Hollas, Raiders Roll Over Bengals


Donald Hollas refused to give up on football, even though football all but gave up on him.

Hollas

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  • was rewarded for his stubborn resolve on Sunday as he guided the Oakland Raiders to a 27-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Making his second start in place of injured Jeff George, Hollas threw two touchdown passes -- his first scoring tosses since 1992 when he played for the Bengals.

    "It's been so long," Hollas said.

    Hollas, who started just twice for the Bengals from 1991-94, is a journeyman who didn't play at all last season after signing with the Raiders. He got his chance after George injured his groin early this season, but he struggled in his first start, a 7-6 victory over San Diego two weeks ago.

    After a bye week, though, Hollas came through with TD passes of 19 yards to Tim Brown and 39 yards to James Jett. Hollas finished 9-of-21 for 173 yards.

    "It was a long two weeks and I'd be lying if I didn't say I was relieved right now," he said. "I took a lot of heat."

    Napoleon Kaufman had a career-high 31 carries for 143 yards, Lance Johnstone returned a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown, and Greg Davis added two field goals as Oakland (5-2) won its fourth straight.

    The victory gave the Raiders their best start since they went 5-1 in 1995, and they now have more wins than all of last season.

    "Obviously we had a lot of doubters. I guess we proved a lot of people wrong -- up to this point," Kaufman said.

    While Hollas found his offense, the Bengals lost theirs. Neil O'Donnell hit Corey Dillon with a 17-yard scoring pass and Doug Pelfrey added a 51-yard field goal, but for the most part Cincinnati (2-5) was sloppy and ineffective.

    Twice the Bengals fumbled, leading to Raiders touchdowns. Cincinnati had fumbled just once this season going into Sunday's game.

    Damon Gibson fumbled a punt return, which was recovered by Mike Morton to put the Raiders on Cincinnati's 20-yard line with 3:41 left in the first quarter. The mistake led to Brown's touchdown catch, which gave the Raiders a 7-0 lead.

    The Bengals, who had only 3 yards total offense in the first quarter, tied it in the second quarter on O'Donnell's TD pass to Dillon.

    But the Raiders rebounded on the next series with Jett's touchdown catch with 4:18 left in the half. They extended their lead just two minutes later, when Darrell Russell sacked O'Donnell and forced him to fumble. Johnstone scooped up the ball and ran it back to give the Raiders a 21-7 lead at halftime.

    O'Donnell, who finished 16-of-26 for 137 yards, was pulled in favor of backup Jeff Blake in the fourth quarter. The plan didn't work as well as the Bengals hoped.

    "We put Jeff in to get a little more mobility at quarterback, then he promptly gets sacked -- twice. Bang! Bang!" coach Bruce Coslet said.

    O'Donnell was at a loss to explain the Bengals' problems.

    "They did bring some pressure, but it's the same thing again," he said. "We couldn't get into rhythm, we couldn't get into synch."

    Davis kicked field goals of 22 yards and 48 yards for the Raiders in the second half.

    NFL official Bob Boylston broke his right hip in the second quarter when Kaufman accidentally ran into him. The game was delayed five minutes, and Boylston was taken off the field on a cart.

    Notes

  • The Raiders are 16-7 against the Bengals in a series that started in 1968.
  • Jermaine Williams , just activated off the practice squad, started in place of Raiders fullback Jon Ritchie , who had minor knee surgery last week.
  • Pat Harlow was placed on the Raiders' injured reserve Saturday with a back injury.
  • Oakland receiver Tim Brown has caught at least one pass in 83 straight games.
  • The Bengals are 0-8 at Oakland.
  • O'Donnell extended his streak of pass attempts without an interception to 172.
  • The Bengals had just two turnovers this season until Sunday, when they had three -- two fumbles and an interception.
  • CarPickens , who came into the game leading the league with 42 receptions, was held to just two by the Raiders.

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