Raiders 22, Cardinals 3


OAKLAND _ Safety Michael Huff led a charge that dropped Marcell Shipp in the end zone for a safety as the Raiders took a 22-3 lead against Arizona with 5:44 left in the third quarter.

Huff hit Shipp first, with Terdell Sands following up in the middle of the Oakland line. Moments before, it appeared Tyrone Poole had sacked Matt Leinart in the end zone for a safety, only to have officials rule first contact had occurred inches outside of the end zone.

Arizona’s possession started at the 20-yard-line, with Derrick Burgess getting his second sack of Leinart, putting the Cardinals at the 10.

The 19-point lead is the biggest Raiders lead this season.


No. 1 in pass defense? Not even close


Please, no more references to the Raiders’ top-rated pass defense.

For anyone to even imply that Oakland is among the NFL’s elite when it comes to pass defense is like saying a basketball team averaging 50 points per game is playing great defense even though they’re giving up 60.

Points per game in basketball is a statistic indicating pace, not defense. Passing yards per game given up in the NFL has more to do with how much an opposing team is passing, not how well a team is defending the pass.

Oakland is rated No. 1 because they’re giving up 133.1 yards per game.

It’s more a factor of Oakland’s anemic offense, which has caused opponents to rein in their own offenses because they know with certainty the Raiders can’t score.

When teams have had to pass against Oakland, they’ve actually fared rather well.

Quarterbacks facing the Raiders have a passer rating of 88.7 _ ranking the Raiders 25th in the NFL instead of No. 1. They’ve given up a 63.7 completion percentage with eight touchdowns and have just four interceptions. All four AFC West opponents are doing better.

Philip Rivers of San Diego, Steve McNair of Baltimore and Jake Plummer of Denver played it safe against the Raiders and completed big passes when they needed them. Cleveland’s Charlie Frye directed two crucial drives that included passes that pierced the heart of the Oakland secondary. San Francisco’s Alex Smith was 15-for-19 for 165 yards, three touchdowns and in interception for a 120.5 rating _ the highest of his career.

While opposing passer rating is not perfect, it’s a better indicator of how well a team is defending the pass than anything else because it factors in completion percentage, yardage, touchdown passes and interceptions, rather than just yardage.

If Arizona has as much trouble against Oakland as it has against everyone else, the Raiders pass defense could get a chance to be the difference between winning and losing against the Cardinals and rookie Matt Leinart.

Here’s how NFL teams stack up in opposing passer rating:

1. Baltimore 56.8

2. San Diego 57.4

3. Atlanta 57.6

4. Jacksonville 58.4

5. Chicago 62.4

6. Cincinnati 63.2

7. Denver 65.5

8. Pittsburgh 65.9

9. Minnesota 68.4

10. Dallas 69.9

11. New York Jets 72.0

12. Arizona 72.1

13. Philadelphia  74.7

14. Cleveland 75.3

15. St. Louis 76.0

16. Kansas City 78.6

17. Carolina 78.9

18. New England 79.7

19. New Orleans 80.9

20. New York Giants   81.8

21. Indianapolis 82.6

22. Buffalo 83.1

23. Seattle 86.2

24. Tampa Bay 88.7

25. Oakland 88.7

26. Miami 92.3

27. Tennessee 92.8

28. Washington 93.2

29. San Francisco 97.1

30. Green Bay 98.8

31. Detroit 108.4

32. Houston 112.2






0-4 at the quarter turn


SAN FRANCISCO _ LaMont Jordan is in denial.

He is in many ways the conscience of the Raiders, calling out his teammates while at the same time conceding his own culpability.

Following a 34-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Monster Park, Jordan took the podium in his familiar battle fatigues and continued his weekly tradition of pushing the bottom line one week into the future.

“It’s gut-check time for us,” Jordan said. “We’re at a crossroads.”

The guts, of course have already been spilled across football fields from Baltimore to the Bay Area in four losses.

As for the crossroads, the bus has has the Raiders well down the route to oblivion. The Raiders have been at the bottom of the AFC West for 24 consecutive weeks and look to be good for another 24.

