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Oakland Raiders Jacoby Ford (12) scores a touchdown against Denver Broncos Darcel McBath (31) in the first quarter at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010. (Nhat V. Meyer/ Mercury News)

In only 12 seconds on the Raiders' first offensive play, rookie wide receiver Jacoby Ford cashed in on a bet with offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and paid off a promise he made to his defensive teammates.

Ford's 71-yard touchdown run on an end-around gave the Raiders a 7-0 lead against the Denver Broncos on Sunday and squared him with Jackson and the Oakland defense.

"Hue kind of challenged me a little bit, saying I had to get at least 20 yards on it," Ford said Monday. "I took it to the house, so I think I won that bet."

For Ford, it was the perfect salve for the wound that festered all week as the result of a fumbled kick return in a 38-31 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ford's fumble gave the Jaguars the ball at the Raiders 22-yard line and set up a game-altering touchdown.

"That's something that kind of hung on me all week because I don't like fumbling the ball and I don't like being the reason for a loss," Ford said. "I felt like I put our defense in a bad position and put them on a short field. I told them that I owed them. I came back with that first play. I just wanted to reward those guys."

Ford has rewarded the Raiders for thinking enough of him to engineer a trade of middle linebacker Kirk Morrison and a fifth-round pick so that they could move up in the 2010 NFL draft and select him in the fourth round.

Despite playing very little in the first six games, the former Clemson star has 22 receptions for 414 yards and two touchdowns, 133 yards rushing and the touchdown against the Broncos, and two kick returns for scores.


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Raiders coach Tom Cable said he and his staff spotted a weakness in the Broncos defense that bolstered their belief that Ford could gouge them running outside.

So it was that Jackson called a reverse to Ford six plays later. Only this time, running back Darren McFadden fumbled the ball as he attempted to pitch it to Ford in the backfield.

"It probably would have been another touchdown or definitely a big gain because there was just one guy back there," Ford said. "I had Jason (Campbell) leading and Zach (Miller) was out there, as well."

  • Punter Shane Lechler's status for Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts is questionable, Cable said. The hamstring Lechler injured against the Broncos is sore enough that the Raiders are considering whether to sign a free agent for the Colts game.

    Lechler underwent an MRI on Monday. The Raiders will make a determination on whether to sign another punter once the results of the MRI are known.

  • Rookie middle linebacker Rolando McClain on Monday spoke with the media for only the third time this season. He said the left foot injury that has hampered him since Dec. 1 hasn't affected his play, even though he missed the Jaguars game on Dec. 12 and much of practice the past three weeks.

    McClain has 71 tackles in 13 games this season. Only one other rookie linebacker has more tackles, the Colts' Pat Angerer (78).

    "My goal is 100 tackles this year, so I'm not there yet," McClain said. "I've still got a long way to go, but I've still got two games and I can make up some room. But my main goal was to try to improve this defense in any way possible."

    McClain believes he has accomplished the latter goal.

    "Everybody around me is playing better, from the D-line to my linebackers," McClain said. "If we can just continue to do that, continue to grow, continue to build on it, that would be all right, and that's the impact they really need from me."

    Cable said McClain has played his best football in his past two games but that he has been a solid presence all season.

    "He has brought a lot of continuity to our defense," Cable said of the first-round draft choice out of Alabama. "He's always prepared. He works a ton at it away from the field. He physically adds a lot to us inside there playing behind those two tackles."

    McClain's teammates made a sizable impact on his bank account Monday night, when he and the other rookies picked up the tab for a team dinner at a high-end steakhouse.

    "I'll take the bulk of it, of the bill," said McClain, who received a contract that guarantees him $23 million. "I already know it. They already told me I'm paying for it."

  • Right tackle Langston Walker is being monitored after the concussion he suffered early in the second quarter against the Broncos.

    "They said I'm better than they thought I would be," Walker said. "You just go from there. You see how you feel the next day and sort of ease back into it."

    If Walker can't play against the Colts, Mario Henderson will fill in, as he did Sunday.

    SUNdAY'S game
    Indianapolis (8-6) at Raiders (7-7),
    1:05 p.m., CBS