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Game balls galore

It was raining game balls in Alameda Monday, the result of a 31-10 win over the Denver Broncos to snap a four-game losing streak.

Fourteen of them were bestowed upon the Raiders by coach Tom Cable.

Defensive game balls went to cornerback Chris Johnson, safety Gibril Wilson, safety Rashad Baker, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and linebacker Thomas Howard.

Editorial aside: Nnamdi Asomugha was the only member of the secondary to missed out. What a slacker. Kelly may be the first player to ever receive a game ball without showing up a single time in the postgame stat book.

Those honored on offense were quarterback JaMarcus Russell, guard Cooper Carlisle, wide receiver Ashley Lelie, running back Justin Fargas, running back Darren McFadden and tight end Zach Miller.

Special teams game balls went to punt return specialist Johnnie Lee Higgins and core special teamer Marquis Cooper, who has stepped into all four special teams and been a solid player since the day he arrived.

One more _ assistant coach Willie Brown got a game ball for speaking to the team before the game about the history of the Denver rivalry.

More news, notes and analysis:

– Two Cable slogans appear to be clashing somewhat. When he took over as coach, down came Lane Kiffin’s “I’m in” banner in favor of “1-0.” Cable’s message was to never look ahead or behind, focus only on the task at hand.

Except after beating the Broncos, Cable was talking in terms of 2-0.

“A lot of positives,” Cable said. “In terms of turning the corner and all that, I think you have to answer that after next Sunday. To me, you win a game, it makes you feel good. You win two games now you can start to believe.

“That’s the approach we’re taking this week. This is a huge game for us, just like Denver was. We’re going to prepare that way and get after it.”

Perhaps they’ll just go 1-0 for a second straight week.

– Cable confirmed what was obvious to those who watched the game on television _ that McFadden lobbied hard for the play which resulted in the Raiders first offensive touchdown in 15 quarters. McFadden took a pitch from Russell after a play fake and easily turned the corner for a 1-yard scoring run.

“We didn’t have the flip play out of that formation and he said, `If you give it to me out of the formation where I can get it, I can get it into the end zone.’ So we called the formation where he could get the ball,” Cable said.

– Russell had his most efficient game as a Raider while dealing with family issues and the death of his godmother in Mobile, Ala. Russell left the team Friday night and returned Saturday night, handling personal issues while at the same time being prepared to play.

“He and I had our typical Wednesday meeting,” Cable said. “We talked about it every day to make sure the plans and everything were in order. He took care of it. He met us (in Denver) and got through his review and all the things that we do in preparation for the game. And, obviously, he played very well.”

– Defensive end Derrick Burgess had just two tackles and showed up only occasionally as a pass rusher _ he was in Jay Cutler’s face on one bootleg run his way _ but his presence was a plus, Cable said.

“I think he’d be the first to tell you he’s a little bit rusty. But at the same time he gave our team some needed energy,” Cable said. There’s no question about that. As he gets back into it, like I think you saw with Darren McFadden, you expect him to be better this week and he will be.”

– Pass rushers will receive no special counsel after Howard was called for two personal fouls for roughing the passer, with Gerard Warren getting another. The two on Howard were borderline at best.

“We have to play the game the way we’re supposed to play it which is all out,” Cable said. “It’s unfortunate but it is what it is so let’s just keep ripping it. Calls will go our way soon.”

– As noted last night, the Raiders’ willingness to put the penalities aside and just play without getting all caught up in the blame game with regard to officials was a positive sign.

“I believe this, that we’re beginning to rely on each other and not worry about the negatives,” Cable said. “If I make a mistake, then you’re going to pick me up. If you do something wrong, I got your back.

“And I think that’s starting to happen. I think that it’s that whole thing about team mentality that we’ve been working for and I just felt that, really for a little while now, and I think it really kind of came
together a little bit yesterday.”

One example came after Higgins was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for doing a backflip following his 89-yard punt return for a touchdown, forcing Sebastian Janikowski to kickoff at a 15-yard disadvantage.

With one mighty swing of his left leg, Janikowski still reached the goal line with his kickoff and the Broncos opened at the 26.

