Raiders week 9: Ballers & Busters


After two weeks of prep time over the bye week, the Raiders were set to face the Broncos on Sunday. The Broncos field one of the more simple offenses in the NFL due in large part to their quarterback, Tim Tebow, who has a limited NFL skillset. But that didn’t seem to matter against the Raiders as they were embarrassed by the Broncos 38-24.

It was the second shameful performance for the Raiders who last week were shut out by the Chiefs 28-0. But while that loss made sense due to the injury to starting quarterback Jason Campbell, this one had no excuses.

The Raiders came out looking like they were going to dominate the one trick ponies and went into halftime up 17-7. But after halftime it was a different ball game. The Broncos went off on the Raiders in the second half using an offense that resembled something a good high school team might run against inferior competition.

So this week the list is made up mostly of those who were able to maintain their level of play throughout the game and those who collapsed under the pressure of the mighty Tebow and his zone read option offense.

Ballers

Michael Bush

He churned out the yards in this game as he is known to do. He offers the Raiders a starting caliber running back when Darren McFadden is injured. Each of the Raiders’ scoring drives featured good sized runs by Bush. The Raiders second drive, which ended in a field goal, was a Bush 14 yard run that put them in field goal range. The next scoring drive started at the Denver 14 yard line after a bobbled punt. The third play, Palmer threw a short pass to Bush and he dove into the endzone for the touchdown. The next drive, the Raiders didn’t score but it began with a 16 yard run by Bush. The drive ended in an interception but the defense held and the Raiders were able to score when they got the ball back. The Raiders’ first drive of the second half had Bush’s stamp all over it. It started with him taking a screen pass 18 yards. He also had an 8 yard run and a 9 yard run and the drive resulted in the final Raider touchdown of the day. Bush finished with 129 yards from scrimmage (96 yards rushing) and a touchdown.

Jacoby Ford

He led the Raiders in receiving with 105 yards—most of that was yards after the catch. He has shown what kind of quickness he has once the ball is in his hands, but he hasn’t been given many chances to showcase those talents this season, mostly due to injury.  He got things started off for the Raiders when he took a short pass from Palmer, broke a tackle, and went for 34 yards. He was hit by Champ Bailey at the end of the run and fumbled the ball which the Raiders luckily recovered. Full disclosure: that fumble is the only thing that kept him from being top Baller because he was far from done on this day. Late in the first half he caught another short comebacker, broke a tackle, and sprinted for a 31 yard gain. The drive ended in a Raider touchdown. The first Raider drive of the second half he had two catches, one for 14 yards and the other was one for the highlight reels. He ran 18 yards up the left sideline and Palmer placed it where only he could get it. Ford leapt in the air and somehow came down with both feet barely inbounds, maintaining control all the way to the ground for touchdown. Palmer is liking him some Jacoby, that’s for sure.

Kamerion Wimbley

The Raiders needed him to break out and he did. He was one of the few bright spots on this defense. He came into the game with just one sack on the season after posting nine last season, so he was sure to get into the backfield and sack Tebow in this game. Wimbley was tied for the team lead in solo tackles (6) and most of those were at or near the line of scrimmage. He ended the Broncos’ first series with a tackle for a short gain. He started the Broncos’ next series with a run stuff for no gain. He had another run stuff for no gain on the Broncos’ next drive. He ended one more drive in the first half when he pressured and hit Tebow as he threw for an incompletion. His sack came in the fourth quarter and put the Broncos in third and 20 after an 11 yard loss. But they were bailed out when Aaron Curry hit Tebow late out of bounds. Wimbley made just one big mistake in the game when he overpursued on a zone read and Tebow took the vacant edge and ran for 28 yards.

Marcel Reece

It is good to have him back. After missing most of the season with an injury, he is back in the lineup. There was no easing into the offense for him either. We talk about how much of a mismatch he is to opposing defenses because linebackers can’t cover him. But he had a catch in this game in which he had three defenders around him and he still came down with it for a 41 yard touchdown. Before he did that, he was already a hero in this game when Jacoby Ford fumbled the ball and Reece raced downfield to recover it. If that fumble had been lost, this game may have gotten out of hand much earlier and the recovery had the Raiders in field goal range. He finished with 3 catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.

