Sunday, November 17, 2013
Of flashbacks and defensive stands
By Paul Gutierrez
HOUSTON -- Stop me if you've heard this before ...
The Oakland Raiders are clinging to a five-point lead against the Houston Texans, who are inside the 10-yard line with less than 80 seconds to play.
Two years ago, and on the day after Al Davis passed away, Michael Huff stepped in front of Matt Schaub's game-winning attempt to Jacoby Jones in the end zone on second-and-goal from the 5-yard line with only 10 players on the field. Huff’s interception sealed the win and unleashed a torrent of emotions with six seconds left.
This time, with the Texans facing a 4th-and-2 from the Raiders’ 3-yard line, they were called for a false start and moved back to the eight, before Usama Young knocked away Schaub’s game-winning attempt to Andre Johnson in the back of the end zone. There were 70 seconds to go.
Raiders 28, Texans 23.
Déjà vu, much?
"The ghost of Al Davis is still around," former Raiders coach Tom Flores said on the radio broadcast.
Well, maybe … that and the Raiders defense stepping up when needed most.
"I was proud of us finishing in the second half," said defensive end Lamarr Houston, who had three tackles with a sack, his team-leading fifth.
The Raiders had leads of 14-0, and let it slip into a 17-14 deficit, before jumping ahead 28-17, and having to hold on at the end.
"One of the big things we did a good job on was just mixing it up," said middle linebacker Nick Roach, who had his first career interception. "We would bring some pressure, then we would be in coverage. It was really a mix of both.
"It’s huge because that has been our thing all year -- not being able to finish is what we’re trying to overcome."
Even with Schaub replacing Case Keenum late in the third quarter.
"At that point, we were doing what we were going to do," said free safety Charles Woodson, who forced a fumble. "I don’t think we anticipated that happening, but we just tried to keep the ball in front of us. We had that lead and we wanted to protect it."
And just like on Oct. 9, 2011, in the same end zone, the Raiders accomplished it.