Saint Victory Over Raiders Is Big, Easy : Pro football: L.A. gets only 117 yards of total offense in 27-0 loss, which gives Broncos the AFC West title.


After a season’s work, it took the Raiders 60 minutes to lose a game, a division, their quarterback, momentum and some of their Monday night mystique.

It took the New Orleans Saints to sort things out. The Saints, needing a win to clinch a wild-card playoff berth, handed the Raiders their first shutout in five years, 27-0, before 68,625 at the Superdome.

After this listless performance, the Raiders’ path is clear: The loss clinched the AFC West for Denver, which rebounded from a 5-11 season in 1990 to unseat the Raiders.


The Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs will play next Sunday at the Coliseum to determine which will have home-field advantage for a first-round wild-card rematch in two weeks.

The Raiders (9-6) aren’t exactly steaming toward the playoffs. Monday night’s loss was their second in a row. The Raider offense was held to 117 total yards against a Saint defense that was thought vulnerable because of injuries in the secondary.

But the Saints’ front seven proved enough, getting four sacks.

More important, the Saints knocked Raider starter Jay Schroeder from the game during the first quarter when linebacker Pat Swilling collapsed on Schroeder’s right ankle.

Although X-rays were negative, the sprain put Schroeder on the sideline for the rest of thehalf. He returned for the third quarter, with the Raiders trailing by 3-0, but Schroeder couldn’t get much push off his throwing foot.

To compound matters, he suffered a sprained left ankle on another sack, in the secondhalf.

Schroeder hobbled through the locker room afterward and said he didn’t know what his status was for next week’s game against the Chiefs.

“I’ll give it a day or two to see what happens,” he said.

Despite the collapse, the Raiders trailed by only 10-0 in the third quarter and had the ball at the Saint 35-yard line after Derrick Crudup blocked a punt.


But after Schroeder was sacked for a four-yard loss on third down, a 53-yard field-goal attempt by Jeff Jaeger hit the cross bar and bounced back.

The Saints then swarmed the Raiders, scoring 17 points during the fourth quarter to make a close game a route.

The Raiders didn’t need to win to make the playoffs, but no one expected this kind of performance.

“It’s like we threw the uniforms out on the field and decided we were going to play it their way,” Raider Coach Art Shell said.

Defensive end Greg Townsend said he couldn’t imagine the Raiders looking past New Orleans to next week’s game against Kansas City.

“We’re professionals,” he said. “I just can’t see us looking down the road. I’d like to think we came in a little flat and they got on top.”


The Raiders trailed at the half, 3-0, but it could have been 28-0. The Saints had everything going their way: They knocked Schroeder out with four minutes left in the first quarter, dominated on offense, outgained the Raiders in total yards, 290 to 35, but had only a 37-yard field goal by Morten Andersen to show for it.

The Saints crippled themselves with eight penalties for 78 yards, a missed Anderson field goal, a fumble and some poor clock management near the end of the half.

Four times during the half, the Saints drove inside the Raider 25. And for what?

With 45 seconds left in the first quarter, a 41-yard field-goal attempt by Andersen was wide to the right. The Saints drove to the Raider 16 on the their next drive but, on third and 11, Hebert was stripped of the ball by Anthony Smith, Winston Moss recovering.

Could the Saints blow another chance before the half ended?

They could.

With no timeouts and 13 seconds remaining, New Orleans faced third and nine at the Raider 19. Instead of calling for Andersen to put the Saints ahead by 6-0 with a short field goal, the Saints elected to run another play from scrimmage.

Hebert then did the unthinkable, throwing a pass over the middle to Eric Martin, who was tackled at the four after a 14-yard gain.

But the Saints did not have time to stop the clock, time ran out, and a chorus of boos swelled for another questionable decision by Coach Jim Mora.


The Raiders? During the half, they did not have a drive beyond their 43-yard line.

Raider Notes

Tim Brown started as a wide receiver ahead of Mervyn Fernandez, the team’s leading receiver. . . . Rookie quarterback Todd Marinovich was eligible to play Monday night with no preconditions. Marinovich has spent most of the season in uniform as the “46th player” on the roster, meaning he could only enter a game if both starter Jay Schroeder and backup Vince Evans were injured. Against the Saints, the Raiders used their two inactive positions for Howie Long and Steve Wisniewski, both of whom were sidelined because of knee injuries. Thus, Marinovich was on the active 45-man roster.

The Raiders activated offensive lineman Joel Patten for the game and placed linebacker A.J. Jimerson on injured reserve because of a knee injury. James FitzPatrick started in Wisniewski’s place at left guard. Nose tackle Bob Golic injured his calf early in the game but returned in the second half.

BIG COMEBACK: Back from injury, Bobby Hebert passed for 320 yards. C9