Oakland Raiders Film Room: OAK at CLE
By Evan Ball
The Godfather Clinches the Game
Charles Woodson is an Oakland Raiders treasure. Sure, he’s not the hyper-athletic Defensive Player of the Year he used to be, but he’s pretty much always the smartest player on the field. The way he baits, then takes McCown’s pass right out of the air, shows skills of a true professional. Let’s take a look to appreciate how truly top notch this play was.
Very end of the game, 3rd and 14 for the Browns. Oakland is going to drop into a Tampa-2 type zone with the underneath zones dropping back to about the first down marker. Take a look at Woodson’s position. As he drops back he technically should veer toward the only deep threat on his side of the field, especially with help from Lofton on the middle deep area.
Instead, Woodson keeps his eyes on McCown, knowing full well where Cleveland receiver Travis Benjamin is going – all while staying clearly inside the numbers. It almost looks like he’s staying on top of the running back coming out of the backfield instead of covering the sideline (a weakness of Cover 2).
At the moment McCown unloads his pass Woodson is already breaking on the ball. Take a moment to appreciate the massive distance Woodson has to cover on his break and he moves across an entire third of the field while moving forward out of his back pedal. There’s no doubt that Woodson was waiting for this pass, and the interception that follows is the type few in the league can make. The Godfather comes through again.
It’s great to see Oakland performing well like this. The Raiders are starting to look like a team now, instead of a collection of individual players. This blossoming chemistry is what lasting success is made of. It’s not guaranteed yet, far from it. But it is nice to see the seeds of a winning team display themselves as the season progresses.