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.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Get Real

    Post 268, get real!

  • It’s been a while since I’ve been on this blog, but after such a good win it was necessary to visit and read some of the comments.

    I went to Events Sport Bar in Riverside to watch the game, have a few cold beers and a burger and fries, expecting all the time to hear the negative-slamming from the donkey fans. It was great to slam them instead and I enjoyed the win.

    I expect to do the same against KC and two wins in a row will be a feeling that we have not experienced for sometime.

    Go Raiders…3 wins and the 4th coming up.

  • missed a brain never debated at all. He just came in here, embarassed himself, got his ass kicked and left with his tail between his legs.

    For the rest of you, Being red shirted means you are not playing even tho you can. I told you he would not be playing. Now, if he clearly broke his leg or tore up his knee, that would not be red shirting. But when Dmac gets an injury he never had before, that players play with, that then migrates to the other foot, even tho he is not playing or practicing, he is being red shirted. But missed a brain once again, doesn’t get it. But then again, who expected him to?? BTW, Mike Bush has been red shirted for most of the year as well. Now, late in the season, we can get these guys some work. The red shirt has been lifted.

  • raideralex99

    S&B – Nation Collective Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 8:45 pm
    Russell is 25 for 33 (75.8 percent) for 308 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions in his last two games ——————————————————————————————————-
    Yes but the big question is how many of those passes were to the WRs ?
    Only 7 … those 2 game numbers are usually a 1 game performance for the top QBs.

  • I’m out of here for the night. My parting comment is that there seems to be a lot of hate and anger around here, and I guess that’s to be expected with all the losses, coaching changes, senile owner and Rob Ryan still around. One good win isn’t going to change anything and hopefully the problems mentioned are corrected in the near future.

    Good nite.

  • AO

    lol you guys are funny..

    and srry for not knowing the acyronoms.. i cnt even spell;/


  • coinman

    Yesterday was wonderful and well-earned by the Raider fans who remain, but remember what Tom Flores once said: “Once is an accident. Twice [in a row] is a trend. Three times is a problem [for the rest of the league].” At least we can see that with help at OT, DT, and WR, we might not be as far off as it has seemed, as this season has slipped from mediocre, to bad, to simply ridiculous. At least, with some sort of showing for the rest of the season, Oakland may not be seen as a career “Bermuda Triangle” by talented free-agents and potential draft choices. So, enjoy…….

  • # vegas raider Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Decent story for you guys:

    So in 2002, the year we went to the bowl, the Raiders were 4-4, started 4-0 then lost 4 straight, and going to Mile High on Monday night. Season on the line, back when we had expectations going into the year, and needed to pull out a win. I decided to splurge for a keg, in college it was quite the splurge, and decided to get some good beer and went with the Killians Irish Red. Of course we won, Rod Woodson 90+ int return and Gannon was something like 35-39 or something ridiculous. So Sat. night looking for some beer to go to a buddies to watch the game and the whole story hit me as I was looking at the Killian’s in the store. Got two twelve-packs and told everyone the story that the keg of Killians turned around the season in 2002 and will do the same this year. When was the last time we played as well as we did yesterday? It was because of the Killians.


    It’s official. Everyone here is on crack.

  • MR

    OK, Oakglenn, whatever you say. Go ahead band break down yesterday’s game for us.

  • RaiderDogg

    Can I join?

  • You Know Me Al

    Been a long time since we beat anyone by 20 pts. Last time was Buffalo in 2004 (38-17). Our record in blowouts (20+ point margins) since 2002 is 2-18, counting yesterday. We were 6-1 in such games in 2002, the lone loss being the last game. Like to see us do KC the same way next week. Crazy, man.

    I just think close games have a lot to do with luck, but performance in lopsided games is a measure of real power.


    -It’s good to have Alston back whether he wears his helmet or not. He has been exceptional on special teams and they seemed to suffer when he was injured.

    -Doesn’t really seem like Kiffin was right about Seabass’s 76 yard kick. Sure he kicked it 85 yards in this game but kicking into the end zone is a lot easier than kicking it that distance AND getting it through the uprights.

