|Friday, October 18, 2002|
Nov. 30, 1987: Raiders 37, Seahawks 14
By Dan O'Sullivan
Bo Jackson won the 1985 Heisman Trophy, but he didn't become a national sensation for another two years.
The performance that launched the Raiders running back into the stratosphere came on Monday Night Football in 1987.
In the summer of that year, Jackson was a promising, strikeout-prone outfielder with the Kansas City Royals. He had 22 home runs and 53 RBI, but also batted .235 with 158 K's in just 396 at-bats. Enticed by a five-year, $7.4 million contract, Jackson joined the Raiders and made his NFL debut against the Patriots on Nov. 1.
Four weeks later, the Raiders (3-7) carried a seven-game losing streak to the Kingdome. The Seahawks (7-3) needed a win to tie San Diego for a share of the AFC West lead.
Jackson, who was celebrating his 25th birthday, got off to a rough start. The Seahawks recovered his first-quarter fumble and marched 64 yards to take a 7-0 lead.
The Raiders responded by scoring on their next seven possessions. The first strike came when Marc Wilson and James Lofton connected on a 46-yard touchdown pass. The second came when a wide-open Jackson made his first career TD catch, a 14-yard strike from Wilson, to give the Raiders a 14-7 advantage.
Later in the second quarter, Jackson made the run that sent shock waves through the NFL. On third-and-6 from the Raiders 9, Jackson got the handoff. He ran around the left end and turned upfield, avoiding the lunge of Seahawks safety Eugene Robinson. Showing off his extraordinary speed, Jackson galloped up the sideline to the astonishment of future Hall of Famer Steve Largent.
"It was like being at Longacres and watching the horses race to the wire," the Seahawks wide receiver told the Los Angeles Times. "When he ran by, I felt the same surge. It was just amazing."
After Jackson crossed the goal line, he continued right up the runway leading to the Seattle locker room, where teammates Rod Martin, Linden King and Greg Townsend joined him to offer their congratulations. Jackson emerged from the tunnel by tossing the football into the air and swinging at it with an imaginary bat. The 91-yard burst remains the longest run from scrimmage in team history.
Chris Bahr added a pair of field goals to give the Raiders a 27-7 halftime lead.
Jackson didn't slow down in the second half. On the Raiders' first possession, he had a 42-yard run that helped take his team to the Seahawks 2. From there, Jackson carried $11 million rookie linebacker Brian Bosworth into the end zone for his third score of the evening.
"He just flat out ran my butt over," Bosworth told the Times. "My hat's off to him."
Jackson needed only 18 carries to gain 221 yards, breaking Clem Daniels' 24-year-old team record. With a 37-7 lead and six minutes left in the game, coach Tom Flores decided to sit his spectacular rookie. Had Jackson stayed in, he might have threatened Walter Payton's then single-game rushing record of 275 yards.
The Raiders held on for a 37-14 victory to improve their MNF record to 25-5-1. They would win only one more game that season and finish in fourth place in the AFC West at 5-10.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, finished the year at 9-6 and lost the AFC Wild Card game to Houston, 23-20.
As for Jackson, he enjoyed only three more seasons as a Raider before a hip injury ended what could have been a Hall of Fame career. Though he had a short stay in the NFL, Jackson's exploits will never be forgotten.
|Former Raiders running back Bo Jackson rushed for 2,782 yards during a career cut short by injuries.|
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