Although it was much nicer putting together an article after a Raider win, it
was equally difficult to sift through the game and find the good and
the bad. The odd thing about it is, despite an ugly, low scoring affair
that was littered with penalties, there were not a lot of glaring
busters in the game. And many of the guys that made huge mistakes, went
on to redeem themselves later on and earn a “Get out of Buster free”
card. Other guys had big plays and are not mentioned because of big
mistakes that overshadowed their accomplishments. All in all, as
Patrick pointed out in a previous article, it was ugly but it was a
win. So as my ringback tone will tell you: “Always look on the bright
side of life”. And on that note, here are this weeks Ballers and
He started the game off with a bang by booting his kickoff so far that he almost kicked a field goal. As if to say “let’s send’em a message”. Later he tied it up at 3-3 on a chip shot field goal. In the 2nd quarter had one of his head scratcher misses from 40 yards out. Then on his third kickoff of the day, he kicked yet another touchback. But all of that is window dressing for him topping this list. We all know by now why he is here. It was that Raider record and NFL OT record 57 yard no doubter field goal he NAILED to give the Raiders the win. FINALLY we got to see the reason the Raiders drafted him in the first round so many years
ago. He has teased us all for years with his potential to kick 55+ yard field goals and yet in his career he has rarely done it. On Sunday, he earned his draft status. And while we don’t ask him to do it all the time, a bit more often would certainly be nice.
The first time he had his name called, was when he laid a hard hit and wrapped up the Jets return man in the open field on a punt. Then later he was seen stuffing Thomas Jones on a run for a short gain. But his sacks were what truly set him apart. He had two great sacks on the day and in both cases it looked effortless. He drove his man back, made a quick fake to the outside and when the guy bit, he tossed him out of the way. This move took about half of a second each time. Both of the sacks were on 3rd down, forcing the Jets to punt. The first time, he also forced Favre to fumble (recovered by the Jets). The second time was on the Jets first drive in overtime when it looked as if the Jets were going to move quickly into scoring position right after a big Chansey Stuckey catch to move them into Raider territory. Scott stopped that drive in it’s tracks and may have saved the game in the process. Not bad for a 6th round pick rookie.
Every punt he kicks is a beauty really. Just the plain fact that he is rarely, if ever, muffing a punt or not looking brilliant is amazing. But in this game, he was a wizard. His first punt had such hang time that the return man could barely make a move before he was wrapped up by the aforementioned Scott. His second punt was so high that the return man was afraid of getting laid out again and took his eyes off the ball. And when you take your eyes off of a ball that just re-entered the earth’s atmosphere, it can be a bit difficult to field. The ball went right through his arms and was recovered immediately by Raiders special teamer Sam Williams to give the Raiders posession in scoring position which resulted in Janikowski field goal. Then in the third quarter, he had a booming punt that the return man stayed well away from and it settled on the 12 yard line. On the Raiders next drive it appeared they would simply go three and out again, but the fake was in order and long snapper Jon Condo directly snapped the ball to Jon Alston who ran for 22 yards and gave the Raiders new life. Normally there would be a man trying to rush the punter from the end spot but with Lechler, they were playing return, not rush and therefore there was no one in Alston’s way for that run. Then on the next posession, with the Raiders leading 13-10, the Raiders went three and out again and needed a huge punt from Lechler. And he did not disappoint. He took out a nine iron and punted the ball about a yard inbounds that bounced back towards the field and then settled, untouched at the 5 yard line. Then in OT, when no team can afford a muffed punt or a big run back, he ensured that the Jets would have to earn every single yard by kicking high and far and giving the Raider special teams the time they needed to reach the ball carrier. In a 16-13 ball game, special teams are key and I am glad he is on our side.
The first time we heard his name, it was right after the Raiders thought they had a touchdown on a pass from Russell to Zach Miller. Walker hadn’t lined up on the line of scrimmage and the illegal formation cost us the TD and resulted in a FG. With the way things have gone this season for the Raiders, I thought he had cost us the game, but after that, he redeemed himself. For the first time all season, a receiver led the Raiders in receiving (what a novel concept right?) he finished the game with 5 catches for 75 yards and the only touchdown for the Raiders on the day. Every catch he made was for either a 1st down or a touchdown. So while he started the game by taking points off the board for the Raiders, he put points back on the board and had 4 more catches for 67 yards. I think he made up for it. Now let’s hope this is only the beginning of this kind of game for him. Next week let’s try for our first 100 yard game shall we?
While he may have only averaged 2.6 yards per carry in this game, he was a workhorse and most of his yards were hard fought against a pretty good Jets run defense. He finished the game with 74 yards on 28 carries. The play action was working quite nicely because of the threat he posed. Many of Russell’s completions came on the play action. It is sure good to have Fargas back and healthy. He is key to the success of this teams ability to run the ball.
