With 0-4 season start, Raiders don't call shots, they take them

September 30, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

KANSAS CITY, MO — KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The passes fall short, the kicks sai wide, the questions have no answers and the future looks bleak.

The commitment lacks excellence.

Buzz words of Los Angeles Raider lore ring hollow after eight consecutive losses, four to start the season.

Monday night, once the centerpiece of a Raider dynasty, can no longer be tapped for old time's sake.

The Kansas City Chiefs scored a 27-7 victory over the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium as up-the-middle runs by Barry Word and Christian Okoye wore down the Raider defense during the second half and turned a close game into a rout.

It was another page stolen from the Raider script, which in concept would do the same to the Chiefs with Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen and Nick Bell.

Except that the Raiders don't call the shots anymore. They absorb them. It was their sixth consecutive loss to the Chiefs. Quarterback Todd Marinovich is 0-4 as a starter, three losses coming against the Chiefs.

Coach Art Shell, a Raider for most of his adult life, has never seen anything like it.

"Never as a coach, never as a player," he said. "This is very disappointing. We're kind of low right now."

The Chiefs pounded. The Raiders retreated. This was the night the Raiders chose to debut rookie defensive tackle Chester McClockton. This was a night McClockton should forget.

The Chiefs sent Word up the middle. They sent Okoye up the middle. They sent quarterback Dave Krieg up the middle. All with the same result.

Word had gained 87 of his 125 yards in the first half. It was all the Raiders could do but cling to the game for a half, when they trailed by just a field goal.

But then the Chiefs dusted off Okoye late to give Word a breather. Okoye, too, rammed the Raider line until it broke, rushing for 29 yards on a 48-yard drive during the third quarter that left the Chiefs with a third and goal at the Raider seven.

From there, Krieg dropped back as if to pass, then tucked the ball away and ran untouched into the end zone with 14:51 left. Wide receiver Fred Jones sealed off the middle by wiping out Ronnie Lott with a block. The Chiefs led 17-7.

Marinovich tried to lead the Raiders back, but still suffers from throwing and growing pains. When sacked for a seven-yard loss to end a drive during the fourth quarter, Marinovich, out of frustration, stuffed the ball into Neil Smith's face.

"I'm a competitor," Marinovich said. "I want to win. When things don't go right you don't get any calls. I got frustrated. I'm just looking forward to next week."

Then came another Raider punt. The Chiefs answered with Word, and with 5:36 left, Nick Lowery made the score 20-7 with a 41-yard field goal.

In the waning minutes, a deflected Marinovich pass was intercepted by safety Charles Mincy, who returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.

Marinovich remains winless as a Raider. Monday night, he completed 12 of 26 passes for 161 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

The one Raider highlight was Eric Dickerson's 40-yard touchdown run during the second quarter. But in 11 other carries, he averaged 2.6 yards.

In 45 previous carries this season, Dickerson's longest run had been nine yards.

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