Why no FG?: There was still more than 3 minutes left to play and the Raiders, down 10 points, were at Washington’s 17-yard line facing fourth-and-1. Surely it was time to trot out Sebastian Janikowski for the chippy 35-yard field goal and get within a touchdown, no? Well, um, no. Coach Dennis Allen decided to go for it, with a quarterback sneak by Matt Flynn. “It was fourth-and-inches and we have to be able to make inches,” Allen said. Flynn instead fumbled and the Raiders turned it over on downs, still needing two scores. “We hadn’t been moving the ball up and down the field, and to get a chance to be down there when you’re in scoring position,” Allen said, “you can possibly get a touchdown, we have to make inches.” Except, even if Flynn had been successful in getting a few inches, more time would have burned off the clock, and Oakland still would have had 16 yards to go with two timeouts.
Blocked punt reincarnate: It only looked like a repeat of Derrick Jensen blocking Jeff Hayes' punt and recovering it in the end zone for the Raiders’ first points of Super Bowl XVIII. But Rashad Jennings blocking Sav Rocca's punt did the same for Oakland on this day, as Jeremy Stewart recovered the ball in the end zone for the 7-0 advantage. It was Jennings’ second career block -- he almost had another in the fourth quarter -- and Stewart’s first career touchdown.
Hurry-up on the way? Washington prepared a blueprint for future Raiders opponents. Robert Griffin III running the no-huddle in the second quarter helped turn the momentum after the Raiders had taken a 14-0 lead. “When nothing is going your way,” Griffin said, “you’ve got to try something … it kind of tired their defense out a little bit. We were able to move the ball more consistently and convert third downs.”
Of explosive plays IV: And now for our weekly tracking of “explosive” plays. As deemed by Allen, such a play is one that gains at least 16 yards through the air, 12 yards on the ground. The Raiders had eight such plays against Washington, two runs and six passes. Washington also had eight explosive plays, two runs and six passes. In three games, the Raiders have 34 explosive plays (12 runs, 22 passes), with three passes for touchdowns. Oakland’s opponents have 31 explosive plays, eight runs and 23 passes with a touchdown each way.