The Raiders not only pulled on Superman's cape, they suffocated him with it.
Given the suggestion by special teams coach Brian Schneider, Lane Kiffin told the Chicago media during a conference call the Raiders would kick the ball to premier Bears return specialist Devin Hester.
It made big news in Chicago, where Hester is the most explosive football player since Gale Sayers and a threat to go the distance every time he handles a punt or kickoff.
It was more than gamesmanship. The Raiders not only kicked to Hester, they stopped him in his tracks in a 17-6 loss to the Bears at McAfee Coliseum.
Hester, who came in averaging 19.6 yards per punt return, fielded six punts and averaged 2.5 per return, with a long of 9. The Raiders were so brazen that with 10 seconds left in the half, rather than kick it out of bounds, Shane Lechler hammered it high and long toward the Bears end zone.
Isaiah Ekijuiba dropped a retreating Hester for a 4-yard loss at the 7.
Lechler punted seven times for a 48.1-yard average and 46.6 net. The day ranks as one of the highlights of his career.
"That was the most fun I ever had in a football game," Lechler said. "I had a blast."
On kickoff returns, the tone was set early. On the opening kickoff, Hester gained 15 yards and was stopped at the 20. After an Oakland field goal, Hester fielded a kick 8 yards deep in the end zone, brought it out, and was stopped at the 11.
"We're trusting one another, and that's key," long snapper Jon Condo said. "We're staying in our lanes, we're getting down there fast, and we're taking shots. When we can trust one another and trust someone to make a tackle, we're going to have good results."
Linebacker Jon Alston, another special teams regular, said film study revealed that teams that hesitated were in trouble.
"Teams that did good against him were the ones that didn't hesitate," Alston said. "The ones that did (struggle) were the ones that did hesitate. You've got to give him his due, but you can't beat 11 guys all the time. With 11 guys hunting for your head, it's a difficult thing to do."
Kiffin found a Hester quote in the Monday morning papers that said the Raiders special teams players simply wanted it more and played at 110 percent. He read it to the entire team.
"For him to make that statement, I want someone to make that statement about our (entire) team some day," Kiffin said.
"That's the position we play," Washington said. "You can have a hell of a game, but one play and it's like it defined his whole game. If you put on the film, you'd see this guy played great. And if anybody can sit there and say Carr didn't play well, I really don't think they know football."
"I love the way he played," Routt said. "Hell, I should play more like him. That's why you don't get involved in the hype of the media, because that's the way it goes sometimes. I think he did great."
The Bears came in ranked near the bottom of the league rushing stats, and they managed just 78 yards on 34 carries. Leading rusher Cedric Benson gained 76 yards on 29 attempts.
Kiffin credited the Raiders' tackling, which has been a problem all year, and stopping the "explosive" runs.
"Our problem hasn't been teams going down the field on us," Kiffin said. "It's been giving up 2, then 2, then 40 yards. We tackled better, and it made a difference."
DT Terdell Sands, re-signed in the offseason just as he was to become a free agent, had his best game "by far," according to Kiffin.
First, the fans wanted Daunte Culpepper. After Culpepper struggled while McCown was nursing a broken toe, they turned their attention to No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell.
McCown insists his standards regarding his play do not involve the paying crowd and their opinion.
"I have two little boys at home. When I jog on that field, in a situation like that, I think about my two little boys and the fact that I will never, ever be able to look them in the eye and say their dad quit," McCown said. "I go out and play as hard as I can and try to get us in the end zone.
"As I've said from day one, the booing and all that is not an issue for me or anybody else. It's your job, and you go to work. That's how I approach the situation."
McCown was moving about much better on Monday than he was on Sunday with an injured right quadriceps, but coach Lane Kiffin would not commit to McCown or Daunte Culpepper as the starter against the Minnesota Vikings.