October 10, 1993
RB Nick Bell carries the ball one yard for a touchdown to cap the Raiders comeback and secure the victory with four seconds left.
Signals were being yelled in from both sidelines by the rival coaching staffs. After confusion about the time remaining, the officials told the Raiders on the field that only seven seconds remained in the game. The Raiders had no time outs left and trailed by three points, 20-17, to the visiting New York Jets. The ball belonged to the Raiders inside the Jets one-yard line. A field goal would tie the game, if time allowed the kicking unit to get on the field, get ready and kick the ball in the mere seven seconds left. The NBC Television announcer team of Dick Enberg and Bob Trumpy were swept up with the unfolding drama, as were the millions in the television audience.
QB Vince Evans looks to make a hand off.
On the field, the calmest person was 38-year old Raiders QB Vince Evans. A veteran of 111 league games in both the NFL and USFL, Evans had been through the wars before. Not wanting to settle for the field goal, Evans called for "Full left formation, 17 Bob Trey O." This play has been an important one in the Raiders play book since Al Davis came to Oakland as head coach and manager in 1963. It was the same play that Clarence Davis had gained over 100 yards with during the Raiders first Super Bowl triumph against the favored NFC Champion Minnesota Vikings in January of 1977. It was the same play called when Marcus Allen set a Super Bowl longest-run record of 74 yards in the 38-9 romp over the Washington Redskins in January of 1984. This play had gained miles for the Raiders over the years. Now it needed to be good for one yard. As the Raiders hurried to the line, Evans told HB Nick Bell, the designated ball carrier on "17 Bob Trey O", "Get it in the damn end zone!"
With jarring blocks by the whole left side – TE Ethan Horton, T Gerald Perry, G Steve Wisniewski and C Don Mosebar – the Jets defenders were blown back off the ball. RG Max Montoya pulled left and turned up to clear the whole. FB Steve Smith powerfully sealed off the left side of the running lane, allowing Bell, who was cutting up field, to go from right to left, and score a touchdown.
With just four seconds left, the Raiders had earned another victory with another classic comeback, defeating the New York Jets, 24-20.
The classic comeback game began at 1:01 p.m. on a warm, hazy, windless afternoon in the Coliseum. Both the Jets and the Raiders entered this fifth game of the 1993 season with 2-2- records. Both had playoff plans and playoff-quality personnel.
The game with the exciting finish began with a scoreless first half featured long, but fruitless, possessions by both teams. The Jets had faked a field goal at the end of their drive, going for a pass in the left flat. S Eddie Anderson had intercepted, however, as the Raiders special teams reacted alertly. Jeff Hostetler had been intercepted to shut down the Raiders drive.
In the first moments of the second quarter, the Jets recovered a Raiders fumble and set up shop on the Los Angeles six-yard line. One run later the score was New York Jets 7 – Los Angeles Raiders 0.
With four minutes gone in the period, New York S Brian Washington picked off a Hostetler pass and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown and the Jets went ahead, 14-0. Hostetler's ankle, injured in an earlier game, was limiting his mobility and comfort and Head Coach Art Shell chose to bring in Evans at quarterback. Evans completed his first two passes but another Raiders fumble put the Jets back on offense.
The Jets moved down the field but the Raiders defense forced them to settle for a three-pointer. A 25-yard field goal inched the Jets further ahead, 17-0.
LB Joe Kelly forced and recovered a fumble that led to a Raiders field goal to tie the game.
With 4:41 to play in the first half the Raiders began a drive from their own 20-yard line. With Bell running inside and Evans passing to reserve TE Andrew Glover the Raiders moved to the New York 42. From there, Evans pitched a strike to WR James Jett – a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic sprint relay gold medal team – for the score. Raiders fans were finally on their feet and the Raiders were finally on the scoreboard after trailing by 17 points. At half time the score read, Jets 17 – Raiders 7.
The Raiders struck quickly at the start of the second half. On second-and-eight from his own 32, Evans found WR Alexander Wright – winner of the NFL Fastest Man Contest in both 1992 and 1993 – speeding down the sideline. Evans sent a perfect pass into Wright's outstretched hands and the Raiders were now within three points, trailing 17-14.
Raiders LB Joe Kelly, a former New York Jet, forced and recovered a fumble on the New York 19. Four downs later, a 42-yard Jeff Jaeger field goal tied the score at 17. The score remained tied until Boomer Esiason helped the New Yorkers get a field goal of their own with 4:29 remaining in the game. Jets 20 – Raiders 17.
Evans put his offensive unit to work immediately. Evans completed two passes to first-year Raider Raghib "Rocket" Ismail, sent Bell inside twice, hit Jett for 10 and scrambled for eight yards himself.
With only 32 seconds left, Coach Shell called the Raiders final time out. He reviewed the various options on the sidelines with Evans. Evans hit WR Tim Brown on the one. Brown struggled to the one-foot line but could not get into the end zone. Then, with only four seconds left, Bell got into the end zone, helping the Raiders scrape a 24-20 victory and raising their record for '93 to 3-2-0 in route to another playoff season.
WR Alexander Wright catches a pass from Evans for a touchdown.
Evans, 14 for 22 in passing for 247 yards, had completed five passes in a row during the game-winning drive. Four of the completions had gone to first-year Raiders.
Rocket Ismail, who caught two of those final five throws, described the drive. "James Jett stretched the defense," said Ismail. "Alexander Wright stretched the defense. It put that fear in them. They were dropping off at the end because they did not want to let us get behind them. So the intermediate routes were there."