A Very Thankful Shalacking

George TitusContributor INovember 24, 2008

Draft day hick ups, free agency waters, Preseason jitters. Ahhhh, the start of a brand new season. This is when we can wake up for breakfast and have a large bowl of nachos and a mug of beer, head out to work and let the war of words begin.

The start of a brand new season leading up to kickoff on the first game. My hopes are up as the time approaches and here I am, sitting at the edge of the seat waiting... hoping for a new direction.

I did not get the memo that the Broncos were in town.

What seemed to be hope for a better future with players like Darren McFadden and JaMarcusRussell and with free agent hopefuls like DeAngelo Hall and Gibril Wilson, the hopes of Raider Nation were dashed right from the opening drive.

Skipping an Accounting lecture was starting to look like a bad idea after the drubbing that ensued. With so called gurus and experts picking picking Denver to win, I just wanted the team to come out and open a can of 'whoop ass' on the Broncos. I just did not expect the end result.

Play after play they looked like they had come out to make a statement on this team. It felt like the 4th of July, where the defense was witnessing a very personal fire works display. 41-14. Could this be possible? Is the season over before it even started? 

While it looked like a lost season to many, I still felt that we had an axe to grind. Embarrassing us in front of a packed coliseum was something that needed to be handled.

So here we are. Week 13.

Is this the time? Do we handle this now. Right from the start, the offense reared its ugly head as we weren't able to capiatlize on 2nd and goal. We were stopped three straight times. Was it just another Sunday in a long lost season?

Then started what would be a very long day to be spending at freezing Invesco. Johnnie Lee Higgins takes a punt right down the sideline and returns for a TD. There is nothing more awakening than listening to Greg Papa as he gets our blood boiling TOUCHDOWN RAIDERRRRSSSS. Words cannot describe the emptiness I feel longing to hear those very words at every game. For the second straight game Johnnie has come out and provided the spark that we need to fuel the fire we need.

Headed into half time, I was feeling nothing but a slight hope that we would be able to stick it to them.

The start of the third quarter was quite the opposite. After giving up the Hillis TD, the so called anemic offense was able to pile on 21 unanswered points to pull at a very rare, but satisfying victory. McFadden had two rushing touchdowns and Russell throws for another four-yard strike.

But I want to salute to one person in particular and that is 'Crash Test Dummy,' Justin Fargas. I certainly feel that in this season he has been one very consistent player. He gives his everything and never complains. He does not have a TD this entire season, but he has been the one churning out the tough yards between the numbers.

Not afraid of contact, his running style reminds me of the late great Walter Payton. I am in no way comparing 'Sweetness' to 'Huggy Bear,' but they were never afraid of contact and the tenacity that they bring onto the field is remarkable.

Even as the '85 Bears rose to the top of the season that year, Walter Payton did not have a single TD in the Super Bowl. Was he about to complain that a defensive lineman got a rushing TD over him? That is what Fargy brings to the table.

Have we avenged the pain from week one? Certainly. Anytime that we can go on the road and win in an environment like Denver, it is always worth the watch. To hold one of the very hot and top of the league offenses to a mere 10 points and to hold their QB to no TDs is a testament to the character and will power that this team possesses.

We have the chance to be something special. This team has the opportunity to turn things around so that our faithful Raider Nation has something to feel happy about.

Thanksgiving is approaching soon and before the Tryptophan knocks me out cold turkey, I am thankful to my Raiders for giving me the opportunity to believe that anything is possible and that we can achieve anything if and when we put our minds to it.

But even though I am thankful, this is a team along with the Chargers that I just cannot watch without grinding me teeth. I was so overwhelmed with emotion as I tried to digest this winsomething that comes few and far between.

After watching Jay Cutler end the press conference that one hurtful Monday night, I am so pleased that I am able to end this article in the same tone as he did. .."We did not just scheme against the Broncos, we burnt them and scored again and again and again."