- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Montana says he'll be the good patient, though he has always been impatient about getting playing time. "I don't want to rush this," he says. "I don't want to be in this position again."
"I felt pressured into coming back," said Bradshaw. "Most of it was self-inflicted. But my own coach [Chuck Noll] pressured me in his combative way."
And today? "My big regret," said Bradshaw, "is I wasn't able to finish my career on my terms."
Innovation of the Week
"The wake is over," defensive end Howie Long said after the Raiders' 16-13 victory over the Broncos. L.A. had been mauled for 98 points in their previous two games, giving up 51 to the Bills in the AFC Championship Game last January and 47 to the Oilers in this year's opener. The Raiders would have been panicky if they had been shredded by a third straight AFC team, especially at home.
L.A. surprised Denver by adding a third tackle, veteran Reggie McElroy, to the offensive line in place of a wide receiver or a running back. McElroy set up between right guard Max Montoya and right tackle Steve Wright, with tight end Ethan Horton aligned next to Wright, and the Raiders used this goal-line offense for much of the game. In the second quarter, Los Angeles had a 16-play, 62-yard scoring drive that featured Roger Craig—in his first start since moving down the coast from San Francisco—carrying the ball nine times. Craig finished with 99 yards on a career-high 27 rushes.
This is the way the Raiders will have to play against any team that has a wide-open offense, such as Denver, because the L.A. defense hasn't shown that it can contain the no-huddle or run-and-shoot stuff. The Raiders need to hang on to the ball for as long as possible. "When the league switches totally to the run-and-shoot, I'm gone," said Long. "Retiring. I can't tell you what a nightmare it is."
Iron Man at a Brittle Position
There are many amazing stats in the nine-year career of Dolphin quarterback Dan Marino, who turns 30 on Sunday. Perhaps the most amazing is his current string of consecutive starts (110), the longest such streak (excluding games played during the players' strike of 1987) among active quarterbacks. Here are the consecutive-start figures for Marino and his two closest pursuers:
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]