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Smith Makes Mirer Feel Queasy : Raiders: Defensive end plays with flu, but still sacks Seattle rookie four times.

September 13, 1993|LONNIE WHITE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SEATTLE — It might not have seemed like it to Seattle rookie quarterback Rick Mirer, but Raider defensive end Anthony Smith played the entire game Sunday night sick with flu.

"I came into the game not feeling very well and almost didn't make it," said Smith, who sacked Mirer four times in the Raiders' 17-13 victory over the Seahawks at the Kingdome. "I was sick earlier in the week and my stomach was real upset before the game."

Instead of checking with the Raiders' team doctors for relief, Smith relied on his favorite get-well NFL remedy: Seattle's offensive line.

In his last two games at Seattle, Smith has been unstoppable. In the Raiders' 19-0 victory at the Kingdome last season, Smith also recorded four sacks.

"It's nothing special when I play here, except hard work," Smith said about his success against the Seahawks. "I think that our whole defense plays well here and the sacks come because of great coverage by our secondary."

Whatever the case, Smith has become one of the league's top sackers in recording six sacks in the Raiders' first two games of the season.

"He's just an awesome rush guy who, if he was given more time, could probably get 25 to 30 sacks a year," Raider safety Eddie Anderson said. "We know that if we just cover our guys three or four seconds, the quarterback will be in trouble."

Despite playing only passing situations Sunday, Smith made the most of his time.

He first introduced himself to Mirer early in the second quarter, when he sacked the former Notre Dame standout for a seven-yard loss and forced a Seattle field goal.

With the score tied, 7-7, Smith came back and stopped the Seahawks' next drive when he sacked Mirer for a four-yard loss.

Then, shortly before halftime, Smith was in on one of the game's biggest plays when he teamed with cornerback Terry McDaniel and forced Mirer to fumble at the end of a scramble, which led to the Raiders' go-ahead touchdown pass from Jeff Hostetler to Tim Brown.

Smith sacked Mirer again on the final play of the half.

"Their rush was really faster than we expected," Mirer said. "They really came to play and they got to me a lot."

With a 17-10 lead going into the second half, the Raiders' defense turned up its pressure on Mirer, who appeared shaken at times in the third quarter.

"He's going to be a good quarterback, but we got to him early and rattled him," Smith said. "But, he really hung in there. He reminds me of a young John Elway."

After getting no sacks in the third quarter, Smith opened the fourth with a rush. In two consecutive series, Smith first sacked Mirer for a 10-yard loss to end a drive, then came back and nearly recorded his fifth sack when he chased Mirer out of the pocket and forced him to throw the ball away under the league's new intentional grounding rule.

"It would have been a sack last year," Smith said. "I hate that rule."

For Mirer and the Seahawks, facing the Raiders was a learning experience. Mirer was sacked five times, with Raider defensive tackle Willie Broughton getting the fifth one. Mirer often had to run to escape the Raiders' rush and finished with 27 yards in five carries.

"I felt a lot of pressure from them out there," Mirer said. "They came hard and they had a pretty good idea of what to do to slow me down."

For Smith and his defensive line teammates, getting to Mirer was the key to the game.

"We knew that every time we sacked him that the crowd would be taken out of the game more and more," Raider defensive tackle Nolan Harrison said. "We didn't want their fans screaming before the snap. We wanted them groaning after a sack. Which is exactly what they did."

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