The Raiders were forced to swallow the bitter pill of last second defeat Monday night and the struggle to choke it down was eased only by a spoon full of sugar. The sweetness of victory was stolen by a Sproles 5-yard touchdown run that left the Raiders with only gut wrenching hunger pains.
Tom Cable said it was a good thing to feel that pain in your gut. He is right. It replaces the numbness built upon six seasons of defeat.
To add some insult to injury, the Raiders will swallow another bitter pill this morning. The NFL has mobilized to support the reversal of Louis Murphy’s touchdown at the end of the first half. I think Raider Nation needs to move on, but it is difficult when people find the need to shove the rulebook in your face without considering common sense and if the rule’s intent matched the play. Describe, "entirety."
I don’t agree with the rulebook. If the rule is interpreted like it was a player would have to completely stand up with the ball to get the touchdown. There is just no reason for the rule. If it is a completion at the 20, it is a completion in the endzone. Hochuli’s rule was also interpreted correctly, didn’t make it right. Correct is not always right.
I won’t rehash it more, you can watch the video for yourself (see previous post). I tend to agree with the Tom Cable and Louis Murphy. We all have to accept it, even if we disagree.
In short, the defense looked great outside of the final two San Diego drives. What changed? Well the Raiders stopped attacking the ball carrier and got caught playing soft coverage. It wasn’t straight prevent, but it was a shift from the single high safety played the rest of the game. It allowed the Chargers to bring in Darren Sproles to catch quick passes out of the backfield. Rivers didn’t have any time to throw, so it was ideal for them. Letting the opposition get their biggest playmaker the ball with room to run is a recipe for disaster and it was.
Probably the biggest thing that will be talked about is JaMarcus Russell. You can have your opinions about the guy, but consider these stats.
He has started in just 17 games. People like to make it seem like he has played 3 seasons.
His stats mirrored first year starter Joe Flacco last season (Check the archives for that comparison blog post).
He was working with rookie wide receivers.
His best receiver is injured and didn’t play.
You can call them excuses. They aren’t, because he clearly over threw receivers. The overthrows were not even close at times. That was a terrible performance from Russell as a whole.
Still, the lone legit interception was both on Russell and Murphy. Russell can’t lock onto one guy. Murphy can’t let a cornerback go through him to get the pick. Both will learn.
There was at least six dropped passes and six overthrows I counted. Improve just a few of those mistakes and we are looking at 20 of 30 and 2 touchdown. Not to mention he did complete a 4th and 15 for a 57-yard touchdown to get the lead with two minutes left to play.
What I am saying is don’t give up on him yet. He needs to work on his mechanics and learning not to stare down receivers, but I believe those are teachable qualities. He didn’t look very good yesterday, but we have seen him play better, so we know he is capable.
Podcast coming tonight.