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What Was Oakland Coach Tom Cable Thinking With That Fake Field Goal Attempt?

Dec 1, 2008 – 12:20 PM
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Adam Gretz

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On a day where coaches around the National Football League were making ridiculous and absurd calls from the sidelines, defying all human logic and sound reasoning, Oakland head coach Tom Cable may have outdone them all.

Here's the situation: Oakland is facing a fourth-and-10 from the Kansas City 25-yard line in a 3-3 tie. Cable, naturally, sends out the special teams unit to attempt a 42-yard field goal. A successful kick would have given the Raiders a 6-3 lead early in the second quarter. Makes sense, and honestly, it should have been a routine play. Which is probably why the Raiders still managed to screw it up.

Instead of kicking, the Raiders called a fake field goal which resulted in punter Shane Lechler lateraling the ball under his legs, while Sebastian Janikowski, the team's 260-pound monster of a kicker, was, presumably, supposed to outrun the Chiefs special teams unit to the first down marker. On what planet is this a good idea?

As one would expect, everything went terribly wrong.

Lechler's between-the-legs toss ended up landing behind Janikowski, allowing Chiefs rookie Maurice Leggett to scoop it up and race 67 yards for a touchdown. In a game the Raiders lost by seven points to a division rival that had lost nine in a row, and 19 of 20, it turned out to be a rather large play. And many Raiders players were still trying to figure out exactly what happened following the game.

From David White of the San Francisco Chronicle:
"When I wiped off my face and looked up, the guy was going back the other way," Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell said. "That's the coach's decision. That's out of my hands but, looking back at that game, I wish we would have taken the points today."
Had the Raiders simply taken the points, they probably would have won the game, winning their second in a row for the first time this season. Of course, completing more than one pass to a wide receiver would have helped as well. But, hey, at least they didn't have Russell attempt to complete passes by tossing the ball under his legs to offensive guards swinging around behind him.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who is probably wondering what he did in a past life to deserve being stuck on the Raiders, admitted they work on the play in practice, but that he "never knew it was a real thing that we were going to attempt."

Now you know.

Amazingly, and this is a testament to the Raiders season, this may not have been the dumbest thing they've attempted with their field goal unit this season.
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