Breaking down the 'Immaculate Interception'

October 13, 2011, 2:23 am
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ALAMEDA -- The mystery is solved. Somewhat.Why did the Raiders have only 10 players on the field for Michael Huff's "Immaculate Interception" that sealed their 25-20 victory over Houston on Sunday?"I saw two D-linemen run on; I didn't see nobody run off," said safety Jerome Boyd. "So, it was just a miscommunication. Didn't want to be an extra person on the field."Yes, Boyd bolted during the stoppage in play after Texans quarterback Matt Schaub spiked the ball to stop the clock with six seconds to play and Houston at the Raiders' 5-yard line.

There were two defensive linemen who entered the game at the time -- Tommy Kelly and John Henderson. They replaced Richard Seymour and Lamarr Houston, according to Kelly.And when the Texans lined up for the fateful final play, hardly a soul noticed the Raiders were playing a man short. Save for Mike Mitchell, who was supposed to be double-teaming Texans tight end Joel Dreesen."I looked back and wasn't nobody there," Mitchell said. "I said, 'Oh, shhhhhhooooooot, this ain't good.'"Before the ball got snapped, me and (Tyvon) Branch were both just, 'Something's wrong.' But we couldn't do anything. We had to play it out, and we didn't want to be too crazy because then (Houston) would realize it."Mitchell picked up Dreesen, who went to the right. Schaub rolled out to his left, pumped the ball, faked like he was going to run, was closed in on by Branch, then tossed the ball in Jacoby Jones' direction for the potential game-winner.Instead Huff cradled it and fell to the ground to clinch the heart-stopping win."My thing was," Branch said, "I wasn't going to let (Schaub) run it. He was going to have to work for it."Mitchell agreed."Yeah, no chance. I mean, he would have at least had to cut back or do something. It wasn't going to be easy. Great play, though. Great play by Huff. Great pressure. Thank you, Jesus."When I saw Huff catch it, we were so exhausted, and this is only my second game back, I was really exhausted. Only thing I could do was just fall on Huff and lay there."Still, several Raiders admitted they did not know about their "missing man formation" that many have said was an unintentional tribute to the late Al Davis until Monday or Tuesday."We only had 10 helmets on the field, but it was definitely 11 men out there," said cornerback Stanford Routt. "It was definitely 11 men out there."Meaning what, exactly?"It was very strange," said quarterback Jason Campbell. "To be short one guy on the field? Man, Mr. Davis had a hand in that. Even when the fullback went out to the flat and dropped one for a touchdown."Added Kelly: "Al D. probably had a little help in that."All Boyd could do, though was be thankful his gaffe, as well-intentioned as it was, did not cost his team.So what was on Boyd's mind when he realized he should have stayed on the field?"I'm glad Huff got that (stuff)," he said with an uneasy laugh. "That was the only thing."