Raiders Win on Defense, Field Goals : Pro football: Davis blocks key 44-yard attempt; Jaeger does the scoring in 9-7 victory over Chargers.
The Raiders remained an arm and a leg ahead of their competition Sunday because of one arm, Scott Davis’, and one leg, Jeff Jaeger’s.
Other Raider parts were not as memorable in the Raiders’ 9-7 victory over the San Diego Chargers before 56,780 at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
Davis, who is becoming quite good at this, stuck his hand up to block a potential game-winning 44-yard field goal by John Carney with 1:57 left to preserve a victory that kept the Raiders tied for first place at 9-4.
This is the same 6-foot-7 Davis who blocked an extra-point attempt at Denver on Nov. 10, the difference in a 17-16 victory for the Raiders.
This is the same Davis who saved a Raider victory at Denver in 1990 with a last-second block.
Davis doesn’t like to compare blocks, but. . . .
“It was similar in that we blocked the kick,” Davis said. “It was the end of the game. We got it in a crucial situation, which makes it more exciting. I guess if you’re going to block kicks, it’s a good time to do it.”
For his block collection, Davis now has a matching set: He used his left hand to swat away David Treadwell’s extra-point try in Denver. Sunday night, it was his right hand that turned Carney’s boot into a sodbuster.
It was Jaeger’s right foot that gave Davis his chance. Jaeger, who set the team record for most field goals in a season last week, added three more to his record against the Chargers with first-half kicks of 37, 19 and a career-best 53 yarder with eight seconds remaining in the half.
Indicative of the night, the Raiders made things as difficult as possible for Jaeger’s third field goal, which turned out to be the difference.
As the half ended, Jaeger was set for a 48-yard attempt when the Raiders lost track of the clock and were penalized five yards for delay of game.
“It was a little bit of an adjustment,” Jaeger said. “I had a real nice spot picked out from 48. That made me mad.”
For about 10 seconds. Jaeger stepped back five yards and found another sweet spot from 53.
The Raiders later could count their blessings that these were the Chargers, reigning experts in the art of losing close games.
Coach Dan Henning’s team, which fell to 3-10, thought it had scored the winning touchdown with three minutes left on a 22-yard pass from quarterback John Friesz to Derrick Walker. But the play was called back because of a holding penalty on center Courtney Hall, who had wrestled Nolan Harrison to the ground and held.
Instead of a touchdown, the Chargers settled for the field-goal attempt. You know the rest of the story.
“What it came down to was the penalty on the touchdown pass,” Henning said. “We never got it back down there again.”
The holding call was real, though, if you ask Harrison.
“He basically tried to flip me,” Harrison said, describing Hall’s hold. “He kept me down on the ground. When I saw the flag, I said ‘Vindication.’ ”
Harrison played well--three tackles, one sack--in place of Howie Long, who suffered an injured knee in the first half.
“This is what I work for,” the rookie from Indiana said. “If one of the guys goes down, it’s my job to step in. I’ve got to do the same kind of job, or close to it. Nobody’s going to do as good as job as Howie, but we can’t skip the beat. That’s what I’ve been training for all season.”
So much for the highlights. This was not a game for which the Raider offense could be proud. Quarterback Jay Schroeder was intercepted three times in the first half, squelching several opportunities.
The Raiders’ defense held the Chargers to five total yards in the half, one first down, and minus 19 in net passing yardage.
Five times in the half, the Raiders took possession of the ball at their 45-yard line or better, yet had only three field goals to show for it.
“We did not play as well as we should have,” Raider Coach Art Shell said. “We had too many turnovers, and we didn’t throw the ball as well as we should have. But you have to win games like this.”
Disgusted with his offense, Shell went to a power game in the second half, using big back Nick Bell to consume yardage and time off the clock.
The plan was to protect a 9-0 halftime lead in the hope the Chargers couldn’t make a comeback.
The hitch came in the third quarter, when San Diego cut the lead to 9-7 on a one-yard run by Rod Bernstine with 5:14 left. The score was set up in part by a 37-yard pass interference call, Raider corner Lionel Washington on Charger receiver Kitrick Taylor.
Washington didn’t agree with the call.
“I guess our feet got tangled up,” he said. “A lot of times receivers will fake something like that hoping to get the call. He got the call.”
It gave San Diego a first down at the Raider 38. Three plays later, Friesz threw a 31-yard pass to Nate Lewis to the Raider one, setting up Bernstine’s score.
But the Raiders escaped another close shave. Next week against Buffalo, they might not be so lucky.
“Against Buffalo next week our offense is going to have to play a much better game,” Schroeder said. “It would be nice to say you’ll be perfect in every game, but that just doesn’t happen. It was just one of those nights.”
Defensive end Howie Long will have a magnetic resonance imaging test today to determine the extent of the injury suffered to his left knee in the first quarter of Sunday’s game. “Right now my fingers are crossed,” Long said after the game. “I’m hoping it’s a sprained knee and not a medial collateral tear.” A Raider official said afterward the team didn’t think Long’s injury was as serious as first thought. Nothing official, though, will be determined until further testing is done. . . . Quarterback Jay Schroeder threw 20 passes in the first half, only eight in the second. He completed 12 of 28 attempts for 122 yards with three interceptions and no touchdowns.
The Raiders spread the rushing load around with good results. Nick Bell, making his first appearance since suffering cracked ribs against Kansas City on Oct. 28, led all rushers with 58 yards in 10 carries. Marcus Allen rushed for 45 yards in nine carries, and starter Roger Craig gained 36 yards in eight attempts.
Ronnie Lott intercepted his seventh pass of the season on the game’s last play, a desperation pass by Charger quarterback John Friesz.