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News

Greatest Moments: 1983 AFC Championship

Posted Jan 8, 2014

The Raiders continued their march to Super Bowl XVIII with a win over the Seahawks in the 1983 AFC title game...

In the 1983 AFC Championship game, the 12-4 Los Angeles Raiders hosted the 9-7 Seattle Seahawks at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The two teams finished 1-2 in the AFC West respectively with the Seattle Seahawks coming out victorious in both divisional games. The teams first met in Seattle in Week 7 with the Seahawks barely beating the Raiders 38-36. The rematch was in week 9 in Los Angeles and the Seahawks won that contest 34-21.

After suffering two defeats to a division rival, the Raiders had a lot to prove that day. 88,734 people filled the Coliseum that afternoon to witness the third set between the teams. For the Raiders it would be match point.

Seattle won the toss and elected to receive. RB David Hughes returned the ball 34 yards to the Seahawks 40-yard line. The Seahawks’ offense started the game in rhythm and moved the ball to the Raiders 34-yard line. On 1st and 10, Seahawks QB Dave Krieg threw a pass intended for WR Steve Largent but was picked off by CB Lester Hayes who returned it 44 yards. For Krieg, it would not be his last interception of the day.


Hall of Fame RB Marcus Allen had a big day in the Raiders win over the Seahawks in the 1983 AFC title game. AP Photo.

The Raiders took over with great field position on the Seahawks 26-yard line. After a 2-yard run on first down, RB Marcus Allen ran for 19 more yards down the right side for a Raiders first down at the Seahawks 5-yard line. The Raiders were unable to punch it into the end zone though and had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by K Chris Bahr with 8:47 left in the opening quarter to make the score 3-0 Raiders.

The teams would trade punts for the remainder of the quarter and the score would stay 3-0.

The game’s first touchdown would come on the Raiders second possession of the second quarter. Starting at their own 39-yard line, Plunkett connected with WR Cliff Branch over the middle on 2nd and 10 for 11 yards for a first down. At midfield, Plunkett handed the ball off to Allen who ran for 16 yards and another first down. On the next play, mixing running and passing, Plunkett dropped back to pass and found WR Malcolm Barnwell for a 20-yard gain. In the red zone for the second time, the Raiders would not leave empty-handed. Runs by Allen for 3 and 4 yards respectively and a pass from Plunkett to TE Todd Christensen for 6 yards had the ball on the Seahawks 1-yard line. RB Frank Hawkins took the handoff on 2nd and goal and crossed the plane making the score 10-0 Raiders after the extra point.

Things would only get worse for the Seahawks.

Unable to muster any momentum on the ensuing drive, the Seahawks, went three and out and were forced to punt the ball.

The Raiders, again with great field position, took over on their 40-yard line. After a Plunkett scramble for 6 yards, the quarterback dropped back to pass and connected deep with Barnwell for a 49-yard gain. The Raiders declined a holding penalty and had first and goal on the Seahawks 7-yard line. On 2nd and goal, Hawkins took a handoff around the left and scored on a 5-yard touchdown run, his second score of the game, making the score 17-0 Raiders after the extra point.

With 1:02 remaining in the half the Seahawks had the ball again hoping to be able to put some points on the scoreboard before halftime.

The drive, starting on the Seahawks 33-yard line, began with success as Kreig connected with Largent over the middle for 11 yards and a first down. On the next play though, Kreig dropped back to pass only to be intercepted by S Mike Davis.

The Raiders had another opportunity to put points on the board before half starting their possession on their 40-yard line. Allen ran up the middle for 7 yards forcing Los Angeles to use their first timeout. From their 47-yard line, Plunkett connected with Barnwell over the middle for 20 yards. The Raiders called their second timeout with 21 seconds left in the quarter. 1st and 10 on the Seahawks 33, Plunkett passed to Allen for another 6 yards setting up a 45-yard field goal attempt by Bahr with eight seconds left. On 2nd and 4, Bahr made the 45-yard attempt making the score 20-0 Raiders going into halftime.