Janikowski, who covets touchbacks, told Higgins not to let it happen again.

“He was a little salty to me but in the end we got back and I was like, ‘It’s my bad. Just blame that up on me.’ He was like ‘no, it’s cool. We just can’t have penalties. It’s cool,’ ” Higgins said.

Higgins never saw the kickoff, which traveled 85 yards.

Editorial aside: Maybe Lane Kiffin had something with regard to that 76-yard field goal attempt after all.

“I was busy getting air,” Higgins said. “They say he probably could have kicked it to the second level.”

Cable thinks relieving Higgins of his kickoff return duties with the arrival of Justin Miller has enhanced his punt return skills.

“A kickoff returner is like saying, `you’re going to get in a head-on collision, and you’re a Volkswagon and here comes a Mack truck,’ ” Cable said. “That may distract you a little bit, you’ve go to be wired a little different for that one.”

– The play came back on a defensive holding call anyway, but Johnson was spoken to about his high-stepping interception return in which the ball was nearly knocked out by a Denver defender.

“That ball security isn’t good enough,” Cable said. “There was an opportunity right there to change the entire game had that ball gone the other way, went out of the back of the end zone or something like that. He’s aware of it. Next time it happens he’ll do the right thing.”

– Jon Alston, who carried his helmet in his hand after losing it on a block while running interference for Higgins, also started at strong side linebacker. Alston has been regarded as a tweener _ not really a safety or a true linebacker.

And it doesn’t matter to Cable.

“He doesn’t really look the part and those sort of things but he’s a football player,” Cable said. “He’s good for our team. He’s been tremendous on special teams and all that. He’s a good football player.”

– According to a note in the Rocky Mountain Tribune, Raiders CEO Amy Trask told a man in a Raiders jersey who was being led away in handcuffs by security that it was important to “be respectful” in someone else’s stadium.

Broncos fans had little respect for their own team. They weren’t booing Denver as Raider fans have taken to booing there team in some recent games, but then again, Raider fans weren’t running on to the field three separate times and interrupting the game.

Injury update

Safety Michael Huff left the game with a stinger and did not return, but Cable said he didn’t believe it to be a serious issue with regard to this week against the Chiefs. Center Jake Grove (calf) and linebacker Ricky Brown (groin), neither of whom were active against Denver, are “day-to-day.”

Cable said he thought Brown was getting closer to practicing. Grove said last week he expected to be ready by the time the Raiders played the Chiefs.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Nnamdi21

    4evaRaider Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 10:11 am
    I think we let Wade start rest of year,all next year to groom Chris Morris 4 the center position,the position he started for 3 years at Mich.St.Drafted by us in ‘06.If we could get 1 good year out of Wade Morris will be ready imo
    =====================================================

    I like Morris but not sure if he’s the man at this level. Like his diversity at C / G though.

    They say Centers the most important position for the ZBs so we’ll have to see. If he could work out that would rawk.

  • Dakota

    Rob Ryan is now a good DC? Did the past 5 seasons prove nothing to you people? How many 4th quarter leads must the man blow before you people realize he is worthless? He is already up around 18 times…does it take 40 blown 4th quarter leads before you people realize he doesn’t have what it takes?

    And Cable is a good OC? Does the fact that a player had to teach Cable a play that would work in the red zone scare anyone other than me? We didn’t have that toss play in the playbook? Well fix the fuking play book and add some good fuking plays into it. Not just Farglas to the right, Farglass to the Left, Farglass up the middle. Jezuz cripes, are our players really so ignorant that they can’t assimilate a few new plays in the middle of the season? Or, are our coaches too moronic to fix what is obviously broken? Other teams make mid-season adjustments…why do we keep trying the same schit plays in the red zone when they are obviously not working? It took THE MAN MCFADDEN begging and pleading with Cable to actually use a play that might work! Unreal.

  • Nnamdi21

    Chris in NY Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 10:13 am
    Nnamdi21,
    How do you expect these guys to have the time to research stories AND make commercials for their gay Nutrisystem diet? It’s one or the other, dude.
    ======================================================

    BWA-HA-HA!

    Lost weight and was still ugly!

