ALAMEDA — David Amerson found himself on the wrong end of Washington’s highlight of the game, Josh Doctson’s leaping grab over the Raiders’ cornerback that ended in a 52-yard touchdown Sunday night.
Amerson set himself up in prime position but seemed to just not jump high enough. Instead, he made a fruitless attempt at Doctson’s legs while the receiver crossed the goal line to put Washington up 21-0 after the first drive of the second half.
“I didn’t really know he was on my back like that,” Amerson said Tuesday. “Otherwise I kinda would’ve attacked it different. I kinda relaxed just letting the ball come down.”
Of the five passing touchdowns Oakland (2-1) has allowed through three games, Amerson has been the culprit on three. Despite his gaffes, he made several impressive pass breakups Sunday, saved a touchdown by chasing down Chris Thompson on a long catch-and-run and graded out as the Raiders’ top defensive player, according to Pro Football Focus.
It’s the miscues that stand out for the starting corner, though, and Amerson can’t harp on them with Oakland’s first divisional game looming this weekend in Denver.
“I think that’s something that’s in your head from Day 1 from playing football, playing DB. ‘On to the next play,’” Amerson said. “You can’t dwell on one play. Fortunately in this league, every now and then people are gonna make plays. You just gotta keep coming back, keep making more plays.”
After surrendering two touchdowns to Jermaine Kearse in a 45-20 Week 2 win against the Jets, Amerson had a chance to make a statement against the team that released him in 2015. Instead, Doctson’s only catch of the game was Amerson’s lowlight.
“He had a moment where he was really in great shape and just didn’t high point the ball well enough,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Sunday. “The receiver made a nice play, he didn’t and we gave up a big one right there.
“It could have easily been a pick right there and a momentum-turner the other way.”
Twice after Doctson’s touchdown, Amerson batted down passes intended for Washington’s Terrelle Pryor, among his three pass breakups on the day. And his best play of the day came on Washington’s longest gain, however inconsequential Amerson’s effort proved in the end.
A screen pass to Thompson sprung the Washington running back down the left sideline. He eventually ran out of gas and Amerson sprinted from a diagonal angle to save a touchdown by pushing Thompson out of bounds at the 10-yard line. Washington settled for a field goal to take a 24-7 lead after three unsuccessful attempts at the end zone.
“You gotta keep going out there and battling. At the end of the day, people make plays,” Amerson said. “I just gotta do a better job of making my plays. No specific formula you can really dial up.”
Next up for the Raiders is their first AFC West matchup against the Broncos, a 1:25 PST kickoff Sunday at Mile High Stadium. Denver boasts one of the best 1-2 receiving tandems in the league with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Amerson played all but two defensive snaps at Washington, and will likely shoulder a similar workload Sunday against either Thomas or Sanders or a combination of both.
His ability to rebound from an embarrassment in primetime will hinge on forgetting the one play garnering all the attention and building off the smaller ones that aren’t.
“I’m past that now,” Amerson said. “I’m on to Denver.”
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