Lately it has been pretty easy to dismiss the Oakland Raiders as a once proud organization who had lost their way. They had a highly questionable 2009 draft, their head coach got in trouble for punching one of his assistants, and Richard Seymour didn’t want to report there after being traded from the New England Patriots. Then this team goes out on Monday night and very nearly defeats the San Diego Chargers, a team many have picked to go to the Super Bowl.
This is where Raider owner Al Davis shows his true brilliance. Without doubt Davis is a football legend, but as he gets older many have simply written him off as a past his prime relic. Somehow Davis brings all this chaos together and somehow gets his organization back on the right track. Sure they lost the game, but the Raiders looked much more impressive than the other bad teams in this league like the Detroit Lions or Cincinnati Bengals.
Last night Head Coach Tom Cable brought a Raider team to the field of battle that could play the fundamentals of this game very well. They kept the game close until the 4th quarter, kept one of the best Running backs in this league to under a 100 yards rushing, and played a brilliant game that very easily could have been a win.
Those who wrote of the Raiders, myself included, learned a valuable lesson last night. This team is a lot better than we gave them credit for, but of course they are going to have to win some games to really prove that fact.
Let us not forget the Raiders actually won this game, had it not been for a blown goal by the Officials. Really though the call was right and the rule is wrong. Oakland Receiver Louis Murphy caught a Touchdown pass that was taken away because the rule says a receiver must keep control of the ball as he falls to the ground. However, if a Running Back merely breaks the plain of the end zone it is a score. This is a rule that will be changed, but too late to give the Raiders a huge upset win.