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Oakland Raiders' Loss Overshadows Darrius Heyward-Bey's Strong Performance

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 02: Darrius Heyward-Bey #85 of the Oakland Raiders catches this pass over Sergio Brown #31 and Antwaun Molden #27 of the New England Patriots during an NFL football game at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
big ROC Stockton, CAAnalyst IIIOctober 5, 2011

After a loss, you always look for reasons why you lost.  We all remember the "if only" plays.  If only Richard Seymour doesn't slam New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and they go three-and-out on their first drive.  The game would have gone completely different if the Patriots went three-and-out instead of scoring a touchdown on their opening drive.  

If only Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell didn't channel his inner JaMarcus Russell and throw that interception directly to Patrick Chung.  A potential 17-14 lead or just a one-point deficit would have done wonders for the morale of the Raiders.  If only the referees would be fair.  Overturning that pass interference was big.  That flag on Veldheer on our opening drive led to a field goal instead of seven points on the board.

What a lot of people don't remember is that Darrius Heyward-Bey had 115 yards on just four catches.  He did have a drop, but overall, his performance against the Patriots was solid.  He probably would have produced even more if Campbell went his way more often.  He hauled in a sweet over-the-shoulder pass from Campbell with two defenders all over him.  That play went for 58 yards.  Catches like that give your quarterback confidence.  Campbell will start going his way more often after that solid performance.

Heyward-Bey should also have more confidence in himself after that game.  I am sure he's made catches like that in practice, but until you do it when it counts, you don't know what you're capable of.  If DHB can build off this performance, the Raiders can have a deadly receiving trio along with speedster Jacoby Ford and rookie phenom Denarius Moore.  

Well that's all I have this time.  I just wanted to give DHB some props for his performance against the Patriots.  He should build off this game, and I expect a solid game against the Houston Texans this week.

Go Raiders!

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