Thoughts From The Zone: One Step Forward, One Step Back

Raider Card Addict@RaidercardadictSenior Writer INovember 28, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 26:  Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey #12 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates a touchdown with Robert Gallery #76 against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on November 26, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

One step forward, one step back.

Oakland came into the game had reasons for hope, considering the team has been good pulling off wins against the Bengals and the Eagles.

As it was, after Oakland had pulled to within 10 in the third quarter there was still some hope the team could repeat last week's comeback.

A touchdown by Tony Romo to Roy Williams sealed the Raiders fate early in the fourth quarter.

So, what did the Raiders learn from this game?

For one, the Raiders do have some offense now. It's only anyone's guess as to where this team would have been had we dropped JaMarcus Russell early in the season and had Bruce Gradkowski starting from game one. For the team, the Raiders had 305 yards of offense, and 14 first downs. When Russell was playing quarterback, some games they would have seven first downs and manage only 124 yards.

Not for the first quarter, not for the first half. The whole game.

We learned, that Darrius Heyward-Bey can catch the ball and score a touchdown at the same time. To be honest, if you put a guy in crutches out there and stood him up, he could catch the ball, too. Darrius was hit right between the numbers. Pure and simple, it doesn't excuse all the throws the Raiders make in his general direction that he doesn't catch.

We also have a running game that is coming along nicely. Now someone needs to tell Tom Cable to go ahead and let the running game control the outcome. It's obvious that the running backs the Raiders have will carry the team.

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However, we did learn several things about the team that were unsettling.

We learned that our tackling is regressing and that several times the Raiders had golden opportunities to change the game. On one play, the Raiders had the ball tipped up, two players ran into each other, and a fourth player just missed the interception. This was deep in Dallas territory.

Other cases when a tackle early on was needed, the Raiders failed to wrap up the player, allowing Felix Jones to go for a long run. It's also starting to show that Chris Johnson is not near the player he was last year on terms of coverage, as he was picked apart constantly.

Some other factors, which are minor can't be helped—missed calls, an illegal chop block against Gallery for one—makes you wonder how many creative calls can be made.

As it goes, the home team automatically gets 10 points. The Raiders now can get the yardage. But until they can put more points on the board, they will lose those games.

Next up for the Raiders, a trip to Pittsburgh.

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