1. TAG! YOU’RE IT. – Michael Bush proved once again just how productive he can be as a starter in this league. His 242 yards from scrimmage were the most by a Raider since the merger. The Raiders need to use the franchise tag on him in the off-season, as its clear he is worth it. It’s a steep price to pay for a backup runningback, but as this league continues to remind us, you cannot just rely on one.
2. PLAYING FAVORITES – Looks like Carson Palmer found his go-to guy in rookie wide out Denarius Moore. Moore has come on strong the last two weeks and is finding his groove with Palmer. Moore brought in 5 receptions for 123 yards and 2 TDs, including one of the best catches you’ll see all season. The sky’s the limit for this kid, as he continues to wow the Raider Nation and develop a rapport with the Raiders new signal caller.
3. WIMBLEY IS BACK – Hue Jackson said Kamerion Wimbley would get his sacks in bunches, but who could predict he’d grab four against the Chargers, doubling his season total in 60 minutes of inspired football? Wimbley took advantage of the injured Chargers offensive line with great pass rush moves. Wimbley really focused on ripping the inside arm and dropping that inside shoulder on the edge, giving him a quicker more direct route to the quarterback. We’ll see if we have to wait another eight games for this Wimbley to re-surface, or if this game was the catalyst to a big second half.
4. GOING VERTICAL – Carson Palmer completed 14 of 20 passes for 299 yards and 2 scores. He did throw one interception, but that was due to a missed cut-block by Bush, leading to Palmer getting hit as he threw. What was most impressive was that those 14 completions were for an average of 15 yards a pop. Not only is the strength there, the 2006-2008 strength, but the accuracy throwing the ball down the field is there as well. You know Al was watching that game up there with a big smile on his face, the old man loved the vertical passing game. Looks like the Raiders finally have one.
5. THE SURE THING – When the Raiders predictably drafted Penn State offensive lineman Stefan Wisniewski, the pundits claimed that he would fit perfectly with the Raiders, as his uncle did. But I don’t thing anyone thought he’d do it so quickly. Wisniewski filled in for injured Samson Satele at center and had an excellent game. Calling out blitzes, controlling the line, making adjustments. He plays the position like a grizzled veteran, and the Silver and Black will have a leader on that line for years to come.
6. DEUCES – The Raiders continue to have success against opposing team’s top wide receiver. They held Vincent Jackson to one catch for 22 yards (targeted 7 times). The Raiders are 10th in the NFL in yards allowed to primary targets, but are 28th in yards allowed to the number two wide out. The trend continued Thursday night as Charger rookie Vincent Brown had 5 catches for 97 yards, including an incredible touchdown grab in double coverage. Brown’s second long touchdown catch was overturned upon review.
7. DEFENSIVE REBOUND – After getting torched by Tebow and the Broncos for 300 yards on the ground, the Raiders defense rebounded big time, allowing only 75 yards on Thursday night. They still gave up an average of 5 yards a rush, but they prevented the big play. They contained the ground game and routinely forced San Diego into tough third downs, which they were 5 of 16 converting on the night. Rivers never got going, and was 23-47 on the night. He missed a lot of easy throws and was out of sync with his receivers all evening.