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Damian Lillard reacts to Raiders’ miraculous victory over Jets

Raiders, Damian Lillard, Blazers, Jets

Portland Trail Blazers star and noted Las Vegas Raiders fan Damian Lillard took to Twitter to celebrate the NFL franchise’s miracle victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.

Made possible by a 46-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, Lillard compared the effort of the Raiders’ wideout to that of Terrell Owens against the Green Bay Packers in the 1999 NFC wild card game.

Popularly known as “The Catch II,” Owens’ reception in the postseason game occurred similarly late in the fourth quarter, as San Francisco attempted to overcome a four-point deficit. Catching a pass from Niners’ quarterback Steve Young, the still unproven Owens bravely hauled in the ball despite being sandwiched between two Green Bay defenders, who laid on ruthless hits. Ultimately, the reception proved to be the difference in the game as San Francisco would earn the right to advance to the divisional round.

While the game-winning touchdown reception for the Raiders was certainly dramatic, that is probably where the similarities end between the two catches, however. Not only did Ruggs’ caught ball in Week 13 of the NFL season–rather than the playoffs like Owens’ did–but Las Vegas was also operating against the pitiful Jets rather than a powerhouse like the Packers.

In fact, the conversation around the play may focus more on the ill-advised play calling of Jets defensive coordinator Greg Williams compared to the heroics of the Raiders wide receiver.

Damian Lillard, however, is correct in recognizing the necessity of the play in potentially saving the Raiders’ season. Entering the weekend following consecutive losses–including in Week 12 to the hapless Atlanta Falcons–Las Vegas was in desperate need of a victory to avoid another second half collapse similar to the one they endured in 2019. With their victory on Sunday afternoon, Dame and his fellow Las Vegas fans can keep hope alive, hyperbole and all.