Lamarr Houston

He led the team in tackles (6-1) from his defensive end spot. Like Wimbley, most of his tackles were at or near the line. He ended three Broncos’ drives in the first half. The first one he tackled the runner for a short gain on third down, then he ended the next series with a tackle for loss on a Tebow rush attempt. He ended the first half for the Broncos when he rushed in to put pressure on Tebow and was held on the play. The penalty backed the Broncos up ten yards and they missed the field goal as a result. He had another run stuff and a tackle for loss on Tebow in the second half.

Betweener

Carson Palmer

The Raiders’ new gunslinger did some things in this game that we haven’t seen from a Raider quarterback in a long time. There were a few amazing passes that we haven’t even seen from Palmer in quite some time. But there were also quite a few poor decisions from him. He fits right into this rare category because one could argue either side convincingly and not be wrong. Among his best throws on the day were the 41 yard touchdown to Marcel Reece that was placed perfectly between defenders and the 18 yard touchdown throw to Jacoby Ford that was dropped in along the sideline where only Ford could get it. He also had several other passes that showed why he is a top tier quarterback in the NFL. The result was 323 yards passing and three TD’s.

Then there were the mistakes. The main stat that shows that is his three interceptions. And you can argue that they weren’t all his fault but you would be wrong. The first interception he threw as a jump ball between rookie Denarius Moore and All Pro veteran corner Champ Bailey. Bailey of course won the battle. The second interception he threw too high on a short crossing route to Denarius Moore. Moore reached up with one arm and tipped it in the air where it was easily intercepted. Sure Denarius shares some of the blame for tipping it up for ease of interception but the pass was so high it could easily have been intercepted even if Denarius hadn’t touched it at all. The third interception was on a miscommunication with Jacoby Ford. Ford went long and Palmer thought the route was supposed to cut short. Palmer admitted afterward that it was his mistake.

Things started out poorly for Palmer in this game. He threw into coverage on the first play of the game and then had a miscommunication with Denarius to go three and out. Next possession with the Raiders in field goal range, he took a knee thinking the defense would be called offsides and they weren’t. The next play he was called for delay of game and then the drive ended with him nearly intercepted trying to force a ball to TJ Houshmandzadeh. He got much more comfortable in the game and showed signs of good things to come. But the Raiders will need him to be smarter with the ball or he will lose games for them.

Busters

Aaron Curry

There is no better barometer of how this game unfolded than the play of Aaron Curry. In the first half, he looked to be everything the Raiders hoped he would be. But as they like to say, it is not how you start but how you finish that counts. In the second half he looked like the guy who was benched and nearly cut in Seattle before they managed to get a low pick for him. So let’s pick it up in the third quarter.

On the Broncos’ opening drive of the third quarter Curry gave up an 18 yard catch and then the 26 yard touchdown catch to finish it off. He was completely lost on the touchdown catch leading to the wide open touchdown. And wide open was the only way Tebow was getting his passing yards. The next touchdown they had came on one play. Willis McGahee ran it up the middle where Curry was supposed to meet him but he chose the wrong gap and ran right into a blocker. McGahee took the ball 60 yards in a sprint to the endzone. Next time the Broncos got the ball, they looked to be stopped on the drive after Wimbley sacked Tebow for an 11 yard loss. On third and 20, Tebow tried to get a little of it back. Once he realized he was going nowhere, he ran out of bounds. But Curry decided to hit him after he had already gone out of bounds. The penalty gave the Broncos an automatic first down. Granted the drive didn’t directly result in a touchdown, but the drive kept going and the field position was then in favor of the Broncos. After a three and out by the Raiders, Lechler punted it away and it was returned for a touchdown to give the Broncos the lead 31-24. Curry’s last bonehead trick was when he decided to rush like he was going for a sack… on a zone read option. His man was supposed to be McGahee coming around the left edge of the line. McGahee ran 24 yards nearly untouched for the game clinching touchdown. As many mistakes as Quentin Groves made, he never had a performance this bad.

Chuck Bresnahan, Hue Jackson

I am at a loss as to how a team that had two weeks to prepare for a predictable college style offense gets completely trampled in this game. The mistakes seemed to be partially preparation and partially scheme. The players seemed to either be lost or simply giving up. The defense carries the main thrust of the blame for this loss. The preparedness falls on both Bresnahan and Jackson.

