Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 1984: The Raiders Annihilate The Redskins In Super Bowl XVIII

On January 22, 1984, with 72,920 on hand in Tampa, Marcus Allen set a Super Bowl rushing record with a 191 yard performance as his Raiders pummeled the Washington Redskins 38-9 in Super Bowl XVIII. The Redskins came into the contest favored by 3, they had beaten the Raiders during the regular season by the score of 37-35, scoring 17 points in the final six minutes and felt confident they could beat them again. One thing that might not have been accounted for in their game plan, was Allen, the 23 year old had sat out of the first meeting. The legendary running back that would end up in the Hall of Fame, had the game of a lifetime on the world's biggest stage. At the end of the day he was more than the Super Bowl MVP, he was a Champion.

In the first half the Raiders scored with every unit they put on the field as the offensive, defensive, and special teams units all got in on the action. Just 5 minutes into the ballgame the Raiders defense had pinned the Redskins deep and a punt was on the horizon. That's when disaster struck for Washington, backup running back Derrick Jensen came up with the play of a lifetime as he blocked the punt then fell on the ball in the endzone to give L.A. the first score of the day.

With the score 7-0 the momentum stayed within the Raiders grasp as they moved into the second quarter. Their quarterback Jim Plunkett hooked up with wideout Cliff Branch on a 50 yard bomb early in the period that put his team on the 15, a couple of plays later Branch found it in his hands again as he crossed the goal line and extended the lead to 14-0. The Skins finally put points on the board with a 24 yard Mark Moseley field goal that came after a 73 yard drive that was stopped at the 7 yard line. It looked like the Raiders defense had a stranglehold on a Redskins offense that had generated a league best 14 wins that season, the Redskins might have moved the ball on that drive but the L.A.'s defense came through when they needed to the most.

That same defense would come through again with just 12 seconds to go in the half. The fate play began with  Joe Theismann attempting a screen pass from his own 12, it ended up in Jack Squirek's hands who then ran it into the endzone for another touchdown. Squirek, a reserve linebacker, had started one game all season. He had one sack under his belt and a forced fumble as well, the Super Bowl seemed like a good time to add a pick 6 to his list of accomplishments for the season. With the score now 21-3 the Raiders had just become the first team in Super Bow history to score two non-offensive touchdowns in a half. They had a lot more in the tank with the second half on the way.

The Redskins looked to jump back into it in that second half as Theismann and company drove all the way to the one yard line where he handed off to John Riggins who finished things off with a one yard blast that narrowed the lead to 21-9 after a failed extra point. Even with the failed extra point it looked like last years champion's were about to find their footing in this contest and make it a game. The Raiders were not about to let that happen. Plunkett moved his team right back down the field, he was assisted by a pass interference call on Darrell Green that cost the Skins 38 yards before Allen found the ball in his hands near the goal line and scored on a 5 yard dash. The 18 point lead was back intact for Los Angeles and they would keep momentum squarely on their side, however, albeit temporarily things did swing toward the Redskins after Cliff Branch fumbled a pass that Plunkett delivered. Washington defensive back Anthony Washington recovered at the L.A. 35 then three plays later the Skins were facing a fourth and one. Normally a handoff to John Riggins would easily produce the needed yard, not on that day. Pro Bowl linebacker Rod Smart stuffed Riggins attempt to gain the first down and the Raiders would take over at the Los Angeles 26. One play later Allen went on the longest run of the day with a 74 yard touchdown run and it was a thing of beauty. Allen cut left with the Redskins in hot pursuit, with the play breaking down in front of him he cut back to the right and was off to the races. The 74 yard touchdown run was a Super Bowl record and it had driven a proverbial nail into the Redskins coffin with the score now 35-9. The final quarter saw another long run by Allen that would add to his record setting total, it was a 39 yard dash that helped set up the final points of the game, a 21 yard field goal from Chris Bahr.

The game was truly a dominant performance. Allen's 191 yards came on just 20 carries, one year earlier John Riggins had set the record for rushing in a Super Bowl with 166 yards on 38 carries against the Dolphins. The Raiders held him to 64 yards on 26 carries while Allen surpassed his short lived record. To date, only the Redskins Timmy Smith has piled up more yards on the ground in the big game as he rumbled for 204 in Super Bowl XII.

Watch Allen's 74 yard run into the record books:

This is a lit of various Super Bowl records:


  1. On January 22, 1984, the Raiders delivered a spectacular performance, annihilating their opponents. This historic victory remains etched in the annals of sports greatness, a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Silver and Black.
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