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Raiders Top Patriots in First AFL Exhibition Game

Aug. 5, 1963 - The Oakland Raiders yesterday relied heavily on the home run play and, in so doing, served notice they might cast off their mantle as the Mets of the American Football League. Long gainers carried the Raiders to a convincing 24-17 victory over the Boston Patriots in the first exhibition game of the 1963 season. There were 9,721 fans at Oakland’s sunny Frank Youell Field, and that wasn’t a bad turnout for summertime football. And they had plenty to shout about. Not so much because the Raiders won a game, which hasn’t happened often during past years, but because they did it with conviction and authority. Once the fastest team in the AFL at moving backwards, the Raiders yesterday only moved ahead. They blocked, tackled, and charged with real vigor and, more importantly, served notice on their quarterback, Cotton Davidson (pictured left with Tom Flores), that he was back among friends. The protection afforded Davidson enabled the hard-throwing rifleman to complete 16 of 32 passes, most of them long bombs, for a creditable 251 yards. In one way or another, he accounted for all three Oakland touchdowns, passing for one to Art Powell deep in the end zone, plunging for another after setting it up with three long strikes, and carrying the club to the one on the third sequence, when fullback Charlie Rieves made the plunge. Head coach Al Davis had high praise for Davidson, halfback Clem Daniels, and linebacker Archie Matsos, who had a key interception and was all over the field all day long. But Davis said the team still had a lot of work to do. “We’ve got a long way to go,” said the genial young coach. Davis is actually halfway there in terms of what he came to Oakland to do this season. His job is to rebuild Oakland’s AFL entry, and right now it is no secret that the Raiders are already twice as good as last year. Off his first game, one can safely conclude there will be no more powder puff derbies on the turf by the freeway.


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