With 1:22 to play in Sunday night’s game against the Jets, Spillane stepped in front of a short pass intended for Allen Lazard from quarterback Zach Wilson and rumbled 20 yards the other way. The Raiders were trying to protect a 20-16 lead, and the Jets had driven the ball down to the Raiders 20-yard line.
The game was very much in doubt. Until Spillane stepped in. He was elated after the game, still holding the ball. “It’s a dream come true,” he said, tears welling in his eyes. “I poured my heart into this football. So to be able to help my team win is a blessing.”
To top that off, there was one of the most eye-opening postgame interviews you’ll see. During the broadcast, Spillane’s wife was shown in the crowd celebrating the interception. After the game, still on the field and in front of a national TV audience, he said: “My wife is actually pregnant. So I get to tell the world tonight that my beautiful wife Shelby will have our first baby here in June. So. I’m looking forward to it.”
Defense Kept the Jets out of the End Zone
Well, have yourself a night, Robert Spillane. Certainly, it was a good night for the Raiders defense as a whole, which held the Jets to just four field goals despite a solid game from Wilson. The Jets actually had a significant advantage in their offense, tallying 365 yards to 274 for the Raiders. The difference was keeping New York out of the end zone—the Raiders allowed yards between the 20s, but the Jets only got into the red zone once.
Spillane describes what he saw on the pick after the game.
“Saw Zach Wilson dropping back, saw a little route concept into the boundary,” Spillane said. “Divine Deablo did a great job of making him double pump on the throw which gave me time to get there. So just good team defense.”
It was one of the best performances of the year from the Spillane-Deablo linebacking corps, as they tied for the team lead with seven tackles each. Spillane also had a sack on Wilson, and each player had a pass defended.
“That was huge. Spill steps up, makes a huge play. It’s what he does,” Crosby said, per Raiders Wire. “He’s a great player. He came in here since day one with the right mindset. He’s been a huge part of this defense so I’m super happy for him.”
Raiders’ Robert Spillane Played With a Broken Hand
One more thing about Robert Spillane: He is playing with a broken bone in his hand. He suffered the injury earlier in the year, and had surgery this week. Before the Jets game, he showed off the scar on the top of his hand.
“Just a little work on the hand,” he said.
Asked what that entailed, Spillane said, “Every week, we get seven days, sometimes six days, to recover. That happened to be a short week … Was able to get surgery Tuesday morning, successful surgery. They said if you’re able to play through the pain, then you can play.”
So he did. And what a night he had.