Sorting through the rubble of another halftime lead gone bad:

— Once upon an opener the Raiders could have been a good team if weren’t for that pitiful offensive line.

Against the 49ers, the offensive line might have been the best part of the Raiders, although the opposition had something to do with it.

— The Raiders have improved their tempo, completed some short passes and look to have the complementary back they’ve desired for Jordan in Justin Fargas. Fargas gained 63 yards in eight carries.

–The Raiders have a bonafide medical miracle in Ronald Curry, who had 4 receptions for 94 yards. No one was happier for him than Norv Turner, the man who essentially pushed Tim Brown out the door so Curry could play a rule in his offense.

“I got to talk to him before the game,” Turner said before he boarded the elevator fromthe press box following the game. “It’s a great thing to see.”

— Turner got a game ball, which he spiked in the 49ers locker room. The last time the Raiders got to give a game ball, it also went to Turner. Warren Sapp awarded it to Turner last Nov. 20 after the Raiders beat the Washington Redskins 16-13 _ which just happens to be the last time they won a game.

“I just never saw the power running attack, I just didn’t see it,” Raiders owner Al Davis said when he fired Turner.

Davis got an eyeful Sunday, with Frank Gore rushing for a career-high 134 yards on 27 carries and breaking the first hit on probably 20 of those attempts. Oakland’s defense, thought to be an average to above-average unit with aspirations on being good, is instead far from it.

The defense also got suckered on a screen called by Turner in which Maurice Hicks went 33 yards for a touchdown.

— Turner wasn’t cut out to be a head coach, but he’s a heck of an offensive coordinator. If Davis had hired Shell in 2004 and insisted on Turner as the coordinator, maybe they’d have something.

— Special teams contributed mightily to the demise when ReShard Lee whiffed on  Manny Lawson, leading to a blocked Shane Lechler punt which erased the Raiders lead for the rest of the day.

— Offenisvely, the Raiders had some good moments both running and passing. They avearged 6.7 yards per rush and spread 18 completions to nine receivers good for 216 yards.

— Andrew Walter did his best Kerry Collins impersonation Sunday, looking very good until he threw back-breaking interceptions and an ill-advised lateral to help turn a 14-13 deficit into 31-13.

— Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo threw four interceptions to a team which now has four interceptions this season.

— The Raiders, who cling to their tradition like no other, reached back into the archives for one of their most painful moments. Jordan played the role of Charlie Smith, who let a Daryle Lamonica lateral bounce to the ground and then walked away from it. The Jets recovered and won the AFC championship, 27-23.

Smith, at least, was a rookie.

“As a veteran running back, that’s something I’ve got to be aware of,” Jordan said. “I made a mistake on that one. It was pretty costly.”

— Randy Moss got the 100th touchdown reception of his career with a 22-yard reception from Walter before halftime. He should have had 101. He dropped a Walter strike in the first half in a drive in which the Raiders had to settle for a field goal.

Chances are he’ll talk about it today on Fox Sports Radio with Chris Myers, and lend his own special brand of doom and gloom the proceedings as well.

— DT Warren Sapp (knee contusion), TE Randal Williams (quadriceps), TE John Madsen (quadriceps) and G Kevin Boothe (severe nose bleed) did not finish the game. Boothe was sent to the hospital, accoridng to coach Art Shell.

— Paul McQuistan, who started the season as the starting left guard, replaced Boothe. McQuistan was working in warmups at right tackle and may be challenging Langston Walker. Walker received three penalties _ two false starts and a hold _ but had no glaring blocking errors as the Oakland line had its best game.

— Shell deflected all quarterback talk with regard to the starter in Denver. Aaron Brooks said he was having a medical exam Monday to assess the condition of his pectoral strain.

— The Raiders have extended the longest losing streak in the Al Davis era to 10 games and have won just 13 of their last 52 games.

— NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was supposed to address the local media Sunday, but never showed. Must have been anticipating all the questions about Monster Park and the chances of either of the Bay Area teams moving to Los Angeles.