He was the news of the week for the Raiders with him getting the start over Huff at free safety. And if that is the biggest news out of Oakland, then that it good news to Raider fans. I was skeptical of this move simply because, as bad as Huff has been, Eugene has been known to be much worse. But on Sunday he achieved what Huff has not been able to. He did not give up a single big catch which is all we really ask of the free safety. But on top of that, he had THREE touchdown saving tackles on runs. All of which were in the open field and he was the last man to beat. Two were on Thomas Jones and one was on a Brad Smith reverse. Each time the Jets came away with no points. And in this game, the Raiders could not have given up any more points.
As usual, we didn’t see much of him. He had two tackles on the day. One was a run stuff at the line and the other was the only catch he gave up which was a behind the line pass to Jericho Cotchery that he sniffed out and tackled Cotchery for a loss. After that, Favre was too smart to try his vacinity of the field again. It doesn’t get much better than that. I don’t know how much can be said about Aso that hasn’t already been said. He is THE BEST CORNER IN THE NFL, HANDS DOWN, END OF STORY. And how he hasn’t been selected for the probowl should be under investigation. Please stay a Raider forever Aso. Al Davis; make him the highest paid DB in the league because he is.
He had one of the best DT in the game lined up against him in Jenkins, and handled him quite well throughout the game. Jenkins had 1 tackle and 4 assists on the day with no sacks. And the Raiders showed no fear in running the ball through and around him.
On the Jets first dirve he had a nice open field tackle on Thomas Jones that was negated because of an offsides penalty. Then on the Jets first drive of the second quarter they looked to be in line for a sure score and Wilson intercepted Favre’s pass in the end zone for a touchback. This kept the score tied at 3-3 going into halftime. He stuffed Thomas Jones and held him to minimal or no gain three times in the third and fourth quarter. Then he had great coverage on what turned out to be Favre’s very last pass attempt of the game. He yet again led the Raiders in tackles with 7 solo tackles and 3 assists. Only two of those tackles were on catches that he gave up. He continues to be the biggest and best free agent signing of the offseason to justify my endorsement of his signing. I’m Ldizzle and I approve this message.
His first nice play came on the Jets second drive of the game in which he got in the backfield to tackle Thomas Jones for a loss on third down and force a punt. Then to begin that second quarter he pressured Favre into an incompletion. Later, with the Jets on first and goal, he plugged the run lane to stop Jones which resulted in a loss of yards. The next play the Jets had to pass which is how Wilson intercepted it and held the Jets scoreless on an otherwise successful drive. Then his biggest play came in crunch time. Seabass had just kicked a field goal to put the Raiders up 13-10 and on the Jets ensuing drive, he sacked Brett Favre for an eight yard loss to set up third and long. Favre was pressured again on the next play and threw the ball up for grabs which gave DeAngelo Hall an easy interception and put the Raiders in Jets territory.
He is like Barry Sims without the ability to protect the passer. The Raiders spent most of the day just trying to make up for all of his false starts. When each set of downs requires at least 15 yards instead of the usual 10, it can be difficult to sco
re points or even move the ball at all. His first big transgression was a holding penalty in which he had been smoked by former Raider Kenyon Coleman. This cost the Raiders a nice first down screen pass to McFadden. Then after McFadden got back the ten yards from the penalty, Harris false started and the Raiders couldn’t convert the third and long and were forced to punt. On the Raiders first drive after the half he had two more false starts. One of them was on third and goal from the three yard line.
He had a total of one tackle on the day and he is the starter. The first mention of him was an offsides penalty on the third play of the game. Then two plays later, he was offsides again. After that, we saw a bit more of Kalimba Edwards in the game. But Richardson was still to be seen here and there. He was fooled on a reverse and couldn’t catch up to Brad Smith who was eventually tackled by Hiram Eugene to save a touchdown. This seems to be a recurring theme with Richardson. He starts, is a non-factor, rings up stupid penalites and blows his assigments and is quickly replaced by Kalimba Edwards. I have seen Richardson play well in the past so let’s all hope he can find that again because lately he has not been acting like the 5th round steal he was supposed to be.
Surprisingly enough, I can’t really find anyone else that played bad enough to make the buster list. In a game this ugly, it seems that there would be more but the Raiders were able to overcome most of their stupid mistakes. Alston lined up offsides and gave the Jets a first down on a punt but he made up for it with his 22 yd run on the fake punt. I already pointed out how Javon Walker made up for his mistake. JaMarcus Russell was efficient but he fumbled again, had quite a few overthrows again, and stalled a drive that started in good field position because he didn’t run three yards of open field to get the first down. Call me picky, but that is just not good enough. This game was won one special teams and defense. I will say that this is the best I have seen Russell all year. I also give some credit to offensive play calling. Oddly enough the pass/run ratio (30/36) plus the shorter, safer passes, quite closely resembled the way Kiffin ran this offense. The big difference was play action. I can’t say enough that play action is the key to this offense. And I give Cable huge credit for the fake punt call. It was the perfect timing and situation and the Jets were completely fooled. Now let’s build on this win and try not to give me multiple heart attacks in the future.