Buchanon Can't Keep the Lid On

Times Staff Writer

Talk about losing your head in a key situation.

Phillip Buchanon, the Oakland Raiders' second-year punt returner and cornerback, drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taking off his helmet after a key punt return in the fourth quarter of Oakland's 27-24 loss Sunday.

The Raiders trailed, 24-21, with just under four minutes left when Buchanon returned Jason Baker's short punt 27 yards to Kansas City's 26.

But instead of running back to the bench, he sprinted through the end zone, took off his helmet and yelled at fans.

The resulting penalty pushed Oakland back to the 41, and the Raiders could get no closer than the 18 before settling for a Sebastian Janikowski 41-yard field goal with 2:22 remaining.

Kansas City then drove downfield for Morten Andersen's 35-yard field goal with four seconds left for a 27-24 victory.

Buchanon didn't want to talk about that drive, either, especially the fourth-and-14 play on which he gave up Marc Boerigter's 16-yard catch that set up the winning kick.

"It was a tough game to lose. I didn't do enough for us to win," Buchanon said with a shrug. "That's how it happens."

Reactions elsewhere in the Raider locker room were less nonchalant.

Veteran wide receiver Tim Brown, asked if he offered Buchanon any advice, said Buchanon was likely to get a lot of it in the coming week.

"He already has a lot of veteran leadership over there [on the defense], so I haven't taken the opportunity," Brown said. "I think the opportunity will present itself this week."

Former Oakland great Jim Otto, now in charge of special projects for the team, could be overheard calling Buchanon's actions "stupid" and ripping the cornerback's defensive skills.

Coach Bill Callahan was more diplomatic, but just as clearly displeased.

"I think he's learning, and these are hard lessons to learn," Callahan said. "You can't do the things you've normally done in college when you come in here."


The Washington Redskins' Bruce Smith tied the NFL career sacks record Sunday night, increasing his total to 198 when he and Renaldo Wynn dropped Miami Dolphin quarterback Brian Griese for a nine-yard loss in the first quarter of Miami's 24-23 victory.

Smith was credited with a half-sack, tying him with Reggie White, who played for Philadelphia and Green Bay.

"What would have been nice was winning the game," Smith said. "Good things come from winning. Had we won the game, I'd be in a much better mood."

After Smith and Wynn sandwiched Griese, Smith tossed the game ball to the Washington sideline for a souvenir. Griese became the 72nd quarterback Smith has sacked.

At age 40, Smith is listed with the second team on the depth chart. Which does not sit well with the veteran, who doesn't want to tout himself, then goes ahead and does so. "I'm not going to say I, I, I or me, me, me," Smith said. "But I will say that I need to be out there more."

The sack gave Smith three this season, his 19th in the NFL. An 11-time Pro Bowl selection, Smith played for 15 years with the Buffalo Bills before joining the Redskins in 2000.


Jerry Rice became the first player with 1,500 career receptions -- and did it in spectacular fashion in the Raiders' game against the Chiefs.

The 19-year veteran came into the game needing two catches to reach the milestone, but was held without a reception until he caught a four-yard pass from Rick Mirer with just over seven minutes left in the third quarter.

Then, on the second play of the fourth quarter, Rice slanted inside cornerback Eric Warfield at Kansas City's 25, caught Mirer's pass in stride and sprinted untouched to the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown. It was also his 193rd touchdown catch, extending his NFL record.


A few of Sunday's key injuries: Steve McNair injured his right calf in Tennessee's victory over Atlanta, leaving the star quarterback doubtful for the Titans' game next weekend. Chicago lost its starting quarterback, with Chris Chandler spraining his right shoulder. Houston quarterback David Carr missed the Texans' overtime loss to New England because of a sprained right shoulder, and Tennessee defensive end Jevon Kearse was not in uniform in Atlanta because of a sprained left ankle.


Times wire services contributed to this report.


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Baltimore 44, Seattle 41, OT: If one Wright can lead a great comeback, what could two Wrights do? Make an airplane.

Indianapolis 17, Buffalo 14: Manning has 15 fourth-quarter comebacks. Which means he's no good for three quarters.

Pittsburgh 13, Cleveland 6: Browns have five turnovers. It must have been Earnest Byner bobblehead day.

Dallas 24, Carolina 20: Is it a coincidence the once-dead Cowboys are being led by a guy named Quincy?

Green Bay 20, San Francisco 10: Green leads Green Bay. Mean Joe Greene, Kevin Greene are green with envy.

New England 23, Houston 20, OT: Here's a surprise: Tony Banks is ineffective at quarterback.

Minnesota 24, Detroit 14: The last time the Lions won on the road, Bill Clinton was president.

Philadelphia 33, New Orleans 20: Afterward, Donovan McNabb fires his dance coach: Mark Madsen.

N.Y. Jets 13, Jacksonville 10: You'd think Jaguar Coach Del Rio went to UCLA, the way his team is playing.

St. Louis 30, Arizona 27, OT: Martz gives Bulger a vote of confidence, reminds Warner that soft groceries go on top.

Chicago 19, Denver 10: Broncos' fortunes will change when Plummer gets back? What? He is back? Never mind then.

Tennessee 38, Atlanta 31: There's only one question to ask about this win: Billy Volek?

Cincinnati 34, San Diego 27: The Bengals are tied for first? What's next, an actor for governor?

Kansas City 27, Oakland 24: Al Davis sues Dick Vermeil, saying his crying made team feel sorry for him.

Miami 24, Washington 23: Spurrier positioning Redskins for Las Vegas Bowl.

N.Y. Giants at Tampa Bay, tonight, 6, Ch. 7: These Monday night matchups just get better and better.

-- Houston Mitchell

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