The scheme falls on Bresnahan. The Raiders defense seems to resemble their coordinator in many way. Bresnahan is a fiery coach and he looks the part, though we have yet to see that kind of passion translate on the field. The players on this defense are all strong athletic guys and they certainly look the part. But their decision making ability is terrible. I am speaking primarily of the linebackers who are supposed to be the brains of the defense but the safeties and linemen are not in the clear either. At this moment the team is a ship without a rudder. There is a lot of brawn and very little brain. The recurring theme is missed assignments. At this point you have to ask the question: Is it that they don’t trust the assignment they’re given? When Seymour says “Do your job,” should that involve the coordinator as well?

Hue appears to be losing this team. The personnel moves he has made have made a lot of players feel alienated and insulted. He benched the team’s number one receiver and didn’t even play the starting tight end. His receivers come in on their supposed week off to work with Palmer and you choose to sign a 34 year old TJ Houshmandzadeh off the street, giving him and a rookie more playing time than your three longest tenured receivers who all put in a lot of work these past few weeks helping acclimate Palmer to the team’s offense. Then when he does put DHB in the game, he calls for Palmer to throw a long bomb to him despite knowing the DHB has found his niche in short yardage YAC pass plays. You can’t help but wonder when all the cute plays and strutting around will cease, and focusing on getting this TEAM properly prepared with a solid game plan will begin.

Taiwan Jones

It was “Welcome to the NFL, Rookie” day for Taiwan. He was supposed to be the change of pace back in place of Darren McFadden but he couldn’t seem to get out of his own way. He got his first carry on the Raiders’ second possession and tried to bounce outside. He realized quickly that he wasn’t at Eastern Washington any more but it was too late. He had already run backward and was tackled for a loss. He had one other rush in the game for two yards and a total net of one yard. He was relegated to special teams the rest of the game, but he screwed that up too. At the end of the half, the Broncos lined up for a long field goal and missed it. Lucky for them, Taiwan was offsides and they got another crack at it. This time they would make it, but Taiwan was called for roughing the kicker. This gave them the first down and a shot at more than three points. Later, he was on punt coverage and he whiffed on a weak tackle attempt on Eddie Royal and then tried to catch up to him but couldn’t. Taiwan is supposed to be faster than Royal but Taiwan didn’t gain any ground on him as he ran for a return touchdown.

Michael Huff

While Curry was letting Tebow run wild, Huff was giving him wide open receivers. He gave up the first touchdown pass to Eric Decker like it was backyard football. Later in the first half, he gave up a 12 yard catch on third and 10 to put the Broncos in field goal range. He later missed a tackle on a 14 yard rush by Tebow to set up a field goal.

Denarius Moore

He did have 4 catches for 61 yards in this game, but that doesn’t seem like much when you consider he was targeted 12 times. He dropped the first pass of the game, then two plays later, he wasn’t on the same page with Palmer. Still without a catch late in the first quarter, he slipped on the field and the ball fell incomplete. He slipped down in the Chiefs game and it was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He was lucky this time it just went uncaught. Midway through the second quarter he had his first catch for six yards and first down. But on the next play, Palmer threw a pass up to Denarius as if he would win a jump ball with Champ Bailey. He didn’t and Champ intercepted it. The next pass for Denarius came at the end of the third quarter. Denarius ran a tight slant and the ball sailed high. Then, like last week, Moore reached up and tipped the ball to give the defense an easy interception. He had two catches later for 24 and 11 that didn’t play a role in a score.

Jarvis Moss

Played much of this game and didn’t record a single statistic, though he was seen standing in open space as Tebow ran by him for a 32 yard gain. The drive ended two plays later with the Broncos’ first touchdown. He got no pressure and had no stops or containment the remainder of the game. And this from a guy who had extra motivation facing his old team and the quarterback on his college team. He had the quote of the week when he was asked if he respected Tebow and he responded, “In college I did.” I wonder if Tebow thanked him for the extra motivation? Perhaps Moss should find some of his own.

Stefen Wisniewski

Stefen had his first bad game as a Raider. In the first quarter he gave up a sack on Palmer that ended a drive. In the second quarter, after a botched punt gave the Raiders the ball on the Broncos’ 14 yard line, he was called for holding. In the fourth quarter he was called again for holding and the Raiders couldn’t dig out of it and were forced to punt. The ensuing punt was returned for a touchdown. Also, when he moved to center in place of the injured Samson Satele, Michael Bush got a total of just 18 rushing yards the entire second half.

