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Friday, January 31, 2014
10 plays that shaped Raiders' season: No. 7

By Paul Gutierrez

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Our chronological journey through the Plays That Defined The Oakland Raiders’ Season takes us to Game 8, when the Raiders were a victory away from breaking even with a record of 4-4.

Nov. 3, vs. Philadelphia Eagles, D.J. Hayden endures a baptism by fire at the wings and feet of DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper.

OK, so technically, we’re talking about three plays in one game, rather than one. But as a body of work, the rookie cornerback’s low point of the season was also the Raiders’ first-round draft choice’s lasting image of his first year in the NFL.

To be fair, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles torched just about everyone in the Raiders’ defense that day in throwing an NFL record-tying seven touchdowns in the Eagles’ 49-20 demolition of Oakland.

But Hayden, the No. 12 overall draft pick, gave up 139 yards and two touchdowns on three receptions, two to Cooper and one to Jackson. Three days later, he suffered what was described as a groin injury in practice, a year to the day after he nearly died on the University of Houston practice field following a practice collision that tore a heart valve.

A week after that, Hayden tweeted, “Why me?”

Then, on Nov. 20, he was placed on season-ending injured reserve after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia.

For the season, Hayden’s “burn rate” was 60.6 as he surrendered 23 catches on 38 targets for 386 yards and three touchdowns, according to Stats, Inc.

He did, however, have a silver lining earlier in the season when his end zone interception of Philip Rivers sealed the Raiders’ home victory over the San Diego Chargers.