Raiders

Raiders ran 'Spider 2 Y Banana' for key touchdown in win vs. Chargers

Raiders ran 'Spider 2 Y Banana' for key touchdown in win vs. Chargers

Jon Gruden was beaming with joy Thursday night as the Raiders knocked off the Chargers 26-24 in the final night game at the Coliseum.

While the win was sweet and Gruden was fired up after safety Karl Joseph's game-sealing interception, a play in the first half undoubtedly had him asking his team to knock on wood.

With the Raiders trailing 14-10 nearing halftime, Gruden dusted off one of his favorite plays -- "Spider 2 Y Banana" -- and it worked to perfection as quarterback Derek Carr hit his first read -- fullback Alec Ingold -- for a 9-yard touchdown to give Oakland a 17-10 halftime lead.

Gruden's love for "Spider 2 Y Banana" became public knowledge during his time at ESPN when he ran "Gruden's QB Camp" with top NFL draft prospects.

During his session with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Gruden grilled the No. 1 overall pick about not hitting the fullback when running Spider 2 Y Banana against USC. Luck opted to try and hit the receiver on the opposite side and threw a pick-six. 

Three years later, Gruden went viral again when he went in-depth with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota about "Spider 2 Y Banana."

[RELATED: Raiders-Chargers Coliseum finale was fitting final chapter]

The win got the Raiders to 5-4 and Gruden's favorite play helped seal the deal. That's awesome.

Knock on wood if you're with Chucky.

Raiders say jumping into the Black Hole a 'feeling like nothing else'

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AP

Raiders say jumping into the Black Hole a 'feeling like nothing else'

Raiders running back Jalen Richard drifted into the left flat and caught a screen pass from Derek Carr a few yards from pay dirt. Three receivers were engaged and blocking well before him, allowing Richard to squiggle through traffic and into Oakland Coliseum’s southern end zone.

It was a big moment for the 2016 Raiders, looking to enhance playoff positioning with a Week 16 home win over Indianapolis. It was a big moment for Richard, an undrafted rookie who found himself a major contributor in a playoff push. He didn’t stop to celebrate with his teammates. No way, not after his first touchdown in the East Bay.

There was tradition to uphold. Richard made a beeline for the Black Hole.

“It was definitely planned,” Richard said. “I thought they looked like they were turnt up. Everybody was faded and having a blast. I knew I had to do it.”

It’s a rite of passage for Raiders skill players fortunate enough to score near a notoriously rabid fan section.

“Sometimes I plan on it, and other times it just happens,” Raiders running back DeAndre Washington said. “Once you get in the end zone, you’re your adrenaline is going and you’ve got 60,000 people screaming for you to come get that love. They always embrace you. It’s one hell of a feeling. I would advise anybody who scores to try it at least once.

Jumping into the Black Hole isn’t new. Running back Napoleon Kaufman was first to do it in the mid-1990s -- the Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995 -- as the Black Hole was established and growing in size and notoriety.

The tradition grew from there and has become commonplace when the Raiders break into the southern end zone. There’s one more guaranteed chance to do so Sunday against Jacksonville, the final Raiders game at Oakland Coliseum and maybe the Black Hole's last hurrah.

It’s not just rushers and receivers who can get in on the act.

Quarterback Jeff George took the leap in 1997. Edge rusher Khalil Mack and linebacker Sio Moore have partied in the crowd. Even 340-pound left tackle Donald Penn jumped into the Black Hole after scoring a big-man touchdown.

Former All-Pro fullback Marcel Reece never missed a chance to party with the fans who unwaveringly supported the Raiders during some lean years.

“Jumping in the Black Hole and celebrating with those fans, those loyalists, those people who bleed silver and black just like you do, it’s like being at Thanksgiving dinner with your family,” Reece said. “It’s that feeling where, no matter what else is going on, nothing else matters but that moment right there. The fact that you scored and gave them a reason to cheer is a feeling that’s like nothing else.”

There is some technique to it. You need a head of steam and decent hops to get over the stadium wall and into the crowd. It’s decently low, but folks have tried to get into the Black Hole and missed. It’s also important to jump up, turn around and go in backwards. The leap of faith will be rewarded by fans ready to catch you.

“You need a little bounce or you’ll get embarrassed,” Raiders running back DeAndre Washington said. “I’ve seen a few guys miss the leap, so you’ve got to be ready to get vertical. Even if you don’t make it, the fans will pull you up. You make get a little beer on you, but that’s part of the experience.”

There’s another aspect of the experience first-timers don’t expect. Getting in is easy. Getting out is another matter.

“Sometimes they don’t like to let you go,” Washington said. “And, if you get in there with the ball, it’s going to be a fight for sure. You have to protect it like you were still running.”

The experience doesn’t last long. Teammates come running up quick, with offensive linemen ready to pull scorers out of the abyss. Beer stains come with it, but it’s a unique part of the Raiders playing experience.

“It’s like you’re a part of the Black Hole for a split second,” Richard said. “You jump up there and you just feed off of their energy. It’s pretty awesome.”

Raiders waive D.J. Swearinger, two others in flurry of roster moves

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USATSI

Raiders waive D.J. Swearinger, two others in flurry of roster moves

Raiders coach Jon Gruden promised to make some changes following three straight blowout losses.

He wasn’t bluffing.

The Raiders waived three players Tuesday, parting ways with safety D.J. Swearninger, linebacker Preston Brown and defensive tackle Terrell McClain as part of a series of roster moves.

Swearinger's the biggest name in the group. The veteran was the primary strong safety, working extensively in the base package and obvious running downs. He had 20 tackles and a pass defensed in four games' work. Brown was here a few weeks but played his first Raiders game Sunday, working 14 snaps. McClain was a rotational interior defensive lineman who had been a Raider since Week 6.

All three were in-season signings working on contracts that weren't guaranteed and, ultimately, didn't work out. 

Tight end Foster Moreau was also placed on injured reserve with a knee injury that will require surgery.

The team also signed running back Rod Smith for positional depth, a possible sign that Josh Jacobs might not be ready to return with a shoulder injury. Time will tell on that front.

The Raiders roster currently sits at 50, meaning there’s another flurry coming soon if the team plans to reach the 53-man maximum. Practice-squad promotions could be coming next, considering a new signing would take time to get up to speed. Players previously lower on the depth chart could get a shot as Gruden tries to shake things up heading down the stretch.

[RELATED: Sunday marks end of an era for longtime Black Hole residents]

He was clearly frustrated by three straight games of terrible play, where the Raiders were outscored 116-33. The Tennessee Titans beat them 42-21 at home, with the defense giving up one long drive after another and 552 yards total offense.

“We’ve got to play better, and we’re going to play better, and there will be changes,” Gruden said during his Monday press conference. “There will be changes. What happened yesterday will not happen again. I can’t allow it to happen.”

Cornerback Dylan Mabin also was placed on the practice-squad injured reserve list.