Today was supposed to be a big day for Sebastian Janikowski. Once he hit the field, he set a record for most games played in a Raiders uniform (241). During pregame they honored him on the jumbotron for his accomplishment. But no sooner did he enter the game, but his big day fell well short.
His first entry into the game came in the first quarter with the Raiders at the Denver 20-yard-line, looking to put the Raiders on the board first. It was a 38-yarder which is just 5 yards farther than an extra point, which is typically a chip shot for the big legged veteran.
Chip shots are supposed to get lift that would ideally be as high as the goal posts. And typically that's not a problem for Janikowski. This kick was a line drive that was easily blocked in the middle of the line by nose tackle Sylvester Williams. And the promising drive against the stout Denver defense ended with no points. Not exactly how anyone envisioned Seabass breaking the Raiders franchise record.
The man who has earned the nickname the Polish Cannon throughout his 15-year career, is allowed a mistake or a fluke now and then. But when he kicked off for the first time, he continued to show he was not right. What is usually a touchback out the back of the end zone, was fielded at the 5-yard line and returned to the 28-yard-line.
He kick off to begin the third quarter and again couldn't even reach the end zone. It was fielded at the 2-yard line and returned to the 33-yard-line.
Then on the first play of the fourth quarter, he was trotted out again for a field goal from 40 yards out and simply hooked it wide left. No block. Just a miss.
Was he injured? Jack Del Rio said there was no indication anything was wrong with his kicker. Janikowski also said he was fine.
"I felt good, just something didn't click," Janikowski said after the game. "I don't know. Sometimes it happens."
What happened with Janikowski was nerves. They stopped the game for a moment to honor him when he set the record and though Janikowski said that moment was "really cool", he also said he doesn't like publicity.
"I was a little anxious." he said. "Like I said, I just don't like that stuff. I just want to play another game, that's it."
If you needed proof Janikowski was perfectly capable of making those kicks, late in the game he was run out there and kicked a 50-yard field goal no problem. But by then the damage was done.
Had he been on point and knocked through the first two field goals, this would have been a different game. One that would might be able to merge with the honor of his having broken the record. But, nope. Not Seabass. It just can't be that easy. And the Raiders fell 16-10 with the margin of victory equal to his misses.