Advertisement

This Offense Amounts to a Lot of Jaeger : Raiders: Three field goals, including a 53-yarder, provide enough points to beat Chargers.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a speech to the team at the start of training camp, Raider Coach Art Shell emphasized that the special teams would have to contribute a few victories to assure success.

With the offense struggling Sunday night against the San Diego Chargers, the Raider special teams produced. Jeff Jaeger made three field goals to lift the Raiders to a 9-7 victory.

Jaeger made first-half field goals of 37, 19 and 53 yards to lead the Raiders to their fourth consecutive victory. It was the second time this season that Jaeger provided all the Raider points. He kicked four goals in a 12-6 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 29.

“I don’t look at it like I beat them, because that’s not the case,” Jaeger said. “I got a lot of attempts, and luckily I made them.”

Advertisement

The AFC’s leading scorer with 104 points, Jaeger has made a team-record 27 field goals and is having a Pro Bowl season.

“Obviously, Jeff’s had a phenomenal year kicking all those field goals,” Raider quarterback Jay Schroeder said. “We put him in pressure situations, and he’s come through. He’s been a big boost to us. We count on him and he hasn’t let us down.

“Jeff bailed out our offense tonight.”

Jaeger’s 53-yard field goal with eight seconds left in the first half, which was the difference in the game, was the longest of his career, bettering a 51-yarder he made during a 31-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks last month at the Coliseum.

Advertisement

“I didn’t feel real nervous on it,” Jaeger said. “I’d made some 52-yarders in warm-ups, and I felt I hit them pretty well. I just worried about getting it on line. I thought that I’d have enough to carry it there, but not by much.

“That’s right at the edge of my range. I knew I had to hit it just about perfect.”

He did, but he didn’t know the kick was good.

“To you the truth, I lost that kick and my first kick in the lights,” Jaeger said. “I knew I hit them good, but they got up so fast. What told me that the kicks were good was the crowd behind (the goal post). The fans were all standing up.”

Advertisement

Jaeger originally faced a 48-yard field goal, but a delay of game penalty against the Raiders moved the ball back five yards, setting up the 53-yarder.

“I think the official screwed up and they didn’t reset the play clock (after Schroeder threw the ball into the ground to stop the clock with eight seconds left in the first half),” Jaeger said. “They left the clock at three seconds instead of putting it back to 25 seconds.”

“I had a real nice spot picked out from 48 (yards), and I had to pick another one,” Jaeger said. “I look for a good spot to plant. I usually try and find a silver dollar-sized tuft of grass.”

Punter Jeff Gossett, Jaeger’s holder, said field goals involve teamwork between kick center Dan Turk, Gossett and Jaeger.

Advertisement

“Dan Turk makes my job easier, and I make Jeff Jaeger’s job easier,” Gossett said. “We’ve been working on it since day one of training camp. And I’ve got confidence because we work on it so much that I don’t ever have to spin the laces, because the laces are always forward and I can just set the ball down.

“But the way Jeff’s kicking, you could hold for him and he’d make them.”

Signed as a Plan B free agent from the Cleveland Browns in 1989, Jaeger made 23 field goals in his first season with the Raiders to tie George Blanda’s single-season field goal record, and he made 15 of 20 field goals last season. Jaeger has broken the team single-season field goal record again this season.

“It’s nice (to break the record), but it’s just a matter of getting a lot of attempts,” Jaeger said. “The thing I’m happy about is having a good percentage, because that’s the part I can control.

Advertisement

“I have to give a lot of the credit to the organization. My first year here I don’t look at as being a very good year, but I think they were patient with me and they didn’t bring any competition into training camp. They stuck with me.”

And Jaeger has rewarded the Raiders for their patience.


Advertisement
Advertisement