On December 21, 1969, the Houston Oilers traveled west to face The Oakland Raiders in a 1969 AFL Divisional Playoff. The Oilers entered the game with a 6-6-2 record. The Raiders on the other hand, first in the AFL West Division, came into the game winners of six straight and finished the season under the guiding hand of first year Head Coach and future Hall of Famer John Madden (pictured) with a record of 12-1-1.
With 53,539 fans on hand, the stage was set for the first round of the 1969 AFL Playoffs.
The Raiders won the toss and decided to receive. Houston kicker Roy Gerela kicked the ball to the Oakland 4-yard line. Raiders safety George Atkinson returned it to the Oakland 42, where the team would start their opening drive. The Raiders went three and out and Mike Eischeid punted it to the Houston 9. The Oilers were unable to move the ball on their opening drive and were forced to punt.
That’s when the fireworks began.
The Raiders started their second drive of the game at the 50-yard line. After two runs for no gain, Air Lamonica took flight. Raiders QB Daryle Lamonica, fresh off a season where he threw for 3,302 yards and 34 touchdown passes, connected with RB Larry Todd for a gain of 40 yards to the Houston 10. With 8:37 left in the first quarter, Lamonica completed a pass to WR Fred Biletnikoff for the game’s first points. After a George Blanda extra point, the Raiders led Houston 7-0.
That would quickly become 14-0.
On the first play of the drive, with the Oilers starting their next possession on their 17-yard line, QB Pete Beathard’s pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by the “Hit Man” George Atkinson.
On the ensuing drive, the Oakland defense forced another turnover when Oilers RB Hoyle Granger fumbled the ball on the Houston 25-yard line with the Raiders recovering. Starting on the Houston 24-yard line, Lamonica threw a strike to WR Rod Sherman for the touchdown.
With 6:10 still left in the first quarter, the Silver and Black were already up 21-0.
Things went from bad to worse for the Oilers on their next drive.
Houston started their next drive on their 22 after a rookie WR Jerry LeVias return. The Oilers moved the chains for the first time in the game after a 12-yard pass from Beathard to WR Jim Beirne. On the next play, Beathard fumbled the snap and DT Tom Keating recovered on the Houston 31.
For the second time in the game, Lamonica connected with Biletnikoff for a touchdown, this one from 31 yards out. After a Blanda extra point, the Raiders led the Oilers 28-0 and would hold that margin until the end of the first quarter.
The Raiders’ defense continued their dominance over the Oilers to start the second quarter. The Raiders opened the quarter with the ball but had to punt after failing to gain a first down.
After two plays though, the Oilers turned the ball over for a third time when Hall of Fame CB Willie Brown intercepted a pass intended for Beirne. The Raiders weren’t able to capitalize on the great field position as a Lamonica pass intended for TE Billy Cannon was intercepted. The Oilers regained possession on the Houston 11-yard line.
Houston moved the ball to their 32-yard line when the drive stalled and P Ode Burrell came in to punt.
The Oilers defense was no match for the Raiders’ high-octane offense. The Raiders were able to move the ball at will most of the game. Oakland started their next drive on their 29-yard line. Runs by RB Herwitt Dixon caught the Oilers defense off guard and set up the home run play that Lamonica is famous for.
On first and 10 on the Oakland 40-yard line, Lamonica connected with RB Charlie Smith for a 60-yard touchdown, making the score 35-0 Raiders after the extra point with 5:48 left in the second quarter.
The two teams would trade punts for the remainder of the half and the Silver and Black would leave the field at half leading the Houston Oilers 35-0.
The Raiders kicked off to start the third quarter with Burrell returning the kickoff to the Houston 31.
The Oilers and Raiders were unable to mount a drive during either team’s opening possession of the second half and both teams traded punts.
With 10:57 in the third quarter, the Oilers were finally able to move the ball deep into Raiders territory. On fourth and 10 though, on the Oakland 16-yard line, Beathard was sacked for a loss of nine resulting in a turnover on downs giving the ball back to the Raiders.
The Raiders took over at their 25-yard line. The Raiders would march 75 yards in 3:38 and scored on a 23-yard pass from Lamonica to Sherman to make the game 42-0 after the extra point.
Another three and out for the Oilers gave the ball back to the Raiders to set up another score. Starting at the Houston 38-yard line, Lamonica moved the offense yet again. Lamonica found Cannon in the left corner of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass to make the score 49-0 after the extra point.
The third quarter ended with the score 49-0 with QB Daryle Lamonica taking the rest of the game off.
The Oilers started their first scoring drive of the game with 13:20 left in the fourth. The Oilers, starting on their own 5-yard line, gained some momentum and drove the ball 95-yards for their only touchdown on the day. Beathard would throw to TE Alvin Reed for 8 yards making the score 49-7 after the extra point.
The Raiders would add one more score with 2:59 left on a RB Marv Hubbard touchdown to make the final score 56-7 Raiders.
QB Daryle Lamonica finished the game with 276 passing yards and six touchdown passes. The Raiders defense held the Houston Oilers to only 28 yards on the ground and forced five turnovers.
This game would propel the Raiders to the AFL Championship where they would eventually fall to the rival Kansas City Chiefs 17-7.