Night & Day
Raiders 31 - Broncos 10
While watching this game in Denver, 2 things really jumped out to me. First and foremost was the efficiency, productivity, and creativity of the Raiders offense. The 2nd revelation was the difference between these 2 teams in terms of desire and spirit going into the final third of the season. Which team seemed more hungry for a win? Denver was playing at home. Denver was playing for a playoff berth hanging in the balance. The Raiders have had a dismal season yet the energy & passion displayed by the silver and black was a sight to behold.
Here is a summary of the Raiders Offensive Breakthrough:
(1) Touchdown ... Raiiiiiders! Going into this contest with Denver, the Raiders had a meager 9 offensive TDs in 10 games. Against the Broncos, the Raiders tallied 3 TDs ringing up 21 unanswered points.
(2) 3rd Down Conversion: The Raiders were the worst team in the NFL prior to the Denver game. In this game, the Raiders converted 8 of 13 3rd down attempts.
(3) Time of Possession: The Raiders offense was able to sustain drives on 6 of 8 possessions winning the TOP battle 32:04 to 27:56.
(4) Turnovers: The Raiders offense committed 0 turnovers to Denver's 2.
(5) Pass Protection: The OLine did an admirable job of protecting JaMarcus Russell who suffered 0 sacks.
(6) Offensive Balance: 158 yards rushing + 160 yards passing
(7) Red Zone Efficiency: The Raiders converted 3 of 4 red zone opportunities for TDs.
(8) Passing Attack: JaMarcus Russell completed 11 of 12 pass attempts for 160 yards and a 13.3 yards per pass average.
(9) JaMarcus Russell: #2 had his best, most complete game of his young career completing 91% of his pass attempts. His 4 yard TD pass to WR Lelie between 2 defenders was rifled into a very tight window.
(10) Darren McFadden: McFadden, 100% healthy, is a game changer. Unfortunately, #20 has been out or used sparingly for 8 of the 11 games played due to his turf toe injuries. With McFadden in the lineup, the Raiders offense has some very important elements to a successful offensive unit; a dynamic, big play back who has a nose for the end zone. In McFadden's career at Arkansas, he was able to score 41 TDs in 38 games. Raider fans got a taste of McFadden's dynamic playmaking ability in game 2 at KC when he ran for 164 yards on 21 carries and 1 TD. Against Denver, McFadden capitalized on 2 red zone opportunities with 2 TDs.
(11) Creative Playcalling: Finally, Cable took the shackles off of the offensive unit and dialed up some "PLAY TO WIN" calls.
* Direct snaps to Curry and McFadden
* Deep passes to Lelie, Miller, and McFadden
* End around to Higgins
* Misdirection pitch to McFadden
* Option pass from Bush to Miller
It will be very interesting to see if this one game was merely a "highlight" to a rather grim 2008 season or if the offensive unit can sustain a level of execution for the remaining 5 games. The one two punch of Russell and McFadden should give all Raider fans a sense of hope that better days are ahead of us.