Sunday, December 02, 2007

ShanaRat Is Left Toothless

Denver 20 - Oakland 34
Calico Jack’s Six Pack:
1. Russell Makes Debut:
In a long awaited moment for the loyal Raider Nation, JaMarcus Russell came into the game at the 13:48 mark of the 2nd quarter with the score tied at 7 to 7. A jolt of energy surged throughout the House of Thrills as Russell trotted onto the field. Working from a pared down playbook, Russell made some nice throws (4 for 7, 56 yards). On his first play from scrimmage, Russell showed off his cannon by connecting with Porter on a sixteen yard deep sideline, out route. It was the type of throw, while on the move and rolling out, that Russell demonstrated the reason he was selected #1. The velocity and pin point accuracy on this completion was beautiful to witness. Russell played in back to back series in the second quarter. In each series Russell led the Raiders to 2 1st downs. His completions: (Porter 16 yards, Fargas 13 yards, Curry 7 yards, Curry 20 yards).

2. Solid & Sound Football:
The Raiders followed a text book script to dominate Denver. The key component to this script was the efficient QB play from Josh McCown. The Raiders controlled the clock by establishing the run with Fargas (33 carries, 146 yards). The team kept the penalties (3 for 20 yards) and turnovers (1 fumble) to a bare minimum. The offensive unit capitalized on their red zone opportunities (4 for 5; 80%). The defense play stout against the run (Denver had 86 total rushing yards on 29 carries; 3.0 ypc). Our offensive line played their best, most complete game of the year. The pass protection for McCown was excellent (0 sacks allowed) and the run blocking for Fargas was outstanding. The Raiders using the Zone Blocking Scheme better than the Broncos is QUITE an achievement considering that the Broncos have been the forerunner of this system for the past 10+ years.

3. A Diversified Offense:
Head Coach Kiffin did an excellent job with the playcalling duties vs. Denver. McCown (and Russell) used all of the backs and tight end in addition to the WRs in the passing attack. Fargas (RB), Griffith (FB), and Miller (TE) were used on screens, short passing routes, and intermediate routes to help sustain drives. The 4 touchdowns were by 4 different players: Tim Dwigth (15 yard TD catch); Zach Miller (13 yard TD catch); Jerry Porter (13 yard TD catch); and Justin Fargas (5 yard TD run).

4. Defense Deserves Credit:
The Raiders run defense has struggled mightily throughout the 2007 season. In this game, the front 7 did an excellent job maintaining lane assignments and gap control. The Broncos lead back (Travis Henry) had 15 carries for 49 yards. The team rushed for only 86 total yards for the entire contest. The Raider defense created 4 very important turnovers. Howard & Washington had key interceptions in the 2nd half. Both of these INTS led to Raider scoring drives (FG, TD). Robert Thomas stripped Henry for a crucial fumble. QB Cutler also fumbled the ball which was recovered by DE Chris Clemons. The Raiders offense took advantage of this fumble by scoring a short, quick TD drive. The 4 turnovers led to a total of 24 points.

5. Huggy Bear Jr. At It Again:
I’m beginning to run out of superlatives to describe Huggy Bear Jr. This season has been an awakening for Fargas on many different levels. Fargas was the #2 RB going into opening day although he would probably have been the #3 RB if Rhodes wasn’t suspended. Getting a limited number of carries in his 1st 4 games behind Lamont Jordan, Fargas nevertheless showed that he could be a productive change of pace back. When Jordan got injured vs. the Dophins, Fargas stepped in and promptly ran for 179 yards. He hasn’t looked back. Over the course of the following 8 games, Fargas has proven to be a reliable, durable, and highly productive featured back. For the season, Fargas has 863 Yards on 181 carries for an average of 4.76 ypc. In today’s contest, Fargas set a career high for the most attempts (33) in a game. His 146 yards rushing was the foundation of this victory.

6. Next Week's Starting QB in Cheeseland:
It will be interesting to see who will be the starting QB when the Raiders visit the Packers at Lambeau Field. Will Kiffin reward McCown for his stellar performance on Sunday? If Culpepper is healthy, will he be the #1 signal caller considering how well he played vs. Minnesota and Kansas City? Will Russell see increased playing time to continue his player development? Regardless of the current QB situation, the Raiders back to back divisional wins has breathed new life into the organization. Getting a glimpse of #2 and watching Kiffin outcoach ShanaRat leaves my Silver and Black mug more than half full. Cheers!
Calico Jack


Anonymous Tooz 72 said...

Diversified play calling and good O and D execution. Was that the Raiders?! And my man the rookie. I have some thoughts on the stats later. Just wanted to say for now that was a fine performance today. Good stuff!

10:15 PM  
Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Calico, are you starting to feel the chills for 2008? The curse is ended! I feel it! I just feel it!

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just when you think Kiffin is starting to lose the respect of his players he pulls it together and strings together a few inspiring wins. And coaching has been a huge part of it. The team is playing disciplined, tough, motivated football.

And nobody could've handled the J.Russell situation any better to this point. Kiffin has given our guy a chance for success. His confidence has to be really high right now. He's a bonified, genuine NFL QB, and it's now validated. The hard part is over. Man, 2008 is going to be a break-out year.


2:30 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

CJ- Nicely done! Did you take that video from your seat? Very cool!

The QB mystery exists for both teams, although Farve will probably need to be restrainded if he's told he can't play (due to injury).

Packers have a marginal running game, so the key will be getting pressure on Farve.

9:17 AM  

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