Coffee Is For Closers
The Raiders were finally able to close the deal. Below are a few observations and notes from the Raiders 22-9 victory over the Cardinals.
Sigh of Relief: Prior to Sunday's victory, the last time the Silver and Black squad was able to finish off an opponent dates back to November 20th of 2005 against the Washington Redskins. After enduring an agonizing 11 game losing streak, this “W” couldn't come any sooner.
"Oh No. Here we go again": On the Raiders opening drive, Zach Crockett fumbled a pitch play. With Cardinals Kicker Neil Rackers missing a 49 yard field goal on the ensuing drive, the Raiders started the next drive on the 39 yard line. The key play to this eventual TD drive was a play where QB Walter scrambled to his left to avoid the pass rush and fired a 32 yard strike to Randy Moss. RB Lee finished off the drive with a 1 yard leap over the pile. Fumble, missed FG, TD. Oh no, yes, YES! The whole vibe of the game seemed to switch on a dime.
Rumbling, Stumbling Sands: On the Cardinals 2nd series, DE Derrick Burgess tipped Leinart’s pass at the line of scrimmage and the ball somehow found its way into the very large arms of DT Terdell Sands. On the 1st play after the turnover, Walter hooked up with Moss for a 33 yard TD pass. Walter made a nice throw where he allowed Moss to use his height and jumping ability to make a play. I had that warm, fuzzy feeling today was our day. The defense created a turnover and BOOM the offense capitalized for a quick strike TD. Raiders 14, Cards 0
Give Credit Where Credit is Due: Offensive Coordinator Tom Walsh called a much better game against the Cardinals. He had a much better mix of plays and the Raiders offense wasn’t as predictable as evidenced by the first 20 1st down calls (13 run, 7 pass). What I really liked about the Raiders first 4 drives was the variety of short and long passes. On 5 of the 7 1st down pass plays, short pass plays were called for Whitted, Anderson, Curry, and Moss.
#16, One Step Forward: Andrew Walter took a big step in his development. In particular, A-Dub was outstanding on 3rd downs. Check out these stats:
8-11 for 137 yards on 3rd down plays ... all of his completions were for 1st downs. What makes these statistics remarkable is the fact that most of these came on 3rd and long situations. Here is a breakdown on A-Dub's 3rd down and long completions:
3-11: Walter completes a 19 yard pass to Curry
3-21: Walter completes a 32 yard pass to Moss
3-13: Walter hits Curry for 16 yards
3-11: Walter passes to Moss for 14 yards
3-9: Walter hits Moss for 10 yards
3-17: Walter completes a 19 yard pass to Moss
For the game, the Raiders converted 13 of 20 on 3rd downs.
Walter was 17-30 (56.6%), 1 TD, 1 Interception for a QB Rating of 83.1. His number would have been significantly better when you factor in the 6 dropped passes. There were 2 TD passes that were dropped (Whitted & Moss). Give this kid good pass protection and he will only get better.
Tough Guy: RB Justin Fargas is one tough hombre. Last week he suffered a separated shoulder and was doubtful for the game against the Cardinals. With starting RB Lamont Jordan out with an ailing back, Fargas sucked it up to the tune of 23 carries for 66 hard earned yards. Out of necessity, Head Coach Art Shell used a running back by committee approach. Fargas, Zach Crockett, and ReShard Lee combined for 31 carries and 131 yards. Crockett had a robust 5.5 average on 8 carries while Lee was used as a lead blocker, tailback, and goal line back.
Dogs of War: The Raiders defense played exceptionally well the entire game. With the Raiders building up a 17-0 lead, the defenders were in full attack mode. Ryan definitely cranked up the Defensive pressure! The Tyrone Poole corner blitz was a beautifully designed and executed play. He blitzed behind Burgess to Leinart's blind spot. The defense made plays all day. 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 safety, and making plays on 3rd downs (Cards 1-11 on 3rd downs for a 9% conversion rate). The Raiders rush defense was stout in holding the Cards to a meager 50 total yards.
Head Coach Art Shell has been preaching all season long that the team needs to continue to work hard, play as a team, and learn how to finish an opponent off.
“I’m most happy for the guys in the locker room. It’s not about me. It’s about those guys in the locker room. They’ve worked very hard to get some taste of success.” Art Shell
|3rd Down Conversion||1-11 (9%)||13-20 (65%)|
|Time of Possession||22:59||37:01|
|Total Net Yards||224||395|
|Net Yards Rushing||50||137|
|Net Yards Passing||174||258|