Raiders post 13-6 win over Saints
OAKLAND, Calif. – Joe Horn planned to head for Houston with theintent of helping one refugee family hurt by Hurricane Katrina.
He’ll go by limo, van or rental car.
Across the country from their devastated city, the New OrleansSaints somehow played a competitive football game when it’sprobably the last thing some of them wanted to do – and then theyturned their thoughts to assisting those in need and reuniting withfamily members over the weekend before returning to workMonday.
”It’s not just the people in the (Astrodome), there are peoplein hotel rooms, 12 at a time with families piled on top offamilies, and they won’t have the financial means,” Horn said.”I’m going to stay there two days and see if I can help them out.I know I can’t help everybody, but I’m going to try my best becauseI love the fans there and in Louisiana, Alabama andMississippi.”
Randy Moss caught a 27-yard touchdown from Kerry Collins in thefirst quarter for the game’s only touchdown, leading the OaklandRaiders over the Saints 13-6 Thursday night in the preseason finalefor both teams.
Transported 2,000 miles to California on Sunday, the Saintsavoided the wrath of one of America’s worst storms and prepared forthis game under the sun at San Jose State University despite allthe uncertainties back home.
A moment of silence was held before the game, and about 100people turned out for a last-minute blood drive sponsored by theRaiders and the American Red Cross outside the Coliseum. TheRaiders made a donation to the Red Cross and also ran publicservice announcements in the stadium, on their Web site and ontheir broadcasts encouraging people to help hurricane victims.
Players from both teams held a prayer circle when timeexpired.
”Everybody on our team is heartbroken,” Saints coach JimHaslett said. ”They feel for the people. I think the one thingabout our football team is that we’re resilient. When we step onthe field, we’re focused. When we get off the field, our minds gosomewhere else.”
Afterward, the Saints flew all night to San Antonio with no ideawhen they’ll go home – or whether they even still have homes. Theirtemporary home will be the Marriott Riverwalk.
John Carney kicked field goals of 38 and 37 yards, but alsomissed a 38-yarder in the third quarter for New Orleans. He waspatted on the back by holder Todd Bouman when the ball sailed wideleft. Bouman started at quarterback and completed 13 of 20 passesfor 120 yards.
The Saints chose to rest most of their regulars, includingquarterback Aaron Brooks, Horn and running back DeuceMcAllister.
New Orleans came into the game hoping to improve its run defenseand appeared to make strides, limiting Oakland to 61 yards afterallowing 151 yards to Baltimore’s Chester Taylor in a 21-6 loss tothe Ravens last Friday.
The Saints (1-3) celebrated good plays and were businesslikefrom warmups to the final tick of the clock. They don’t yet knowwhere they will play their home opener Sept. 18 against the NewYork Giants.
The Raiders (1-3) earned their first exhibition victory exactlya week before they open the season in a nationally televised gameat Super Bowl champion New England.
Moss scored his second TD of the preseason in the only series heplayed and also had a 9-yard reception before taking a seat.Collins and almost all the other starters also played only oneseries.
”The first drive was good,” Moss said. ”One thing that wewanted to do was get out there and get ourselves ready for nextweek. With everything that we have gone through as far as trainingcamp, preseason and today’s game, we are headed in the rightdirection.”
The Saints never considered not playing this game, even withheavy hearts.
”I wouldn’t say it’s overwhelming,” said general managerMickey Loomis, who doesn’t know whether the team will play in NewOrleans again this season. ”They understand they have a job to do.They know their families are safe. Once you know your family issafe, you go back to your business. What’s overwhelming is what’sgoing on in New Orleans, Mississippi and the entire GulfCoast.”
In the seats behind the Saints sideline, New Orleans residentChad Seeger held a sign reading, ”The Dome will rise again!” – areference to the Louisiana Superdome, which became a temporaryrefugee camp for thousands of the city’s stranded citizens, but washeavily damaged in the storm.
Seeger came to California last week for vacation and wassupposed to fly back Monday, when the hurricane hit. He is stayingwith his girlfriend and her family in San Francisco.
Another Saints fan, New Orleans native Jimmy Lashley, held asign reading, ”Forget, Iraq. Help our own.”
Third-string Oakland quarterback Andrew Walter, a third-rounddraft pick out of Arizona State, returned after missing theprevious two exhibition games with a strained groin. He went13-for-20 passes for 221 yards, including a 52-yard completion toJohnnie Morant.
Notes: The Saints expect a truck to arrive inSan Antonio on Friday carrying any supplies such as computers andequipment that could be salvaged from team headquarters. …Oakland’s Chris Carr returned the opening kickoff 101 yards, but anillegal block penalty called it back. … Raiders receiver CarlosFrancis caught one pass, playing for the first time against thevery team Oakland was playing when he tore the anterior cruciateligament in his left knee last Oct. 24 and then had surgery.