Another local blackout, made it necessary for many Raiders
fans to listen to Greg Pappa, and Tom Flores via radio broadcasts. Oakland
had the combination of good play calling and decent execution on offense, which helped our defense stay off the field enough to seal the deal at the end of the game. Against the Philidelphia Eagles
, the Raiders' defense was able to stop the second most powerful offense in NFL
on their final drive, something that they are rarely able to accomplish.
I witnessed a few changes in the plays called by the Raiders coaches. It was very apparent in the schemes our defense was in would change throughout the battle. Instead of the expected blitzes that Oakland usually can't disguise well, on Sunday they finally mixed up the times and quantity of defender's blitzing. That is how the defensive front showed up more often on the stat sheet this week. By masking the blitz well, it was able to limit the double teams on Richard Seymour and Gerard Warren that we are used to witnessing.
The big play, which was undoubtedly the play of the day, was an eighty-six yard Touchdown reception by Zach Miller from JaMarcus Russell. JaMarcus Russell finished the day completing 17 of 28 passes for 224 yards, which translates to nearly sixty-one percent completion percentage, plus his 1 TD and 2 INT's one of which is not really his fault. Zach Miller was the leading receiver, being Russell's favorite target, finished with 6 catches, which allowed him to rumble for 139 yards and a score. The Raiders had two major contributors running the ball, Justin Fargas ran it 23 times for 87 yards and Michael Bush had 6 carries for 22 yards. But there was no bigger play than Gary Russell's final catch, to move the chains for the last time, so Oakland can take a knee until the clock hit triple zero.
Once you add in the fact that Oakland was finally able to sustain drives and get ahead early. Both are things that this franchise was in dire needs of in order to have any hopes of winning. When Oakland can get a lead it allows them to open up the playbook, both offensively and defensively.
On defense, having a lead will make blitzing a more exercisable option. That is how the Raiders can force opponents to throw passes in a hurry, which doesn't give them enough time to read the coverage. Therefore, there will be a lot more chances for the Defensive Backs to cut off routes and intercepting passes.
Offensively, the balance in playcalling can be shifted to favor the run, which is the Raiders strength. But only if the defense is on its heels, which is when they can get a decent passing game going early, stretching the field. Throwing the ball deep is always good early in a game, whether or not it is completed, it makes the defense hesitate to bring the safety up closer to the line. It also gives the play-action a better affect because the defense will not play every down as if we are running. That is the biggest advantage a young offense can have.
There is no doubting that JaMarcus Russell is hurt by not having Chaz Schilens on the field, that was his second sure-handed receiver, next to Zach Miller. His lost confidence in Darius Heyward-Bey is shown in the way Russell has thrown it his way less, and less each week. Louis Murphey has made some big catches, and will continue to make an impact this season, but he still isn't as clutch as Chaz, who will be returning to the line-up next week.
The next game is against the New York Jets
, who are on a three-game losing streak. The Jets will field their rookie QB Mark Sanchez
who has played horrible as of late. Sanchez will now have to face a defense that can exploit his weakness, which is throwing under pressure. He will already be under pressure from Jets fans, being that he has completed only 48 percent of his passes in his last four games, whats worse is he yielded the lowest QB Rating of 8.2 last week against the Bills
. A QB who was looking explosive through his first three weeks has hit his rookie slump, throwing 1 TD and 8 INT's the last three weeks.
There is no doubt this game will be televised, but I will be a part of the crowd come Sunday, I was at last years Raiders-Jets game, which was our second win of the year. That game had to go all 60 minutes, and several minutes into the Overtime to decide a winner, the Oakland Raiders merged Victorious giving Tom Cable his first win as Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders. Sunday the crowd will put pressure on Sanchez, to match the pressure from our defense.