Raiders notes: Game ball goes to Al Davis

September 13, 2011, 8:06 am
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CSNCalifornia.comDENVER -- A red-eyed Hue Jackson approached the post-game dais with a pair of footballs under his arms.The Raiders' rookie head coach had just won his first regular season game, 23-20 over the Denver Broncos, and Jackson had gifts to give. Actually, game balls to re-gift, so to speak, after he was given a game ball by the team.
"My players are awesome but I want everybody to know one of my biggest speeches at the end of the game is that it's not about Hue Jackson at all," Jackson said. "This is about the Raiders organization and the man that leads this organization -- Al Davis. Al Davis has entrusted me with this football team and I'm not taking this game ball. I'm giving this game ball to him because what this is truly all about is a man who is an icon in this game who has given me an opportunity to run this team."And at the end of the day, all I want to do is win for him and that's what these players want to do. To me, this is his game. We haven't won on Monday night and that's well documented, but we got that broken tonight."Jackson also had another game ball to present, to the Raiders' chief executive."I know Amy Trask is in this audience, and she deserves it too," Jackson said. "I mean, there have been a lot of years of Monday night (losses). But tonight, we got that monkey off our back and I truly believe that there are great things to come for this football team."Record night for kickers: Sebastian Janikowski tied the NFL record for longest field goal with his 63-yarder to end the first half, equaling the feat accomplished by Tom Dempsey in 1970 and Jason Elam in 1998.And Shane Lechler had a 77-yard punt, equaling the team mark set by Wayne Crow in 1961."What Sebastian did was unheard of," Jackson said. "But I think we have two of the best kickers in the league. I trust those guys. I truly believe in them."Janikowski's previous long was a 61-yard field goal in Cleveland in 2009. But he hit a 70-yarder in pregame warmups."Coach knew about it," said Janikowski, who came into the NFL with Lechler in 2000."I'm not big on setting goals, but I wanted to be 10 years in the league, break the record or tie the record and win the Super Bowl. Those were my three goals. So I've got two out of three. Hopefully this year I get the third one."DHB steps up: So guess who was quarterback Jason Campbell's most dependable receiver? The much-maligned Darrius Heyward-Bey, who caught four passes for 44 yards. But it was when he caught them and the chunks that came with them that mattered most.He had a 14-yard reception on a 3rd and 8 as well as a 15-yard pickup on a 1st and 10 and a 10-yard gain on a 2nd and 9 on the game's final clock-killing drive."I felt good out there, Jason was looking for me, made some plays," Heyward-Bey said. "Just felt comfortable out there."So how much more comfortable does he feel now as opposed to last year?"You mean two years ago?" he asked with an impish grin. Sure, two years ago."A thousand times," he said. "Yeah, definitely. Just the mentality. I've always gone to work with a purpose. That's never been an issue, but it's always good when it transitions over from practice to a game."Just keep my eye on the ball and make plays. That's what Jason needs me to do." Raiders are streaking: While Oakland ended an eight-game streak of losing its season openers, the Raiders also won their eighth straight game against the AFC West, dating back to 2009. Four of those victories are against the Broncos, with three coming in Denver. Oakland also ended its 11-game losing streak in primetime games.Statistical anomaly -- The Raiders had more penalty yards (131, on 15 penalties), than they had yards passing (105, on 13 completions).Ford, Huff injured -- Jacoby Ford left the game in the second half with what was described as a hamstring strain and never returned. Huff, meanwhile, left the game but returned for a play before leaving again with an undisclosed ailment.What, no Hagan? -- Wondering why receiver Derek Hagan, the Raiders' most productive receiver in the preseason with 12 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown was not activated?"Because I decided not to activate him," Jackson said. "He was down for a couple days, and when it's all said and done, I'm going to put healthy guys out there. That's just the way it is. I get to make that choice and that decision and that's what I decided to do."Hagan was nursing a calf injury but was "full-go" in practices Thursday, Friday and Saturday and was listed as "probable" heading into the game.