The Detroit Lions sacked Jim Plunkett five times today, held Oakland to 131 yards and dealt the defending Super Bowl champions their first shutout since 1966.
Quarterback Jeff Komlo of Cheverly, Md., replaced injured, ineffective Gary Danielson at quarterback and led the Lions to all their points in the 16-0 victory in the Silverdome. Danielson dislocated his left (nonthrowing) wrist on the next-to-last series of the first half and will be out four to six weeks, Coach Monte Clark said.
Billy Sims, who outgained the Raiders by himself with 133 yards in 21 carries, scored the only touchdown on a three-yard run in the fourth quarter for a 13-0 lead. Ed Murray kicked field goals of 36, 39 and 39 yards.
The Lions also intercepted a pass, recovered a fumble and frustrated the Raiders from the opening kickoff.
There were plenty of distractions, too, such as a smoke bomb going off in the stands and the lights going bad several times in the indoor arena.
The Raiders (2-2) didn't blame any of that for the defeat.
"We never got going. No, they never let us get going. It was that kind of day," said Coach Tom Flores.
"They outplayed us, but no points . . . ?" said tackle Art Shell.
It was the first time the Raiders have been shut out in 218 games, dating back to a 1966 game against Houston in the days of the old American Football League when Flores was the Raider quarterback.
Both Sims and Dexter Bussey set team rushing records for the Lions (2-2). Sims had his seventh 100-yard rushing day. Bussey became the Lions' all-time leading rusher, surpassing Altie Taylor. Bussey's 48 yards increased his total to 4,334; Taylor had gained 4,297.
Danielson, injured when sacked by Cedrick Hardman for a 10-yard loss, completed just three of 10 passes for 36 yards with two interceptions. Komlo, who played at De Matha High School and the University of Delaware, was much more effective, completing eight of 16 for 65 yards with no interceptions.
"I knew our defense was playing well, so I didn't want to do anything that would hurt us," Komlo said. "I just tried to keep the ball down at their end of the field."
Despite their ineffective offense, the Raiders still were in the game midway through the final period, trailing only 3-0. But the Lions took control, starting with a fake punt when faced with fourth and five at the Oakland 39.
Punter Tom Skladany, with a shot putter's motion, completed a short pass to Ken Callicutt for an eight-yard gain and the first down at the 31. Five plays later, Murray kicked the 39-yard field goal for a 6-0 lead with 7:21 to play.
Murray then kicked off deep to Oakland's Malcolm Barnwell, who went laterally to find running room. But he was downed by Callicut and fumbled, with Luther Bradley recovering for Detroit at the three.
Clark said he planned to run Sims as many times as it took to score from there.
On first down, Sims started off for his left tackle, then slid outside and, even though linebacker Rod Martin and cornerback Dwayne O'Steen had the angle on him, sped by them and into the end zone.
"The play was designed to go inside, but everything was closed up so I just bounced outside," said Sims.
Murray kicked his last field goal with 1:38 to play.
Plunkett completed 11 of 21 passes for 102 yards.
"Instead of throwing on rhythm, Plunkett had to bring his arm down and reload a lot and that threw their timing off," said Clark.
"The credit has to go to our defensive backs," said defensive tackle Doug English. "They covered their receivers well and that gave us the extra second we needed to get in on Plunkett."
The Lions also moved defensive end William Gay to tackle and it was his quick inside pass rushes and his ability to stop the run that helped stop Oakland.