The Raiders would have possession to start the second half. On the second play from scrimmage on their 41-yard line though, Hawkins fumbled the ball and the Seahawks recovered.

The Seahawks offense, which struggled to get things going in the first half, continued their difficulties into the second. On the offense’s first play of the second half, a Krieg pass intended for TE Charles Young was intercepted by LB Matt Millen. For Krieg, this interception, his third of the day, took him out of the game. QB Jim Zorn would call the plays the rest of the game.

The Raiders marched downfield with ease but on 3rd and 7 on the Seahawks 9-yard line, a Plunkett pass intended for Christensen in the end zone was intercepted by CB Gregg Johnson.


DT Bill Pickel chases down Seattle QB Dave Krieg. AP Photo.

On the first drive for Zorn, the newly inserted quarterback didn’t fare any better than Krieg. On his third play of the game, Zorn threw a pass that was intended for RB Dan Doornink, but was intercepted by Mike Davis, his second of the game.

For the Raiders, their offense capitalized on the Seahawks mistake. On 1st and 10 on the Seahawks 46-yard line, Allen ran along the right side for a 43-yard gain. On the next play from the 3-yard line, Plunkett connected with Allen in the corner of the end zone for a TD pass to make it 27-0 Raiders after the extra point.

Seattle put up their first points of the game on their next drive marching 74 yards in 10 plays, finding the end zone and making the score 27-7 Raiders.

Trying to respond quickly, the Raiders offense came out aggressive on their next possession. Starting on their 18-yard line, Plunkett dropped back to pass looking for his favorite receiver that day, Malcolm Barnwell. Barnwell wasn’t able to secure the pass and the tipped ball was intercepted by LB Bruce Scholtz. The Seahawks took over on the Los Angeles 25-yard line.

The Raiders defense, which played well all game, forced the Seahawks offense to move backwards. A screen pass from Zorn to RB Curt Warner resulted in a loss of 2 yards. A holding penalty on the next play pushed them back another 10 yards, and on 3rd and 22 a Zorn pass intended for Byron Walker was incomplete. The Seahawks were forced to punt.

The third quarter ended with the score 27-7 Raiders and the Silver and Black with possession to open up the final quarter.

Starting at their own 46-yard line, the Raiders moved the ball into the Seahawks red zone. On 1st and 10 at the visitor’s 20-yard line Allen fumbled a Plunkett pitch and the defense recovered.

Seattle took over on their 25-yard line, but like much of the game, was overmatched by the Raiders smothering defense. On 3rd and 10, Zorn dropped back looking for WR Harold Jackson over the middle. The pass was picked off by CB Vann McElroy and returned to the Seahawks 49-yard line.

The Raiders went three and out after a Plunkett sack and Ray Guy entered the game to punt the ball.

Seattle took over on their 40-yard line. Entering four-down territory, the Seahawks were able to move the ball to the Raiders 40-yard line. On 4th and 4, Zorn took the snap and was sacked by DE Greg Townsend for a loss of 23 yards and a turnover on downs.

Playing the clock, the Raiders, after a 6-yard pass from Plunkett to Allen, ran the ball five straight times. On 4th and 8 on the Seattle’s 17-yard line, Bahr entered the game to attempt a 35-yard field goal. The successful attempt made the score 30-7 Raiders with 3:57 left in the game and put it out of reach for the visitors.

The Seahawks would score a touchdown on their next drive making the score 30-14, but it would not be enough. The Oakland Raiders, who sought redemption from their two losses to the Seahawks in the regular season, found it as they dominated the game controlling the ball 37:06 compared to Seattle’s 22:54.

The Raiders defense forced a total of five turnovers that day. QB Jim Plunkett threw for 214 yards and one touchdown. His favorite target that day was WR Malcolm Barnwell who had five catches for 116 yards. RB Marcus Allen rushed for 154 yards on the ground on 25 attempts and caught a TD pass.

The Raiders would go on to play the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII. The game against the Redskins would become known as “Black Sunday” with the team claiming their third Super Bowl victory in franchise history.