    -Those personal fouls to Howard and Warren were ridiculous. Cable’s reaction is interesting: “not to worry about the negatives”. Al and Maddens’s main message to the defense was to go after them and go after them hard. That’s Raider tradition. If you’re a defensive player and you’re going to get a personal foul just for breathing in their face, you might as well get it for hitting them hard.

    -Warren also seemed really pleased to be beating his old team. He’s played well for us.

    -Amy Trask told a Raider fan being led off in handcuffs to be polite to the Bronco fans?!!!!!!!!
    That tells us all we need to know about what’s wrong with the Raiders.

    -Tom Cable should have gotten a game ball because he had them really ready and called a great game. Also, there are great individual players but the team really seems to be together.


    -Defensive plan was great and Rob Ryan deserves credit for it. The defense has played well lately.

  • RaiderDogg

    Englandraider, would you be mine?


    -I must admit that was for Hall-it’s the gambler in me-but Chris Johnson was terrific in this game and last week. He makes quite a difference to the secondary. Aso-who is still king-might even get some balls thrown his way when coaches watch the film of this game. As someone above said, Chris Johnson was a guy that Al wanted. Of course, he also wanted Hall.

  • RaiderDogg

    I’m thinking me, England Raider, MR, and Oakglenn. FOURSOME! And I aint talkin’ golf…

  • Ooh god damn. Whenever you’re ready, Dogg.

  • RaiderDogg

    I just want to lick culo, baby. All night.

  • Well then let’s lick, dogg.

  • MR

    I want in! Ruff Ruff!

  • RaiderDogg

    Honestly, I’m tired now. I hope you arent leading me on. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow night about this same time. Hugs and kisses to you.

  • Dan

    Amy Trask is all class. No one seems to give props for that, although Al does ocassionally get accolades for his work with minorities and ex players. Either Peter King or some other national writer called him out for the tribute he gave to Upshaw earlier this year.

  • Dakota:

    Posted by kultra 1 day 9 hours ago View profile
    Deciding that they should be the ones to appoint all future Lamas, in an attempt to gain the upper hand in the mindspace of the people of Tibet in their struggle against them for independence, the Chinese government recently enacted a law giving themselves full authority over all reincarnations.

    Well played China. Well played.

  • RaiderRockstar

    come on 76ers!

    how do you beat the Clippers & Warriors, then lose to the stinking Bobcats? get it together!

  • hwnrdr

    Is this a Raider’s blog or a date site? Too funny!!! Anyways…
    I believe that maybe the time has come; not saying they will turn the corner, but as all fans wish, this years of wtf has to end and I see a good start. Whether or not Cable will bring the team down to Earth and get a win this Sunday against KC (which we should because Denver’s team as a whole is better than KC) would make me start to believe in the Cable guy and what he is trying to do. Sundays game brought back memories of 2002, although distant memories, but games like that needs to come back with or without Big Al in his box…

  • RaiderTW..

    I read you post in the last thread, I don’t believe you read the entire post of mine, because tehn you wouldn’t write that such a reply..

  • LMN, just making a point of my own. The Pres couldn’t have ruined this country more than if he tried!

  • RaiderRockstar

    as far as injuries go, please sit Grove, Brown and Huff for another week. Wade, Alston and Baker played well in their place. Keep Burgess in as a situational pass rusher only again. That worked well. He’s rusty and we don’t want him to land on IR. He might add a little spark on 3rd downs. Lastly, place Javon Walker on IR and either bring Holland up from the practice squad or resign John Madsen again.

  • hwnrdr

    Hey RaiderRockstar,
    You’re right…what the heck is Walker still doing on the active roster? Only Al knows, I guess…

  • M

    Hey if we can beat K.C. then we can at least be 4-8, would 5-8 be too much to ask?

  • Stabler76

    Rockstar you said it. Let the people playing well- play.

    Yeah– no game ball for Nmamdi…. All he did was take away half the field all day — that’s a Cutler quote

  • yep,I stated b4 Wade was our best F/A pick-up.Tampa bay has had a solid ground game and Wade was the heart of it.Grove sucks get rid off him

  • RaiderRockstar

    Nnamdi should have got a game ball, but he may have been overlooked, because he plays that well every week – win or lose.

