Sebastian Janikowski's Missed Field Goal Not the Only Reason Raiders Lost Sunday

Gary Burzell@@ohbjuanCorrespondent IIISeptember 28, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski #11 of the Oakland Raiders walks off the field after missing the game winning 32 yard field goal against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 24-23.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Like many Raiders fans, I took Sunday’s loss hard. Not that they played that well, and Arizona did try to hand it to us, but it was a hard loss.

I can see missing a 32-yard field goal on a windy, snowy day in Chicago or Green Bay, but inside in Arizona? No excuse. None.

Even before he missed that try, I had been saying that Sebastian Janikowski just hasn’t looked good all season. I don’t know what the problem is, but he needs to get it together, now.

Perhaps the lack of competition for the kicking spot in Oakland is part of the problem. Janikowski knows he doesn’t have to worry about being replaced. The Raiders have no one else.

But you can’t pin the loss just on Janikowski. The Raiders were unable to score from the red zone several times during the second half. If you expect to win football games, you just can’t do that.

Bruce Gradkowski was 17-of-34 for 255 yards and a touchdown with one interception on Sunday, but he also was the main culprit in a delay-of-game penalty that cost the Raiders dearly.

I like Gradkowski, but I don’t think he is the long-term answer in Oakland. But then I’m not sure of Jason Campbell either. He didn’t show much in the six quarters he was the starter.  

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In reality the Raiders are right where they were before they drafted JaMarcus Russell. They are in need of a quality quarterback that can lead them for several years.

And then there were the penalties.

The Raiders committed 11 penalties for 123 yards. Penalties have been a thorn in the Raiders’ side for several years, and the lack of discipline cost them this game as much as anything else. Yes, Arizona had seven penalties for 104 yards, which is almost as bad, but the Raiders have to stop committing penalties if they expect to win football games

After watching the Raiders the first three weeks of this season, some of my preseason optimism has disappeared, but I am still hoping they can have a better season than the last several. But if they keep playing the way they have so far, that isn’t going to happen.

The loss on Sunday was still weighing heavily on my mind on Monday, but then the news came of the passing of George Blanda and kind of put it all into perspective. It was only a football game.

Blanda and his gritty play was a huge reason I became a Raiders fan in the late '60s. Clutch field goals, substituting for Daryle Lamonica when he was injured—what more could you ask of your kicker?  

Blanda was a true professional.

I had the pleasure to meet him once, and he was so patient with all the fans and seemed like a really good guy. The Raider Nation will miss him.

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