Raider Nation — I tried. I jumped on that train in Week 1. I said all season, every single week, that not only were you a playoff team, but a team that could get there and do some real damage. A team that could win the NFL’s toughest division.

And I never deviated from that: I had your back and repped the Silver and Black hard. I insisted I would ride with them all right until the end of the season. And I did. Right until Connor Cook stepped in and the locomotive derailed spectacularly killing the Ultimate Raider Dream.

But let’s be honest. We know when this season ended. And it wasn’t Saturday in Houston. It was week 16. Against the Colts when Derek Carr snapped his leg.

A precursor to back up Matt McGloin cracking his wing, which of course, led to Connor Cook.

Make no mistake — The Texans have themselves a helluva defense. And imagine what kind of a team they’d have if they had J.J. Watt healthy and didn’t light 72 million on fire when they gave it to Brock Osweiler. Maybe then I’d give them a shot in Foxboro.

But it took about what — 30 seconds to see that Connor Cook wasn’t going to get it done not when he couldn’t connect on a screen pass or a dump off.

Just as I had convinced myself that Connor Cook wasn’t Connor Cook. Connor Cook remembered he was Connor Cook. And played like he was Connor Cook. 18 of 45. 161. I knew this was possible. Hell, even likely. But I was as guilty as anyone of buying into the hype that this guy not only played in big games in college, but won them. Guilty as anyone of thinking Brock Osweiler would never show up in a big game for the Texans. Cook didn’t, Osweiler did; the Raiders are going home. And the Texans are going to Foxboro.

By the way, Houston, have fun with that. They crushed you with an injured third stringer at q.b. earlier this season. No way in hell, you are going to Foxboro and beating a well-rested and well prepared Patriots team. No chance. Not a punchers chance or a slim chance. No chance.  But at least you avoided the worst look ever: losing a playoff game, at home, to a third stringer with your 72 million dollar man under center.

As for the Raiders: again, I made the same mistake Connor Cook made: we were both overconfident: confident that he could get it done.


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