"He wanted to fight me," said McKittrick, a wiry, bald-headed man who looks like a Marine DI. "He said, 'Put a helmet on, and let's go.' Thank God that they couldn't find one my size, 6?. It's not a leg whip, anyway. It's a reverse body block. All the great old single wing teams used to use it, and some of the not so great teams."
"We've been doing it for the last seven or eight years," Fahnhorst said. "We do it every day in practice, and we haven't lost a defensive lineman yet."
You can add the 49ers to the list of teams the Raiders will be gunning for.
"I had to actually kick that fat s.o.b. [ Bubba Paris] playing against me," said defensive end Sean Jones, who's only a second-year Raider but one who learns fast. "I yelled to a ref, 'Did you see that leg whip?' But I guess they were watching something else. Yeah, I'll be looking for that guy next time. We'll see them again, somewhere, someplace."
Well, there's only one place the two teams can meet again this season, and that's New Orleans, in the Super Bowl. The 2-1 49ers still look like the class of the NFC, but it doesn't look as if the 1-2 Raiders are going to make it this trip. Not without a quarterback.
At one time Marc Wilson, who finished Sunday's game for the Raiders and hit the turf three times, looked like Plunkett's heir apparent, but Wilson had a miserable preseason. The sixth-year man from BYU seems to have regressed. There had never been any doubt this year that the job was Plunkett's, and the Raider players, who usually take sides in such matters, had no complaints. There's already a groundswell of support for Rusty Hilger, the 6'4" rookie from Oklahoma State. He can gun the ball long and he can run, and let's face it, the immobile quarterback is an endangered species these days. At least twice on Sunday Plunkett suffered pursuit sacks because the linemen chasing him were simply faster than he was.
The 49ers came into the game with their share of problems, too. They had lost their opener to Minnesota 28-21, on five lost fumbles. Last year they surrendered only 12 fumbles all season. The next week in San Francisco, Atlanta had the 49ers down 10-0 at the half, and the fans booed their team off the field. San Francisco eventually won 35-16.
"Negative, negative, only negatives," quarterback Joe Montana said. "Even during our 18-1 year [in 1984] we got ripped in the papers when we didn't win big enough. I just got sick of it."
Going into the Raiders game Walsh was troubled. "We've fumbled, we've made mistakes," he said. "We've done things we're not used to doing. And I can't say we've seen the end of it.
But the complexion of the 49ers had changed during those first two games. They were running the ball—better than anyone else in the NFL. Their ground attack averaged six yards a crack, with fullback Roger Craig leading the way with a gaudy 7.7-yard average.