Shane Lechler

Lechler has gotten into a bad habit of outkicking his coverage unit. He did it in this game and the result was a punt return for a touchdown, his second against the Broncos this season. He still has the highest gross punt average in the NFL but his net punt average drops him to 15th. The two return touchdowns this season are tied for the most in the NFL. The most telling stat is his total return yardage. He is sixth in the league in punt returns (25) but has by far the most yardage on returns with 433. His distance doesn’t mean a whole lot if the hangtime doesn’t allow the coverage team to get downfield.

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About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

Raiders Week 9: Ballers & Busters

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 07: Jacoby Ford  of the Oakland Raiders catches a pass over Brandon Flowers  of the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 7, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

It may have been impossible coming into this game for the Raiders to top their performances in the previous two, but just the fact that they were able to win three times in a row is an accomplishment all by itself. It is the first time the Raiders have had a 3 game win streek since 2002. Even moreso, it was the first time the Raiders have gone 3-0 against the AFC West to start the season since 1990.

There were two completely different halves of football for the Raiders in this game. The rain seemed to ground the Raiders newfound high-powered attack in the first half just as it had in the week 6 game in San Francisco.

But in the second half, the Raiders showed why they had won three of the last four games. And after coming back to tie the game and take it to overtime, the Raiders stuck their foot in the Chiefs’ neck and stomped them out very quickly after that. Just one three and out for the Chiefs and a two play drive resulting in a field goal for the Raiders and it was over.

There is one clear hero in this game and a lot of others who contributed as well as a few that stumbled along the way. So let’s get right to it.

Ballers

Jacoby Ford

Possibly the most clear cut top Baller the Raiders have had in a long time. And he didn’t start off well in this game, believe it or not. The only pass he saw in the first half, he dropped. No, Ford didn’t do anything until the 3rd quarter. But when he broke out, he broke out in a big way. He fielded the opening kickoff of the 2nd half and ran it back 94 yards for a touchdown. It would get the Raiders on the board for the first time in the game.

Two drives later, he started off with a 19 yard catch. Then he laid a key block on the next play to help spring Darren McFadden for a 34 yard run to the Cheifs 24 yard line. The drive resulted in the Raiders 2nd touchdown of the day.

Two drives later, to begin the 4th quarter, the Raiders were in 3rd down after Jason Campbell had thrown too high and incomplete for Ford. Then Jacoby completely laid out for a difficult 37 yard grab that set the Raiders up at the 7 yard line. A few plays later, Campbell didn’t see Ford wide open in the back of the endzone, opting instead to throw to a covered Jonnie Lee Higgins for an incompletion. The Raiders would have to settle for a field goal.

After one more scoreless, stalled drive, the Raiders would get the ball back with just 2 minutes left. With a minute off the clock, the Raiders had just 21 yards of offense. Then Ford caught a 7 yard pass for a critical first down. And on the next play Campbell threw a ball to Ford in coverage that looked to be intercepted but Ford flat-out TOOK it from the defender for a 29 yard catch. The Raiders ran down and spiked the ball with :07 left on the clock to allow Janikowski to kick the game tying field goal and send it to overtime.

In the overtime, after the Raiders stopped the Chiefs with a three and out, he came down with a 47 yard deep slant on the first play to put the Raiders in scoring position. After which, Janikowski trotted in and kicked the game winner.

Ford almost single handedly carried the Raiders to a win in this game. He finished the day with 148 yards receiving and over 300 total yards and a touchdown. If you were keeping track, you will see that Jacoby Ford made the key play or plays in every single score the Raiders had in this game. And it was completely out of nowhere for this rookie 4th round pick.

Richard Seymour

While Jacoby Ford was holding up the offense, the Raider defense was keeping them in this game. And they were led by the play of Seymour. He led the defense both in presence and in performance. He has been the leader of this defense since he got here to begin last season. And today he also led the team in tackles with 7-1.

It is amazing to watch him just run right through offensive lineman. When he wants to get in the backfield, it is near impossible to stop him. Of those 7 tackles, 5 of them were run stuffs at or behind the line of scrimmage. He wasn’t credited with any sacks in this game but he had two tackles for loss and a QB pressure that helped result in a sack. On two other occasions he hit Matt Cassel as he threw resulting in an errant pass for an incompletion.

