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Oilers Beat Raiders on Pinkett’s Touchdown

<i> Associated Press</i>

After more than 59 minutes of nail-biting tension, Houston running back Allen Pinkett had no choice on his final assignment of Sunday’s game against the Raiders.

“There was nothing left to do but do it,” said Pinkett, who barreled into the end zone with 31 seconds left, rallying the Oilers to a 38-35 victory.

“The final drive shows how much character this team has.”

The Oilers moved 79 yards, converted a fourth down pass and reached the Raider 6 with time running out.

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Pinkett, who subbed for injured Mike Rozier, took a pitch from quarterback Cody Carlson, subbing for injury Warren Moon, made the corner and dove into the end zone.

“The man on me lined up on the center so I knew if I could get around the corner I would probably score,” said Pinkett, who scored three touchdowns.”

Carlson kept his poise in the fourth quarter.

“When they needed a big drive, they got it,” Raider defensive end Howie Long said. “Their quarterback did a great job. We’d hit him and he’d get up and never lose his composure.”

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The Oilers also put great pressure on the Raiders’ young quarterback, Steve Beuerlein, although he completed three touchdown passes in the second quarter.”

Oiler defensive end William Fuller got three sacks.

“The sacks were on just basic rushes,” Fuller said. “With our pressure from the outside, there’s nowhere for the quarterback to go.

“We work as one unit on defense. We are not a selfish ball club.

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Carlson recovered from two first half mistakes that resulted in two Raider touchdowns.

“We played hard and if we hadn’t won, it would have been tough to come back,” Carlson said. “Once we got down there close, I felt good. When I pitched the ball to Allen, I knew we had a chance to score.”

Beuerlein took little consolation in his individual statistics.

“I’m not even close to being satisfied,” Beuerlein said. “There were a lot of times in the second half when we needed a spark and we couldn’t pull it off.

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“We had opportunities and didn’t cash in and I’m responsible. I feel bad about it.”

The Oilers comeback helped nullify a 21-point second quarter for the Raiders when Beuerlein completed three second-quarter touchdown pases of 42 yards to Willie Gault, 3 yards to Tim Brown and 9 yards to Steve Smith.

Carlson, starting his first NFL game, completed touchdown passes of 16 yards to Drew Hill and 12 yards to Ernest Givins.

The Raiders capitalized on two costly turnovers by Carlson in the second quarter en route to their 21-point surge. Carlson fumbled at the Oiler 5-yard line and defensive end Howie Long returned and interception 73 yards to set up a pair of scores.

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Houston is now 2-0 and the Raiders dropped to 1-1.

Carlson, who finished with 21 completions in 34 attempts for 276 yards, completed 12 of 15 passes in the first half and then rallied the Oilers in the fourth period after completing only one pass in the third quarter.

Beuerlein completed 10 of 24 passes for 129 yards and directed the drive that put the Raiders ahead for the final time with 2:59 left. Beuerlein completed a 19-yard pass to Gault and then threw an incomplete pass to Gault in the end zone. But Patrick Allen was called for pass interference giving the Raiders a first down on the Oilers’ 1-yard line.

Pinkett gained 70 yards in 22 carries as a replacement as Rozier missed the game with shoulder and ankle injuries.

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Givins caught 9 passes for 108 yards for the Oilers.

The Oilers overcame 15 penalties for 184 yards.

Givins caught the key pass in the winning drive when he snagged a 14-yard catch to the Raider 32-yard line on a fourth-down play.

Carlson then hit passes of 16 yards to Willie Drewrey and seven yards to Givins and Pinkett ran five more yards before his game-winning run.

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