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Metcalf Stings the Raiders Again : Pro football: Running back who had four touchdowns against L.A. last season scores with two seconds to play, giving the Browns a 19-16 victory.

September 20, 1993|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the end, it was still Eric Metcalf.

Never mind that the player who almost single-handedly beat the Raiders a year ago with four touchdowns had a total of minus three yards as he lined up for the final play of Sunday's Raider-Cleveland Brown game at the Coliseum.

Forget that the Raiders dominated this game through three quarters and wound up with four interceptions.

Don't get too impressed with Raider quarterback Jeff Hostetler's masterful performance in the first quarter.

Yes, the Raiders had a 13-0 lead after three quarters and a 16-3 fourth-quarter lead.

But in the end, it didn't matter. In the end, it came down to Metcalf.

Six seconds to play. Ball on the Raiders' one-yard line.

Metcalf, lining up on the right side, took a handoff from quarterback Vinny Testaverde, swept around the left side and high-stepped into the end zone without a Raider within reach.

Final: Cleveland 19, Raiders 16.

One small step for Metcalf and one giant leap for the Browns, who are 3-0 for the first time in 14 years.

The Raiders, unbeaten in their first two games, looked unbeatable in this one.

That's what hurt so much.

"This team is hurting real bad right now," Coach Art Shell said in the Raiders' locker room. "But the sun will shine tomorrow."

In one corner of the locker room, defensive lineman Anthony Smith sought privacy to allow himself a brief cry. On another side, fellow lineman Nolan Harrison talked to reporters, his anger welling in the form of a quivering lip.

"All I know is that we lost," Harrison said. "Everything beyond that is a blur. We're like wounded animals. When a wounded animal is backed into a corner, the only thing he wants to do is survive. I will survive by doing the things I do better."

It had seemed so different only a few hours earlier. Forced to travel to the West Coast for a game only six days after playing on Monday night, their defense plagued by injuries, the Browns figured to be the wounded animals.

And nothing on the first drive of the game indicated otherwise.

Hostetler, again mixing up his targets and his options as he had done so effectively in his previous two games, put together an eight-play, 80-yard game-opening drive, culminating in a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andrew Glover.

Cutting across the middle of the end zone, Glover held onto the ball despite a vicious hit from safety Eric Turner that sent Glover's head crashing into the padded goal post.

Then, the Raider defense took charge. Twice in the first quarter, the Raiders picked off Bernie Kosar passes.

The first was by lineman Chester McGlockton, the oft-injured, first-round draft pick of a year ago who played the game of his brief career with the interception, a sack, six tackles and constant pressure.

McGlockton returned the interception 19 yards. He was denied a touchdown when he was tripped up by Kosar.

The Raiders settled for a 24-yard field goal by Jeff Jaeger.

On their next possession, the Browns again gave up the football, Derrick Hoskins intercepting a Kosar pass.

Again, the Raider offense stalled.

Again, Jaeger kicked a field goal, this time from 27 yards out.

But as good as things were going for the Raiders, they were not going so well for Hostetler.

On the first drive, he had to leave for one play after he was hit by linebackers Mike Johnson and Clay Matthews.

Hostetler suffered a sprained left knee on the play.

"I felt it for the rest of the day," he said.

And for the rest of the day, he was pummeled by the Browns, suffering a sprained right ankle as well.

He came out a second time, but refused to stay out.

Hostetler will have tests taken on the knee today.

In the first half, the Raiders held Cleveland to 37 net yards, including minus three rushing.

The Browns pulled Kosar, who had completed only eight of 17 passes for 71 yards with three interceptions, and inserted Testaverde in the fourth quarter. Testaverde led his team to the Raiders' 14, where the Browns faced fourth and four.

Considering how long it had taken the Browns to get that far, it seemed like Cleveland had to get seven points to get back in the game.

Instead, Coach Bill Belichick went for a field goal, Matt Stover making a 32-yarder.

When the Raiders came back with a 53-yarder by Jaeger, their lead seemed safe.

But relief pitcher Testaverde came up with the most improbable of saves.

First, he connected with Lawyer Tillman on a 12-yard touchdown pass with 2:26 to play.

Still, all the Raiders had to do was get perhaps one more first down.

That was asking a lot. After getting 10 in the first half, they had only one in the second. And that one came on a penalty.

Hostetler's leg injuries were obviously limiting his mobility.

After the kickoff, the Raiders took over at their six-yard line.

It came down to a third-and-six pass that Hostetler lofted to Glover.

But unlike in the first quarter, Glover couldn't hold on after getting hit by Pepper Johnson.

The Raiders deliberately took a safety to get some kicking room.

Testaverde took over on the Raiders' 45 with 1:41 to play.

With key passes of 16 and 17 yards to Mark Carrier, he drove Cleveland to the Raider one.

Slowly, the mood of the crowd of 48,617 changed.

With 11 seconds remaining, Testaverde tried a pass to Michael Jackson. It failed.

With six seconds left, it came down to Metcalf.

Once again.

Raider Notes

The much-awaited debut of Rocket Ismail was again put on hold because of a back injury to the receiver/kick returner.

* RECORD DAY: San Diego's John Carney kicks six field goals to break NFL mark and beat Houston, 18-17. C4

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