For its part, Cincinnati was thoroughly inventive in the various faces of calamity. "Oddball formations," sniffed Long. "That's Sam Wyche." Lots of Ickey Woods up the middle, instead of Brooks around end—"because it was working," said Wyche. A dose of penicillin for Boomer. And a make-do offensive line that was inspiration to undersized free agents everywhere. Fact is, for all the injuries up front, the Bengals were pressured but not embarrassed. The 255-pound Kirk Scrafford, undrafted out of Montana, even held his own in place of Munoz. Not even the Bengals knew what to think of him going into the game. "He wears flannel shirts, chops wood and eats bark," said Esiason, helpfully. "Very quick, but legs like this," said line coach Jim McNally, making a small circle with a thumb and forefinger. Another pregame report from Cincinnati, as useful as any.
But it looks as if the Raiders are a team that the NFL must worry about now. Fair warning may be gathered from the Bengals' Leon White, the poor linebacker who was isolated one-on-one on Horton's big catch. "It was way over my head, so I thought it was way over his, too," he explained innocently. Beware in Buffalo: The Raiders may indeed be playing over their heads. Just like the old days.