You have all the odds stacked against you.
You are on the road in a hostile environment.
You have legacy of tough losses against a fierce one-time rival.
You have had a questionable offense, minimal touchdowns, never getting untracked and it is week 12 of the season.
You are facing a very good Pittsburgh defense.
Then you have the officiating who always find ways to help the Raiders choke in big games—or any game really.
To overcome all this, Bruce Gradkowski needed to dig deep with the game on the line in the 4th quarter. He had just completed a 23-yard pass to Louis Murphy, taking the ball to the Pittsburgh 17-yard line with 27 seconds left. The Raiders hurried up to the line of scrimmage and let the clock expire for a delay-of-game penalty.
This was a key moment and one not every quarterback would have recognized.
Gradkowski had this to say on the matter:
“I kind of thought the ref didn’t restart the play clock,” Gradkowski said. “Because I was surprised when I got to the line, it was already at three seconds. So it was just kind of a miscommunication, and then we just kind of had to take it as it came. I wasn’t gonna waste a timeout on that. Just move us back five yards and go again.”
Now I ask you Raider Nation. Let's just presume that Gradkowski had to come out and Jamarcus Meatloaf was in the game at this particular juncture.
Does Meatloaf have the smarts to figure this situation out?
Seriously, does he?
Not a chance.
Meatloaf is DUMB.
That's why he sucks. That's why he makes bad reads and bad decisions as well as bad plays. That's the clue that makes his choice as a top draft pick to be one of the worst decisions in NFL draft history. That's why Al Davis is a fool for claiming Jamarcus is going to be great (which he said directly in his Lane Kiffin firing conference). That's why every Al backer and apologist is just as dumb as Meatloaf is.
Let's continue with the play at hand. This is the game on the line. It is where winners are made.
The delay of game penalty took the Raiders back to the 22-yard line. Steelers defensive back Ryan Mundy was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the next snap, and two plays after that Gradkowski hit Murphy with the game-winning 11-yard touchdown pass.
Now, they got a little help from a Steelers secondary that was not playing well that day and they also got a little help from the refs who called a penalty in favor of the Raiders.
They finally had a window of opportunity and Gradkowski, the unheralded backup making mega millions LESS than Jamarcus Meatloaf, pulled the trigger and achieved greatness, if only for one game in his hometown in front of his family and friends.
That win is what Raiders lore is all about.
Clutch wins take great players to achieve and there is no way Jamarcus would have the ability to navigate that specific situation. He would have blown the momentum by not allowing the delay of game penalty to occur or maybe call a time out, killing the moment. Or of course he would have just muffed the play somehow because that's what he does best—three and outs.
There's your proof. Now eat your Meatloaf.