Monday, October 03, 2005

Five Postgame Takes

1. During his show on Sirius Radio last week, Keyshawn Johnson said that if the Cowboys shut down the Raiders early and jumped into the lead, they could take the crowd out of the game and even get the home fans to turn on their Raiders. I kid you not, he actually said this. Well, he certainly did his part to advance his crackpot theory. He burned the Raiders for 16 yards on one catch.

2. Where’s the damn ball, Keyshawn? It’s in Drew’s hands, who’s in Sapp’s hands.

3. Something is still wrong with the offense. I’m sorry, I know you don’t want to hear that in the wake of our first victory. I don’t, either. But something just isn’t right, and we both know it. We know the game should not have been that close. For a clue to the problem, see my next take.

4. Last week, with 1:21 on the clock, Tom Brady marched the Patriots down the field to win the game against the Steelers. This week, with 1:09 on the clock before the end of the half, and with Randy Moss on his side, Coach Turner and company orchestrated the following gutsy drive (click on "comments" below for further clarification and justification for this take):

34-L.Jordan left end to OAK 18 for 4 yards (94-D.Ware).
2-6-OAK 18 (:50) 34-L.Jordan left end to OAK 18 for no gain (99-C.Canty).
3-6-OAK 18 (:16) 5-K.Collins pass to 34-L.Jordan pushed ob at OAK 23 for 5 yards (99-C.Canty).

5. Drew Bledsoe chucked his helmet. The Tuna gnashed his teeth. You could just see it on their faces: the Raiders defense just kicked their butt on Sunday. Sure, there were a few lapses, but 13 points is 13 points, and you can’t ask for more on that side of the ball. Once the offense clicks, watch out!


Blogger js said...

You're right that something's wrong with the offense, but I'm not sure I'm with you on Point #4 as a symptom. In that situation, with lousy field position and the knowledge that they'll get the ball first in the second half, Turner decided to sit on the ball and take a touchdown lead into the half. It may not be gutsy, but it is defensible strategy. The Dallas defense had been getting to Collins, and a fumble or interception inside the Raider twenty would have been a huge momentum shift.

The trouble wasn't what the Raiders did inside their own twenty, but what they did inside the Dallas twenty. Basically, we've been seeing too much of Janikowski. (Though it is nice to see that the slump is over.) Collins has put the ball in the end zone six times in four games, and Jordan's only seen the end zone twice. It was encouraging to see the Raiders move the ball up and down the field, but it doesn't mean much if they can't score more than three points on red zone trips.

With a huge tight end like Courtney Anderson and a space alien like Randy Moss, this shouldn't be a problem, but it clearly is. Let's hope they use the bye to get it sorted out before the Charger game.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Space alien!? I love it. Very apt. His arms seem to grow longer when there's a ball in the vicinity.

Your take on the pre-halftime playcalling is more reasonable, I admit.

But the very red zone problem that you describe is what's making me unreasonable. If you're not scoring enough in the red zone, then maybe you have to get aggressive and go against the percentages, and give it up to the space alien.

Otherwise, you end up with Drew Bledsoe with the game in his hands in the last minute, a situation in which the percentages have not been fair to the Raiders in recent years!

Anyhow, I think we may both be on to something here, and that is: fear.

Fear of doing something creative in the red zone lest it backfires. Fear of being aggressive, even if it means playing against the percentages at times. Fear of throwing an interception (honestly, I think Collins is enamored with his no-interception streak, and is playing accordingly).

I think the offense, for some reason, is playing from a position of fear and conservatism. I don't get it.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Mike, nice take, great points...You took my take to the next level.

12:31 PM  

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