The Raiders welcomed the Jaguars to town for their home opener today. With the Jaguars being arguably the worst team in the league, this was a game they needed to win to have any hope of being competitive this season.
With the Raiders offense only getting in the endzone one time in the this game, the defense needed to hold their own to keep the Jaguars from jumping up and biting them. They almost did just that in the second quarter with the Jaguars threatening to tie it up.
Woodson went out hurt and his replacement, Usama Young, was instantly victimized for a 22-yard catch that put the Jaguars in first and goal at the three yard line.
After a tackle for loss by Brian Sanford, the Jaguars were set up in second and goal at the 7 yard line. Then Woodson came back in the game, recovered from getting the wind knocked out of him.
That play, Maurice Jones-Drew took the handoff and ran out left and looked like he would break through for a touchdown when out of nowhere, Charles Woodson came flying through the air, over blockers to wrap up MJD and stop him at the four-yard line.
The Jaguars would throw incomplete on the next play and settle for a field goal instead. It's just a day in the life of a man who has shown some super human abilities over his 15 seasons in the NFL.
"I'm just flying over a building in a single bound." Woodson said with a laugh. ""You know sometimes you gotta leave your feet. We kind of stretched the play outside and it looked like [Maurice Jones-Drew] was slowing down and maybe gonna be able to get the corner and just tried to get to him before he could make any more to get to the pylon."
The defense was fired up by the play, as was Woodson. It exemplified what Woodson means to this team this season.
"It's motivation," said rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden. "If he can do it, anyone of us can do it. Just him being out there, proud of us, playing along with us, it's a great honor. It's an honor to have a great player like that playing with you. I just trey to learn from him anything I can. Hopefully a little bit of him rubs off on me."
The impact of the play was not lost on Dennis Allen.
"Huge," said Allen of the stop. "When you get down in the red zone it's all about making them kick field goals and your ability to score touchdowns. I think we were 1 for 2 on defense in making them have to kick field goals. Charles made an exceptional play right there. Any time you see a guy like Charles Woodson who has played as long as he has and the way he can play at the level that he's played, for him to make an effort play like that really gives the whole team and the defense in particular a lot of momentum. I thought it was a great play. We were able to hold them to a field goal. We were able to keep the game really for most of the game we were able to keep it as a two score game which I thought was critical."
The tackle knocked MJD out of the game to make the second year in a row he was injured playing in Oakland - a homecoming for the Bay Area native.
It was also a homecoming of sorts for Woodson who played with the Raiders for the first eight years of his NFL career. The 36-year-old safety is here not just for nostalgia reasons, he is here because he can still play at a high level.
"The main thing for me is God's gift to me was to be able to play football and I can play football," said Woodson. "So, no matter the age, as long as my body feels good I can go out there and play football. I don't think it's really about showing anybody anything than it is going out and trying to help the team win and doing whatever I can to help the team win."
He was the final player announced for the game to fire, smoke, and blasts and received the largest applause from the home crowd who was eager to see him in a regular season game as a Raider once again. The entrance was quite different than Woodson came to know when he was here before.
"Its new. I'm used to coming out near the Black Hole, you know my first run with the Raiders. It was fun being the last guy to come out, hearing that crowd roar when they say your named. So, it was fun to be back out there in front of Raider Nation, and it's especially good when you can get a win."