Run DMc Hits His Stride
Raiders 59 - Donkeys 14
It is rather hard to believe but Darren McFadden just turned 23 a few months ago. Run DMc's performance vs. the Donkeys on Sunday was the super-charged engine that drove the Raiders to a record setting, awe-inspiring day.
#20 had some eye-popping stats (16 carries, 165 rushing yards, 10.3 average, 3 rushing TDs including a 57 yard video game romp; 2 receptions for 31 yards including a 19 yard reception on a 3rd and goal screen call from the 19 yard line).
Besides the bulging average per touch, what stuck me was his decisiveness with making his cuts and finishing his runs with violent vigor. This outstanding performance is the next step in his career progression. McFadden was well on his way to a fantastic 2010 before pulling his hamstring in week 4 just before the 1st half.
Here are his stats in the previous games:
Week 1 at Titans: 18 carries, 95 yards, 5.3 avg.
Week 2 vs. Rams: 30 carries, 145 yards, 4.8 avg.
Week 3 at Cards: 25 carries, 105 yards, 4.2 avg
Week 4 vs. Texans: 12 carries, 47 yards, 3.9 avg.
Missing weeks 5 and 6 vs. SD and SF, it was amazing for McFadden to have his career rushing day in his 1st time back on the field.
McFadden's 2010 Stats:
Rushing: 101 carries, 557 yards, 5.5 avg., 4 rushing TDs (3 of 5 games with 100+ yards)
Receiving: 18 receptions, 193 yards, 10.7 avg, 2 reception (please Huey ... dial up more screens to #20)
Misc. Notes and Comments:
This dismantling of the Donkeys was surreal. I had to do a double-take and calibrate the score and clock. I asked my buddy at one point "Is it really Raiders 21-0 with over 7 and half minutes to go in the 1st Quarter?!"
The morale of the team must be sky high after this type of win where every unit contributed mightily to a dominating team victory.
Rookie LT Veldheer had a "break-out" game and was clearly the key cog to spring McFadden loose. This was the type of game for Valdheer to cement his place as the starter at LT for the rest of the year. His size, quick feet, tenacity, and football IQ are a solid platform to become an elite LT.
To build momentum and take the next step in climbing the competitive ladder, the Raiders need to follow-up this victory by tearing the Sea Chickens' wings off next week. The team cannot ill afford to take the air out of the balloon by falling prey to the roller coaster syndrome where a good win is followed up by a bad loss. (ie. SD win followed by SF dud).
It is critical for the Raiders to establish a level of consistency in terms of effort and execution. In order to become a playoff caliber team, the team needs to start stringing together multiple wins. It all starts with an opportunity for the 1st back to back wins since December of 2008. Let's do this!