Oakland Raiders Week 4: Pressures, Hurries and Knockdowns

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Oakland Raiders Week 4: Pressures, Hurries and Knockdowns
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
It's nice to see the Black Hole full again, isn't it Santonio?

Now, THAT was a gratifying win. Beating a long-time and hated conference rival while out-muscling a supposedly "physical" team and shutting up the biggest mouths in the sport were all great in itself.

Winning at home in front of a rare—but not for long, I'm thinking—sold-out crowd against a formidable foe by sticking to the game plan and getting solid play from all facets of the team were pretty great too.

Being over .500 in September for the first time since 2004 is pretty good as well.

But the best thing about this all? It's only the beginning. This team is not stepping anywhere but forward for the first time in a long time. And it feels really, really good.

This team is different, no question. For years, Raider fans have wanted to believe we were better than we are. After all, this is a storied franchise with a history of success and our fans want that. Even if we had to invent it.

Admit it, Nation. You talked up a team you knew was poor over the last seven years at some point, yourself not even believing what you were saying, but hoping (just HOPING).

Many derided Raider fans as we spoke of the young talent we're stockpiling, pointing to Al Davis' love for combine stars that can't play football. Talent has never been the problem in Oakland, though. Just football players.

Well, these combine stars can play football, no question. And are. And are playing it well.

Still, they face a very stern test against an angry and embarrassed New England Patriots team that got the same Buffalo Bills treatment last week that the Raiders received in Week 2. Only New England hadn't traveled across the country on four days rest, whereas the Raiders had. Just saying. Take that how you will.

New England is so upset, and Tom Brady so despondent over throwing four interceptions, that Brady actually cut his hair! I mean, this must be serious if Tom Terrific is willing to shore off his locks to rid himself of the bad Buffalo juju. The Raiders could be in trouble.

Who in this game is under the most pressure? What have we learned about this team thus far? And what, exactly, is going on regarding some of the lesser-publicized Raider stories and players?

Let's check it out.

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