Raiders Rookie Burns Flowers

From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

The media horde surrounded RB Thomas Jones in the Chiefs locker room. Just two lockers away from the scrum Brandon Flowers sat half undressed, with his head in his hands.

The Chiefs cornerback was not a happy man. After playing so well for seven games, a stretch where he was getting some national recognition for his play, Flowers had a tough day against the Raiders. And it was one person who made it tougher for him – Oakland’s rookie WR Jacoby Ford.

Physically, Ford is an almost exact duplicate of Flowers. Both are 5-9. Ford is listed as 185 pounds, while Flowers is down for 187 pounds. Both are fast, shifty and athletic.

On this Sunday, Ford got the edge on Flowers, especially at the end of the game when the Raiders needed him most. Through the first eight games of the season, the fourth-round choice out of Clemson had four catches for 37 yards. In the first half against the Chiefs, he did not catch a pass.

But when he took back the second half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, Ford opened up the flood gates for his second half. He ended up catching six passes for 148 yards. One of those receptions was a 37-yard play that came against CB Brandon Carr. The other five catches for 111 yards were against Flowers.

Ford beat him for 16 yards, then 12, seven, 29 and the killer, a 47-yard completion in overtime that set up the winning field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.

“You know, it’s something I’ve dreamed of, going out there and making plays,” Ford said. “It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I was little.”

When Flowers finally came out after his shower, he stood and faced about a half-dozen media types. His internal temperature was down only a few degrees in the half-hour after the game’s dramatic conclusion.

He was asked about the 29-yard pass that Ford caught that set up the game tying FG.

“I thought I had the ball,” Flowers said. “I should have come down with it. He made a great catch. It went to overtime.”

Then, Flowers was asked how the Chiefs allowed a second-string rookie wide receiver to beat them? (That’s how the question was phrased.)

“He made a play,” Flowers muttered. “I don’t know. He made a play.”

Raiders coach Tom Cable said after the game that they had the perfect play called for the coverage the Chiefs were using.

“It really was quarters coverage, so we just high-lowed the safety and threw the post over the top,” Cable said. “It was a great route by (Ford). It was a great job by Brandon Myers (tight end). He’s in there for Zach (Miller) and he runs a great curl route up on the safety and held him. Jason took a shot, and it worked out.”

What worked out was Ford. With starter Louis Murphy out with a bruised lung, Ford got the chance to get into the starting lineup against the Chiefs. While Darrius Heyward-Bey was held without a catch in the game, Ford had his big day.

That it would come at the expense of Flowers was a surprise. These guys know each other and competed over the years at Clemson and Virginia Tech.

“There’s definitely a level of respect between me and him,” said Ford. “He respects speed and I respect him, too. We go back from college days when he was at Virginia Tech and I was at Clemson. So we know each other really well.”

In those college days he played football and ran track, so he’s the perfect Raiders wide receiver considering the organization’s history of taking spritners and making them receivers.

“He’s a track guy, he can run fast, he can accelerate,” said Raiders QB Jason Campbell. ” I was excited to see Jacoby go get that ball. It meant a lot from quarterback standpoint. You see a guy, you put it out there for him and see him burst into another speed and go get that ball, it’s just exciting, not just me but for the whole team.”

Along with his 148 receiving yards, Ford had 158 yards in kickoff returns. That made him the first NFL player in 48 seasons to top 140 receiving yards and 150 return yards in the same game. Pittsburgh’s Gary Ballman did in November 1963 when he totaled 161 receiving yards and 159 return yards.

One Response to “Raiders Rookie Burns Flowers”

  • November 8, 2010  - Husteak says:

    Flowers seems like a good kid, and he might be our best player…. But on he got schooled the entire second half. He looked like a boy playing against men. Terrible!

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