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Oakland Raiders fan: A win for Al against the Texans
It was one of the most emotional games I've experienced as an Oakland Raiders fan, with the Silver and Black sealing their win against the Houston Texans in the final seven seconds, with a final score of 25-20 at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, October 9, 2011.
Head coach Hue Jackson was overwhelmed by emotion as he fell to his knees, weeping. The Texans had been clear favorites against Oakland, yet somehow they managed to pull out the win, just a day after the team's iconic owner, Al Davis, passed away at the age of 82.
Going into the game, I felt the passing of Davis would either be so draining on the team that they would make many mistakes, or they would turn their emotion into a Raiders win. In the first quarter, it looked like they were headed toward a quick defeat; however, something changed along the way.
The way it started out with the Texans scoring a touchdown, and the Raiders' offense going nowhere, hardly getting even a first down over the two quarters, in addition to all the typical Oakland penalties, it wasn't looking good. Darren McFadden(notes) who had been the star of the show for the Silver and Black, was held to only 12 yards in the first half.
Sebastian Janikowski(notes) had his usual stellar performance, kicking four field goals, with three over 50 yards, and it was special teams who won much of the battle for the Raiders against the Texans.
Oakland's defense should be given a lot of the credit for the win as well, as they fought a tough battle, and held the Texans' quarterback Matt Schaub(notes) to only 24 of 51 passes, sacking him three times. That the defense was able to take on the Texans and win, surprised all of us, with the exception of possibly Jackson and defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, who has been taking a lot of flack this year.
Sunday's game was also a great one for Darrius Heyward-Bay, and probably one of the most memorable in his career as well. He caught a pass from quarterback Jason Campbell(notes) for 18 yards, then on the next play caught one for 34, ultimately scoring a touchdown for the team. By the end of the day, he'd caught seven passes for 99 yards and was credited with the touchdown.
The final moments of that game were some of the most dramatic seconds in the NFL. It seemed like the Silver and Black were destined to another disappointing end, with the Texans headed for a touchdown, but instead it was safety Michael Huff(notes) who jumped up and caught the interception in the end zone, just as the clock expired.
There is no denying that this was a special victory for the Raider Nation. It was a great way to end a difficult weekend for the Silver and Black. After the game, Janikowski commented, "He's looking over us, I'm telling you."
Jackson remarked, " Today is a great day for the Raiders all across the world. It was a sad day yesterday. But I want everybody to know that I know without a shadow of a doubt that Coach is somewhere up there rejoicing."
I believe he is, once a Raider, always a Raider. We all heard him yesterday, shouting, "Just win baby."
K.C. Dermody grew up in the Bay Area of California, and has been an Oakland Raiders fan from the time she could walk. She has continued her loyalty to the team through its many ups and downs over the decades, and has been privileged to meet several of her favorite players, including famed quarterback, Jim Plunkett.
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