Not so fast

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by NFL Editor and ANG football writer Jerry McDonald
It’s a good thing the Oakland Raiders locker room has a better sense of perspective than its fan base.

The injuries to Charles Woodson and Derrick Gibson were downers, but the mood following a 38-17 win over Buffalo was largely uplifting and refreshingly devoid of “everyone counted us out” and “no one respected us” nonsense.

It was enjoyed for what it was – one win. In the NFL, that’s a big deal.

It was a resounding, convicing win, with the kind of offensive performance so many expected but hadn’t received through the first five games.

On the wildly swinging pendulum of Raider Nation, it’s cause to start thinking playoffs. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s part of the fun of being a fan.

But the reaction following the dreary loss to the Chargers was the most extreme I can remember in the last 10 yers of covering this team. I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails from fans who were upset at how the Raiders played, but never had I received so many from those who were so angry they said they had washed their hands of Al Davis and Co. forever.

I suspect many of those were typed out of frustration and quickly forgotten as soon as the Raiders began to grind the Bills into the turf.

A couple of reasons why the Bills win, although satisfying, could be a mirage for anyone expecting a run to 10 wins.

  • The Bills were giving up 158.8 yards per game, and the Raiders wisely took advantage, going for 162 yards on 37 carries. They’re not going to run this easily on everyone.

    It will be tougher going in Nashville Sunday against Tennessee. The Titans are much better against the run than Buffalo, having given up 108 yards per game and just three rushing touchdowns.

    It was the running game which limited the passing attempts of Kerry Collins, who was efficient and effective.

  • Oakland’s performance in the secondary, while admirable after being shorn of Charles Woodson and Derrick Gibson, was aided greatly by the Bills’ inability to stop the run.

    The Raiders had the ball for two thirds of the second half, keeping that makeshift defensive backfield on the sidelines.

    If it’s tougher going against the Titans, go ahead and assume offensive coordinator Norm Chow, whether it’s with Steve McNair or Billy Volek, will spread the field and give Fabian Washington, Stanford Routt and Co. all they can handle.

    Jerry’s Turn
    One of the “datelines” in colleague Dave Del Grande’s column on Turn2 congratulated Randy Moss for saving Oakland’s season against the Bills.

    Dave concluded that Moss’ presence on the field was what opened things up for LaMont Jordan, who ran for 122 yards, and Doug Gabriel, who caught 5 passes for 101 yards.

    Since the game was blacked out, Dave was probably missing some pertinent information.
    1) Jordan did most of his damage in the second half, with 18 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns. When Moss was on the bench.
    2) Gabriel had 3 of his receptions for 45 yards – including two huge plays on the opening scoring drive of the third quarter – in the second half. When Moss was on the bench.

    The Bills can’t defend the run, no matter how many defenders they put in the box. That opens up everything else. Moss or no Moss, this was a good matchup for the Raiders.

    Miraculous Recovery
    Although Moss’ designation as “doubtful” looks fishy, I’m inclined to believe the the company line that they didn’t think he would play.

    They had no experience with Moss in an injury situation, and he was clearly hurt enough to sit it out without complaint from anyone. Even Buffalo cornerback Nate Clements, beaten by Moss for a 22-yard touchdown, thought Moss wasn’t himself.

    “You could see for youself that he was kind of tentative and kind of hurt,” Clements told the Buffalo News.

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    Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer