-- Sebastian Janikowski started off the season perfect but had hit a bit of a skid with two misses in his last three field goal attempts, including a 57-yarder he actually whiffed on twice. Yet he got a chance to be the hero when the Bengals fumbled a kickoff away in the final moments, allowing Jano to kick a 33-yarder that provided the difference.
All three of his field goals came at the south end zone, which is notoriously tough on kickers.
"Going southside, it's hard to kick the long ones because you're going into the wind so every time you try to kill it," Janikowski said of his missed try against Cincinnati. "I hit it good but I didn't have control. The last one I just tried to stay smooth because I knew it was a short field goal."
-- The family of Marquis Cooper was in attendance and were given a game ball. Cooper, whose number is worn on the helmets of all Oakland players, was lost at sea during a fishing expedition this past offseason.
-- While the offense got a lot of attention because of the quarterback change, and special teams provided the game-winning score, Oakland's defense might have come up bigger than the other two and they did it without Richard Seymour, who strained his lower back early in the first half and didn't return.
Despite giving up 177 yards on the ground – an ongoing issue – the Raiders forced three turnovers and held the Bengals passing game in check. Carson Palmer passed for just 207 yards no touchdowns, and only hooked up with WR Chad Ochocinco four times for 67 yards.
"The corners locked him down," safety Tyvon Branch said. "We've got two very good corners, and when they play hard and they make plays, they can shut anybody down in the league. That was a big key for today."
-- Speaking of Branch, the second-year safety had a sack and a career-high 12 tackles to lead all players in what was his biggest game as a Raider so far. Branch seemed to be everywhere, racking up a pair of tackles for losses and forcing a fumble.
"They were just coming to me and I was just trying to make the plays that came to me," Branch said.
-- Oakland was called for only three penalties, one of which was a senseless helmet-to-helmet hit on Palmer by extra DB Stanford Routt. Routt. Routt made up for it later on 3rd-and-1 when he dropped Palmer for an 18-yard sack, which was huge because the Bengals missed a field goal on the next play.
-- Rookie Brandon Myers hasn't gotten a lot of publicity this season but he came up with Oakland's biggest play of the season, forcing a fumble on special teams after the Raiders tied the game at 17-17. Myers also recovered the loose ball, setting up Janikowski's game-winning field goal.
-- Defensive end Greg Ellis's nagging knee has slowed him down but he was still able to make a pivotal third-down sack late in the fourth quarter, and he also recovered a fumble.
-- Chaz Schilens says the Raiders' win over the Bengals came down to one thing: "We just didn't beat ourselves, that's the most important thing," Schilens said. "Beating ourselves with turnovers and things, that's a quick way to lose a game. So we hung in there. It wasn't pretty in the beginning but we hung in there and hung in there and pulled through."
-- Quarterback JaMarcus Russell might have taken a lot of heat for the way he played but he took his benching like a pro and couldn't have been more supportive of his teammates throughout the game. He greeted both offensive and defensive players as they came off the field, talked to receivers on the sidelines and kept a steady chat going with Bruce Gradkowski when the offense was off the field. In short, he acted more like a leader than he has at any other time this season.
Jano redeems himself with game-winner
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