Whistled dead: Raiders let one slip by in OT

By Anthony Carroll  |   Sunday, September 16, 2007  |  Comments( 83 )

Oakland Raiders
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The Oakland Raiders overcame entirely too much on Sunday to not leave Invesco Field with a win.

Oakland, a 10-point underdog, quieted the Denver home crowd, came back from a 14-point deficit and stretched the game to an extra quarter. The Raiders even found a way to get the ball back after losing the overtime coin toss.

In the end, though, it was a whistle -- a whistle that came while the Raiders' game-winning field goal was already in the air -- that crushed Oakland's hopes of triumph.

Led by running back LaMont Jordan, who finished the game with 159 rushing yards, the Raiders orchestrated a 39-yard drive that gave kicker Sebastian Janikowski a 52-yard, game-winning field goal attempt in overtime.

The snap came, punter Shane Lechler held and Janikowski booted a perfect ball through the uprights. The game was seemingly over. In head coach Lane Kiffin's head his team had won, 23-20. The 32-year-old took off his headset and began to run onto the field.

Along the opposite sidelines, though, Denver head coach Mike Shanahan was busy calling a timeout. The timeout was called so late that by the time the whistle was blown, Janikowski had already kicked the ball.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, that was early enough.

On the next attempt, Janikowski missed an identical kick off the left upright, and the Broncos would go on to drive 54 yards downfield to set up a Jason Elam's game-winning field goal, a 23-yarder.

Had the strong-legged Janikowski made two in a row, Oakland would have left Week 2 atop the AFC West division, despite an almost nonexistent passing game.

In spite of injuries to his right index finger and right foot, 28-year-old Josh McCown was given the nod over fan favorite Daunte Culpepper. On the day, the move proved to be a rather questionable one. McCown threw for just 73 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions on the game, and he had just 12 passing yards going into halftime. After two quarters, Oakland had a meager five completions and three points.

Had it not been for Jordan and the defense, Oakland might have finished all four quarters with just three points.

Jordan's 159 ground yards accounted for over 60 percent of the Raiders' total offense. In overtime, the 230-pounder gained 37 of the team's 39 yards that led to Janikowski's game-winning attempt.

On the other side of the ball, Oakland's defense also chipped in, adding eight points of its own to the scoreboard.

Ex-Broncos defensive tackle Gerard Warren sacked quarterback Jay Cutler in the end zone, contributing the Raiders' first two points of the fourth quarter. Five minutes and 15 seconds later, linebacker Thomas Howard picked off Cutler's pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.

Howard also finished the game with a team-leading 10 tackles, in front of free safety Stuart Schweigert, who had nine, and DT Tommy Kelly's seven. Linebacker Kirk Morrison also snagged an interception early in the second quarter, his second in two games.

Oakland will head back home next week to meet with the 1-1 Cleveland Browns.

Raiders' Week 2 studs:

3. Kirk Morrison: At this pace (17 tackles, two interceptions and four passes defensed in two weeks), Morrison will be headed to his first Pro Bowl.
2. Thomas Howard: Recorded 10 total tackles, one interception and one defensive TD.
1. LaMont Jordan: Jordan now has 318 total yards through just two games.

Raiders' Week 2 duds:

3. Lane Kiffin: It appears the young coach has a bright NFL career ahead, but starting an injured McCown over a healthy Culpepper just doesn't appear logical.
2. The secondary: The performance wasn't as bad as last week's, but Oakland allowed 269 passing yards and couldn't tackle with any success.
1. Josh McCown: Three interceptions, two fumbles (one lost) and just 73 passing yards won't win you many games in the NFL.

Anthony Carroll, a senior writer for RealFootball365.com, can be contacted at acarroll@realfootball365.com
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About Anthony Carroll

Anthony Carroll began writing for RealFootball365.com on Sept. 26, 2005, making him one of the longest tenured contributors to the “365” team. As a senior writer, Anthony has taken on the task of delivering original content to the silver and black faithful year round, despite having to deal...
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