Yeah, it took me longer than usual to get around to writing this one up. I had to savor this shit.
I may have shot off one half-hearted fist pump as the clock zeroed. Maybe. But that was all the exuberance I could muster. No, all I could do in the immediate moments after the 2014 Oakland Raiders claimed their first victory was bury my head in my hands, and take deep breaths of fresh victory air. It was as if Chester McGlockton had been sitting on my chest for a few months, and he finally got up to go get a sandwich.
Most people do not know this, but the key moment in this contest occurred in my apartment sometime in the first quarter. My wife got back from Japan the previous day. While we're watching the game, she offered me a lucky cat. Some of you know what's up with Japanese lucky cats. If you eat much sushi, you've seen them. How sweet are those joints? I had always wanted one, but only bought them as gifts while I was in Japan. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing you get yourself. A Japanese lucky cat is like a nickname in that sense. So I was pretty fucking stoked that the wife offered me one.
I asked her what colors she had. A few each of blue (health) and pink (love)... and one purple (motherfucking success yall). That was precisely what I myself brought back from Japan, with the intention of giving Autumn Wind the purple one when we went to the Broncos game. That was a very tall order for lucky cat though. I put it out there amongst the three of us, that we weren't expecting much from lucky cat that day. He was off the hook. At home against KC on Thursday night though? Oh you get down with your bad self, purple lucky cat. Gimme that purple lucky cat.
It must have been purple lucky cat looking out for me when I fell asleep right when the Raiders began their game-winning drive. It was maybe 1/4 bomb, 1/4 beer, and 1/2 the crushing, crushing feeling of watching McFadden and MJD attempt to run the ball after Latavius Murray left the game with a concussion (it's been three years, the last time the Raiders were kinda sorta in contention, that I felt as disappointed as I did watching those two uselesses in the second half of this game). But thankfully their suck had the opposite effect on Tony Sparano, who finally said fuck this shit and went to Marcel Reece instead. I woke up a few plays before Derek Carr hit James Jones for the game-winning touchdown pass.
No way I could sleep through the D trying to win it. Which they did. After Justin Tuck called a timeout to prevent Sio Moore from drawing an offsides penalty while celebrating a third-down sack 30 yards from the line of scrimmage. Perhaps a bit too much of a big deal was made about that play. I'm not sure the difference between fourth and six and fourth and one would have ultimately changed anything. But we really, really didn't need to blow a win on national TV on some dumb shit.
Then Derek Carr mentioned Jesus so many times in his post-game interview, Philip Rivers committed the sin of envy harder than he does when he showers with the offensive line. I "liked" Derek Carr's Facebook page, and let me tell you, that motherfucker is adorable. It's all family shit, some Raiders stuff, and the occasional props for the current Fresno St. QB. You can't top that. This guy is priceless.
Some things finally lined up for this team. Even with St. Louis and Buffalo still on the schedule, a Thursday night game at home against the Chiefs was probably the best shot at a win the Raiders were going to get. And on the national stage, in the rain, with a packed house pleading for the team to stay in Oakland, it really couldn't have been a better look for the team and the fans. Some people tried to say they/we were too happy. Fuck those people. Had the Raiders lost, the dumbass "Hire Hue Jackson" ad
Michael Silver some morons paid for in one of the papers would have been the story. That's the worst of our fans. But surprisingly, the best of our fans has been on open display, win or lose this season. I don't know if it's Carr or what, but I totally expected the fans to bail harder than they had the last two years, and they haven't (cokehead homie from the Broncos game can go ahead and take up a sincere appreciation for another franchise though).
So it's nice that we got this. I thought I was prepared for 0-16. But I'm very glad I don't have to find out what that feels like. There is also one other person in particular this win made me very happy for- Charles Woodson. He does not deserve to have a winless season on his record. And as AFC Defensive Player Of The Week, he can pat himself on the back for avoiding the Big Doughnut.
It's not exactly like the Raiders are getting worse here, either. If they can keep playing like they did last Thursday over the next two weeks, they may even be able to screw up their 2015 draft position in the most amazing way imaginable...