These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world… and then we f&%#@d up the end game.
History will show a Charger victory, their 12th consecutive over the Raiders. Roger Goodell will note that this is the 11th consecutive loss the Raiders have endured in primetime. Are we still on for Thanksgiving in Dallas?
Even though the outcome seemed inevitable to most, it was the manner in which it occurred that made for a restless night of sleep for Raider Nation as many wondered aloud “What Would Rollie Do?”
Cable wasn’t kidding about brining back Raider Football. On a night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the AFL, the Raiders decided to commit to their throwback uniforms and really get into character.
It was vintage Raider football. Hard hitting, mono-a-mono match ups that evoked the memories of smash-mouth football’s past. Throughout the evening, the Raiders schooled the Chargers on the essence of America’s most popular sport. At the point of contact, the Oakland Raiders dominated. A no-frills offense marched downfield, threatening the Chargers in Serena Williams-like fashion. A no-nonsense defense harassed Philip Rivers, stifled LaDainian Tomlinson and kept that empty stare plastered to Norv Turner’s face for the better part of four quarters. The officials themselves even got into the spirit too. On a night when the New England Patriots pulled out another miracle win, the ghosts of Tuck Rule past haunted the Oakland Coliseum with the head scratching negation of Louis Murphy’s touchdown in the second quarter.
When the Chargers took the lead late in the fourth quarter and a misfiring JaMarcus Russell was pitted with a 4th and 14 scenario, a miracle occurred. Russell flung a 57-yard bomb that cruised through the sky like a stealth bomber, landing in the hands of a wide open Louis Murphy.
The night seemed like it was going to end perfectly. The Charger curse was broken. The Raider Way was restored. Russell’s bazooka arm had looked more like a backfiring shotgun until he scraped the clouds with his connection to Murphy. Richard Seymour kept his word by twice taking Rivers to the ground. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush punished the Chargers by running behind a dominating offensive line. Not to be left out, Cornell Green even committed three penalties just in case Raider Nation had forgotten he was on the field.
It was looking like the storybook ending to a fairytale start of 2009.
The acquisition of Seymour was indeed vintage Al Davis as it paid immediate dividends. Now, Mr. Davis needs to roll back the clock a little further to get Rollie Fingers on the roster.
The Raiders need Rollie and his mustache of awesome to close out games. This is not the first time this young team has had a lead late only to let it slip away.
Rollie would not have stood helplessly on the sideline watching as the Chargers marched downfield on the Raiders. Fingers would have been foaming at the mouth, split glazed to his mustache curls as he screamed at John Marshall and that Canadian Football League zone used to defend Darren Sproles.
An exhausted defense was minus their Kyra Sedgwick and an 0-1 record was posted next to the Oakland Raiders for 2009.
It was a spirited effort but there are no moral victories in professional football. There are many positives to draw from but only one result makes months of preparation seem worth all the trouble. With this type of an effort, wins will come. However, protecting a lead late is something young teams must learn the hard way.
Somewhere, Dennis Eckersley rubbed his mustcahe and cried last night. If he’s available, Al Davis should trade for him too.
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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Cornell Green Darren McFadden Darren Sproles Dennis Eckersley JaMarcus Russell John Marshall LaDainian Tomlinson Louis Murphy Michael Bush Norville Turner Philip Rivers Roger Goodell Rollie Fingers Tom Cable