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Pride was Evident in Denver Sunday

Who were those guys disguised as our lowly, yet lovable Oakland Raiders, sending a loud-and-clear message to the Denver Broncos and putting an exclamation point on my son’s 16th birthday on Sunday? 

Looks to me that for one throwback-kind-of-afternoon those were my father’s Raiders. 

I am neither strategist nor statistician so I will leave the analyzing to the more qualified.  But I have watched enough football to know that the Silver & Black has been sorely lacking in the all-important pride department, which in this writer’s opinion is at least partly responsible for the number of times this season the Raiders have waken up on the wrong side of the even-more-important point category. 

See for all those silver linings where the Raiders were "that" close, there have been the debacles.  Denver on opening night.  New Orleans, Baltimore, and back-to-back stinkers at home against Atlanta and Carolina.  Not that there are any pushovers in that group but when you lose those games by a combined 145-33, it has “forgot my manhood at home” written all over it. 

Oh sure it’s a young team, and there is constant adversity and turmoil, and you don’t know how long the coach is staying.  And almost every team has a stinker or two during the season.  But five? 

All of which makes yesterday so shocking.  And it wasn’t just the score.  It was causing a turnover in the red zone.  It was going 2-for-2 in challenges. It was actually getting a couple of calls (although two of the roughing-the-passer flags against the Raiders were so blatantly incorrect that Randy Cross was moved to spout something about physics). 

But more than anything there was the pride.  Check that.  For a day at least, let’s dress it up in caps and call it Pride.  Since Week One the Raiders had to live with the stinging sensation of the 41-14 Monday Night Massacre stamped into their memories.  And there was emotion.  I loved- LOVED- watching Coach Cable run over and embrace McFadden after his first touchdown.  I got a kick out of watching Russell point to the sky after his back-footed dart to former Bronco Ashley Lelie.  Dare I say there was even a little swagger evident among the troops, especially on defense? 

And in the end, the Raiders displayed some class.  With an opportunity to run up the score, Russell genuflected on the enemy turf, having gone 2-for-2 on the road against division rivals, a rarity in itself. 

Yes, for once the good guys were to the right side of the stinker.  It couldn’t have come at a better time, and certainly not in a better place.