Several other times he didn’t get the tackle, he held his position to allow a teammate to get the tackle. In total, he was the anchor that helped the Raiders hold Jamaal Charles to just 58 yards rushing and hold the Chiefs to 75 fewer yards rushing than their season average. Seymour is on a Pro Bowl pace and the only way he shouldn’t be in Hawaii come January is if he is busy preparing for the Super Bowl. Not to worry, I am not getting ahead of myself.

Matt Shaughnessy

This is another defensive lineman who seems to find himself named a Baller nearly every week. He is just relentless. He can’t be taken off the block and he can rarely be kept away from the ball carrier. He ended the Chiefs second possession with a three and out when he tackled Matt Cassel at the line of scrimmage just as he was attempted to scramble. The Next drive he had a run stuff. The first play of the next drive he tackled Cassel again for a short gain while he was trying to scramble. Later in the 2nd quarter he held his position on a 3rd and 2 while his teammates tackled the runner for no gain and force a three and out. First play of the next Chief possession, he shot into the backfield to hit the QB as he threw to force an incompletion. Those plays were integral in sending the Raiders to the lockerroom at half, down only ten points.

He came out in the 2nd half with the same intensity, pressuring the QB while Tommy Kelly sacked him for a nine yard loss. Next Chief possession, he had a run stuff for a short gain to force another three and out. He made a big play on nearly every Chief possession in this game going all the way into the 4th quarter. He finished third on the team in tackles with 5-0. He is another guy who is playing at a pro bowl lever. And oh yeah, he has been doing it while not starting. Not sure I can really explain that.

Michael Huff

He quietly put together a great game. He didn’t have any big interceptions on the day but he did have a sack. He played like linebacker in this game, stuffing runs, making solid tackles and playing well on special teams. On the Chiefs third possession, he teamed up with Rolando McClain to stuff a run up the middle on 3rd down. The Chiefs would fake a punt and fail to pick up the first down on the next play. In the 2nd quarter he was in the backfield to give the runner nowhere to go and allow Tommy Kelly to make the tackle for loss and force a fumble. The Chiefs recovered it but they would lose five yards on the play. Then just before halftime, he was sent on a blitz and disguised it perfectly so the Chiefs didn’t know he was coming. It allowed him to shoot into the backfield untouched to sack Cassel before he could even finish his seven step drop for a nine yard loss. The ensuing third and long resulted in an interception in the endzone to keep the Chiefs from scoring going into halftime. In the 2nd half he had a kick return tackle, an assist on a run stuff,  and a tackle for loss. This was his best game of this season.

Stanford Routt

Routt is a guy who has played great at time during this season. But he always seems to give up as many catches as he defends– but not this time. The most yardage given up by Routt in this game was on a penalty for holding that never happened. It simply didn’t happen. And everyone knew it. I can’t fault Routt for that. Routt was responsible for just two catches in this game for a total of 18 yards. Both came in the 2nd quarter and neither catch hurt the Raiders. After that, he was on some serious lock-down duty.

He had Dwayne Bowe frustrated every time he lined up against him. At one point in the 4th quarter, he had tight coverage on an incompletion on second and third down to force a three and out. A couple possessions later he had a coverage incompletion on third down to force a punt. It was a critical third down as it gave the Raiders the ball back with just over two minutes to play. They needed every second of that last drive to come back to tie it and Routt helped give them that.

Kamerion Wimbley

The Raiders best offseason acquisition just keeps proving how stupid the Browns were to let him go. After Darren McFadden fumbled the ball to set the Chiefs up in scoring position, he stopped a screen attempt in it’s tracks  and the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal. Screens were the Raiders achiles heel in previous years but Wimbley has helped solve that problem with discipline and solid tackling.

Then on the next Chiefs possession he teamed up for a run stuff for no gain on third and 2 to force a punt. The next Chief drive, he got the edge on the offensive tackle who was forced to hold him and was called for the penalty. That ten yards is credited to Wimbley. On the very next play he stuffed a run for minimal gain. His play in the first half kept the Raiders in this game until they could get the offense going. And then, wouldn’t you know it, but he made the final defensive play of the game for the Raiders in overtime when he shot into the backfield to hit Cassel as he threw. It caused the pass to go straight into the turf and it gave the Raiders the ball back so they could win the game.

