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Raiders Week 2: Ballers & Busters

While it was hard to tell whether the Raiders were better or the Chiefs were simply worse, the Raiders did play as they should have. As the analyists like to say “They beat the team they were supposed to beat”. And the experts are just going to say that this win was because the Chiefs are bad as opposed to giving the Raiders any credit but the important thing is that the Raiders didn’t lose. Nothing else really matters at this point. This means there is still hope to live another day. If the Raiders had lost, it would be catastrophic. The Chiefs had a terrible team before they put in the previously released, 7th round pick out of Coastal Carolina at quarterback playing in his first NFL game. Quite frankly, I was disappointed that the Raiders gave up a TD and a 2 point conversion at the end of the game. Well now that we have set the scene, here are this weeks Ballers and Buster:


Thomas Howard

He was all over the place on every play. He was the Kansas City Visa: “Everywhere you want to be”. He started out the game with great coverage on a long pass to RB Jamaal Charles that if the ball weren’t so under thrown, he could have intercepted it. Then the next time you saw him he was in the KC backfield stopping LJ for a loss. Two plays later he timed the snap and burst through the line to get a sack. Just before the half he swatted the ball out of LJ’s hands, causing him to fumble. In the 2nd half, it was more of the same from Howard. He swatted the ball away from a receiver, combined on a sack for a 10 yd loss, and drilled the KC RB on a short dump off pass for no gain.

Gerrard Warren

He played the way everyone expected him to play against Denver. He was pushing the KC olinemen into their own backfield all day and collapsing the running lanes they were trying to open up. Early in the game he put pressure on the QB and deflected his pass at the line. Later he combined to tackle LJ for a loss. Then tackled LJ again for no gain. Just before the half he was in the backfield for another QB pressure and combined to tackle LJ again for no gain. In the 2nd half, the Raiders played Terdell Sands a bit more to keep Warren from getting worn out but when he was in, he still kept the holes filled and made life miserable for the Chiefs Oline. Which was evident by the fact he still combined on two sacks and a tackle at the line.

The Entire Oline

Bravo fellas. The Oline was pushing the Chiefs Dline around all day. Opening up huge holes for Fargas and McFadden to run through. They seemed a little rusty to start the game in pass protection but gave up no sacks. This was despite Mario Henderson starting (he did an admirable job). The interior lineman were especially good. Gallery and Grove were manhandling the Chiefs Dts. McFadden’s big 51 yd run came right through a Gallery block (along with a great block by Miller) and quite a few other good runs went right through Cooper Carlisle’s blocks. Cornell Green didn’t give up any whiffs or have any bonehead plays either. Great work guys.

Kirk Morrison

You didn’t see him much in the first half. He quietly held down the middle of the field discouraging passes near him and tackling anyone who made it past the line. He seemed to have earned his keep in the first half and was set loose in the second half to wreak havoc on the Chiefs. On the Chiefs 2nd drive of the second half, he nearly single handedly made them go three and out. He sacked the QB and forced a fumble (luckily for the Chiefs, it went out of bounds) and then two plays later he tackled the RB for a minimal gain forcing the Chiefs to punt. He defended a pass in the end zone just before the Chiefs finally scored their first TD of the day. Then after Michael Bush fumbled the ball away to give the Chiefs another shot at the end zone which could have tied the game up, he had the game sealing interception.
Sebastian Janikowski- He set a new career high and a Raider record 56 yard field goal as well as nailing two other no-doubt field goals and kicking a touchback on all but one of his kickoffs.

Honorable Mention:

Lane Kiffin

Last week I asked Lane a few questions. First was: Why, when you have the ball on the Chiefs 38 yard line, would you punt instead of either go for it or try for a field goal? Well this week the Raiders were oddly enough, right on the 38 yard line again. And he sent Seabass out there to nail a field goal. Thanks for listening Lane. The next question was: Why did we not see Michael Bush especially in short yardage situations? Well we saw quite a bit of Bush in this game (there is a great joke there that I know all of you dirty little monkeys are thinking right now). Granted it was mainly because Fargas went out with a groin injury (God help us) but none the less Bush was out there to be had and we got some. You might even say we got lucky. Even though he had a maddeningly untimely fumble, he ended the game with a nice 32 yd romp into the end zone. See what happens when you listen to me Kiff? Good things.

Darren McFadden

He would be near the top of the Ballers except for the fact that he tainted his great runs by fumbling TWICE. One of those fumbles was a lost fumble when the Raiders were in scoring position and the other one luckily went out of bounds. His game was like his college career: Lots of yards and fumbles. His runs were fantastic and very few RB would have taken that 19 yarder around the outside and scored the way he did. But I give equal credit for his long runs to the Oline. They were opening up holes for Fargas the entire first half before McFadden took over and they opened up holes for Michael Bush after that. Dmac makes honorable mention because we could not have won this game without him. He needs to work on the fumbling problem or we will no doubt lose some games because of him too.

Rob Ryan

Last week everyone was wondering where the fierceness had gone from his schemes. There was no blitzing and he had the corners and safeties playing so far off in zone that the Broncos had a good 15 yards off the line to drop short passes to their receivers all day. This week, much like Kiffin, he listened. We saw a guy blitzing on nearly every play. Whether it be Gibril Wilson, Thomas Howard, or Kirk Morrison. He also had DeAngelo Hall playing a lot more man coverage and Huff was flying around like I have never seen him before. Nice adjustment. Now let’s see if you can duplicate it against a team that is not completely inept on offense.


JaMarcus Russell

6 completions for 55 yards (only one was a drop by the receiver). Not much more needs to be said for him to make this list. But I will go further anyway. He looked terrible. His first trip to the redzone he evaded pressure and stepped up in the pocket as he should but then he had a wide open Ronald Curry staring at him on a crossing pattern and passed him up to pass to Lelie in coverage which of course was incomplete. He was way off target with nearly every throw he made. Usually he was behind the receiver which is a recipe for an INT. But he was also throwing ahead of them and over their heads. He didn’t even run well. The most intelligent play he had all day was when he threw the ball away instead of taking a sack. I shudder to think what he will look like next week against the Bills who actually HAVE a defense.

Ronald Curry

He didn’t have a single catch all day. Which usually means that he couldn’t get open most of the time. A veteran like him should be getting open much more often. He was thrown to twice. One was a bad pass that was thrown way ahead of him but the other was put right in his hands and he couldn’t handle it. He dropped a couple of passes last week too. I think that makes 1 pass caught in two games. Not what we expected from the guy who is supposed to be the Raiders most reliable receiver. Oddly enough Lelie is looking much more reliable.

Wrap up:

It is nice to see that the tables are turned in the two categories between this week and last week. There were only two Ballers last week and only two Busters this week. As I said before, it is hard to tell whether the Raiders good play was more about the Chiefs being so bad but the Raiders did score more points on them than the Patriots did last week and also gave up fewer points so that is saying something. It should also be more clear to Ryan how the defense functions best. Attack, attack, attack! The tables are also turned between the offense and defense. Yet again, that could be more a product of how bad the Broncos defense is as evidence by how easily the Chargers were driving on them. It will be a few more games before this team gets a more accurate judge of it’s strengths and weaknesses. But it is very clear that both offense and defense need a lot of work. For now we can breathe a sigh of relief that the Raiders didn’t lose to the lowly Chiefs. If that were to happen I am not sure any more judgement would have been necessary. So I think I speak for all of us when I say: WHEW!