Woodson's play turned the tide


Posted Dec 21, 2002


Whether a team is fighting for a playoff spot or is mathematically eliminated, there generally seems to be one play that seems to alter the course of a team’s season.

 

Whether a team is fighting for a playoff spot or is mathematically eliminated, there generally seems to be one play that seems to alter the course of a team’s season.

            In Week 2 of the 1997 season, Elvis Grbac’s touchdown pass to Andre Rison in the waning seconds lifted Kansas City to a 28-27 win over the Raiders. The loss sent Oakland into a downward spiral that led to a terrible 4-12 season while Kansas City went on to a 13-3 campaign and an AFC West title.

            Fast forward five years and seven weeks later. The Raiders have a 4-4 record and a four game losing streak heading into a Monday night game at Denver (6-2), where they had not won since 1994. If Oakland loses, its realistic playoff hopes are doomed but a win can at least begin to entertain thoughts of turning the AFC West race into a jumpball.

            The game starts out roughly like the previous four Raider games, all losses. Move the ball down the field on the opening drive. Get a few yards here and a few yards there only to have the drive bog down and end with a Sebastian Janikowski field goal.

On the ensuing drive, Denver went to its ground game led by rookie running back Clinton Portis, a virtual lock to become NFL Rookie of the Year with 1,228 rushing yards. Portis helped Denver create a second-and-goal at the Oakland 4-yard line. Bronco quarterback Brian Griese tried to hit Portis over the middle but free safety Rod Woodson intercepted the pass and returned it 98-yards to paydirt to give Oakland a 10-0 lead to lead to a 34-10 Raider blowout over Denver.

That play proved to be the difference in potentially a seesaw game and an Raider blowout. That win started a five-game winning streak for Oakland and a stretch of four losses in five games for Denver.

The two teams meet Sunday at Network Associates Coliseum with the Oakland now leading the AFC West with a 9-5 record followed by Denver and San Diego, both 8-6. The Raiders can clinch the division with a win over Denver and a Kansas City win over San Diego.

 

Vince D’Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com



Related Stories
You don't have to be a genius...
 -by BroncoReport.com  Dec 21, 2002
Broncos - Raiders Injury Report
 -by BroncoReport.com  Dec 21, 2002
Robbins gets overdue Pro Bowl, five Raiders total
 -by SilverAndBlackTimes.com  Dec 19, 2002

PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION INCLUDES
> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from SilverAndBlackTimes.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
QB Brian Griese (profile)
K Sebastian Janikowski (profile)
RB Clinton Portis (profile)
FS Rod Woodson (profile)
[View My HotList]