Warren Sapp presented the game ball to an emotional Norv Turner, who got to leave on time and without a second thought to the whim of Dan Snyder.
Turner was victorious Sunday in his return to FedEx Field, leading his Oakland Raiders to a 16-13 victory over the Washington Redskins, coming out on the winning side of the type of cliffhanger that never seemed to go his way when he was the head coach in the nation's capital for seven years.
``We know what happened, we know the emotion and the excitement he had to come back here,'' defensive end Bobby Hamilton said. ``We gave him the game ball, coming back to the team who ran him out. He was very excited, very emotional. He dropped his head. He was excited because he got a win.''
Turner's last game at the stadium was Dec. 3, 2000, when he was left waiting for several hours while owner Snyder plotted a coaching change that was announced the next morning. Turner's final loss was a 9-7 defeat to the New York Giants, which left him with a heartbreaking 10-20-1 record in games decided by three points or fewer.
Those nail-biters came to mind in the final minute Sunday, when Derrick Burgess stripped Mark Brunell of the ball on fourth down after the Redskins had moved the ball to Oakland's 43-yard line.
``I coached in a lot of games here where if we could've got a sack on the last play like that before they had a chance to throw the ball, we would've won a lot more games. That's how you win and lose,'' said Turner, who has also seen his Raiders lose three games decided in the final minute this season.
``I had seven great years here,'' Turner said. ``So, yeah, it's great to come back. It was important for our team to get a win.''
Sebastian Janikowski's 19-yard field goal with 1:08 remaining was the difference. Kerry Collins' 49-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Porter was the game's only offensive touchdown as the Raiders (4-6) rallied from a 13-3 halftime deficit.
But the end didn't come without some 1-yard-line controversy for the second straight week for the Redskins. Last week, coach Joe Gibbs felt Mike Alstott's decisive 2-point conversion in the final minute should have been overturned by instant replay in a 36-35 defeat at Tampa Bay. This week, Gibbs was unhappy when the officials ruled that LaMont Jordan was down before fumbling at the 1 on the Raiders' game-winning drive.
``That's one of those calls where you see the ball out and you think it's going to go your way, but the refs call him down, and that's what you've got to live with,'' Gibbs said.
The Redskins (5-5) have had six games decided by three points or fewer. They have lost five of their last seven and fell two games behind the Dallas and the Giants in the NFC East. They also dropped to 4-1 at home and - after losing three more fumbles - have an terrible minus-13 turnover differential.
``We lost it, we've got to deal with it,'' linebacker LaVar Arrington said. ``This team has got to cross over from being close to winning games to understanding that we can win those games.''
Collins went 5-for-6 on the winning drive, moving his team 50 yards in a series that typified the game. The Raiders kept getting in the red zone, but they couldn't punch it in. Still, Porter's touchdown - when he was mismatched against linebacker Lemar Marshall - and Janikowski's field goals were enough against the sputtering Redskins.
The Raiders' defense held Washington to 28 yards in the fourth quarter. The two quarterbacks' fourth-quarter numbers tell the story: Collins was 9-for-12, while Mark Brunell went 2-for-11.
Porter finished with six catches for a season-high 142 yards. Collins went 19-for-36 for 289 yards with a touchdown, plus an interception that was returned 17 yards by Marshall for a touchdown in the first quarter.
But this game was all about the coach.
``The guy loves this game, he loves our team, and he loves what he does,'' Collins said. ``He puts his heart and soul into this thing, so when you have days like this it's gratifying to see him as happy as he was after the game.''