And the Raiders' league-leading rushing game averaged 2.8 yards per attempt.
The Raiders fell, 16-10, to a Kansas City Chiefs team that had been 2-10, while baseballs, launched in honor of Jackson's return, rained out of the Arrowhead Stadium stands. The Chiefs were playing hardball Sunday, or at least their fans were.
The Raiders used to eat this stuff up and spit it back at you, but not this time around. Their two-game BoBubble was ended. They're 5-8 and, finally, mathematically eliminated from the playoffs for the second straight season.
"This is pretty disturbing," said a Raider player. "I thought we were on a roll."
On the record, there was much lamentation in the Raider locker room about their yardage edge (400-276), and how frustrating it was that they just couldn't get it into the end zone, and the officials' problems. But the fact remains, they had reverted to what they were before Bo.
And that means something, too, since they're going to have to spend the first halves of their seasons without him for the foreseeable future.
"You're just looking at the score," Wilson said. "I'm looking at the first downs and the yardage. In first downs and yardage, we kicked the crap out of them. We just couldn't score when we got inside their 20. That's what drives you crazy."
Not that anyone any longer cares a great deal about who out-gained whom, but the Raiders did find some creative ways to stay out of the end zone, or off the scoreboard:
--Wilson was intercepted by safety Mark Robinson at the goal line in the first period.
--Jackson's backup, Vance Mueller, fumbled at the Kansas City nine in the second.
--Wilson threw his second interception midway through the second period, behind James Lofton, to Ross at the Chiefs' four.
--Marcus Allen's dive from the one before halftime was first ruled a touchdown, then reversed by the replay official, after which the Chiefs made the Raiders settle for a field goal.
--With a third-and-13 at the Kansas City 17, trailing 13-10 in the fourth period, the Raiders ran Mueller for five yards to the left hashmark to set up Chris Bahr, then watched him hook a 32-yard field-goal try to the left.
Make that five times inside the Kansas City 25, including two inside the 10, for a total of three points.
Not good enough, you say? That's what Tom Flores said, too. This post-game analysis stuff isn't so hard.
The long-awaited afternoon was an artistic disaster as well as a Raider fiasco. Jackson, booed heartily, got no yards on his first attempt, and two on his second, after which he left the game, first to have his right ankle re-taped on the bench. Then he went to the locker room with trainer George Anderson and a couple of security people, while baseballs flew out of the stands as he ran by.
Jackson emerged minutes later, having been X-rayed (negative) and re-taped. He went back in, lost one yard on his third carry and left for good, finishing with one yard in three carries, a 0.3 average.
"I don't think it's serious," Flores said. "But he just wasn't able to make the cuts he normally does."
Of course, it still looked as if the Raiders would be hard-pressed to lose. Their defense owned Bill Kenney (of the first nine times he went back to pass, there were two completions, six incompletions of which three were batted down at the line, plus a sack on which he fumbled the ball away) and shut down the Chiefs' ground game, too.
How could they get hurt?
The Raiders have been talking up their sub cornerbacks, Sam Seale and Ron Fellows, who have been playing in place of injured starters Mike Haynes and Lionel Washington, who had been having enough trouble of their own.
Well, the backups were about to undergo trial by fire.
In the second period Kenney dropped a 67-yard bomb over Fellows to Carlos Carson, who caught the ball at the Raider 23, slowed up and almost came to a stop at the two before deigning to step into the end zone. Chiefs led, 7-0.
In a 10-10 game early in the fourth period, Seale was called for a 34-yard pass interference against Carson at the Raider six, setting up a Nick Lowery chip-shot field goal and a 13-10 Kansas City lead.
After Bahr's miss, the Chiefs drove 63 yards for another Lowery field goal. Included is Kenney's conversion of a third-and-11 with a 36-yard pass to Carson against Seale; a 13-yard pass to Carson against Fellows, and a 16-yard pass to Henry Marshall against Seale.