As some of you who read my weekly Pressures, Hurries, and Knockdowns column may know, I was unable to watch football for much of this past Sunday. My wife and daughter were returing from a trip to Disney World in Florida, which I was unable to attend due to work commitments (mainly not having any vacation time left for the year).
I do not own a cell phone or a laptop computer, and my father was driving to Toronto in his old beater which wouldn't even recognize Satellite radio if it bit it in the bumper. With he being even more technologically deficient than I am, and living in Eastern Ontario, Canada, there were no updates for the game readily available.
I was on the road from 12-7:30, meaning I missed the entirety of the early slate and, so I thought, the duration of the later games as well.
I steeled myself for the score, but felt that my Raiders were in a good position to win this game. Being that we had to win this game, I had faith, and didn't want the crushing disappointment of reading the crawl and seeing a 14th straight loss to "Corky" Rivers and his Sunshine gang.
Imagine my surprise when I come home to discover that, due to a wild and wooly game where much craziness had ensued, there's still almost five full minutes left for me to watch! And my beloved Raiders are down 27-22 to the hated Chargers, but driving with a chance to take the lead!!
Hastily explaining the situation, and apologizing to my wife and daughter for ditching them after devoting a whopping five quality non-travel minutes to them after a week apart, I ran downstairs to my man cave and threw the game on.
Jason Campbell is starting? Where's Bruce, I thought? Probably hurt, based on his shoulder last week and our O-line. And yes, he was. But I digress.
The play I came in on was the Brett Myers completion. I lost it; I'm losing it as we're driving to take the lead. I can taste it; we need it so badly. I don't know how or why we're in this position, all I know is WE'VE GOT TO SCORE!!!
And we do!! Bush pounds it into the end zone, and we're a two-point conversion away from a three point lead. But we've been here before. Two pointer fails, and we're up one.
Chargers need a field goal to break my heart all over again, and Rivers, from the stats I read, has been unstoppable. My mouth goes dry.
The defense comes out, and I'm thinking Marshall, his stones firmly in Al Davis' jar, is going to run the prevent-us-from-winning defense, and nightmarish deja vu is creeping in all over again.
But something happened before this game: Marshall snuck into Al's office, smashed the jar, and reattached his cojones. Although torched through the air all game, which is a concern, when the chips were down Marshall didn't sit idly by.
He released the hounds. And the hounds bayed and snarled their way right into River's stupid, cartoonish mug. And like he does, Rivers whined and cried and generally entertained anyone who isn't a San Diego fan for all the wrong reasons.
The much-maligned and battered Michael Huff came steaming from his the left side of the line on an all-out blitz. Rivers tried to get rid of the ball, but Huff smashed his arm before he could throw it. The ball fell to the turf and just SAT there.
It seemed like time was frozen, as seven long years of agonizing defeats framed by undeserving taunts from fair-weathered San Diego fans came roaring back. We could end this! The ball was just SITTING there!! SOMEBODY PICK IT UP!!! I screamed at the television.
It was like one of those stop-motion movie scenes where the ball is swaying back and forth on the ground, but nothing else on the screen is moving.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, there was a sucking sound as all motion resumed, Tyvon Branch jumped on the ball, picked it up, and began racing down the sideline.
The play was dead though. Rivers was insisting his arm was going forward in a comical gesture even as he was being blocked out of bounds, and nobody on the field other than Branch was reacting like this was a live play.
But there were no whistles! And when Branch crossed the end line, the game was over.
Except it wasn't. Review time! And we Raiders fans love our reviews, because they always go our way. Even when the evidence is overwhelmingly against us, it just seems to....no wait, sorry, it's the OTHER way around!!
So of course I'm picturing the call being reversed, Rivers hitting gates, Kaeding and his small, strange, scrunched together face eyeing up and kicking the game winning field goal, and me contemplating injuring myself after watching us have yet another chance to beat the Chargers snatched away.
The referee comes out, and of course he says, the play was upheld. Touchdown Raiders. Game over.
I knew it, I mouthed, disgusted. I almost threw the controller through the television. Then I paused and repeated the words in my head.
Wait, what!?!?!?! Did I really just walk into the last five minutes of the game, watch us come back and score to take the lead, and then BLITZ to hold it? Did the Raiders really just end the game on a defensive touchdown?
Did the call on the field REALLY stand?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.
And all I could think or feel was: OH YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!
I got to see my girls for the first time in a week, my Raiders won, and I got to see it happen at the end. All in all, one of my better Sundays in recent times to be sure.
Thanks for reading folks. I know this was a little different, but since I didn't see the game and my fellow Raiders FC's have all done a phenomenal job as always in reviewing what happened. I figured I'd let you know how I experienced the game. Wish I could've seen it all, but I'll definitely celebrate the end result!!