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    I certinly hope so RaiderRockstar,he cerinly has the brains&the brawn.I thinke he will have a great carrer with us and some trophys too imo =)

  • RaiderRockstar

    Chris Berman, Dan Marino, Mike Golic, who else?

  • vegas raider

    #397: Wouldn’t be suprised if Huff is healthy they throw him out there a little. As crappy as he has been, he always did well covering Tony and Gates.

  • Nnamdi21

    Dakota Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 10:16 am
    Rob Ryan is now a good DC? Did the past 5 seasons prove nothing to you people? How many 4th quarter leads must the man blow before you people realize he is worthless? He is already up around 18 times…does it take 40 blown 4th quarter leads before you people realize he doesn’t have what it takes?
    ====================================================

    Alot of those 4th quarter leads were because of forced substitutions with sub par players.

    Thats what happens when your offense goes 3 and out 4 out of 5 times.

    This is a good defense. They’re just blown up in the 4th because thy’re on the damn filed too much.

    Need a real MLB though. Morrison will be great at SAM, but can’t stop the run. Bites too hard and takes bad angles.

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    sorry 4 the spell I’m a little under nthe weather =( 408 408 408

  • darkknight01

    I really do not want to see the ZBS system scrapped completely. If anything it needs to just be upgraded.

    IMO….even tho Andre Smith or Oher may not be 100% ZBS system guys, they would still fit in nicely at LT. Both of those guys have great feet and long arms and they can probably play in ANY system. Just as long as they know, there main responsibilty to protect Jamarcus at all times! They need to keep the ZBS and the old man just needs to hire a coach who will find a happy medium with ZBS, and a stretch system. A power blocking scheme can be used at times in short yardage or goal line packages.

    Draft Andre Smith or Oher..let Wade and Morris compete at Center next year….let Kwame, Henderson and Green compete for RT. Keep Marten and McQ compete for backup guard spots.

  • Nnamdi21

    vegas raider Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 10:20 am
    #397: Wouldn’t be suprised if Huff is healthy they throw him out there a little. As crappy as he has been, he always did well covering Tony and Gates
    =================================================

    His TE coverage has been his saving grace.

    Not much of one, but its something.

  • darkknight01

    This defense needs a true MLB and another stud DE.

  • Dakota

    Nnamdi21 Says:

    November

    Alot of those 4th quarter leads were because of forced substitutions with sub par players.

    Thats what happens when your offense goes 3 and out 4 out of 5 times.

    This is a good defense. They’re just blown up in the 4th because thy’re on the damn filed too much.

    Need a real MLB though. Morrison will be great at SAM, but can’t stop the run. Bites too hard and takes bad angles.
    ___________________________________________________

    BS, we won the time of possession battle last season and Rob Ryan’s defense still blew 4 leads. What was his excuse last year? He hated Kiffin so it was justified blown 4th quarter leads?

  • Nnamdi21

    Peace owt Raider Brethren!

    enjoy the day and the week!

    Thank you Jerry.
    We’re lucky to have you!

  • darkknight01

    i’LL try and find contact info on those clowns at NFL Network and BSPN…

    They hide….

  • Nnamdi21

    Dakota says:BS, we won the time of possession battle last season and Rob Ryan’s defense still blew 4 leads. What was his excuse last year? He hated Kiffin so it was justified blown 4th quarter leads?

    ======================================================

    This defense is built to protect leads, defend the pass and get after the QB.

    Only works if we can out score.

  • Nnamdi21

    darkknight01 Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 10:24 am
    i’LL try and find contact info on those clowns at NFL Network and BSPN…

    They hide….
    ======================================================

    Not sure some of them can read…

  • http://ibabuzz 4evaRaider

    4 sure we need a OT,MLB,RG,DT,DT,then who ever grades out best imo =)

  • Dakota

    Nnamdi21 Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 10:26 am
    Dakota says:BS, we won the time of possession battle last season and Rob Ryan’s defense still blew 4 leads. What was his excuse last year? He hated Kiffin so it was justified blown 4th quarter leads?

    ======================================================

    This defense is built to protect leads, defend the pass and get after the QB.

