Las Vegas Raiders rookie cornerback Isaiah Johnson went through a lot last week as on Wednesday he lost his former college teammate Ka’Darian Smith -- then on Sunday he made a game-winning play on the final play of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Johnson, who is the Raiders' fourth cornerback, didn't expect to see too much action but the team was missing several starters at the position and the rookie got a chance to play against the Chargers. "I think it was Wednesday morning I found out that one of my close, close teammates that was like a little brother to me had passed away in Houston,” Johnson said following the game, as quoted on Raiders Wire.
“I played cornerback with him at U of H (University of Houston). He lost his life in Houston this past Wednesday”. Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams caught the ball for a touchdown with no time left on the clock -- the play was initially ruled as a touchdown and the Chargers took a 32-31 lead -- before it was overturned after looking at the replay.
"Knowing that I haven’t had the opportunity to put that many snaps on film and that they haven’t really seen me, it’s a rookie quarterback — he’s a great quarterback, by the way — then you got Mike Williams and their biggest tight end come line up on me, yeah, absolutely, within the red zone I know that’s coming,” Johnson said.
Johnson refused to quit and made the clutch play
Williams appeared to have initially caught the ball but then it was stripped from his hands by Johnson and the officials ruled it as an incomplete pass after watching the replay.
"When Mike Williams came to line up on second down, I was like ‘ok, he already beat me on a fade once, so I would think that they would try to go to him again,” Johnson said of the pivotal play. “When he ran the route, I think he may have initially caught the ball, but I just felt like fighting through to the ground was going to make the difference and that always makes the difference.
Just fighting to the ground. When we were fighting to the ground, I pulled it, after I pulled it I was like here we go”. The Raiders escaped with a 31-26 win and improved to 5-3 on the season. "I felt it. I pulled it,” Johnson said.
“I mean I pulled the ball out of his hands, especially on the second one, I was like there’s no way. In all honesty in my mind, I didn’t know if they would review it or not because it was the last play of the game”.