Shell Shocked at Buckley and Buccaneers : Pro football: Raider coach still angry about defensive back’s “clips” on Hoskins and other scuffles in penalty-filled game.
Twenty-four hours later, Coach Art Shell was still angry.
Angry that Sunday’s game between his Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had deteriorated into an undisciplined, penalty-laden, fight-filled 3 hours 32 minutes.
Angry at the Buccaneers for what he saw as a series of cheap shots.
But angriest of all at Tampa Bay reserve defensive back Curtis Buckley.
Shell does not normally vent his anger in public. But after viewing the film of the Raiders’ ugly 27-20 victory over the Buccaneers, he had plenty to say about Buckley.
“He was in on two plays and his sole purpose was to go in and clip Derrick Hoskins,” Shell said. “And both times, he did it. . . . His job was to come in there and hit (Hoskins) in the back. That’s not the way the game or the rules are set up.”
Shell said it was “more than likely” that he would complain to league officials about Buckley.
Buckley had said after Sunday’s game: “When we came in here, we knew what to expect. They would be talking junk and trying to intimidate us. We weren’t intimidated, and I think that shocked them more than anything. We didn’t back down.”
Buckley, however, was far from an isolated offender on a day when the teams combined for 25 penalties totaling 187 yards. The Raiders were guilty of 12 for 102 yards.
The Raiders, in fact, lead the NFL in penalties with 136 for 1,107 yards.
Still, Shell insisted, it was the Buccaneers who instigated the seemingly endless scuffles, matched by a series of fights in the stands, on a day when the Coliseum might have been better served by a ring announcer than a public-address announcer.
“They came into the game with one idea,” Shell said of the Buccaneers, “which was to try to take us out, in my mind, of what we were trying to do, which was to play a game of football. . . . All the little shoving and pushing after each play, sticking your hand in somebody’s facemask. . . . Every time we kicked the ball off, there were two or three clips or somebody grabbing somebody in the back. . . . (Quarterback Jeff) Hostetler kneels and the guy comes in and takes a shot at him. It’s not right.”
Was Shell directing the blame for what he saw as dirty tactics at Tampa Bay Coach Sam Wyche?
“I don’t know if it’s the coaching staff,” Shell said, “but it’s being done by their team. The players represent the team.”
Wyche, for his part, pointed a finger at the officials.
“I am not sure the officials understand the rules,” he said. “That really wasn’t a football game. It was a fight in four quarters.”
Two players, Raider guard Max Montoya and Buccaneer linebacker Hardy Nickerson, were ejected. Nickerson was tossed out for shoving an official, Montoya for fighting with Tampa Bay’s Santana Dotson.
It was a rare display of temper for the usually mild-mannered Montoya, who has seen his share of pushing and shoving in an NFL career that spans 15 seasons.
“I should have been smarter,” he said. “He hit me in the face and it was a basic reflex to hit back. It was totally out of character for me, but that’s what happens when somebody jacks you in the head.”
Shell said Dotson started the fight to get a free timeout.
“I understand what they were trying to do, which was to stop the clock,” he said. “But the guy takes a shot and hits Max in the mouth. How’s he supposed to react? I jumped on Max because Max is supposed to know better. He’s supposed to understand the situation and what they’re trying to do at that time.”
Raider defensive lineman Nolan Harrison could easily have been ejected as well, for throwing Buccaneer running back Mazio Royster’s helmet across the field in anger after he and Royster had clashed several times.
As a matter of fact, Harrison thought he was gone.
“I walked over to the bench to grab my stuff,” said Harrison, who discovered instead that his act had gone unpunished.
But that didn’t mean he was pleased with the officials.
“The (officials) have to respond to that,” Harrison said of the fighting. “And you have to play with class. Neither team did that.
"(The Buccaneers) think we’re about cheap-shotting and fighting. That’s not what we’re about. We just play hard.”