It was a play that caused other Raiders, fans and broadcasters a heart attack.
After linebacker Sio Moore sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith late in last Thursday night’s game, he and rookie linebacker Khalil Mack celebrated far too long. If the Raiders hadn’t called time out, the Raiders would have incurred a costly offside penalty.
As it was, Moore’s brain cramp didn’t cost his team. Oakland held on to win its first of the season to get to 1-10. But it would have been the ultimate example for a winless, struggling franchise in 2014.
A pair of Raiders veterans, safety Charles Woodson and defensive end Justin Tuck, were at first ecstatic about Moore’s big play – and then furious at him for losing his head.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Woodson told reporters. “That was the first time I had ever seen somebody celebrate for a whole 40-second clock. That was ridiculous, and they know it. I told Sio he’s lucky we got the win because we really probably would’ve had to fight, and I would’ve seen exactly what kind of fighter he is.”
Tuck, who called the timeout to save the Raiders, was overheard in the locker room after the game telling Moore “I wanted to fight you” if Oakland had lost the game.
This week, Moore and his teammates have talked about the incident and are looking ahead and focusing on trying to get a second straight victory Sunday vs. the Rams in St. Louis.
But Moore said he’s learned from the incident.
“I was so caught up in the moment, man,” Moore told reporters. “That was an error I’ve got to make sure I clean up.”
He added that, “I can’t let my emotions get the best of me.”
As Michael Wagaman of ESPN.com noted this week, the excessive celebration mistake would have overshadowed what has been a very strong season for the second-year linebacker from Connecticut.
Moore is tied for the team lead in total tackles with Woodson (82), has a team-leading three sacks and a forced fumble. He was in on 12 tackles vs. the Chiefs.
Moore was a bright spot among the rookie class of 2013 when he played in 15 games and started 11, getting 49 tackles and 4½ sacks. This season, he’s been even better.
With Mack on one side and Moore on the other, the Raiders have a pair of wide-ranging, athletic linebackers as the foundation for a rebuilt defense.
Said head coach Tony Sparano, of the Moore-Mack duo and their almost-costly celebration vs. the Chiefs:
“I love their energy and their passion, but it’s just something we have to learn from.”