I can’t get enough of sinking into the old muck of the Seattle Seahawks/Oakland-Los Angeles Raiders rivalry. It’s like realizing that creek you played in as a kid was downstream from a waste-water treatment plant but you’re still squishing your toes in it.
Dec. 8, 1986 was near the end of a wild up-and-down season. Seattle began 5-2, including a 17-12 win over the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Then a four-game skid put them into must-win mode. After two more wins, Seattle was looking at a finale with the Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos. They’d win all three to finish 10-6, but would miss the playoffs when the Kansas City Chiefs refused to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers despite being out-gained 515-171.
But on that Monday Night in December, Seattle was on a roll. It was like a personal buffet where all your favorites are spread out. Curt Warner – during his best season ever with 1481 yards — ran for 116 yards and two scores. Dave Krieg threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Steve Largent. Seattle’s defense sacked Jim Plunkett and two other Raiders quarterbacks 11 times, holding them to 138 yards. Marcus Allen had 12 yards on nine carries. Fredd Young destroyed Dokie Williams on a kickoff return. The final score was 37-0. They dominated in all phases.
The Raiders had been on a tear, coming off a 12-4 season and winning two Super Bowls in four years. But that era was over. This game signified it. They finished 8-8 and would not be above .500 again until 1990. Plunkett retired after the 1986 season.
That Seahawks team finished the year with power and momentum but no playoff spot. That four-game slump in October and November proved to be deadly. Who knows what that squad could have accomplished? In 1986, Seattle was the only team to beat both Super Bowl participants: the Giants and Broncos. After a 41-16 stomping to close out the regular season, you know John Elway and his boys wanted no part of Seattle.
Just one of those “what could have been” stories.