    Also, why does Russell only throw to one WR? Is that what Knapp & Cable are telling him to do? Is it too big a task for him to scan the entire field? Schilens got all the catches, Walker, Curry, now Lelie. No love for Higgins or Watkins? The only play Higgins made was that long one against Buffalo. I thought they might try and get him more involved after that. guess not …

  • Dakota

    31-10! haaaahahahahaha

  • Morning NATION

    Ok Im over the Greatness that was sundays game.. Still If we beat the Chefs and the chokers then what? Do we consider giving cable an extension? Maybe the OC job any thoughts??

  • # La Milicia Negra Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    # Unknown Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    LMN, I will always blast anyone who blames only Al for the team’s problems!!

    That’s not fair for only 1 person to be blamed for everything that goes wrong, but, gets no credit for things going right. Do you agree??

    no i don’t thats the price of sitting on the top..

    many of you guys blames bush as well, and he didn’t do all this crap you are going through alone, but he is the boss, he is the main man, and i CANT find any reason to defend him, I’m a fan because of what he did from the 60’s to the mid 80’s since then he made many, too many dubious things.. He has lost it.. period. I respect your opinion, but I can and will never agree.. Al is the problem, problem is Bush could max sit on top for 8 years, we are stuck with our !diot..

    – – – – –
    – – – – –
    # La Milicia Negra Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 2:39 pm


    only the raiders does ONE man have so much power, the more power a man has, the more blame does he deserve when he screws up.. and Al just keep on screwing up.. he is the champ in that..
    – – – – –
    – – – – –
    # Unknown Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    LMN, you are a 100% right about Bush!!! There has always been major problems in this Country for certain Races or Ethnicities (Hope I spelled it correctly=)! I’ve always said it wasn’t all his fault for years, he only exascerbated the situation. Business as usual, you know!!

    As for as Al goes, I disagree with you, but, as long as their’s no name calling, I can chat with anyone, even you =)!!

    Got to eat now!! I’ll be right back

    – – – – –
    – – – – –
    # La Milicia Negra Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    # Blackholepriest Says:
    November 24th, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    That idiot biult the team you watched yesterday and the drafted the QB that will lead this team to a SB. Not bad for an old idiot.

    my point is, Bush must have done something right donw the way as well.. but the overall mess is still blamed on him.. same with Al, if you shoot birds with canons, you must hit right a long the way.. Al does not have any credit for last nights win.. it was Cable for firing up under the players, but most of the credit goes to the team.. for the first time it looked like the played for their new coach..

    But keep telling you self that Al is the reason to all good and the coaches are just for show..

  • RaiderTW..

    as you can see i didn’t defend bush.. you only commented on one sentence..

  • RaiderRockstar

    408, i don’t think Cable will be the OC or even OL coach of the Raiders next season. It’s Head Coach or OL coach elsewhere. His contract is up, so why settle for less? The new HC, whoever it may be (even Cable) will get to have a say in the staff they want here. Even Kiff recruited all the coaches on offense to come here. The defense is the same one Norv Turner brought in. Time for that to change. It’s about time!

  • Dakota


    Cable as OC? I guess if he lights it up for the rest of the year. Highly unlikely though.

    IMO Cable will win one, maybe two more game this season and then not be offered the HC position.

    I think Al needed to see Cable take this team to 7-9 or 8-8 before he would even consider Cable. Hell, Al didn’t even know Cable’s background when he hired him, it was clearly just a stop-gap measure for the rest of 2008 and Cable would need to blow Al away to retain the job. 4-12, 5-11, or 6-10 just isn’t going to get the job done for Cable IMO. A 3-9, 4-8 or 5-7 record by Cable isn’t good enough for Al. If he had gone 7-5 or 6-6, then maybe.

    No way we win 4 or 5 of our last 5 games.

