A few minutes after the Oakland Raiders handed their coach, Norv Turner, a game ball and began dressing for the flight home, wide receiver Jerry Porter peeled off his uniform and showed his quarterback, Kerry Collins, exactly how he avoided a head-to-head collision with Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor.
"I saw him all the way," Porter told Collins. "I was able to duck down. Good thing, too. That could have been bad, really bad."
Instead, it turned out almost perfectly for Porter and the Raiders on one of several critical fourth-quarter plays he and several other Washington area natives who play for Oakland made during the team's 16-13 victory over the Redskins yesterday at FedEx Field.
The clutch catch came on third and four from the Oakland 26 with just more than 11 minutes left and the Raiders trailing by three. Taylor did smack Porter with a pad-popping hit, but the wide receiver, who played at Coolidge High School, somehow held on for a 25-yard gain and a first down in the Raiders' game-tying field goal drive.
"I'm fine now," Porter said. "It didn't tickle, I'll tell you that. . . . He knocked the hell out of me."
It was one of several brilliant catches by Porter, who scored the game's only offensive touchdown when he caught a 49-yard pass from Collins with 13 minutes 2 seconds left in the third quarter. Porter said the Raiders noticed in their film study of the Redskins' loss to Tampa Bay last week that Washington often used its middle linebacker on the slot receiver in coverage down the middle of the field, with their safeties helping on outside routes. He was, indeed, being covered by middle linebacker Lemar Marshall, who could not prevent the score.
Collins said that Porter had not been his primary target, but "we were trying to work the outside of the field and we had Randy [Moss] on a deep out route. The safety jumped Randy and I just tried to put it out there for Jerry to make a play."
Collins also was frequently on the same page with running back LaMont Jordan, a Suitland native and a former University of Maryland standout making his first appearance in his home town in a Raiders uniform. At halftime, Jordan told Collins the Redskins were generally leaving him open on short routes out in the flat and to keep his eyes on him as an extra option.
That's precisely what Collins did on the Raiders' game-winning field goal drive, faced with third and six from the Washington 9. Jordan was open in the left flat, caught the ball at about the 6-yard line and ran it to the Washington 1. He dived at the end zone and appeared to have gotten the ball across the plane of the goal line, but game officials spotted the ball at the 1.
"I know I got in," Jordan said. "I think the referees did a good job of trying to give the Redskins the game. Just look at the reality of the situation. It's just ridiculous."
The Redskins did not allow him to get in on first down from there, and they also thought Jordan had fumbled. But game officials ruled him down by contact and the Raiders retained the football, eventually kicking the game-winning field goal three plays later.
"Those guys [game officials] got it right," Jordan said of his first-down carry. "I was already down. I was trying to stretch it out a yard or two. But I was clearly down."
And in the end, so too, was Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell when another Washington area native made a big play for the Raiders. That was defensive end Derrick Burgess, a graduate of Eleanor Roosevelt High in Greenbelt, who sacked Brunell on fourth and two on the Redskins' final offensive possession at midfield, forcing him to fumble.
"I was just trying to come around the corner as fast as possible, and he was there," Burgess said. "What does this win mean? A lot. When adversity hits, we know we can fight back. To win on the road, it's a beautiful thing, and no touchdowns [by the Redskins' offense], that's even better."