Rock Cartwright

I would be remissed not to give Rock credit for all he does on special teams. He is the… well Rock upon which the special teams stands. He made the first big play of this game when, on the Chiefs third possession, they attempted a fake punt and Cartwright tackle the runner short of the first down.

The Raiders didn’t do much of anything in the first half. They didn’t really make a big play until the 94 yard kick return for a touchdown by Jacoby Ford in the 3rd quarter. And THE key block on that return was laid by none other than Rock Cartwright. Then on the ensuing Raider kickoff, Rock leapt in an stuck his helmet right on the ball to knock it free and give the Raiders the ball back in scoring position. If Janikowski could have converted the field goal attempt, Rock would have contributed to at least a 13 point swing. That is keeping the Chiefs from scoring by stopping the fake punt, blocking for the return touchdown and forcing the turnover to give the Raiders a chance to tie up the game in the opening seconds of the 3rd quarter. Has he ever been a terrific pick up.

Busters

The Officials

I am usually not one to blame Raider misfortune on the officials. Even though sometimes it appears the refs should shoulder the blame, there is often something the Raiders could have done to take it out of the refs incompetent hands. But this is not one of those games. The refs played a part in nearly every score the Chiefs had in this game. The Raiders defense dominated the Chiefs through much of this game. But you wouldn’t know it by the score.

The first horrible call was a pass interference on Chris Johnson near the end of the 1st quarter. Johnson had perfect coverage on the pass. He turned around and played the ball just as is taught and they threw that flag anyway. Without that penalty, the Chiefs would very likely have had another three and out. Instead they would set up at the Raiders 14 yard line.

That set up the next bad call. The Chiefs threw a short pass to their tight end Tony Moeaki who was down at the one yard line but rolled into the endzone. The refs didn’t hesitate in calling it a touchdown. Tom Cable was forced to use a challenge to get them to see that Moeaki was indeed down at the 1 yard line.

The Chiefs would score a touchdown in the back of the endzone on the next play. The catch looked suspect to Cable and he threw the challenge flag again. The touchdown stood but since Cable was forced to use both his challenges on two consecutive plays, the Raiders would not be able to challenge for the remaining three quarters of the game. You think that will come back later? To quote Sarah Palin, “Ya betcha!”

The next bad call came near the end of the first half when the Chiefs got the ball with under a minute to score. They had very little chance to score until the refs called Routt for a phantom holding penalty. It wasn’t even a judgement call– it JUST DIDN’T HAPPEN. The penalty yardage gave them an automatic first down, looking at a possible touchdown. It would take a 9 yard loss on a sack and a tipped interception in the endzone to keep the Chiefs from scoring on the drive.

After the half the refs were back to work with the hankies. In the moments following Jacoby Ford’s 94 yard touchdown return, Sam Williams was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. The claim was that Williams dove into the stands after Ford had already done it. Yet again, it just didn’t happen that way. Williams jumped up, patted Ford on the back and came back to the ground. He didn’t jump in the stands at all. It is well within the rules to congratulate a teammate after a job well done. The penalty cost the Raiders 15 yards on the kickoff.

That is not to say anything of the Nick Milley fumble call. Which from what I can tell was in the eye of the beholder. The real problem there was that the Raiders were unable to challenge it because they had to use both challenges earlier in the game. Best never to give the refs a judgement call in a game involving the Raiders. But speaking of which…

Nick Miller

I know many fans are pretty angry about the call by the officials that claimed he fumbled. I have watched the play several times and what I saw was a call that could have gone either way. Sure his knee was down but the ball looked like it may have started to move already. Hard to tell. Regardless, that is not what I am here to argue. The plain truth is that Nick took that punt and muffed it to start out with. Then he picked up his own fumble and still didn’t secure the ball. Nick would be the first to blame himself for this. There should never have been a question as to whether he maintained possession. If he had fielded the punt cleanly or if he had just held onto the ball upon being tackled, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. As it stands though, the Chiefs got the ball and scored on one play to take the lead back from the Raiders. And it took the rest of the game for the Raiders to tie it up again and then overtime to win it. Without this play, the game would have never had to come to that.

