Raiders Vault: An In-Depth Look At The Broncos Rivalry

Las Vegas Raiders helmet (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Napoleon seizes the day

Entering the 1997 season, the Denver faithful had enjoyed four straight victories against the Silver and Black. In Week 5, the 6-0 Broncos traveled to Oakland to face the 2-4 Raiders. The game looked like a complete mismatch, but second-year running back Napoleon Kaufman had other ideas.

The Raiders held a 14-10 advantage at the half but the highlight was Kaufman, who raced virtually uncontested into the Bronco defense for 117 yards on 16 carries. Denver kicked off the third quarter with a 13-play drive that consumed nearly seven minutes off the clock. Terrell Davis capped it off with a short touchdown run to put Denver up 17-14. Oakland went nowhere on their next possession and Denver took over with a chance to ice the game for good.

With the ball on Oakland’s 33, Elway fumbled when he was sacked by Lance Johnstone. The ball bounced into the hands of Eric Turner and he raced upfield for a 65-yard touchdown that sent the Oakland Coliseum into a frenzy.

Oakland forced a punt on Denver’s next possession, but Kaufman fumbled the ball away and Denver was once again in scoring position. The Raiders defense stiffened and a Bronco field goal attempt thankfully missed. The teams then exchanged punts with the Raiders taking over at their own 8 at 12:45 to go in the fourth period. Kaufman ran for nine yards on first down, but his second-down run was held to no gain by the swarming Denver defense. On third and one, quarterback Jeff George gave it to Kaufman again and a huge hold opened up for him to race through for an 83-yard touchdown.

Kaufman set a franchise record that day…

Nap‘ finished the day with a franchise-record 227 yards on the ground on 28 carries. En route to their first-ever Super Bowl win, the visiting team would not make this an easy win for the Raiders. Ed McCaffery scored off a 29-yard pass reception and Davis added two more points on the conversation. Leading 28-25 the Raiders started from their own 12-yard line with 2:05 remaining.

Two runs by Kaufman gained nothing and Oakland was faced with third and ten with 47 seconds remaining. The hearts of Raider Nation were relieved when George dropped back and completed a 15-yard pass to seal the deal.

[tps_title]Up Next: An unlikely hero[/tps_title]

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