OAKLAND (AP) — From lighting an eternal flame to honor late owner Al Davis to the play on the field, it was truly a special day for the Oakland Raiders.
Jacoby Ford returned a kickoff 101 yards and Kevin Boss caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from punter Shane Lechler on a fake field goal to lead the Raiders to a 24-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in the first home game since the death of longtime owner Al Davis.READ MORE: 49ers Get It Done in Dallas and The Faithful Rejoice
The victory came with one major concern as starting quarterback Jason Campbell was knocked out late in the first half with an injured collarbone. Campbell landed hard on his shoulder after being hit at the end of a scramble by Cleveland linebackers Chris Gocong and Scott Fujita on Sunday. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury.
It was an emotional day at the Coliseum with many old-time Raiders coming back to honor Davis, the man who had been the face of the franchise for nearly a half-century before dying Oct. 8 of an undisclosed illness at age 82.
The most poignant moment came during a halftime ceremony with dozens of former players standing in a circle around the Raiders emblem at midfield. Super Bowl-winning coach John Madden then lit a caldron on the plaza level in the corner of the stadium with the public address announcer saying the fire will “burn forever” for fans to remember Davis.
On a day full of tributes, the one Davis would have appreciated most is the one on the scoreboard as the Raiders (4-2) beat the Browns (2-3) to win consecutive games for the first time this season and move two games over .500 for the first time since winning the AFC title in 2002.
The Raiders offense struggled once Kyle Boller took over for Campbell. But Boller did complete a 27-yard swing pass to Ford that set up Sebastian Janikowski’s 48-yard field goal that made it 17-7 late in the third quarter.
Oakland then took over again at the Cleveland 25 after a botched handoff between McCoy and Montario Hardesty. That’s when coach Hue Jackson once again successfully went to his book of tricks. On fourth down from the 35, Lechler—the holder—threw to a wide-open Boss in the flat and Boss raced to the end zone for the score that made it 24-7.
Oakland’s win last week in Houston was aided by a 35-yard run on a fake punt by Rock Cartwright as Jackson has followed his credo to “live on the edge.”READ MORE: San Francisco Gym's Separation Strategy Fits Well With COVID-Era Concerns
That lead proved to be enough for the Raiders, who harassed Colt McCoy and held Cleveland’s running game to 65 yards. McCoy completed just 21 of 45 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns, including a 12-yarder to Mohamed Massaquoi that cut it to 24-17 with 1:06 remaining after Jackson bypassed a chip-shot field goal to go for it unsuccessfully on fourth-and-1 from the 5.
The Browns recovered the onside kick, but were unable to generate a first down and Oakland won it.
Darren McFadden rushed for 91 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown for the Raiders.
After a pregame video tribute and moment of silence for Davis, the Raiders started fast. They forced a three-and-out to start the game with safety Matt Giordano sacking McCoy with a blitz on third down. Oakland them methodically moved 88 yards in 15 plays, converting four third-down opportunities and scoring on McFadden’s 4-yard run.
The Raiders were moving again when Campbell slid headfirst on a scramble and lost the ball. That led to Cleveland’s first score on McCoy’s 1-yard TD pass to Alex Smith.
Oakland answered with Ford’s 101-yard kickoff return—his fourth TD return in less than two years as a pro.
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