    Only works if we can out score.
    _________________________________________________

    Lol what? That is my point…blown 4th quarter leads under Rob Ryan. If this defense is built to protect leads, it isn’t getting the job done under Rob Ryan right?

  • Forest Through the Trees

    Dakota

    How did you think Rob Ryan’s defense played on Sunday? How about the previous Sunday vs Miami? And the previous Sunday against the Panthers? Did Steve Smith have a catch that day?

    I know that you think that you are always right, but you need to leave a little wiggle room for that rare occasion when you are wrong.

  • mcfaddenswaggon

    the man right cheeeerrreee, mcfadden gone blow the chiefs up again?

  • mcfaddenswaggon

    they doode good last three weeks with the exception of letting chad pennington get a game winning drive.

  • http://raiders.com Dakota Doesn’t Know She-it

    Defense particularly this defense, is much easier to play when you have a lead. Think about being the pitcher in a game of baseball. With a 6-0 lead as a pitcher you can take tons of chances. With the game 0-0 in the bottom of the ninth, you can’t take any chances. That’s the way our defense has been the last five years. How often have they had any type of substantial lead?? And a substantial lead isn’t two points.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Rob Ryan is garbage. If you think otherwise, you must not have watched the Raiders defense try to stop the run over the past 5 seasons.

    The guy was an inside linebackers coach before he came here. Not even LB coach! I’d take Chuck Bresnahan (again) or Mike Nolan as DC before giving this guy a contract extension and that’s pretty sad!

  • Chris in NY

    Rob’s defense has been excellent since CJ replaced D-Hall.

    Rob does go to the Prevent D way too early though. Most prevent defenses are meant to allow 5-10 yard completions. The Raiders’ prevent is the only one that gives up 25 yards at a time. Avoiding those kind of gains is the whole point of the prevent.

  • vegas raider

    The Buffalo game was the only time the D blew a substantial lead. The Chargers game fell apart after the bone-headed screen pass they threw with the lead in Charger territory

  • Florida Pete (incognito)

    Chris in NY Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 10:06 am
    Arguing Sims/Walker vs. Harriss/Green is like debating the merits of Meister Brau vs. Milwaukee’s Best.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    i’m thinking Schaefer’s vs. Brew 102

  • Dakota

    At least BHP, Goon, M, LMN and all the rest of the guys in here have the spine to make comments under their names and then defend them, but guys like you amount to nothing. You have no self-confidence and no courage. I’ll bet you are as useless in your real life as you are in this blog.

  • Dakota

    Stop crying ladyboy and post under the name you usually post under or just STFU.

  • Florida Pete (incognito)

    we need courage to go along with cowbell…

    you need both in this leauge…

    courage…

    cowbell…

    ’nuff said…

    (and yes, i will back that up!!!)

  • Forest Through the Trees

    Dakota

    Your continual focus on who I am instead of the fact that you are wrong is the source of continual comedy. You mention courage? This from a man afraid to face himself? LMAO!

    If you had half a brain and a much smaller ego you would have no problem figuring out who I am, based on my name. You are far too wrapped up in your own nonsense to realize this.

    The point is, who I am is irrelevant. But please continue to distract yourself, by all means.

    Still lmao at you

  • http://raiders.com MR’s Troll Patrol

    # vegas raider Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 11:00 am

    The Buffalo game was the only time the D blew a substantial lead. The Chargers game fell apart after the bone-headed screen pass they threw with the lead in Charger territory
    ————————————————————

    But again Vegas, remember our offense did absolutely NOTHING the entire second half. We had one first down the second half of that Buffalo game! ONE. Jamarcus was two for two in the second half of that game for 78 yards and a TD, all Kiffin needed was one first down to win the game and he ran it up the gut like 5 straight times on his last two possessions. That is not the defenses fault, when your offense cannot get One first down!

  • RaiderRockstar

    my real name is Mark Davis. I’m trying to learn about football from the Raider fans, because my father Al won’t teach me. I watch the games, but I really don’t understand them. I know the other teams we play are better than we are because at home games our own fans (you guys) boo us and at away games the fans cheer for their teams because they are winning. on this blog there seems to be many who think we need better coaches and players. I agree, but dad will do what he pleases. He is a great man and one day I will take over this proud franchise. Like daddy says “we will win”. Keep the faith RAIDER NATION! The greatness of the Raiders will be in it’s future, not it’s past.

