Rookie defensive end Greg Townsend recovered a fumble and ran 66 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter tonight as the Los Angeles defense led the Raiders over the Miami Dolphins, 27-14.
"I saw all these black jerseys (his teammates) and the ball and somebody yelled, 'Pick it up,' " said Townsend, a fourth-round draft choice. "And I did."
The Raiders and Dallas, both 3-0, are the NFL's only unbeaten teams.
The Dolphins (2-1) scored two touchdowns in the last 2:29, averting their first shutout since Dec. 12 against New England in the famous snowplow incident in which a tractor cleared a path for kicker John Smith as the Patriots won, 3-0.
Tonight's victory extended the Raiders' Monday night record to 20-2-1 since the nationally televised games began in 1970.
"It's been a good night," said Los Angeles Coach Tom Flores. "I wish we could get the commissioner to let us play all our games on Monday night. I'm very pleased. We knew coming into this game that there were two undefeated teams and one wasn't going to be after this game."
The Raiders have allowed only 30 points this season in beating Cincinnati, Houston and Miami. The Oilers managed only seven first downs against the Raiders; the Dolphins got only nine in the first 54:45. By then, it was 27-0.
Townsend, a 6-foot-3, 240-pounder from Texas Christian, was in the right place after linebacker Rod Martin stripped the ball from quarterback David Woodley. The play, which occurred on third and six for Miami at the Los Angeles 21, blunted one of the Dolphins' few threats while the game was close.
"That's about as thorough as we can get beat," said Dolphins Coach Don Shula.
Townsend's first touchdown as a pro gave the Raiders their third score of the game. They took a 7-0 lead with 2:53 left in the first period on Frank Hawkins' two-yard run. The play ended a 61-yard, nine-play drive and came immediately after a pass interference penalty against Glenn Blackwood put the ball on the two.
The Raiders made it 13-0 nine seconds before halftime on a 14-yard pass from quarterback Jim Plunkett to tight end Todd Christensen. Los Angeles moved 80 yards on nine plays after Miami's Uwe von Schamann missed a 37-yard field goal try.
Greg Pruitt scored on a five-yard run with 5:15 left to end a 63-yard, 13-play drive that ate up 8:50 of the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins finally scored on a six-yard pass from Dan Marino to Joe Rose on a fourth-and-goal play with 2:29 left. Miami then recovered an onside kick and moved 54 yards on nine plays for its second touchdown, a two-yard pass from Marino to Mark Duper with 20 seconds left.