It was an odd night in Denver, but the Oakland Raiders were in town,so why would anyone expect anything else?
The big stars for the Raiders in their 23-20 victory were the kicker and punter — has any team in the NFL kept a punter-kicker combo longer than Oakland has had Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler?
Janikowski tied the NFL record for longest field goal with a 63-yarder at the end of the first half. Tom Dempsey (1970) and Jason Elam (1998) share the record (but the nod goes to Dempsey, who is the only one of the three who didn’t kick in mile-high Denver.)
“To be honest, I didn't hit it that good. “It barely got over the bar,” Janikowski said. “... I wanted to be 10 years in the league, break the record or tie the record and I want to win a Super Bowl. Those are my three goals. I've got two out of three.”
Lechler, like Janikowski a 2000 draft pick (the Tom Brady draft) by the Raiders, had a 77-yard punt in the fourth quarter, tying a team record set by Wayne Crow 50 years ago.
“It's phenomenal, both of them,” said Hue Jackson, whose team won its opener for the first time since 2002. “What Sebastian did was unheard of. I think we have two of the best kickers in the league. I trust those guys, believe in them. What a kick. Obviously, a lot of people think that was the difference in the game.”
On the other sideline, it was a rough night for Kyle Orton and John Fox, who was making his debut as Broncos coach. As the Raiders were rushing for 190 yards and controlling the clock, Orton was completing 24 of 46 passes for 304 yards and an interception. And, all around him, the quarterback controversy raged on with fans chanting “Tebow! Tebow!” Oddly, they skipped over the No. 2 opton, Brady Quinn.
“It [stinks],” cornerback Champ Bailey said of the team’s performance. “You always want to start fast, whether it's in a game or in a season. Period. But you can't expect to do that if you don't do things right. We didn't do a lot of things right. We did more things wrong than anything. And you see the end result: a loss.”