It’s all Raiders, all the time


In this corner of the world, everything revolves around the Raiders even when they take Sunday off:

— The Bay Area can still lay claim to the worst offense in the NFL.

The 49ers have now played four games in which they failed to gain 200 yards of total offense. Four out of five.

The Raiders, who set franchise standards for being abysmal last season, had four sub-200-yard games out of 16.

Even with the pathetic yardage totals, the 49ers are on pace to double the Raiders’ staggeringly low offensive touchdown total of 12 a year ago.

— A pessimist would say the Raiders NFL-leading rushing average has come at the expense of teams which are ranked among the bottom of the NFL in rushing defense.

An optimist would say the Raiders helped put them there.

— Detroit, which moved against the Raiders at will, gained 144 yards and lost to Washington by 31 points. The Broncos lost by 38 at home, their biggest loss in Denver since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Cleveland was the latest pelt on the wall for the Patriots, who have beat every opponent by 17 or more points. Miami is one of only three winless teams in the league.

You could argue that Oakland’s 2-2 record looks a lot less impressive in that light, although you could screw yourself into the ground trying to make sense of the NFL on a week to week basis.

— At least Randy Moss didn’t score a touchdown. Moss’ stats Sunday three catches, 46 yards, no touchdowns, were Raider-like.

— Here is a patently unfair second-guess, three-weeks removed. Given the success of Oakland’s running attack over its last three games, you wonder if Lane Kiffin regrets not running a little more against the Detroit in Week 1, although the Lions’ fast start admittedly played into it.

— The Raiders have already snapped an 11-game losing streak and a 14-game road losing streak in four weeks. Now it gets personal. Within the AFC West, Oakland has lost its last 11 on the road, its last 12 at home and its last 15 overall.

Next up? A road game in San Diego, Oct. 14, and a home game against Kansas City on Oct. 21.

— In case you were wondering, the Raiders last won an AFC West road game on Nov. 28, 2004 in Denver, beating the Broncos 25-24. They last beat a divisional opponent at home on Sept. 28, 2003, beating the Chargers 34-31 in overtime.

— Why didn’t everyone see this coming? To get the Chargers properly prepared to beat the Raiders, all Norv Turner had to do was get Michael Turner loose against Denver.

Another subpar week from LaDainian Tomlinson, however _ 21 carries for 67 yards. The Raider-killer will face the Raiders in an unparalleled slump. (Rushing the ball, anyway, Tomlinson got loose for three receptions for 76 yards).

Hard to imagine the Chargers scoring 41 points and LT going scoreless.

— The Chiefs, who tried to hand Brodie Croyle the starting quarterback job in preseason, were forced into it when Damon Huard went down with a shoulder contusion. Croyle led the Chiefs to their only scoring drive while getting pushed around in Arrowhead Stadium, falling to Jacksonville 17-7.

Think Larry Johnson is thinking he should have forced a trade during his holdout? He had 12 yards on nine carries.

— As shaky as Oakland’s rushing defense has been through three weeks, if they don’t do something against Tomlinson and Johnson over the next two weeks, it’s probably not going to happen.

— One of the NFL’s best road teams, Denver won its only game against the Raiders because of Mike Shanahan’s fortuitous time out. Since then, the Broncos have been beaten decisively by Jacksonville and San Diego.

— When he decided to give Jon Gruden his way and make Rich Gannon his quarterback instead of Jeff George, Al Davis said, “Jeff just wasn’t Jon’s cup of tea.”

The same could be said regarding Miami coach Cam Cameron and Daunte Culpepper. But considering Trent Green was KO’d against the Texans today and the NFL’s concern regarding concussions, Cameron’s tea preference could have the Dolphins in contention for the first pick of the NFL Draft.

Wonder if Cameron prefers the Colt Brennan or Jeff (make that Brian) Brohm brand.

— As predictable as Al Davis’ choice of wardrobe colors: Raiders fans identifying the absence of Kiffin as the reason for USC’s 24-23 loss to Stanford.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer