Double despair for Los Angeles as the Raiders lose out

AMERICAN FOOTBALL The festive hangover arrived a little early for the grid-iron fans of Los Angeles, as they awoke yesterday to the realisation that the Raiders were out of the play-offs, while the Rams are probably out of LA.

It has been a topsy-turvy year for the Silver and Black, tipped by many at the start of the campaign to go all the way to the Super Bowl. After three months of sloppy defeats and splendid victories it all came down to a simple equation: they had to beat their AFC West rivals from Kansas City in their final regular season game on Christmas Eve to reach the play-offs.

The Chiefs, who had endured a similarly mixed season, also needed to win to progress, and for one of their number the confrontation had an extra edge. Marcus Allen established his reputation as one of the great running backs of his generation as a Raider, but after a long and bitter feud with Al Davis, the Raiders' owner, was traded to the Chiefs a couple of years ago.

The Raiders have never properly replaced Allen, and he duly reminded them of what they let go by rushing for 132 yards as the Chiefs recorded a surprisingly comfortable 19-9 victory. "Obviously, from a human side, it is a little special when you do it against your former club," Allen said.

Joe Montana, the Chiefs quarterback, left the game in the fourth quarter with an injured knee, but insisted he could have returned if necessary.

At exactly the same time, across the city in Anaheim, the Rams were entertaining the Washington Redskins in what may have been their last game on the West Coast. Entertaining is probably not how the crowd of 25,705 saw it, as the Rams allowed the Redskins to end a long losing streak and win 24-21.

The Rams appear bound for St Louis, a city which lost the Cardinals franchise to Phoenix seven years ago, though their owner, Georgia Frontiere, has made no public commitment. With the club expecting to lose $6m (£3.9) this year in bankrupt Orange County, and having recorded its fifth double-digit losing season in a row, a fresh start seems a good idea all round.

Of those teams seeking play-offs berths, the most impressive winners were the New England Patriots, who notched their seventh consecutive success, 13-3 in Chicago. Bill Parcells' team are now settling games with some authority, and the combination of a bruising defense, vibrant young offense and Parcells' tactical nous makes them formidable foes as the season goes into its next stage.

Despite the defeat the Bears also reach the play-offs, along with three other sides from the NFC Central, Minnesota, Green Bay and Detroit. Such strong representation from a single division is an NFL record, but it will be halved next weekend when the four contest the first-round matches, and it will be a major surprise if any of them make it to the NFC Championship game.

The form team at the moment appear to be the Packers, who won at the improving Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "We're right at the top of our game at the right time," Brett Favre, their quarterback, said.

The most unlucky side were the New York Giants, whose season came to an end, despite beating the Dallas Cowboys. Rodney Hampton rushed for 91 yards as the Giants won15-10. The Cowboys are not entering the crucial stage of the season with their customary bravado, though they were without Emmitt Smith, and Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were used sparingly.

The Philadelphia Eagles exceeded even their own lamentable standards in finding ways to lose from winning positions. They were 27-10 in the third quarter in Cincinnati and still three points ahead inside the last minute.

Jeff Blake, the Bengals quarterback, then added to his burgeoning reputation by marshalling a 73-yard drive, which resulted in Doug Palfrey hitting the tying field goal with three seconds left. The Bengals then recovered their onside kick on the 35-yard line, and Palfrey converted a 54-yarder to hand the Eagles their seventh defeat in a row.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Media Sales - £36,000 OTE

£28000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: C# .NET Developer / Application Support - Junior

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This business has an industry r...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Recruitment Genius: Transport Planner

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: They make daily deliveries to most foodservice...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash