They said that Darrius Heyward-Bey (seventh overall in 2009) was a terrible pick that early in the draft (and so far, "they" have been right) … but this time, he caught a touchdown pass when his team needed it.
They said that Sebastian Janikowski (17th overall in 2000) was a crazy first-round pick — who "wastes" a first-rounder on a kicker? — but he kicked three field goals of 50 yards or more, to make part of the difference.
They said that Michael Huff (seventh overall in 2006) shouldn't have been a first-rounder early on in his career … but he picked off the Matt Schaub pass that sealed the win for the Oakland Raiders in their first game without Al Davis in charge in some capacity since 1962.
The late Al Davis, who passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 82, made more than his share of controversial first-round draft picks. And while a few will never make amends (hello, JaMarcus Russell), three of those players more valued by Davis' Oakland Raiders than any other team came through to make sure that Davis passed to the hereafter with a 25-20 win over the Houston Texans in Houston.
The Raiders, who barely had time to acclimate to the loss of the man who had defined their franchise over the last 49 years, were playing catchup until there was 5:21 left in the third quarter, and Janikowski kicked a 50-yarder to mark his third of at least that distance in the day — he had booted a 54-yarder in the first quarter, and a 55-yarder in the second.
The Texans weren't done, though — they went ahead again late in the third quarter when Neil Rackers kicked a 54-yarder. In the fourth quarter, Janikowski connected on his fourth field goal of the day — this one a measly 42 yards! — and quarterback Jason Campbell connected with receiver Chaz Schilens for the touchdown that put the Raiders ahead for good in the start of the fourth quarter.
The final play of the game was Huff's time to shine — just as it looked like the Texans were going to be able to mount a furious comeback, Huff intercepted Matt Schaub's 5-yard pass to ensure the victory.
The emotion of the game was shown right after, when Raiders head coach Hue Jackson took a knee on the field and was overcome by emotion, and Davis' son was seen crying in the press box. And the real story was the players who rewarded Davis' faith in them by coming up big when it meant the most.
The Raiders are currently 3-2 and in second place in the AFC West.
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