LOS ANGELES, DEC. 16 -- Jay Schroeder threw three touchdown passes, two to Tim Brown, and the Los Angeles Raiders beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 24-7, today to move into sole possession of first place in the AFC West and clinch their first playoff berth in five years.
The Raiders (10-4) are one game ahead of Kansas City with two games remaining. By winning both games, or winning one while the Chiefs lose one, the Raiders would be assured of a bye in the first round of the playoffs and a home game in the second round.
The Bengals (7-7) fell one game behind Houston and Pittsburgh in the AFC Central. The Bengals meet Houston in Cincinnati next Sunday.
The Raiders haven't been in the playoffs since going 12-4 in 1985. From 1986 through 1989, the Raiders went 28-35.
Today, Schroeder threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Horton with 9:07 left in the third quarter for a 24-7 lead. The score came two plays after an 88-yard run by Bo Jackson to the Cincinnati 1.
Jackson started to sweep left end, but reversed his field and raced down the right sideline. "This is the first time I've been caught from behind since my junior year in college," Jackson said.
Schroeder completed 10 of 20 passes, including first-half touchdown passes of five and 44 yards to Brown, for 163 yards and wasn't intercepted or sacked. Jackson rushed for 117 yards on eight carries.
Cincinnati's Boomer Esiason did not practice this week because of a groin injury, but his second pass today went for a 41-yard touchdown to Tim McGee. In the third quarter, Erik Wilhelm replaced Esiason.
"I took myself out of the game," Esiason said. "The coach told me to go as long as I felt that I could. I will be injured the rest of the season, but that's life. I won't use my injury as an excuse. I can't make any more mistakes like the interception I threw in the end zone."
That interception led to a 39-yard field goal by Jeff Jaeger which gave the Raiders a 17-7 halftime lead.