Penalty hinders Raiders' final drive

Updated: November 24, 2003, 1:13 AM ET
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Phillip Buchanon's helmet went into his equipment bag, stashed away without a second thought.

Phillip Buchanon
Buchanon's return was followed by a major gaffe.

The Oakland Raiders' second-year punt returner and cornerback was just as dismissive of questions about his headgear -- specifically, the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he drew for taking it off in the fourth quarter Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Oakland had to settle for a game-tying field goal by Sebastian Janikowski, and Kansas City drove downfield for Morten Andersen's 35-yard field goal with four seconds left for a 27-24 victory.

Buchanon didn't want to talk about that drive, either, especially the fourth-and-14 play on which he gave up Marc Boerigter's 16-yard catch that set up the winning kick.

"It was a tough game to lose. I didn't do enough for us to win," Buchanon said with a shrug. "That's how it happens."

Then he smiled, said, "Talk to y'all later," and walked away.

Reactions elsewhere in the Raiders' locker room were less nonchalant.

Veteran wide receiver Tim Brown, asked if he offered Buchanon any advice, said Buchanon was likely to get a lot of it in the coming week.

"He already has a lot of veteran leadership over there (on the defense), so I haven't taken the opportunity," Brown said. "I think the opportunity will present itself this week."

Former Oakland great Jim Otto, now in charge of special projects for the team, could be overheard calling Buchanon's actions "stupid" and ripping the cornerback's defensive skills.

Coach Bill Callahan was more diplomatic, but just as clearly displeased.

"I think he's learning, and these are hard lessons to learn," Callahan said. "You can't do the things you've normally done in college when you come in here.

"He's a second-year guy. He's experienced enough and been around enough pro football to understand what the situations are and what the focus has to be."

The Raiders trailed 24-21 with just under four minutes left when Buchanon returned Jason Baker's short punt 27 yards to Kansas City's 26.

But instead of running back to the bench, he sprinted through the end zone, took off his helmet and yelled at fans.

The resulting penalty pushed Oakland back to the 41, and the Raiders could get no closer than the 18 before Janikowski's 41-yard field goal with 2:22 remaining.

"That was very big," Chiefs defensive end Eric Hicks said. "You can't do that. I got (a penalty) for doing it last year. You just have to learn from others."

Buchanon did have one defender among his teammates.

"You cannot fault the youngster for his celebration," offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy said. "He should have known it was a penalty, but at the same time, I don't necessarily blame him."

Buchanon also had a costly miscue in Oakland's 17-10 loss to Kansas City in October, when his muffed punt return led to Priest Holmes' 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press