I watched opening night of the Oakland Raiders 2009 right across the street from where under-rated Chargers Safety Eric Weddle went to High School (Ouch!, sorry JLH). Needless to say there were a number of Chargers fans in attendance, although it was a Raider Bar.
The Raiders looked like a championship calibur team, and the Announcers raved at JaMarcus Russell's poise and leadership as he outplayed his over-hyped counterpart for three and a half quarters.
Nevermind McFadden's advanced case of fumblitis which cost JaMarcus a sure scoring drive late. Nevermind the zone defense which softened a Raider defense which had dominated all night with Man to Man prowess. JaMarcus came to win.
I must admit, I had counted the Raiders out late with the young JaMarcus behind the center. I was ready to mail it in, like most Raider fans...Enter Louis Murphy.
The Raider were trailing the Chargers by 7 late in the game. I believe it was fourth down and all but hope was lost. Then JaMarcus Russell earned his money. I could see it as he dropped back, his eyes lit up, as did mine. The first deep post called in the JaMarcus era(and last as far as I can remember)
Louis Murphy burned his defender deep and JaMarcus saw it immediately and released a perfect parobolic strike which seemed to stay in the air for an hour, landing perfectly into Louis Murphy's waiting hands, Touchdowwwwwwn, Raiders!
I lost my voice.
The dominant Raider D got another stop, led by an incredible display by TyVonn Branch, Thomas Howard, and CJ, who was stuck to Chargers receivers like glue all night.
JaMarcus had a chance to upset Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers on National T.V. Boy, those BSPN analysts must have been sweatin' after all the nonsense trash they talked about Russell and the Raiders coming in.
The young Russell would lead his team downfield again, showing why he was dfafted number one overall. I don't recall the down or time in the game(thats for you stats freaks to dig up, chumps)
They were already in field goal range, but when you have a rocket launcher, you go for the kill. And that is exactly what JaMarcus Russell did as he hit Murphy again in stride with a perfectly place laser strike which put the Raiders up by seven, leaving virtually no chance for the Chargers to come back....Touchdowwwwn, Raiders.
But wait. Replay booth. How? Murphy clearly got two feet down! With the ball as secure as a kangaroo pup.
The "Higher Powers" are convening( sound familiar?) By then I already know what was to come, just like last time. (Both of which affected my relationships at the respective times, ouch)
No TD. "Incomplete" pass. Wow. Even Charger fans were upset at that one. And the rest is history, as Russell continued to have big play after big play stolen by controversial calls(see Chiefs and Texans games) which would lead to his benching and subsequent lambasting on behalf of the media and even his own "fans."
Stay tuned for a recap of the Chiefs game which cost him a win and his starting job to Gradkowsh*t.