  • Forest Through the Trees

    Dakota Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 11:13 am
    “At least BHP, Goon, M, LMN and all the rest of the guys in here have the spine to make comments under their names and then defend them, but guys like you amount to nothing. You have no self-confidence and no courage. I’ll bet you are as useless in your real life as you are in this blog.”

    I don’t see you backing up any of the nonsense you spew, what a hypocrite!

    Dakota Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 11:14 am
    “Stop crying ladyboy and post under the name you usually post under or just STFU.”

    LMAO

    I am clearly getting to you :)
    Continual source of comedy. Thanks for making my day and proving my point simultaneously.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Anybody want a free Raiders bumper sticker? come by Raiders HQ and ask for Mark. I’ll be more than happy to give you one. Bring your cameras too. I’ll sign some pictures if you like. Unlike Rob Ryan, I will be better at evaluating talent than my father.

  • Chris in NY

    The defense definitely blew that Chargers lead, Vegas. The offense hopefully could’ve put it out of reach with a TD there, but the defense didn’t stop anything in the 4th quarter.

    The Raiders have only had 4 substantial leads all year: KC, Buffalo, San Diego and Denver. The defense blew two of them.

    I will say this though, a lot of teams blow substantial leads. And the Raiders have been in several games this season (Buffalo, San Diego, Jets, Carolina, Miami) that they had no business being in based on the offense’s performance.

    The special teams and Defense are definitely solid. I think they’re actually both very good at this point.

    That’s why the Denver game was so encouraging to me. McFadden is back and Russell may have turned the corner. I’ve been saying it since last off-season. This team will rise and fall with JaMarcus. If he explodes, it’s not impossible this team could win out.

  • http://raiders.com MR’s Troll Patrol

    Chris in NY Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Rob’s defense has been excellent since CJ replaced D-Hall.
    ——————————————————–

    Actually Chris, Ryans defense held Buffalo to 7 points thru 3 quarters in Buffalo earlier this year and San Diego to 3 points thru 3 quarters here. Buffalo just put a 50 spot on KC, and SD has had a good offense all year. When you hold teams to those point totals thru 3 quarters, the games should be over. Running your defense out there time and time and time again to hold, is not a winning formula.

  • Dakota

    New post up

  • RaiderRockstar

    why so negative guys? we just beat the denver broncos! i like to see tom cable jumping around on the sidelines. he gets very emotional. i thought he was going to cry in the interview following the win. the players believe in him and he believes in them. he has made players accountable to eachother, not just the coaches and the organization. Will any of you be at the Raider/Chief game this Sunday? i have a luxury box reserved for only the best Raider fans I can find. Amy Trash will be there to greet you. have a pleasant day

    —Mark Davis

  • Joey Bee 1

    We need to have more class, our guys make a good play and start going “dumb”. Let’s act like we’ve done it before. And Janikowski has every reason to be mad, that man’s looking out for his money. A touchback in the NFL is worth…? Have John caugh up the bread.

    I see Fargas didn’t get a game ball…it’s time to show case McFadden. His time is now, the Fargas era is done or should be sun! Fargas is a legit back-up, don’t kid yourself. START MCFADDEN NOW!!!!

  • jhill

    let me echo the fire rob ryan chants ..

    are we that desperate that one win against donks erases all the past misery he’s caused us?

    so what he called a good game against these other non playoff teams. ryan’s performance since he’s been here can not be defended.

    more importantly, let the next hc pick his d coordinator. I doubt anyone other than cable will pick him.

    this blind loyalty is killing the franchise. when is performance going to matter to some of u?

  • Joey Bee 1

    Here’s the formula for victory:

    McFadden + 20 carries = win

  • Joey Bee 1

    Bottomline, DeAngelo is a bust. Johnson had a great game, I can’t wait to see him this week. Can he be consistant? Is the question.

  • Chris in NY

    Johnson has been doing it the last three weeks. This is just the first time anyone really noticed.

