Terry McDaniel has been chasing John Elway for 11 weeks.
In his mind.
McDaniel, the Raider cornerback, is having a Pro Bowl season, arguably his finest.
But he couldn't quite forget the season opener 11 weeks ago.
He can still clearly remember Elway driving his team down the field in the closing minutes, the call for the blitz from the secondary, his arms nearly within reach of the slick Elway.
McDaniel missed the Denver Bronco quarterback by a step, leaving Elway room to throw the crucial pass that led to a Bronco victory and the start of a Raider four-game losing streak.
Sunday, McDaniel got his revenge.
Sunday, it was the Broncos who missed Elway.
Sunday, it was McDaniel who made the big plays, intercepting two passes and returning each 67 yards to highlight a strong defensive effort as the Raiders beat the Broncos, 24-0, before a Coliseum crowd of 50,011.
With the Raiders getting their first 100-yard rushing game by an individual this season (107 by Eric Dickerson in 16 carries) and three touchdown passes by quarterback Jay Schroeder, the club improved to 5-6 by beating the AFC West-leading Broncos (7-4).
Two years ago, at 19, Maddox became the starter for the Bruins.
But at 21, he found the going a lot tougher against an NFL defense that recorded its second shutout of the season.
He found himself fumbling a snap from center and twice dropping the ball while attempting to pass.
And most of all, he found McDaniel.
After the Raiders had taken a 3-0 first-quarter lead on Jeff Jaeger's 51-yard field goal, Maddox was attempting to hit Mark Jackson on a post pattern.
Instead, Maddox overthrew his target and McDaniel made the catch.
With the ball safely tucked in his arms, McDaniel made a few moves and found himself heading for the end zone down the left sideline, without a Bronco in sight. At the last minute, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Maddox streaking across the field.
"I figured at that point I was in," McDaniel said.
Not quite. A diving Maddox caught a piece of McDaniel's foot. McDaniel, his equilibrium upset, couldn't regain his balance. He stumbled a few more feet and hit the turf at the one-yard line.
Three plays later, the Raiders made it into the end zone on a one-yard pass from Schroeder to Andrew Glover to boost their lead to 10-0.
It was Schroeder's 100th touchdown pass, his 61st as a Raider in this, his fifth season in Los Angeles, after spending four with the Washington Redskins.
Asked if he knew the pass he had thrown was a personal milestone, Schroder smiled and replied, "Why do you think I grabbed the ball?"
Before the half was over, Schroder had increased his total to 101 by going to Tim Brown on an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Schroeder finished with 16 completions in 30 attempts for 160 yards and no interceptions.
Maddox certainly had his problems with the interceptions and dropped balls. But his numbers (18 of 26 for 207 yards) were respectable.
"Anytime you lose, it hurts," Maddox said, "but I was prepared to go into the game and get the job done. I don't think I was nervous. I just made some mistakes."
And the Raiders were waiting.
When Long saw Maddox in a television interview Saturday night from the Rose Bowl, site of the UCLA-USC game, the veteran Raider lineman said, "Maddox has the face of a little cherub. He looked like my paper boy. I wanted to tip him when I saw him.
"But he's a good kid. He is going to be a good player in this game."
Long said he didn't believe Elway wasn't going to play despite the injury the Denver quarterback suffered last week against the New York Giants and the constant reports of his inability to throw all week.
Long also found it hard to believe that what he was seeing from his three-point stance was all the Raiders were going to get. "It seemed too good to be true," Long said. "When it was tee-off time, I didn't think he (Maddox) would just go back in the pocket. You kept thinking they would use a draw, a trap or the middle screen."
The Raiders had three sacks and also blocked a field-goal attempt, Nolan Harrison getting his arm on the ball.
After a 10-yard touchdown pass from Schroeder to Marcus Allen had given the Raiders a 24-0 lead, McDaniel came up with his second interception to cut off Denver's last gasp.
"If they keep thinking Terry is our weak link," teammate Eddie Anderson said, "they are going to pay for his ticket over to (the Pro Bowl in) Hawaii."