Season ends as quietly as it started

Setting a franchise record for losses with 14, the Oakland Raiders went out with a whisper, losing 23-2 to the New York Jets. The Raiders fumbled away opportunities and succeeded in what they have proved to do best all year long – limit their own scoring chances and not converting when the game was close. The good news - the first overall pick in the NFL Draft after Detroit won their final game.

A Johnnie Morant fumble in the first quarter led to a touchdown drive by the New York Jets. Cornerback David Barrett stripped Morant near midfield and was recovered by Hank Poteat. The Jets used seven straight rushing plays to push the ball 43 yards to the Oakland one-yard line. Chad Pennington then found Chris Baker alone in the front of the end zone for the score and 7-0 lead.

The Raiders used the same tactic on their initial scoring drive. Handing the ball off to Justin Fargas netted impressive gains – until they reached the red zone. Fargas gained 31 yards on seven carries and the drive was aided by a 15-yard late hit on the Oakland back. Kerry Rhodes sacked Aaron Brooks on third down, forcing Sebastian Janikowski to kick a 35-yard field goal.

Janikowski tied George Blanda for second place all-time in field goals in Oakland history with 156.

Eric Smith partially blocked a Shane Lechler punt, resulting in a 30-yard boot. The Jets would turn that into three more points with a Mike Nugent field goal before the half.

The Jets upped their lead to 13-3 with a second Nugent field goal from 22 yards out to open the third quarter. Quarterback Chad Pennington went 6-for-7 for 66 yards on the drive.

A Jarrod Cooper holding wiped out a Chris Carr 92-yard kickoff return that went to the New York 1-yard line. Instead, Oakland took over possession at their own 18-yard line. The Raiders rambled into Jets' territory but was unable to convert on fourth and inches when Brooks fumbled the snap on his way forward.

The Jets would make Oakland pay for not making the first down. While Laveranues Coles couldn't hang on to a deep pass from Pennington in the end zone, the Jets still wound up with a touchdown. Leon Washington capped a 56-yard drive with a 15-yard scamper into the end zone, the rookie's fourth touchdown of the year, and a 20-3 lead.

On the ensuing possession and first play from scrimmage, Eric Barton sacked Brooks and forced a fumble with former Raider Bobby Hamilton recovering the ball at the Oakland 22. Nugent booted his third field goal, connecting from 35 yards to provide the final margin of victory.


SB Report Top Stories