It had been more than a full calendar year since the Raiders last won a game (those salad days of Matt McGloin and Rashad Jennings) but there was joy in the rain yesterday, a stirring 24-20 win over the rival Chiefs. Maybe a 1-10 record doesn't seem like much to you, but there may not be many nights left—victorious or otherwise—for the Raiders in Oakland.
"We knew that after this game, people were going to laugh at us or respect us," Charles Woodson said.
Can't it be both? The Raiders did their damnedest to shoot themselves in the foot. Latavius Murray ran wild, scoring twice and racking up 112 yards before leaving with a concussion after just four carries. Oakland turned a 14-point lead into a three-point deficit in just eight minutes. This happened.
The defense nearly came to blows after what was nearly one of the more bizarre penalties in recent memory, but ended up—improbably—bonding.
Sio Moore was telling Justin Tuck, "Don't ever scream at me like that again," and Tuck said, "I wanted to fight you," and Charles Woodson was telling Moore, ""What the hell y'all doin' out there?" and they still all came away as close as ever, if not closer.
Tony Sparano didn't like Moore's celebration, but the coach knows better than to dwell on it immediately after what'll probably be the high point of the season. "I'm going to let them enjoy this right now," he said, "but eventually we've got to talk about that, have a little conversation about that."
None of it mattered—or more accurately, all of the failure merely provided backdrop color for what will go down in the record books as a comeback win capped by a methodical, 17-play, 80-yard drive led by a confident-looking Derek Carr. A defensive stop closed things out, and the 2014 Raiders are officially an NFL team that has won a game. Which means, via Reddit, the Circle of Parity is complete:
"Parity" is probably not the right word. There are well-run franchise, and poorly run franchises, and one will never be mistaken for the other. But the lesson to take is that though 16 games may not seem like many, even the best and worst NFL teams are separated so little that it's nearly impossible for a terrible team not to stumble into a win somewhere along the way.
The Raiders' first win is really a tribute to the 2008 Detroit Lions and their 0-16 record; we may never see their like again.