In a season marred by the firing of coach Lane Kiffin and blown fourth-quarter leads, an untimely timeout that helped the New York Jets send the game into overtime appeared to be just the latest heartbreak for the Oakland Raiders.
Instead the defense throttled Brett Favre in overtime long enough for Sebastian Janikowski to bail out interim coach Tom Cable in his first home game by kicking a team-record 57-yard field goal with 2:30 remaining that gave the Raiders a 16-13 victory Sunday.
``We believe now, whereas before, we would get in the fourth quarter and it would kind of fall apart on us,'' cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. ``I think we needed this to spark our success.''
Encouraged by scores of old Raiders on hand for a weekend tribute to the late Gene Upshaw, the Raiders (2-4) did not wilt after Cable's timeout just before the snap negated a missed 52-yard field goal by Jay Feely in the final seconds of regulation.
On the second try, Feely split the uprights to send the game into overtime for the Jets (3-3). The Jets won the toss and had the momentum heading into the extra session, but Favre was only able to lead them to two first downs on their final three possessions.
It was all part of a rough day for Favre, who was continually forced to throw the ball underneath where the Raiders were able to make the tackles to keep the Jets offense in check. Only one of Favre's first 17 completions went for more than 15 yards and he failed to throw a touchdown for the first time in six games with New York.
``I came here to win games like that. So that's what's disappointing for me,'' said Favre, who finished 21-for-38 for 197 yards and two interceptions. ``I've been in a lot of those. You don't win them all, but I felt like being the first time in that situation, I would pull us out. More than anything that's what's disappointing for me. Mistakes were made. I made mistakes. As a team we made mistakes.''
The Raiders weren't much better on their first two drives of overtime before JaMarcus Russell found his stroke and hit Javon Walker for 16 yards and Zach Miller for 27 to move the Raiders inside the 40, the spot Janikowski told Cable he needed to be at to be confident of making the kick.
Janikowski then delivered on his promise, besting the team record he set earlier this year by 1 yard.
``As soon as I hit it, I started celebrating because I knew I hit it good,'' said Janikowski, who was mobbed by his teammates after the kick. ``Just seeing those guys in the locker room, just laughing and smiling feels good.''
It was the second celebration for the Raiders, many of whom also came out on the field after Feely hit the upright with his first kick. Coincidentally, Denver used that strategy successfully against Oakland last year and Kiffin's first win came when he used it the following week against Cleveland.
``I heard the whistle before I started, which is an advantage to the kicker,'' Feely said. ``If you're going to do that, do that before he kicks. I can kick it down the middle, see what the wind does and adjust. It helps the kicker tremendously.''
Russell went 17-for-30 for 203 yards, a TD pass to Walker and no turnovers, coming through with the two big passes in overtime to help make sure the teams did not play the NFL's first tie game in six years.
It was a nice turnaround after his 13-for-35 performance in a 34-3 loss last week at New Orleans.
``The way we won it today, the way we went out, it brings us closer together as a team,'' Russell said. ``It took a lot - five quarters. We just kept fighting.''
Thomas Jones ran for 159 yards to lead the Jets offense, but New York only made it into the end zone once all game against a defense that has struggled for much of this season.
``It's an emotional rollercoaster up and down,'' Jones said. ``You make the field goal to go into overtime and give yourself a chance to win, then you don't make the plays you need to make. That's football. We have a lot more football left.''
Favre's second trip to Oakland was not nearly as memorable as his first, when he threw four first-half touchdown passes and for 399 yards in a 41-7 victory the night after his father died in 2003.
He struggled most of this game but was sharp on the tying drive at the end of regulation. The Jets took over at their own 5 with 1:24 remaining and no timeouts, trailing 13-10. Favre hit to Chansi Stuckey on a 31-yard pass to get the Jets moving and later hit Brad Smith on an 18-yard pass to the Oakland 34.
Cable's call for a fake punt late in the fourth quarter had given the Raiders the lead. Linebacker Jon Alston ran 22 yards with the direct snap and Oakland took a 13-10 lead on Janikowski's 37-yard field goal with 2:56 to play.
Notes: Oakland committed 14 penalties. ... The last tie was a 34-all game between Atlanta and Pittsburgh on Nov. 10, 2002. ... Janikowski missed a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter.
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