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Archive for Sunday, January 7, 2001

Raiders roll over Dolphins

James’ 90-yard interception return sparks Oakland in 27-0 victory

January 7, 2001

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— Tory James didn't wait until he reached the end zone to start celebrating.

The Oakland cornerback high-stepped for the final 25 yards of his 90-yard interception return that started the Raiders on a 27-0 rout of Miami on Saturday.

The victory sent Oakland to the AFC championship game for the first time since the 1990 season.

"Before I go to sleep, I always visualize making plays," James said.

"It seems like today my dreams came true."

The Raiders (13-4), who have not been in the playoffs since 1993, will play the winner of today's game between Baltimore and Tennessee.

Rich Gannon completed 12 of 18 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Tyrone Wheatley ran for another touchdown and rookie Sebastian Janikowski kicked two field goals.

Miami (12-6), which had won three straight regular-season games in Oakland, couldn't overcome a 20-0 first-half deficit.

It was the latest postseason humiliation for the Dolphins, who have been beaten by the combined score of 127-10 at this stage of playoffs the last three years.

Last season, the Dolphins were blown out 62-7 by Jacksonville in the divisional playoff game. Two years ago, they were defeated 38-3 in the second-round by Denver.

"Every team has its cross to bear, its hurdle to get over," receiver Oronde Gadsden said. "The second round of the playoffs is ours."

Jay Fiedler was 18-of-38 for 176 yards and three interceptions for Miami.

With the Dolphins on the Raiders' 17, James intercepted Fiedler's pass and ran it back for the touchdown high-stepping with fellow cornerback Charles Woodson.

"After going three-and-out on the first series, I sagged," Oakland coach Jon Gruden said. "Next thing you know, old No. 20 is down the sidelines."

It was the first career touchdown for James, a five-year veteran in his first season with the Raiders. He added another interception in the fourth quarter.

Oakland went up 10-0 on Janikowski's 36-yard field goal with 4:52 left in the first quarter. He added a 33-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.

Woodson recovered Lamar Smith's fumble at Miami's 43, and Gannon hit James Jett with a 6-yard touchdown pass with 1:53 to go before halftime.

In the first half alone, Gannon completed 10-of-13 passes for 117 yards. In the second half, the Raiders' top-rated rushing offense took over. Wheatley scored from two yards out with 5:56 left in the third quarter.

Gannon, named to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro Team, ran five times for four first downs.

The Raiders' defense effectively shut down Smith, who came into the game with 13 touchdowns in Miami's last 10 games. He finished with eight carries for four yards.

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