With the Raiders getting the bye week at week nine, it gives them a halftime for the season. Tom Cable is planning on using the week off to do “self scouting” and add some things to the offense. That makes this a good time to look back at the first half of the season to see what went right and what went terribly wrong.
The Raiders entered the season with high hopes behind Tom Cable’s mantra of playing the right way, a strong running game, and the addition of All Pro defensive end Richard Seymour. However, as the season has progressed, the optimism has faded, the losses have piled up, and the head coach is mired in controversy.
The way things look, the Raiders are going to spend the next eight weeks playing out the string, and come the end of the season another coaching search will be taking shape.
Week 1 Chargers 24 Raiders 20-Loss
The Raiders defense played the toughest, most physical game they had played in years. The offense was able move the ball and score points. Twenty doesn’t seem like a lot of points, but that is their highest point total of the season so far. JaMarcus Russell showed some of his inaccuracy early, but was able to engineer a drive late in the fourth quarter to give the Raiders a late lead. The defense imploded and allowed the Bolts to drive down the field and score a game winning touchdown inside of the two minute warning.
This game would only be a tease. At the time, it appeared that even in the loss the Raiders were making a statement that they were buying what Cable was selling, and that they were going to pull it together this season. It was a loss, but it generated a buzz that the Raiders would be doormats no more.
Week 2 Raiders 13 Chiefs 10- Win
The Raiders offense looked simply awful in this game, save two drives. This was the first game of five in the first eight where the Raiders would not be able to generate 200 yards of total offense. The defense gave up yardage, but they were able to stop the drives before the damage was done. The Raiders won when Russell drove the team down for a come from behind score.
This was a game the Raiders seemed to pull out of a hat. Looking at the game stats, they had no business winning, but they did. This would seem to be the antidote to the damage the opener had down where the Raiders played well enough to win, but didn’t. Little could anyone know that it would be nearly a month before the Raiders would win or generate over 200 yards offense.
Week 3 Broncos 23 Raiders 3-Loss
This game was ugly in all phases. The Raiders could generate absolutely nothing. They had 137 total yards and only 9 first downs for the entire game.
This game was a preview of the rest of the first half. The Raiders not generating any offense and getting blown out. It was their second straight sub-200 yard offensive performance.
Week 4 Raiders 6 Texans 29-Loss
Once again, the Raiders could generate no offense or defense. They had 167 total yards and only eight first downs. They could not run the ball, pass the ball, or score a touchdown.
This was their second straight game without a touchdown and their third straight without breaking the 200 yard barrier. The whispers began that this offense may be even worse than the dreaded 2006 Art Shell-Tom Walsh led travesty.
Week 5 Raiders 7 New York Giants 44-Loss
As bad as the final score looks on this one, the game was even worse. The Giants sat Eli Manning before halftime, after he led four straight drives for touchdowns like there was no defense on the field. David Carr led the Giants to another 16 points. Meanwhile, the Raiders generated 124 yards of total offense. They did find the end zone for the first time since week two, but that was little consolation.
This game was a total implosion. There is nothing positive to take away from a game where a team only gains 124 total yards. This was their fourth straight game below that plateau.Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce said after the game that it felt like a scrimmage.
Week 6 Eagles 9 Raiders 13-Win
The Raiders offense exploded for 13 points, their most since their week two win in Kansas City, and 325 yards, their most since week 1, and beat the Eagles. The story of this game was the Raiders defense spending the entire game in Donovan McNabb’s face and not allowing the Eagles to get any offense going.
This broke their losing streak and their streak of offensive ineptitude. The Raider Nation wondered where that defensive explosion came from as McNabb went down six times. The Raiders brought pressure and had a defense that won them the game.
Week 7 Jets 38 Raiders 0-Loss
Raiders worst home loss ever. The Raiders moved the ball on the ground a bit, but could get no sustained drives. They could not generate a single point. Russell was benched after three turnovers in the first four drives.
Any momentum from their upset victory the week before vanished when Russell gift-wrapped a 14 point Jets lead with two turnovers in the first two drives. The game went downhill from there and the Raiders never got anything going.
Week 8 Raiders 16 Chargers 24-Loss
The Raiders offense fell back down below the 200 yard mark for the fifth time in eight games. The defense gave up just enough big plays to ensure the Raiders offense could not overcome. They had flashes of being able to run the ball, but could not get it done when it counted.
One play late in this game summed up everything that was wrong with this season. On second and forever, Johnnie Lee Higgins and Louis Murphy knocked each other down causing Russell to not be able to find a receiver and Russell was sacked.
Through eight games, the Raiders are at or near the bottom of the NFL in every major offensive category. Their supposed strength which was the rushing attack of Justin Fargas, Michael Bush, and Darren McFadden ranks 25th in the league. This is the perfect recipe for yet another disastrous season. With the latest drama surrounding Coach Cable, there is no way the organization keeps him around with a losing season.