Hobert's joy vanishes with Raiders' lead Backup QB cools off after sizzling 2nd quarter

September 02, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

Billy Joe Hobert finished dressing after the Oakland Raiders' 19-14 loss to the Ravens yesterday and turned to face the media, his face covered in sweat despite a post-game shower.

The quarterback wasn't in a good mood. He had played a solid game, and was outstanding in stretches, but Hobert's frustration was evident. Playing in the game had been tough enough. Talking about it was a chore he willingly would have handed off.

Hobert, who was 17-for-26 for 192 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, left the field after his fifth NFL game feeling like a loser. The same way he felt after his first four games in the NFL at the end of last season.

"We lost, so I don't really care how I did when we lose," Hobert said. "I could throw six touchdown passes, but we lost the dang game and it doesn't matter. Who really gives a dang what I did on the football field? We lost . . . I'm not going to analyze myself. We lost, so I didn't do enough to win."

The more Hobert talked, the more fed up he got. At one point he even warned the gathering media his "dangs" might progress to more offensive adjectives. "I'm about to start cussing, so we'd better stop pretty soon," he said.

Perhaps the fourth-year pro should have savored the spotlight.

Hobert was filling in for the injured Jeff Hostetler at quarterback, as he did in December last year, when the team fell out of playoff contention with six straight losses.

But Hobert began the game looking nothing like a backup.

The Raiders were intent on establishing the run in the first quarter and Hobert threw only twice in the first 15 minutes. But the second quarter was his.

He hit a streaking James Jett down the left sideline for a 32-yard gain to get the Raiders into Ravens' territory. Hobert completed his next three passes, too, the last of which a 7-yard touchdown pass to Tim Brown to tie the game 7-7.

Hobert completed nine of 11 passes in the second quarter for 127 yards and two touchdowns, both to Brown. He threw passes to five different receivers in the quarter and was using all parts of the field, waiting patiently in the pocket and checking off several times before spotting secondary receivers.

That changed on the Raiders' first possession of the second half. Hobert misread a blitz and tried to force a ball to Brown, a pass coach Mike White said should never have been thrown, and Ravens defensive back Antonio Langham picked it off at the Baltimore 47 and returned it to the Oakland 25.

"In the beginning of the second quarter, they came with the blitz and it sort of confused him," Brown said. "I think after that maybe he lost a little confidence, I don't know. I think he did OK, but I'm sure he'll tell you he could play better. But you can tell he's growing and getting better."

Brown left with cramps and Hobert struggled, completing only seven of 13 passes in the second half for 50 yards. The Raiders didn't score in the last 36 minutes, leading to his post-game disgust.

"I think Billy did all right," said White. "He had a good first half. He got things out of sync and started rushing things in the second half. As the score got closer, he tried doing too many things himself, which can happen to an inexperienced quarterback."

Pub Date: 9/02/96

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