Sunday, September 15, 2013
Charles Woodson super for Raiders
By Paul Gutierrez
OAKLAND -- Maurice Jones-Drew was four yards away from tying the game.
Jacksonville’s diminutive running back had a clear path to the end zone down the left sideline when, seemingly out of nowhere, Charles Woodson literally flew into the picture and wrestled Jones-Drew down, hooking him around the helmet and shoulders.
Not only did the tackle prevent a touchdown -- the Jacksonville Jaguars had to settle for a field goal to creep within 7-3 -- Woodson’s reckless abandon stoppage knocked Jones-Drew out of the game with an ankle injury.
“Sometimes you have to leave your feet,” Woodson said with a grin. “He was trying to stretch the play outside and it looked like he was slowing down and wasn’t going to be able to get the corner and I just wanted to get to him."
“It was like flying over a building in a single bound."
No, the Oakland Raiders were not like Superman in their 19-9 defeat of Jacksonville, but neither did the Jaguars have any kryptonite for Woodson, who made the play despite having to come off the field three snaps earlier after getting banged up.
The Raiders’ 36-year-old future Hall of Famer was all over the field Sunday, leading Oakland with six tackles. He was playing with the energy of a man several years younger, and setting an example for an impressionable secondary.
“Any time you see a guy like Charles Woodson play as long as he has in the league and play with the level he’s played, for him to make an effort play like that really gives the whole team, and the defense in particular, a lot of momentum,” said Raiders coach Dennis Allen.
“I thought it was a great play. We were able to hold them to a field goal. We were able to keep the game, for most of the game, we were able to keep it as a two-score game, which I thought was critical.”
To wit, a 7-3 lead rather than a 7-7 tie in the second quarter was huge for Oakland.
It’s a small sample size, no doubt, but Woodson, who dealt with a humbling free-agent experience this offseason, seems re-energized by his return to the franchise that drafted him fourth overall in 1998.
He had the Canton-worthy talent with the Raiders, but became evolved into a Hall of Famer with Green Bay.
Sunday, Woodson was introduced last to the home crowd during pregame introductions and he was given a raucous welcome. He repaid the crowd with the defensive play of the game.
“God’s gift to me was to be able to play football, and I can play football,” he said. “I’m at the age where as long as my body feels good, I can go out there and play football. I don’t think it’s really about showing anybody anything, it’s just going out there and trying to help the team win in any way I can.”
Like greasing up some old bones to leap over a pile of humanity to save a touchdown.