Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 30, 2008
Cable makes the wrong decision

OAKLAND - No, you weren't that intoxicated.

You really did see this.

And you thought that 76-yard field goal attempt was wacky...

Interim head coach Tom Cable was going to ask Sebastian Janikowski to take the football and run for a first down.

To no one's shock, the play didn't work and it proved to be a pivotal point in what ended up being a 20-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cable explained the decision by saying the Raiders had practiced the play for two years and that the Chiefs were lined up in a way that the play was designed to work against.

But did anyone really think the play would work.

Most players said the right thing on the record.

They had chances to make plays later in the game.

It was still only a 10-3 game after Maurice Leggett ran the football back 67 yards for a touchdown after the botched pitch from between Shane Lechler's legs to Janikowski.

The off the record reaction was more like "What in the world was that?"

When you have an offense like the Raiders' offense, you can't afford to give away points. And that's what the Raiders did.

Instead of going ahead, 6-3, they trailed and never led again.

Teams try a variety of trick play in practice. Some are just for fun.

But who would have guessed Cable would ask Janikowski to run about 20 yards total for a first down.

"I didn't even see it," said cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. "I just saw the guy running down the other way. We do that in practice all the time, but I never knew that it was a real thing that we were going to attempt. When they told me that's what happened, that it wasn't a blocked field goal, I was a little surprised. But Cable owned up to that. He said that that one was on him."

Cable didn't regret calling the fake.

"We just didn't execute," Cable said. "That was my decision. And obviously it was not a good one."

Couldn't have said it any better.

Because for all of JaMarcus Russell's inaccuracy in the second half (3 of 13), the Justin Fargas fumble or even the 91-yard drive by the Chiefs in which the Raiders couldn't stop them on third down, this game was lost on one play.

When Leggett ran it in for a score.

There was no recovering from that.

Or as Russell said: "Looking back at that game, I wish we would have taken the points today."

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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