In his first regular season game, Charles Woodson received a warm welcome from the sellout crowd at the O.Co Coliseum.
It was the Oakland Raiders first home win and Woodson seemed more like the rookie who donned the silver and black almost 16 years ago.
The defense was in question throughout the pre-season and in their first loss on the road against the Indianapolis Colts. Ironically, they made some changes that inspired a veteran player’s key play in the Raiders victory last week.
“When you get down in the red zone, it’s all about making them kick field goals and your ability to score touchdowns,” said Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. “I think we were 1-for-2 on defense making them have to kick field goals. And Charles Woodson made an exceptional play right there.
“Any time you see a guy like Woodson play as long as he has in the league and play at the level he’s been played, for him to make an effort play like that really gave the whole team and the defense in particular a lot of momentum.”
Woodson made a save-diving tackle against the Jacksonville Jaguars by leaping over one opponent to get to Maurice Jones-Drew to prevent a touchdown.
While many doubted that Woodson still had the ability he once had in his younger years, he proved all naysayers wrong.
“You’re going to need plays like that throughout the season,” said Woodson about his tackle on Jones.
During the pre-game ceremony, the Raiders paid a special tribute on the jumbotron of Woodson’s time with the team in his early years in the NFL with Oakland. During introductions, the fans rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to the player once led the silver and black to the playoffs.
“I’m used to coming out near the Black Hole my first round with the Raiders, so it was fun coming out there, being the last guy and hearing the fans roar when they say your name,” Woodson said.
“It was fun to get back out there in front of Raider Nation, and it’s especially good when you can get a win.”