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raiders
sebastian janikowski
oakland raiders
twenty four hours
jason campbell
personal relationship
Raiders Win With Some Help From Al
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The news broke to all 53 players on the Oakland Raiders Saturday morning; Al Davis had passed away at the age of 82.  Twenty four hours before one of the biggest games in the teams recent history, and they all listened with heavy hearts.  While each individual player and coach had their own personal relationship with Mr. Davis, they all had at least two things in common.  They were saddened by the loss of such a great man, and they were all filled with a purpose the honor that man on Sunday.  They would pay their respects to the boss, and they would "Just Win Baby!"

Early on in the game it looked like the emotions were too heavy to overcome, as the Texans were not only winning on the scoreboard, but the defense had even allowed Oakland to gain a first down on offense.  On this day several of Mr. Davis' favorite players would play a pivital role in the victory.  In the first half it was Sebastian Janikowski who kept hope alive with his strong left leg.  He booted two field goals of 54 and 55 yards, and two others to keep the Raiders in the game at half down 14-12.

The team came out in the second half with a renewed vigor.  The defense was much more focused, as they continually harassed Schaub the entire day.  He was under constant pressure, and when he wasn't being sacked, and he was being sent to the ground in a not so gentle way.  At one point in the third quarter he was able to get the passed away, but he was drilled in the chest by a blitzing Rolando McClain.  Schaub wasn't the same after that as he developed a case of "happy feet".  Which proved costly on the last play of the game. They also held one of the best running backs in the league to 68 yards on 22 carries.  He did most of his damage in the screen game as he went for 116 yards on 5 catches.

When the offense did finally start to come around, it was Darren McFadden who led the charge.  He had three consecutive runs on one drive that got them into Texan territory.  Shortly after that Jason Campbell scrambled and found Chaz Schillens for a TD catch.  The big offensive hero of the day was Darrius Heyward-Bey, who had 7 catches and 99 yards and a touchdown.  He was a total Al Davis pick 3 years ago out of Maryland as the #7 pick in the draft.  The so called experts had him going much later, and through two years he was a bust.  This year Mr. Davis' projections are starting to come though.  This is the second straight game that he was led the team in receiving. 

Al Davis would have been proud of what his team did yesterday.  After all, he was a diciple of one thing, and one thing only.  Something Charlie Sheen would know something about, Winning.  That's really all Mr. Davis cared about, and it didn't matter if it was ugly, unusual, or unconventional.  "Just Win Baby!" was his trademark, and the Oakland Raiders trademark.  To honor him, this team will have to do just that.

After the game coach Hue Jackson broke down on the sidelines.  He remarked all weekend about the special relationship that he had with "Coach Davis" as he likes to refer to him.  Even up to his last days, he could spin circles around just about anyone when it came to discussing football.  Over the last several years people accused him of letting the game pass him by.  If this team can find a way to keep winning, then Mr. Davis will get the last laugh, as he constructed this team in his image.  Hard nosed lineman, rush the passer and put pressure on the pocket.  Have guys on the corner with speed that can cover, and a running game that will beat you up.  Ofcourse, no Raider team would be complete without it's speedy wide receivers and vertical passing game.  Check on all of the above, this team is Al's team, and to win with it would put the theory of the game passing him by to rest.


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