Raider tailback Bo Jackson, who celebrated his 28th birthday Friday, doesn’t want to age like a mere mortal.
“It’s depressing,” Jackson said. “I’m getting old. I don’t like that. I wish I could stay 15 forever.”
Not even Jackson is immune from aging, but when he is old and gray, he can take out the video disc and show his grandchildren his 62-yard touchdown run in the Raiders’ 23-20 victory over the Denver Broncos Sunday at Mile High Stadium.
“It happened so fast I don’t know what happened, really,” Jackson said when asked to describe the run, his longest of the season. “All I know is that we ran an off-tackle play to the right and I cut it back and saw orange flashes go past and as I cut across the grain. I slipped a couple of tackles and the field was open. I guess I wanted to get into the end zone worse than they wanted to stop me.”
Although it was designed as a simple play over the right side of the Raider line, Jackson improvised.
Tacking the handoff, Jackson reversed his field, cutting back to the other side. Bronco safety Steve Atwater had a shot at Jackson, but he squirmed free of Atwater’s grasp.
“Bo’s a great football player and that was simply a great run,” Atwater said. “We missed a couple of tackles and he ran through some.”
Jackson also broke two other tackles on the touchdown sprint. Jackson also eluded cornerback Wymon Henderson and linebacker Ronnie Haliburton.
Bronco Coach Dan Reeves criticized his players for poor tackling technique on Jackson.
“Bo Jackson is a great runner and I’m not taking anything from him when I say that we didn’t tackle well today,” Reeves said. “We had people trying to hit him with shoulder pads and helmets. We have to develop better fundamentals, especially when you have to face a 240-pound running back.”
Raider tailback Marcus Allen, who threw a key block on Jackson’s touchdown run, was the first to congratulate Jackson, who rushed for 117 yards in 13 carries and scored two touchdowns.
“I’m glad Bo had a good game today because we needed it,” Allen said. “He stepped forward today.”
After spending most of the first half on the sideline while Allen was playing, Jackson faced a tired Bronco defense.
Jackson, who carried only twice for 19 yards in the first half, rushed for 98 yards in 11 carries and two touchdowns in the second half. It was the first time that Jackson had scored since he ran for two touchdowns in his first game of the season, against the San Diego Chargers.
Jackson carried two more times in the second half against the Broncos than he carried in the Raiders’ loss to Kansas City last week.
“I’m sure every running back that was out there would like to play the whole game,” Jackson said. “But I’m not making the calls. You’ve got to talk to (Coach) Art Shell about that.”
Shell said Jackson didn’t play much in the first half because the Raiders had only three offensive series.
Although it was difficult to stay warm on a day when the wind-chill factor was eight degrees, Jackson said he was warmed up when he entered the game with 1:49 remaining in the first half.
“I think it’s tough,” Allen said. “My hat’s off to Bo. It was cold out there.”
Did Jackson have an advantage because he was fresh in the second half, while the crippled Bronco defense was tired?
“No,” Jackson said. “I think they hit me just as hard in the fourth quarter as they hit Marcus in the first two quarters.”
But the Raiders’ game plan may have provided Jackson with an edge in the second half.
After quarterback Jay Schroeder completed eight of 11 passes for 98 yards in the first half, the Raiders all but abandoned the pass, throwing for 66 yards in the second half.
With the Broncos expecting Schroeder to throw, the Raiders, who rushed for only 49 yards in the first half, got 99 yards on the ground in the second half.
With the Raiders trailing, 10-7, in the third quarter, Jackson put the Raiders ahead for good when he scored on an 11-yard run with 8:43 left in the quarter.
Jackson sidestepped linebacker Michael Brooks before he stumbled into the end zone.
“I didn’t know if I was going to score because I couldn’t see over my shoulders,” Jackson said. “I didn’t know if someone was coming from my left or if someone was going to come from behind. I just went all out.”
Raider guard Max Montoya said Jackson didn’t get much blocking on the run.
“It was unbelievable,” Montoya said. “We probably didn’t block two or three guys. I still don’t know how he got it in the end zone.”
Schroeder, who had a good view of the play, said, “I’m just in awe when I watch him do that.”