Darrius Heyward-Bey

The only positive thing DHB did all game was bat down a ball that would have likely been intercepted when Jason Campbell forced a ball to him in triple coverage. But since he isn’t on this team to bat balls down, that just isn’t enough. He is also not paid to be a decoy so getting extra attention from the Chiefs isn’t enough either. Plenty of receivers are keyed upon by the defense and still manage to get open. He had his chance in this game to make a play and he blew it. Campbell escaped the pocket and put a ball right on his hands in the endzone and he dropped it. That was inexcusable. Then on the Raiders final drive, he dropped another pass. It was a little high but very catchable… for most receivers. But DHB has proven incapable of pulling in a high pass. The ball just grazes his fingertips or simply goes right through his hands. So after a great week of catching the football, he is back to earth with another sad zero catch, two drop performance.

Jared Veldheer

In the scheme of things, he is looking pretty good. But from the individual game persepective, it wasn’t so hot. Late in the 2nd quarter, it was Veldheer that gave up a pressure and hit on Jason Campbell as he threw that resulted in an interception. Then in the 3rd quarter, he gave up a sack on Campbell. Then had his biggest mistake on the Raiders’ final drive. Tamba Hali got the edge on him and he was forced to hold him to keep Campbell from getting blown up. The penalty negated a big 20 yard catch that would have set the Raiders up at the 20 yard line and in scoring position. Instead, it was a ten yard loss back to the 50 yard line and well out of field goal range. It nearly destroyed the Raiders chances of coming back in this game.

Ricky Brown

Ricky started his mistakes on special teams in this game. The Raiders tried a fake punt in the first quarter that was stopped short because Ricky missed his block. The resulting short field was enough for the Chiefs to score their first touchdown. Then in the 2nd quarter, Rolando McClain went out with a back injury and Brown was forced into the starting middle linebacker duties. He played well for a quarter including teaming up for a nice run stuff. But in the 3rd quarter he missed a tackle on an 11 yard screen play that put the Chiefs at the 6 yard line. A couple drives later he gave up a 6 yard catch, was out of position on a 14 yard screen play, and was blocked on a 6 yard run for a first down.

Chris Johnson

While the pass interference penalty he had may not have been his fault, several other plays were. The first one being giving up a touchdown to start the 2nd quarter. And it was to an undrafted rookie that had just been called up from the practice squad. That’s embarrassing. A couple drives later, he was called for lining up in the neutral zone which isn’t a penalty usually called on a corner. Later in the same drive, he gave up a 20 yard reception on 3rd down that put the Chiefs in scoring position.

Samson Satele

He had a bad snap in the 2nd quarter that resulted in a fumble that Jason Campbell had to fall on after a big loss of yardage. The Raider would face a 3rd and 25 and be forced to punt. He gave up a run stuff tackle for no gain in the 3rd quarter. And he gave up a drive killing sack late in the 4th quarter. If the defense hadn’t held firm on the Chiefs next possession, that would have been the Raiders’ final play of the game.

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About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

Raiders Week 9: Ballers & Busters

Once again I am forced to pick through the rubble of another Raider catastrophe in an attempt to find the daisies in the dung and the most horrid of the horrible. So this week I will take another approach. Really no one in this massacre deserves a medal of honor. I will however hand out a few purple hearts for those who weathered the storm most admirably. This weeks Ballers are simply the exception to my criticism.

Ballers:

Thomas Howard

Had several run stuffs and tackles for short gains as well as didn’t give up any big catches

Gibril Wilson

Had his usual share of run stuffs and open field tackles including a tackle for loss on a run on fourth and one in the third quarter.

Shane Lechler

He was used WAY more than any of us would have liked but he was his usual spectacular self. His second punt was not caught and was stopped on the 12 yard line. His first punt of the second half after the Raiders were backed up because of a false start and then a holding call, was a carbon copy of the beautiful punt that he had two weeks ago that bounced just along the sideline and stopped untouched on the 6 yard line.

