One-yard touchdown runs by Marcus Allen, Frank Hawkins and Jim Plunkett rallied the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Raiders to a 24-14 victory today in the NFL debut of Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon.
Moon, who led Edmonton to five Canadian Football League championships, gave the Oilers a 7-0 halftime lead with a 10-yard pass to Mike Holston, who held onto the ball despite heavy contact.
The Raiders, who were not shut out in a first half last season, struck back in the third quarter with touchdown runs by Allen -- set up by Greg Pruitt's 34-yard punt return -- and Hawkins for a 13-7 lead.
Plunkett's touchdown came early in the fourth quarter as the Raiders took control of the game. Their touchdowns came on drives of 47, 34 and 36 yards.
Los Angeles kicker Matt Bahr had a 28-yard field goal with 4:45 to play, and the Raiders got a safety with 3:45 left when Houston's Dean Steinkuhler was called for holding in the end zone.
Bahr hit the goal post with his extra point try after Allen's touchdown. A high snap after Plunkett's touchdown forced Bahr to attempt a pass for the conversion.
The scoreless tie ended late in the first half. Allen fumbled after a 14-yard gain and Houston linebacker Robert Brazile recovered at the Raiders' 32. Earl Campbell then ran 22 yards and Moon passed to Holston in the end zone between Los Angeles' Matt Millen and Vann McElroy.
Moon threw another touchdown pass with 43 seconds to play, hitting tight end Mike McCloskey for five yards one play after a 51-yard completion to McCloskey. Moon finished with 12 completions in 29 attempts for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
Plunkett completed 15 of 36 passes for 198 yards. Cliff Branch caught four passes for 61 yards and tight end Todd Christensen caught four for 56 yards.
The game was marked by several excesses by emotional players. Houston reached Los Angeles' 40-yard line in the second quarter aided by an unnecessary roughness call against Greg Townsend and a personal foul against Lester Hayes.
Punters John James of Houston and Ray Guy of Los Angeles kept both offenses in poor field position throughout the first half.
With time running out in the half, Plunkett threw three straight incompletions to Christensen, and Bahr missed a 40-yard field goal.