Inside the Game by Dave Boyce
Saturday, November 10 2007 @ 06:01 AM CST
Contributed by: Ore
Contributed by: Ore
Hello again, Raider Nation! Once again it is time for another quarterly report. If you have been following the silver and black for the past four weeks, you know very well what has happened. After a promising two and two start, the Raiders have fallen to two and six with four consecutive losses.
In week six,, the Raiders were fresh off of a bye week and headed to San Diego. The Chargers were having a bad time and had limped into this game with a one and three record. But, they didn't seem to be limping around too much in this game as LaDainian Tomlinson ran all over the place. He gained 198 yards on 24 carries and scored all four touchdowns for the Chargers. It seems that whenever Tomlinson sees silver and black, he goes off. The Raider defense was over pursuing throughout this game and they were getting killed with the cutback running of Tomlinson.
About the only bright spot of this game for the Raiders was a sweet interception return for a touchdown by Thomas Howard. Another good thing to see was rookie tight end Zach Miller get his first career touchdown on a one yard pass from Culpepper. That catch made the score 21-14 with plenty of time left for the Raiders to hold the Chargers and get the ball back. That didn't happen as Tomlinson ran for a 41 yard score to clinch the win.
Next up was a home game against the Chiefs. In this game, the Raider offense did what they did against San Diego. They scored a grand total of ONE touchdown. In the game against Miami, Culpepper made it a point to show all 50 of the Dolphin fans that remained at that game that his knee is doing well. Sorry, but this is not the case. He was slow to take the snap and watching him "run" from the pressure that was coming from all sides was painful to watch indeed. He was also holding onto the ball WAY too long. Defensive end Jared Allen was in the backfield all day and racked up nine tackles and two sacks.
The running game in this game was non existent. LaMont Jordan ran 11 times for 29 yards and it was more than obvious that his back was still hurting him. The spark that he had early in the season was completely gone. But, with that being the case, Fargas and Rhodes should have gotten more carries, right? Wrong. Fargas ran one time for one yard and Rhodes had 21 yards on only nine carries.
Like the last game, this game had very few bright spots for the offense. But, in the third quarter, Culpepper hooked up with Jerry Porter on a nice 59 yard pass. Then, he hit Curry in the end zone for a 21 yard touchdown. That was a nice two play 80 yard drive to put the Raiders up 7-6. After basically holding Larry Johnson in check, he broke loose for a 54 yard gain midway through the third quarter. However, that drive ended up getting them no points as the Chiefs missed a 30 yard field goal. Johnson finished the game with 112 yard on 24 carries and a touchdown.
The worst breakdown for the Raider defense happened early in the third quarter as Kansas City quarterback Damon Huard had some massive pressure coming from his right side. He moved away from the pressure and put up a bomb to rookie wide receiver Derrick Bowe who had gotten past Nnamdi Asomugah. The play went for 58 yards and helped set up the one yard score by Johnson. One touchdown was the Chiefs needed as they won the game 12-10.
The next two games were abortions. They were both losses to Tennessee on the road and Houston at home. In both of those games, it was the same old story as opposing running backs ran right through the Raider defense as they continued to over pursue or just not make the tackle. There are times when there is a player in position to make a tackle and he either gets juked out of his shoes or he doesn't wrap the guy up.
The wild thing about the loss at Tennessee was that Vince Young only had 42 yards passing and completed only six of 14 attempts. He was a little banged up with a sore quadriceps and only had 11 yards on seven attempts. However, LenDale White and Chris Henry were feeling fine as they combined for 181 yards on 29 carries. White was the workhorse as he carried the ball 25 times for 133 yards.
The only thing the Raider offense could do was get three field goals from Janikowski. With the exception of Fargas having a solid game, there was a lot of poor play from the offense. That's nothing new as the offensive line had a horrible day with lots of false starts. Still, there was a chance for the Raiders to win this game. Unfortunately the chance of a win hit Mike Williams in the hands. I guess that is a bad place to hit him. He dropped the ball and the Raiders lost by the score of 13-9. Mike Williams remains a mystery. He made one of the best catches I have seen a player make when he was at Southern Cal and now he drops half of the balls that come his way. Well, he will now be a mystery to someone else. He was let go and Tim Dwight was signed.
Against Houston, it was the same old story with one difference. Josh McCown got the start at quarterback. McCown may be the most hated man in Oakland. He didn't give the Oakland faithful much to cheer about in this game as he went 13 for 28 for 158 yards, one touchdown and three picks. He looked like crap in this game and I was hoping that Kiffin would put in Russell. That did not happen.
The running game was moving on all cylinders as Justin Fargas once again had a good game with 104 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown. Fargas is running hard and has taken away the starting job from Jordan. Jordan and his aching back did see a little bit of action in this game as he ran four times for 10 yards and caught two passes for 16 yards.
A lot of games have been frustrating this year, but this one takes the damn cake. The Texans had their starting quarterback (Schaub) and best receiver (Andre Johnson) out with injuries. So, it was Sage Rosenfels and a bunch of receivers I had never heard of to the rescue. This game was bad from the get go. On their first possession on a third and eighteen, Rosenfels hit Ahman Green with a screen pass that went for 53 yards. Green found the end zone a few plays later on a eight yard run. After seeing that, I knew we were in for a long day.
The Texans ran a lot of time off the clock in this game on the strength of Ron Dayne. Dayne bulldozed his way through the Raider defense for 122 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. Rosenfels only completed 11 of 19 passes but ended up with 181 yards, one touchdown and one pick.
The Texans opened up a 17-0 lead and went on to win 24-17. The Raider offense did mange to put up 14 points in the fourth quarter, but it was too little and too late. Tim Dwight made his first catch as a Raider and it turned out to be a 28 yard touchdown pass. It was good to see a receiver out there who can stretch the field a little. The killer in this game was after Fargas scored to make it 17-10, the defense came out flat. Dayne had a couple of good runs and then Rosenfels hit Davis for a 42 yard score to make it 24-10.
Well, I managed to write about four Raider losses without getting sick. With each passing week, there are more and more things that are becoming evident. The pass rush and run defense are pitiful and with Tommy Kelly out for the year, things won't get much better. Gerard Warren may be coming back this week and I for one hope he does. He can clog up the middle and disrupt the running game. Still, the defense has got to stop over pursuing and leaving cutback lanes open. Sapp only has one sack and Terdell Sands has a grand total of zero.
Offensively, about the only one who has impressed me is Fargas. He is playing very well right now and the line is doing a good job of opening holes for him. It's still confusing to me as to why Rhodes isn't getting any carries. Also, with Michael Bush ever get a shot?
Speaking of getting shots, what about Russell? With the play of McCown and Culpepper being so bad, will he be seeing the field soon? Maybe Kiffin just wants him to watch an entire year from the sideline. I guess time will tell when it comes to a decision on Russell.
The next four games for the Raiders are the Bears at home, at Minnesota, at Kansas City and then home against Denver. I'll see everyone after the Denver game and I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving!