OAKLAND -– Donald Penn rarely gets to see the results of his handiwork in game. The Raiders' left tackle is generally engaged in blocks and can’t follow the football. He listens for the whistle, but always hopes for the crowd.
Early in the second quarter of Thursday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Penn got the roar he was looking for.
“I was busy blocking my guy when I heard the crowd go nuts,” Penn said. “I looked up and saw Latavius running free.”
He was referring to second-year pro Latavius Murray, who ran left, cut right and exploded down the sideline for a 90-yard touchdown run.
His second score of the game, one that established a two-touchdown lead and gave the Raiders running game a spark it hasn’t had this season. Murray had 112 yards and two touchdowns on four carries in a 24-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I told him before this game that we needed a spark,” Penn said. “He answered the call. Latavius has been sitting back (behind Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew), and observing a lot. He knew exactly what holes to hit and where to go. He did a good job of finding space and making big runs.”
Murray’s big night was unfortunately cut short. He suffered a concussion in the second quarter and did not return to the game.
Per NFL rules, concussed players are not allowed to speak with the press.
Murray must pass a series of tests as part of the NFL’s concussion-related protocol before being cleared to practice and play. When he is cleared, Murray will certainly be back in the catbird’s seat.
“When you run the ball the way he ran it today, he earns more snaps,” interim head coach Tony Sparano said. “No doubt about it. We have to see how he comes out of this thing and what happens over the next couple of days. Luckily, we have a few days right now.”
The Raiders will have three days off before preparing to play the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 30.
Murray was a factor after being stuck on the third team, unable to eclipse the veterans despite terrible returns.
“We’ve seen him get better and better in practice,” Sparano said. “We felt like we needed a big back in there as a change up. … Latavius is a big back who can break some tackles, and we wanted to see what he can do. Little by little, when you put him in there, he kind of jumped out at you. The plan was to get him going. We wanted to get him going early in the game, and we did.”