OAKLAND – I watched the last play of today’s game from the sidelines and the Raiders were a nervous bunch.
After the Browns reached the Raiders’ 22-yard line, B.J. Ward angrily tugged at his jersey.
Daunte Culpepper briefly turned his back before Phil Dawson’s first kick – which didn’t count.
You could see the feeling on several players’ faces.
Here we go again. We’re just good enough to lose a close game.
But thanks to Tommy Kelly's blocked field goal and a timely timeout, the Raiders pulled out a 26-24 win over the Cleveland Browns.
The Raiders are definitely an improved team. Now they have a win to show for it.
Lane Kiffin needed this win. He wouldn’t call it a must win before the game, but it was.
Going to 0-3 wouldn’t have put doubt in players' minds, especially those that have been around for the lean times since the Super Bowl season of 2002.
And seeking the team’s first win on the road would have been tough, even if the Raiders were playing winless Miami, their opponent next Sunday.
Kiffin deflected talk of the win being significant for him, but conceded he needed it to make what he’s selling to the team mean something.
And they’re buying it.
Anyone that cheered at McAfee Coliseum when Josh McCown injured his foot in the first quarter should be ashamed.
McCown has done nothing to deserve that treatment. He was playing with a bad right foot, hurt his left foot, but still threw a touchdown pass in the second quarter.
McCown starting over Culpepper is still puzzling, but don't root for McCown to hurt himself because you don't like the coach's decision.
Cheering his injury is classless. You might not like that he’s starting, but wishing an injury on anyone is low.
And in case you haven't noticed, not everything that goes wrong on offense is McCown's fault.
Mike Williams’ fumble only makes his relationship with Kiffin more delicate.
Kiffin is always reluctant to praise Williams, who starred for him at USC. Williams didn’t give Kiffin any reason to praise him on Sunday.
In addition to the fumble that led to a Cleveland touchdown, Williams dropped a touchdown, even though Cleveland safety Sean Jones’ hard hit helped get the ball out.
The Raiders have just four receivers on their roster, but I wouldn’t put it past Kiffin to let Williams know he’d better play better soon or prepare to find a new team.
The Raiders have to make a roster move by 1 p.m., to put JaMarcus Russell on the active roster.
It means Andrew Walter is probably done as a Raider, but you never know. Mike Williams better watch out.
Hall of Fame Raider center Jim Otto attended the game. He'd long dealt with leg problems and had his right leg amputated this summer.