"Look, I know they'd rather have Jeris White in there," says Green, "but I can't worry about that. My theory has been, if I'm going to mess up I'll mess up going 110 miles per hour."
The loss notwithstanding, Los Angeles is still the class of the AFC. No team would have done as well Sunday minus a star of the magnitude of Allen, whom Plunkett desperately needs in order to have some kind of a running game. And Allen's absence wasn't the extent of the Raiders' bad luck. Cliff Branch, the venerable wide receiver, pulled a hamstring while outrunning Dean on his 99-yard second-quarter touchdown bomb from Plunkett (only the fifth 99-yard pass in NFL history) and sat out the second half. On defense, Free Safety Vann McElroy and Cornerback Ted Watts missed most of the second half—McElroy with a back injury and Watts with a strained neck.
With Watts and McElroy back in there's no reason the Raider defense can't resume its dominating ways; after all, until Riggins' short TD run in the first quarter, Los Angeles hadn't given up a touchdown in the first 57½ minutes of any '83 game. The loss was disappointing but far from demoralizing. As Defensive Lineman Lyle Alzado said, "Rocky Marciano's the only undefeated team I know."
"I wouldn't be surprised if we met them again in January," said Redskin Guard Mark May. No one else would, either.