Q. Did your awareness get even more heightened when you watched the
debacles in Pittsburgh and San Francisco yesterday?
CHAD PENNINGTON: Watching the other playoff games you realize how
important home-field advantage is and how hard it is for a road team to win.
But for me that gives you a greater challenge. It really shows you that
you never know what's going to happen in the playoffs and you have to be
ready for anything and realize that anything can happen. So that's what I
got from it.
Q. What did you learn in the final drive in that game against
CHAD PENNINGTON: Well, I felt like in the final drive that there
are some things I could have done better. With a minute left, I feel like
that's enough time to drive down and have a chance to score a touchdown.
Obviously that's a very difficult situation but I don't think it's
impossible, by no stretch of the imagination.
I really look at this game and I really feel it may come down to
that again, and hopefully this time I will be prepared to help us win.
Q. Is it almost fitting that, "here we go again with Oakland," the
nemesis for the team and yet once again, it goes through them?
CHAD PENNINGTON: We all know that whoever you play in the playoffs
is going to be an extreme challenge. For us, we know we have to play
Oakland probably sooner or later, and it really doesn't matter. Having
home-field advantage for them is a big advantage. And even if we didn't
play them this week, we might have to play them next week. In the playoffs
it doesn't matter who you play because everybody is a legitimate Super Bowl
contender and everyone has their eye set on that ring on San Diego.
For me and for our team, going to Oakland, we had been there so many
times, it almost feels like a home away from home. We really enjoy playing
in that atmosphere. I think our team feeds off of that crowd and we love
that hostile atmosphere. If you don't, you're beaten before you even step
out on the field.
Q. What Curtis has gone through, being off the field -- have you
been able to gain a greater appreciation for him as a player?
CHAD PENNINGTON: Absolutely. Ever since my rookie year, Curtis
Martin has never ceased to amaze me. Every year he does a little bit more,
a little bit more for his team. I remember my rookie year, he sprained his
ACL the first game and didn't miss one game. The next year he had some
problems with it and this year -- it's always been something. But everyone
on the outside never knows about it.
It's human nature to talk about things that may affect you
negatively, but he never does that, and that's what to me is special about
him, is that he has a passion not only for this game but for his teammates
and has a passion to be there for them through thick and thin no matter what
Q. What would you do differently from the last Raiders GAME?
CHAD PENNINGTON: It's being able to go back and look at the
situation on film, talk with Coach Hackett, talk with Coach Edwards and just
go through it in your mind as far as what were the better situations, the
better decisions to make in those situations.
For me, it's just having better awareness, and sometimes you can
learn that in the film room, but a lot of times you have to learn that on
game day. Hopefully I've learned from those things, but to me, that's just
one instance where you look at a game and you say, you never know what play
is going to be the turning point. Any time that you don't think a certain
play is going to be the turning point, it ends up being the turning point.
Throughout every game, there's maybe four, five, six plays that can
definitely change the game around in the beginning, in the middle and the
end and you always need to be ready.
When I think about playing the Raiders, you think about a 60-minute
game that's going to be very physical. It's going to be full-fledged 100%
effort for 60 minutes. It's just going to be great, intense football game
and that's what I expect.
These guys are professionals and they know how to play the game as
well as anybody, and I don't expect that to happen.