Sports

Better, yet still bitter

OAKLAND -- They were close.

Just don't try convincing Raiders coach Lane Kiffin that's an accomplishment.

The Raiders slowed the Indianapolis Colts' offense most of the game.

So what? The Colts scored when it mattered.

The Raiders ran the ball and led the defending Super Bowl champions in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie the score late.

Big deal.

The Colts won 21-14 Sunday at McAfee Coliseum.

Not being blown out wasn't enough to remove the despondent look from Kiffin's face.

"I'm over that," he said. "We're too far along to feel good because we played the world champs down on the (16)-yard line to win the game. Who cares? We lost."

That the Raiders did after Peyton Manning, down 14-13 with 10:24 left in the game, led the Colts on a 91-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Gonzalez.

The Raiders almost forced a punt eight plays before the Colts took the lead. Reggie Wayne made a one-handed catch in front of the Raiders' sideline for a 19-yard gain on third down against the coverage of Nnamdi Asomugha. Wayne's right leg appeared to be out of bounds before he had control of the ball.

Kiffin said the stadium replay made it look like a catch and by the time his coaches saw the television replay it was too late, as Manning rushed the Colts to the line to get off a play before Kiffin could challenge.

The Raiders still had a chance to tie the score and were at the Colts' 16 with two minutes left.

On third down, Josh McCown threw to Jerry Porter in the left side of the end zone. Porter was grabbed around the waist by Marlin Jackson.

No flag.

Porter ran a slant and was grabbed by Kelvin Hayden on fourth down.

No flag.

"I'm never one to complain about the calls or make excuses," Kiffin said. "It's just unfortunate that the game comes down to one play and you don't have a chance to make a play on it."

Porter was told by Kiffin not to discuss the call. But he relayed what head linesman Ed Camp told him.

"He said (Hayden) grabbed me but he didn't turn me," Porter said. "Coach said leave it be."

That the Raiders still were in the game was a testament to Justin Fargas' running and one of the defense's best games of the season.

Fargas ran for 89 yards and a touchdown before leaving in the fourth quarter with a ligament sprain in his right knee.

The defense played man coverage most of the game and dared the Colts to beat them throwing the ball. The Colts couldn't until the fourth quarter.

"We've got the players that can do that here," Asomugha said. "Of course, we won't get any recognition because we don't win."

The defense twice forced the Colts to settle for field goals inside Oakland's 20, and linebacker Thomas Howard set up the Raiders' 20-play, 99-yard drive that took 11:49 when he knocked the ball from tight end Ben Utecht's hands on fourth down.

But in the end, Manning pulled it out.

"We've got to start winning these games," Kiffin said. "Someday we'll be that team that makes the plays and finishes people off like that."

For now, they must settle for almost.

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