Once a Raider, Always a Raider

Barton ForearmOne and done.

That was the San Diego Chargers’ fate, but not before a former Raider, LB Eric Barton, tried his best to do something stupid and give them the game in the AFC Wildcard Playoffs. It would have been such poetic justice had that brainless roughing-the-passer penalty on fourth down lost the game for them. Barton, the guy who had helped cost the Raiders a couple of games for bonehead penalties, doing it now to snatch defeat from the clutches of certain victory for his adopted east coast team. I could see it now. SD Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer, the guy that always said the Raiders would find a way to lose in the end of their match ups when he was in Kansas City, might even have said Once a Raider, always a Raider at the post game press conference. Well, maybe he wouldn’t have actually said it, but I bet you he would’ve been thinking that.

However much I dislike Schottenheimer, I wouldn’t have minded if the Barton idiocy had won the game for his team. Players like Barton, DT Rodney Coleman, and to some extent WR Jerry Rice, disappoint me for their lack of team loyalty and selfishness. They all jumped ship on the Raiders when things went sour last year. The two young guys for big, free agency money, but they both could have opted to stay and help build the team. Rice was just a tantrum-throwing, cry baby about his lack of playing time, which was why I kind of enjoyed watching the Seahawks blow their game against the Rams. Rice actually started and was on the field through most of the game, but you wouldn’t have known it. Their QB never even threw a pass in his direction.

In the end at San Diego, Schottenheimer’s ingrained conservatism may have cost him that game in overtime. The sequence of plays before their OT missed field goal, where they ran it between tackles three times in a row, was classic Marty. He knew he had a rookie kicker who looked shakey on his previous kicks and yet not once did he let QB Brees at least look to his MVP TE Antonio Gates or do something at least partially creative. And remember that the field goal was no chip shot – 40 yards. Why he didn’t try more aggressively to get closer, only he knows. But a zebra doesn’t change its stripes is what I say.

Recall also that NY Jets kicker Doug Brien missed an easy 33 yarder early in the game, otherwise OT perhaps wouldn’t have been necessary. And I still think that replay overturn of the McCardell bobble/catch at the back of the end zone that gave San Diego a touchdown was highly dubious. I swear I saw a double-clutch from the wide angle shot, but there was no closer-in replay from the wide side of the field to show it properly.

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