Final play -- Raiders had 10 on field


Final play -- Raiders had 10 on field

There are preciously few moments in sports where the goose bumps rise on your forearms and the hair stands up on the back of your neck and you wonder out loud if a higher power, for lack of a better term, was truly at work.Thanks to a Tweet from @preston_Jones on Twitter, I took a look at the NFL Network's "Anatomy of a Play" segment on the league's Web Site and, yes, it appears as though the Raiders only had 10 players on the field for the game's final play on Sunday in Houston.When the Houston Texans needed a touchdown from five yards out and six seconds left on the game clock and the Raiders clinging to a 25-20 lead.When a glimpse of daylight opened in front of quarterback Matt Schaub for a split second. When Schaub pump-faked, rolled out to his left and threw to Jacoby Jones.When Michael Huff jumped Jones' route and hauled in the interception to seal the victory for the Raiders, and unleash a torrent of emotions and tears on the sidelines and in the locker room.
A day after Al Davis died.The Raiders had only 10 players on the field -- I counted Desmond Bryant, John Henderson, Tommy Kelly, Kamerion Wimbley, Rolando McClain, Mike Mitchell, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Huff, Tyvon Branch and Stanford Routt -- and still, they were able to stop the Texans, who have 11 players easily identifiable on the screen.Who was the Raiders' 11th man, since they were in man-to-man coverage? Draw your own conclusions.You've heard of "Divine Intervention?" I saw a Tweet in the immediate aftermath that called Huff's pick a "Divine Interception."Now, this is not to insinuate that Oakland deserved to win that game in that fashion, or even had any otherworldly help.But after the game, a Texans employee, with a knowing smile on their face, told me, "I hate to say it, but that was the ending that needed to happen."Are the goosebumps popping up on your arms yet?

Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their poison

Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their poison

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars tried to take Raiders receiver Amari Cooper out of Sunday’s game. Sticky corner Jalen Ramsey shadowed the second-year pro, and was effective making quarterback Derek Carr look the other way.

It wasn’t that Ramsey dominated every play. Carr simply had more favorable options available.

Michael Crabtree was the best one. He turned the Jaguars game on its ear with a touchdown catch, a third-down conversion and a massive bomb caught over his shoulder for 56 yards.

Carr targeted Crabtree 11 times in Jacksonville, with eight completions for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Teams scheming against Cooper operate at their own peril this season, because that typically leaves Crabtree in a juicy matchup.

That was the case in Week 7, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Opponents also fear Crabtree, and for good reason. He has been clutch in the season’s first half, likely playing the best football of his career.

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t want Crabtree to have a big day in Week 6, and put top-flight cornerback Marcus Peters – who can’t keep up with Cooper’s speed – on his trail. Crabtree was largely negated in that effort, though Cooper dominated to the tune of 10 receptions for 129 yards on 13 targets. Crabtree, by far Carr’s most frequent receiver, was only thrown to four times.

Carr’s message to future opponents from those two games: pick your poison.

“You have to always be ready for everything, and I think that our staff does an amazing job of giving me a lot of options for those instances,” Carr said at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, before Wednesday's practice. “If they’re going to take away (Cooper) this game, we have to get the other guys going. If they’re going to take ‘Crab’ away, we have to get the other guys going.

“What’s great about that (position group) is they’re all good with it. We just want to win. That’s what it comes down to, how can we push the ball down the field… I think our staff does an amazing job of filling that kind of stuff out if they’re trying to take one or the other away.”

Fluctuating target counts can be frustrating for receivers, who are often considered divas demanding the football at all times. The Raiders don’t have those personalities, a luxury quarterbacks dream about.

“We’re together, man,” Crabtree said. “We’re trying to win by any means. We know what’s at stake and I feel like we’re doing everything it takes to win.”

Sometimes, that means being unselfish. Ignoring stats can be tough for wideouts, but that isn’t an issue with two top receivers under contract an extended stretch.

Cooper and Crabtree have different playing styles and personality types, yet yin and yang in this Raiders offense without issue.

“We complement each other well,” Cooper said. “Having multiple options is really great to have, especially guys that threaten defenses.”

Fan dies after falling while leaving Broncos game

Fan dies after falling while leaving Broncos game

DENVER -- Authorities say a fan has died after falling 60 feet at the Denver Broncos' stadium after a game on Monday night.

Stadium Management Co., which operates Sports Authority Field at Mile High, said the fan fell over a railing.

The medical examiner's office said Tuesday the man was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead. He was identified as 36-year-old Jason Coy.

Denver police say he was sitting on a railing when he fell. Witnesses and emergency responders immediately tried to help.

The incident occurred near the north end of the stadium following the Broncos' game against the Houston Texans.

In a statement, the Broncos said the team is "reviewing this tragic incident and will continue to maintain all necessary safety measures for our fans."