Raiders Don't Take Heat Off : Pro football: They keep the pressure on Broncos' Elway and defeat the defending AFC champions, 14-9.


There were no offensive touchdowns, 50-yard rushers, pretty passes, air-conditioners or much need for a scoreboard operator.

There was Howie Long and Co., suffocating heat, pools of sweat, oxygen masks, cold compresses, one mild concussion and memories of savage Raider defenses of old.

When it was over Sunday, the Raiders had chased a mile-high quarterback John Elway to sea-level exhaustion on their way to a 14-9 victory over the Denver Broncos before 54,206 in the Coliseum.

Despite 94-degree heat at kickoff, the Raiders pursued on defense with a relentlessness and fury not seen since their playoff days which, remember, is going back some. The defense sacked Elway five times, held the Broncos to 44 net yards rushing, kept Denver out of the end zone and scored both touchdowns.

The Raider offense, in turn, watched a pretty good game.

Who needs an offense when the defense can handle all the dirty work and score twice in less than 10 minutes, too?

The Raider defense, which trailed 6-0 at the half, decided to take matters into its own hands.

"At the half, we said we'd have to score on defense," linebacker Jerry Robinson said. "Before you knew it, I was in the end zone. Then, Terry McDaniel was in the end zone."

First, Mr. Robinson. The Broncos were pinned back at their own five on their first possession of the third quarter, thanks to Greg Townsend's 14-yard sack of Elway on second down.

Then, it was Jack Squirek in Tampa Bay revisted. Joe Theismann would remember. Elway, trapped in his own end zone, tried to dump a screen pass off to back Steve Sewell, but Robinson stepped in front of the play and picked off the pass on the run, scoring untouched from five yards out.

"I don't know how far it was," Robinson said later. "It felt like 200 yards to me."

For Elway, too. That gave the Raiders a 7-6 lead with 7:49 left in the quarter.

Later in the third, Elway fired a complete pass to Vance Johnson, who fumbled after a seven-yard gain. Terry McDaniel, who didn't start at cornerback because of a hamstring sprain, scooped the ball up and ran 42 yards for the Raiders' second touchdown.

"I saw some Denver players running toward me," McDaniel said, "so I didn't know if they had the angle on me or not, so I just took off for the end zone."

This two-touchdown flash-and-glitz display did not overshadow the unit's general dominance and a few manly defensive stands.

The best one came early in the fourth quarter, after Elway had a completed a 41-yard pass to Mark Jackson to gave the Broncos first and goal at the Raider four.

Elway threw two incompletions, then dropped back on third down only to be stripped by defensive end Long, who picked up the loose ball and ran head-on into a pile of Broncos and a concussion. Long wobbled from the field and collapsed for a moment near the Raider bench.

"I just remember waking up on the ground," Long said.

Elway wished he would have stayed there. The renown Denver quarterback, who reportedly was coming off his best summer in years after that 55-10 loss in Super Bowl XXIV last January, succumbed to the heat later in the fourth quarter. This was real heat, not the Raider pass rush. Coach Dan Reeves removed Elway from the game for one series.

This, remember, was the same Elway who was reportedly in the best shape of his life, and the one who plays his home games in the mile-high altitude of Denver.

"I had to take John out because he did get light-headed," Reeves said. "I don't know why, and he doesn't know why either. He probably does more running than anybody after practice, but the heat id have an effect on him. He had to run a lot to get away from the rush and make some things happen."

Elway returned for Denver's final stand, hoping to pull out a miracle. The Broncos had cut the lead to 14-9 on a 24-yard field goal by David Treadwell with 5:05 left. There was still time.

The Raider offense tried its best to run out the clock, but couldn't, kicking ball back to Denver's 23 with 1:43 and no timeouts remaining.

Most times, it's not wise to present Elway with such a challenge, as Cleveland fans will remember from a sequence now known as The Drive.

Elway wasn't up for the task Sunday. He was sacked for a seven-yard loss by Bill Pickel on second down. Then, Long stepped in to put the finishing touches on a memorable day, dropping Elway for an eight-yard loss and all but clinching the victory.

Long, who some said was finished a year ago, finished with six tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery. He was double teamed most of the day.

Long said the game reminded him of the Raider defenses of 1983, '84 and '85.

"We won a lot of games on defense," he said. "Our offense will come around. Some games the offense will carry the defense."

Who gets credit for the Raider resurgence? Most players were mentioning Coach Art Shell, who ran his home record to 7-0 with Sunday's victory.

"He gave us back the belief," Townsend said. "This is Art Shell football. He gives us back the attitude of the Silver and Black attack. We don't get our butts whipped in our own backyard."

Howie Long agreed that Shell is the difference: "You know what to get from him day in and day out. . . . I think you have to enjoy the people you play for."

Shell also accepts responsibilty for the Raider offense, which managed 194 net yards.

Quarterback Jay Schroeder completed nine of 18 passes for 118 yards and had one interception. Steve Smith led all rushers with 48 yards.

"The team appreciated what the defense did," Shell said. "We're all in this thing together. That's what team play is all about. We played team football today. The defense rose to the occasion and it was an outstanding victory."

Schroeder, who won the starting job by default when Steve Beuerlein held out in a contract dispute, was optimistic that this team would eventually score.

"Hopefully next week we'll get our heads together," Schroeder said. "We didn't come up with the plays and we beat ourselves."

Raider Notes

The Raiders opened the game with Vance Mueller and Steve Smith as starting backs. Greg Bell, the former Ram, started the second quarter but finished with 17 yards in five carries. . . . John Elway completed 14 of 31 passes for 157 yards with two interceptions. . . . The Broncos' leading carrier was Bobby Humphrey, who gained 24 yards in 11 carries. . . . It was a tough day for Raider receiver Tim Brown, who fumbled a punt and dropped a long pass. . . . Denver Coach Dan Reeves on the heat: "The Raiders definitely handled the heat better than we did. We got tired so we have to get our conditioning level where we want it to be."

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