Galaxy of doubt follows half-Moon of Oiler glory

January 04, 1993|By Paul Needell | Paul Needell,New York Daily News

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Warren Moon is 36, uncertain of how many more top-shelf NFL seasons he has left. It was easy to understand why he took so long to shower after this latest disappointment yesterday.

"All I've been doing is sitting there and trying to figure it all out," said Moon, who threw four touchdown passes in an extraordinary first half and watched Houston eventually take a 35-3 lead in the third quarter. "I just don't believe it happened, but I guess it did. Our season's over."

Wide receiver Ernest Givins offered this explanation: "Somebody somewhere has an Oiler voodoo doll, and he keeps sticking it and punching it until it falls down."

It wasn't voodoo. The Oilers folded, as always. This time, Moon's brilliant start was overshadowed by his costly mistake -- the overtime interception he threw to Buffalo cornerback Nate Odomes, setting up Steve Christie's winning field goal.

The Oilers had won the sudden-death coin toss and elected to take the ball. But the Bills made them move into the wind, which affected Moon's third-down attempt to Givins, who also charged linebacker Darryl Talley held him on the play.

"I tried to put a little extra on the ball to get it to Ernest," Moon said, "and it floated on me. You didn't know what that wind was going to do in the second half."

In fact, Houston was moving into the wind during the 28-point explosion by the Bills in the third period. "It seemed like that quarter lasted forever," Moon said. "I thought if we could just get into the fourth quarter with the lead, we'd be OK."

Not so. And now Moon and the Oilers must face the music.

"Oh, I'm sure we're going to hear it," Moon said. "And deservedly so. We had control of the ballgame like no team has ever had control of a ballgame. And for me to be the one to give the big turnover in overtime makes it feel doubly rotten. I'm kind of numb."

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