Busters:

JaMarcus Russell

Simply put, he was completely incompetent. He had a total of 31 yards passing! This is getting redundant pointing out the way he under throws, over throws, throws wide, and throws late so often. And he had a fumble AGAIN. He has fumbled in I believe every single game this season. This one just slipped out of his hand untouched by a defender. The Raiders first posession ended with Russell thowing wide of Walker for a three and out. The second posession ended with him over throwing Ashley Lelie for a three and out. He was sacked to end the next posession for three and out. The next posession ended with him throwing a bad pass behind Michael Bush for, yes that’s right, another three and out. Then in the second half, after a nice return by Higgins, his first throw was skipped to Zach Miller incomplete for the fifth straight three and out. Then after his first decent pass which went to Bush for 6 yards, his next pass attempt was after he escaped the pocket and then he stumbled over his own feet and threw the ball away. Then his next drop back was that phantom fumble. Then after a blocked punt and Russell running for a 24 yard gain, he threw an interception in the end zone. I don’t understand how ACTUAL rookies like Matt Ryan and Joe Freaking Flacco can be having success so quickly and virtual rookie Russell looks as if he is regressing. He has been on my Buster list nearly every week. If he runs the table, he may just earn the first four letters in that title I hate to say.

Kwame Harris

AAAAHHHHHH!!! I don’t think I have ever wished injury on one of my own team’s players but if that is the only way to get him out of the starting lineup then somebody get me a damn voodoo doll STAT! I am not taking any responsibility off of Russell but he was all too often not given any time to throw and even when he was given time you could tell that he didn’t expect to have it and was jittery because of it. Harris gave up a sack for the Raiders third straight three and out to start the game then he gave up a sack to end the first half. Then after a nice Fargas seven yard run to start the second half it turned out to be a “false” start because Kwame got jumpy and it ended in yet another three and out. The Raiders next posession looked like it had a little promise and then Kwame couldn’t block his man and Fargas was eaten up for no gain. Then Russell fumbled on the third and long. Then on the next posession after a nice Russell 25 yard run Kwame gave up a tackle for loss and the drive ended two plays later.

Rob Ryan

When specific players can be blamed, it is their fault. But when they ALL look bad then it is the coordinator. But this isn’t exactly a news flash. Ryan has been a big part of the Raiders losing ways for many years now. His schemes never work and they turn prospects into busts and studs into goats. The Raiders first half defensive stat line looked like this: 309 yards given up and TWENTY FIRST DOWNS for the Falcons. He helped make the Falcons defense look better than the Ravens.

Greg Knapp

Perhaps he should think about owning a Bed and Breakfast because this kind of ineptitude has not been seen since Tom Walsh. The Raiders offensive (in every sense) first half stat line looked like this: negative two yards of offense and ZERO first downs on four posessions.

Tom Cable

What exactly did he expect to accomplish by telling his players to run out Tds in practice and their teammates to congratulate them like they had actually scored? So they can “visualize” themselves scoring? What?! How did that one work out? I think “Actually” scoring might be a better motivation. And what was with that challenge on that OBVIOUS Russell fumble? So then the Raiders lose the ball AND a time out. Nice work Barny Rubble.

Defensive Line

It didn’t matter who the Falcons ran with. Norwood or Turner take your pick. They both ran through the Defensive line like they weren’t there. They paid special attention to the side that Tommy Kelly occupies. Or I think he occupied it, it was hard to tell if he was actually there. Kalimba Edwards made a couple of nice plays but he also was blocked like he wasn’t there on the Norwood run that put the Falcons up 14-0 and he also had two offsides penalties in the game.

Offensive Line

The running game never got going at all. If it was simply the quarterback getting pressure off the edges then the blame is easier to assign. But when the Raiders gain a total of 21 rush yards from the running backs then it is an overall offensive line problem. Russell had more yards on either of his two scrambles than Fargas or Bush had all day.

Secondary

The first TD was given up by DeAngelo Hall, Aso was blocked nicely on the second TD and Stanford Routt gave up the third one. Hiram Eugene played the run well and made quite a few open field tackles but where was he on these TD catches and run? Hard to say whether he was out of position or if he was where Ryan wanted him to be which was certainly not covering the deep man.

I wish I could break it down to certain players more specifically as I usually do but a game like this is absolutely a team collapse and must be treated as such. I think it is time for this team to follow the cliché of “soul searching”. After this game, it is also hard to see anything improving anytime soon. I am not the doom and gloom type but I am having a lot of trouble remembering what it was like when the Raiders were competitive. The Superbowl season was so long ago and the best player on this team was not drafted until the year after. This was statistically the worst loss in Raider history. So the record books will not let us forget what we saw on Sunday. I came to terms with the game. It could be a long time before I come to terms with this team.

About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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