Sunday, January 16, 2022

NFL Throwback: Five facts about the Raiders’ last Super Bowl win, a 38-9 rout of Washington

It didn’t take long for Mike Haynes to realize that Super Bowl XVIII could be a runaway. Across the field during pregame warmups, the Raiders cornerback sensed a lack of respect from Washington, the defending Super Bowl champions who had beaten the Raiders during the regular season. 

“When I was watching those guys warm up, I just didn’t have a sense that they respected us at all,” Haynes recalled during an interview with CBS Sports. “Everybody else we played, they seemed to have a sense of who we were and what kind of game we played. They didn’t. I figured it must be because they beat the Raiders earlier. 

“When we went back into the locker room before we came out the second time, we were definitely a different team. We were going to be focused until that last whistle. There was no doubt that this game was going to be a battle. We were all 100% prepared for that.” 

Hoping to be crowned as back-to-back champions, Washington was instead dominated by the underdog Raiders 38-9. Then-second-year running back Marcus Allen won MVP honors by rushing for 191 yards and two touchdowns, while Haynes and the Raiders’ defense forced three turnovers while holding Washington’s record-setting offense to under 300 total yards. 

With the two teams set to meet this Sunday, here are five facts from the Raiders’ third and final Super Bowl triumph. 

Washington’s unwanted place in history 

Washington joined the 1978 Cowboys as the only defending champions to come up short in the Super Bowl. The 1997 Packers, 2014 Seahawks, 2017 Patriots and last year’s Chiefs have since joined them on that list. 

Fresh off of the franchise’s first Super Bowl win, Joe Gibbs’ team went 14-2 during the 1983 season. Led by league MVP Joe Theismann and reigning Super Bowl MVP John Riggins, Washington scored a then-NFL-record 541 points during the regular season. In Week 5, Washington’s offense managed to win a 37-35 shootout against the Raiders behind Theismann’s 417 yards and three touchdown passes. 

Washington’s offense put up 51 points in the team’s divisional round playoff victory over the Rams. Facing Joe Montana and the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, Washington took a 21-0 lead before needing several controversial calls late in the game to escape with a 24-21 victory. 

Washington received no such luck in Super Bowl XVIII, however, as the Raiders dominated the game from the outset en route to the franchise’s third Super Bowl win. 

An unparalleled CB duo 

One of the main reasons for the Raiders’ dominance over Washington was the presence of cornerbacks Haynes and Lester Hayes. The duo helped limit Theismann to just 16 of 35 passing that included two interceptions. The win was the second Super Bowl victory for Hayes, whose Defensive Player of the Year performance during the 1980 season helped the Raiders win their second Super Bowl title. 

The 1983 Raiders turned a corner after acquiring Haynes from the Patriots during the regular season. After contract talks with the Patriots initially fell through, Haynes briefly contemplated retirement. Haynes’ despair didn’t last long, however, as then-Raiders owner Al Davis called to inform the future Hall of Famer that he was indeed a Raider. Haynes proved to be the final piece of the Raiders’ championship puzzle. 

Along with his play in Super Bowl XVIII, Haynes’ presence was especially felt in the AFC Championship Game against Seattle. Before acquiring Haynes, the Raiders lost both of their games against the Seahawks, who scored 38 and 34 games in those contests. But with Haynes on the field for the AFC title game, the Raiders held Seattle to just two scores in a 30-14 victory. Steve Largent, the Seahawks’ future Hall of Fame receiver, was held to just 25 yards on two receptions. 

“Fortunately for me, I had a lot of experience covering Steve Largent because we came into the league at the same time and played in Pro Bowls together,” Haynes said. “So I felt comfortable and looked forward to the challenge.”

“We had Lester on one side and me on the other side. We had the great pass rush with all these great guys. With Howie (Long) and Ted Hendricks and Rod Martin. And they used to blitz our strong safety, Mike Davis, all the time. That guy was unbelievable. I had never seen a safety like that.”

A heads-up defensive play 

The Raiders took a 7-0 lead on Derrick Jenson’s recovery of his own blocked punt in Washington’s end zone. The lead swelled to 14-0 when quarterback Jim Plunkett found receiver Cliff Branch all alone in the end zone for a 12-yard score. Washington momentarily stopped the bleeding on Mark Moseley’s 24-yard field goal, as it appeared that the defending champions would head to the locker room with an 11-point halftime deficit. 

But just before the half, Washington attempted a pass that would essentially end the contest. In a similar position during the teams’ regular-season showdown, Washington had gained 67 yards on a screen pass from Theismann to running back Joe Washington. With that in mind, Raiders defensive coordinator Charlie Sumner replaced linebacker Matt Millen with Jack Squirek, a pass defense specialist. Sure enough, Theismann threw again to Washington, but this time, his pass was snared in by Squirek, who waltzed untouched into the end zone to give the Raiders a 21-3 halftime lead. Squirek’s celebration of his pick-six would be immortalized on the upcoming Sports Illustrated cover. 

Allen’s all-time performance 

The second Heisman Trophy winner to win Super Bowl MVP, Allen’s performance against Washington is the stuff of legend. Allen gashed Washington’s defense to the tune of 191 yards, a then-Super Bowl record. His 5-yard touchdown run gave the Raiders a 28-9 third quarter lead. Allen’s 74-yard run — the second-longest run in Super Bowl history — put the game on ice. Allen nearly tripled the rushing output of Riggins, who gained 64 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. 

Allen would parlay his Super Bowl performance into a Hall of Fame career that spanned 11 years with the Raiders and five seasons with the Chiefs. Allen is one of two players in NFL history (the other being Marshall Faulk) to amass over 12,000 career rushing yards, 5,000 receiving yards and 100 rushing touchdowns. 

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AFC’s long Super Bowl drought 

The Raiders’ victory would be the AFC’s last Super Bowl win for 14 years. The AFC would lose the next 13 Super Bowls that included 11 double-digit losses. The NFC’s 49ers, Giants, Cowboys, and Washington would win 11 Super Bowls over that span. The Broncos and Bills were on the losing end of seven Super Bowls over that span, with Buffalo losing four straight Super Bowls from 1990-93. 

Ironically, the AFC’s drought ended with the defending champion Packers falling to the Broncos in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. Terrell Davis, who attended the same San Diego area high school as Allen, won MVP honors after rushing for 157 yards and three touchdowns despite missing most of the second quarter with a migraine headache. 

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