  • —“Raiders coach Tom Cable said Michael Bush “has really taken” to playing fullback. Bush still sounds less than enthused about his new position, reiterating just yesterday that he is a running back, not a fullback. But with Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden ahead of him on th depth chart, Bush is smart to do whatever gets him on the field.”—

  • RaiderRockstar

    why do the guys wearing “I heart Kiffin” t-shirts always compare George W. Bush with Al Davis? and when John McCain was running against Obama he was also compared with Al Davis. Are the guys with “Kiffin rocks my world” tattoos all democrats or just idiots? Al Davis doesn’t have any similarities to any of these guys. It’s like anybody you don’t like suddenly becomes Davis. It’s retarded and I wish it would stop. Don’t even compare Davis with Kiffin. Compare him with other owners or a commissioner. At least then it makes sense looking at his background.

  • RRS

    Yeah But If Cable can get these guys motivated down the stretch then what? Let’s say (for arguments sake) the raiders win out! I’m all for dumping RR @ the same time I would love some continuity we can not keep changing our scheme every year and expect to have success…. :/

  • raidersmaniac

    i just want to say great job by the raiders this past sunday.i saw a complete game played today by the raiders.hopefully this will be a win this team can build on throughout the rest of the season.i have been quite criticle of j russ all yr, but this past sunday he actually showed me something ,he was poised and calm in the pocket he showed leadership and played like a seasoned vet. GREAT JOB JaMarcus Russell! now lets goout there and beat KC like we no we can.GO RAIDERS!!!

  • 408..

    knapp and RoRy will be on the plane before the players gets to the lockerroom after the last game..

  • Dakota

    I just think if we can play like we did on sunday for the rest of the year Cable will prove his worth as a motivator @ least..

  • RaiderRockstar Says:
    November 25th, 2008 at 8:05 am

    why do the guys wearing “I heart Kiffin” t-shirts always compare George W. Bush with Al Davis?

    you don’t know why? i think its obvious.. but let me explain..

    only Al has that much power of his franchise, no other GM or Owner has his hands on decisions.. only one man in hte US has that kind of one-sidedness.. its your president.. not just bush, but your president.. that said, Bush has been a Fu©k-up just as much as Al has.. in fact the downfall started nearly at the same time..

    I know we went to the SB, but the foundation of this downfall was made way before that season..

  • LMN

    I hope your right!

    Flippin It guy was messing with my computer… all my favorites are gone… I cant get @ my playlist WTF..

  • M


    you and many others here have been critical of JRuss. Amazing what happens when you’re not pressured by defensive players as soon as you take the snap. JaMarcus will resemble what you saw on last Sunday EVERY Sunday if he isn’t being snowed under by D linemen and blitzers 1/8 of a second after he drops back.

  • Dakota


    I can’t imagine what would happen if we went out and beat KC and SD in the next two weeks:

    Pandemonium!!!! People on this blog would be calling Cable the next Vince Lombardi and stating that we were going to make a playoff push and go to the SB, and that there is going to be a Raider dynasty.

    Al Davis would be handing out $50 million dollar contracts to Chris Johnson, Lelie, Wade and Sam Williams.

    Rob Ryan would declare himself the Defensive Head Coach/Managing General Partner.

    The refs would hold meeting on how to stop us.

    Everyone would be mad at me for saying “Cool your Jets, it was only KC and SD.”

    Good times.

  • RaiderRockstar


    Even if the Raiders win the remaining 5 games I think Ryan is done. Continuity has been with the defense. Ryan and his assistants have been here 5 years and for 5 years we haven’t been able to stop the run. Plus we don’t blitz or pressure the QB much. He puts players out of positions and wastes talent. Brayton played 4 different positions in 4 years. Huff was a SS under Ryan. Stu was a starting FS under Ryan. Ryan blamed himself when Hall played like crap – said Hall was a pro bowl player just weeks before Davis cut him. Ryan couldn’t get him to play man like Nnamdi. Ryan has Morrison at MLB. Had Sapp at DE. Sam Williams & Grant Irons at OLB? Also said Tommy Kelly could be the best 3 technique DT in football before Davis gave him that monster contract. This guy is clearly a dunce.

    “I would love some continuity we can not keep changing our scheme every year and expect to have success”

    I agree with that statement you made and I think that applied to the Head Coach and the offensive coaching staff. try giving them 5 years to get it together. I’m guessing even Art Shell would make more strides than Rob Ryan did in that amount of time.