Raiders Win, Advance to AFC Championship

The Oakland Raiders scored two touchdowns on turnovers to blank the Miami Dolphins 27-0 in the AFC divisional playoff game today in Oakland.

Rich Gannon, a 13-year veteran making his first playoff start, was 12-for-18 for 143 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions as Oakland advanced to its first AFC Championship game since 1990.

The Raiders, with the NFL’s top-ranked running game, next week will face the winner of the Baltimore Ravens-Tennessee Titans game on Sunday.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, end the season with yet another playoff rout. In 1999, Miami lost to Denver 38-3. Last year, Jacksonville ran away to a 62-7 win over Miami in the AFC wild-card game, the second-most lopsided playoff win in NFL history.

Torrid Tory

Cornerback Tory James had two interceptions and was an unstoppable force on defense today for Oakland. Just three minutes and 24 seconds into the first quarter, James intercepted Miami quarterback Jay Fiedler and ran it back 90 yards for a score on Miami’s second drive of the game.

He also recovered a loose ball and ran it 52 yards for a touchdown, but the play was called dead when it was ruled Fiedler had not fumbled but instead thrown an incomplete pass. After that call, James made a tackle and then broke up a pass on fourth down on the following play.

Oakland also capitalized on a Lamar Smith fumble, which was recovered by Charles Woodson and set up James Jett’s 6-yard touchdown reception.

Smith, who last week had a postseason-record 40 carries and 209 rushing yards, fumbled with 6:07 remaining in the second quarter, ending Miami’s most productive drive of the first half.

Tyrone Wheatley rushed for a touchdown and kicker Sebastian Janikowski chipped in 6 points on field goals. Oakland’s No. 1 pick nailed two field goals at distances of 36 and 33 yards and missed a 58-yarder with 6 seconds left in the half.

Fiedler Comes Up Short

Fiedler last week threw three interceptions in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts but regrouped to shepherd the team to a 14-point comeback win.

This week, he threw three more interceptions — but he could not find his groove. He went 12-for-18 for 176 yards and was sacked three times.

Dolphins found the end zone only once today, when Fiedler connected with Tony Martin, but that play was called back because of penalties.

Raiders Wear Down Miami D

The celebrated Dolphins defense, which led the NFL with 28 interceptions and featured the AFC’s top two sack leaders, did not pick off a single pass today. It did, however, hold Wheatley — the primary force in the Raiders’ vaunted rushing attack — to just 57 yards on 19 carries.

But the defense wore down after Oakland controlled the ball for almost 28 minutes through three quarters and couldn’t keep the game close for Miami’s hapless offense.

The 27-0 score marks the first time Oakland has shut out an opponent in the playoffs and the first time Miami has been blanked in the postseason.