  • Chris

    What about Janikowski? how many kickers do you know that can kick it 80+ yards not just once but all day long like its nothing. And Nnamdi should get the ball of the year for the fear he puts in qbs.

  • VA Raider

    Jerry -

    Great stuff – For the record you did say the following Sunday morning – Corkran, and the rest had us loosing but somewhere in that cold press heart of yours you saw the possiblities!

    “The hell with it. I’m going all in.

    Since I’m so much wiser now, and fully cognizant of the fact the Raiders are capable of a no-show at any time, I won’t say the Raiders will win.

    Instead, I’ll say they could win. How could this happen? Bear with me for a few moments before responding with your insults, unabashed support or anything in between.

    1. The Broncos will be overconfident

    No amount of hocus pocus by Mike Shanahan can erase the memory of the opener. The Broncos will never have an easier game than in Week 1. No way they have any respect for the Raiders based what they experienced that night.

    They were probably rolling in the aisles when they watched the film the day after the game. They won’t take the Raiders seriously.

    2. The Raiders are due

    This is how I started the Sept. 8 entry, and it still holds true. C’mon. At some point, the law of averages has to count for something. The Raiders will have a good game at the same time the opponent starts sprouting turnovers.

    3. Denver is a sieve on defense against the pass

    JaMarcus Russell was fairly accurate (15-for-22) last week against Miami, and Tom Cable reluctantly returned his most reliable wide receiver, Ronald Curry, to the lineup.

    Oakland doesn’t have an offensive touchdown in the last three games, and has only one since Cable took over following the bye week.

    But here come the Broncos, giving up a 69.1 completion rate, a 100.1 passer rating and have 4-to-14 interception-to-touchdown pass ratio. Champ Bailey has missed three games with a groin injury. Their entire linebacking corps has been turned over.

    This is Russell’s opportunity for a breakout game, like say, two touchdown passes.

    5. The Broncos can’t run

    Denver has built its 21-6 record against the Raiders in the Mike Shanahan era in large part because of their ability to run the ball.

    The 2008 Broncos are a passing team, one that cut the Raiders to ribbons in the opener. Oakland is better equipped to handle that this time around. But the Raiders problems of late have come against the run, and Denver is down to Peyton Hillis as a feature back.

    6. Darren McFadden could be a factor

    Unless what I saw in training camp was a mirage, McFadden is a special player whose rookie season has been ruined by turf toe. Not sure if he’s 100 percent or even close, but there seems to be a big difference in his level of enthusiasm in dealing with teammates, support staff, and the media.

    He’s acting like he thinks he’s heathy again. A big play or three could change everything.

    7. Derrick Burgess could be a factor

    Even if you’re a cynic who believes Burgess has been milking an injury, he needs to flash his skills if he hopes to be trade bait prior to the 2009 draft, which could lead to a better contract. The salary push doesn’t start next year, it starts now.

    He’ll be in demand if he picks up half a dozen sacks before the end of the season.

    8. Tommy Kelly is becoming a force

    He’s been splitting double teams fairly regularly the past few weeks and pressuring the quarterback. He may never live up to the contract he signed in the offseason, but Kelly will end up being a bargain compared to Javon Walker and DeAngelo Hall.

    Together with Burgess, Kalimba Edwards and Gerard Warren, the Raiders could disrupt Cutler in a way they couldn’t in Week 1.

    9. Thomas Howard is due to make a play

    Overdue, as a matter of fact. He was ranging far and wide against Miami, but hasn’t intercepted a pass in his last 12 games. Last time Howard was in Denver, he ran one back 44 yards for a touchdown.

    10. Better special teams play

    Sebastian Janikowski has a reasonable shot at making anything inside of 65 yards and Shane Lechler is capable of keeping the Broncos pinned deep in their own territory any time the Raiders get as far as their own 35-yard line.

    After a debacle against Baltimore, Oakland’s special teams has rebounded nicely and put the Raiders in position to steal a win last week against Miami with Johnnie Lee Higgins’ 93-yard punt return and a Lechler punt to the 6 that set up a safety.

    At first glance, Justin Miller looks like a nice addition on kickoff returns, and free agent acquisition Marquis Cooper was also a find in coverage units.

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