On the same day Louisiana State found out it would be playing in college football's biggest game, former LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell finally made his NFL debut for the Raiders.
Russell came in for a stretch yesterday during the second quarter after Josh McCown started in place of the injured Daunte Culpepper. Russell, this year's No. 1 overall draft pick, launched his career with a 16-yard pass to Jerry Porter.
Russell finished 4 for 7 for 56 yards; he also fumbled a snap but he got the ball back.
With McCown directing all six of Oakland's scoring drives, the Raiders upset the Broncos, 34-20. "I want him to have a great career," McCown said of Russell. "If that starts next week, so be it."
Also making his debut was the Chiefs' Tyler Thigpen, the 10th and final quarterback drafted this year. Thigpen - the 217th pick overall out of Coastal Carolina - was 2 for 6 off the bench. He threw one interception, giving Chargers standout Antonio Cromartie his eight pick of the season.
Thigpen saw action only because of an injury to Damon Huard (hand), who was replacing the injured Brodie Croyle. Herman Edwards' hard-luck Kansas City squad was again without top running back Larry Johnson, and also lost LB Donnie Edwards (hamstring) and LT Damion McIntosh (knee sprain).
Obscure back of the week.
Fred Jackson, a product of Coe College and the Sioux City Bandits of the United Indoor Football League, started for the Bills and rushed for 82 yards. He also caught four passes for 69 yards, including a 54-yard play.
For the record, Coe College is the alma mater of Bills general manager Marv Levy. And, Jackson isn't just any product of the United Indoor Football League (home of the River City Rage and the Bloomington Extreme) - he was the league MVP in 2005.
Shaun Phillips (Willingboro) had 11/2 of the Chargers' eight sacks and forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow linebacker Shawne Merriman.
Linebacker Victor Hobson (St. Joseph's Prep) had five tackles in the Jets' victory over the winless Dolphins and recovered a fumble by Miami rookie QB John Beck.
Defensive tackle Raheem Brock (Dobbins) recovered a David Garrard fumble that set up the Colts' first score vs. the Jaguars. Brock later left with an undisclosed injury.
LaDainian Tomlinson's second TD yesterday was No. 111 in his career and moved the Chargers star past boyhood hero Walter Payton into third on the all-time list for touchdowns rushing. . . . The Rams' Isaac Bruce caught four passes for 31 yards to give him 14,911, passing ex-Eagle Cris Carter for fifth place on the all-time list for receiving yards.
"Matt has a dislocated shoulder, and that's all I know at this point," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after quarterback Matt Schaub (West Chester East) was hurt on a sack.
Also banged up: Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin (foot), Dolphins RB Jesse Chatman (ankle), Jaguars DE Reggie Hayward (groin), Texans OG Fred Weary (broken leg), Titans RB LenDale White (dislocated finger), Lions WR Roy Williams (knee), and Dolphins S Cam Worrell (knee).
"We talk about the same message every week after a loss, that we'll look at the tape and we'll fix it," the Dolphins' Marty Booker said. "It has been 12 weeks, and we ain't fixed it yet.