In the face of adversity JaMarcus Russell answered the call time and again yesterday.
His first pass that sent a floating duck into the hands of Defensive Lineman Igor Olshansky was all but forgotten by the time he rolled right, then back left and delivered a 32 yard touchdown pass to Jerry Porter that was thrown even before Porter made his final break across the end zone.
Although yesterday was his first official start JaMarcus BECAME the Oakland Raiders starting QB when he led a field goal drive with less than a minute left in the first half.
He then gave all in attendance a reason to be hopeful when he threw that line drive dart to Porter and led drives that should have led to points in the third and fourth quarters.
The team and even the coach himself made it difficult for JaMarcus to win yesterday, but, the young first round pick refused to let dropped passes, personal fouls on his linemen, false starts, fumbles and bad play calling ruin his first start.
Ronald Curry dropped an easy third down catch, Gallery and McQuistan BOTH had personal fouls that killed drives, Dominic Rhodes fumbled in San Diego territory, Johnnie Lee gave the ball back to San Diego on the Oakland three and twice Lane Kiffin went for it on fourth and more than a yard without getting a first down.
I was reading the game thread on my phone yesterday after the game and I was surprised that more of you weren't ticked off at Lane kiffin for not kicking the 41 yard field goal with 3:42 left in the game.
The game was setting up perfectly to get JaMarcus a shot at a game tying two minute drill.
It was fourth and 1 and the team was down by two scores with 3:42 left and the Raiders holding onto all of their time-outs.
The defense had already shut down Volek completely and could have even gotten the ball back to JaMarcus with more than 2 minutes left and a chance to drive the length of the field and send the game to overtime.
When Kiffin went for it and failed I just sat there with my head in my hands in utter disbelief.
The JaMarcus Russell victorious debut and the season ending sweep of the AFC West Dreams hung in the balance of that decision and just like Barry Switzer years ago and Lane Kiffin's USC team against Texas in the Championship, a fourth down failure ended the game.
I was SHOCKED!!!
The momentum that was building behind JaMarcus and HIS Oakland Raider teammates just disappeared and when Johnnie Lee fumbled the punt return after the defense forced a quick three and out, the loyal fans all clad in Silver in Black began to head for the exits for the final time this season.