By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, November 15th, 2009 at 8:18 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News, notes and quotes from Sunday’s 16-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at the Coliseum:
– The minimal production of wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey didn’t prevent the rookie from getting the most work in the rotation of wide receivers.
By one count, Heyward-Bey played 54 of the 63 offensive snaps. Wide receiver Chaz Schilens, in his first game of the season, was in for 38 snaps, Johnnie Lee Higgins 22 and Louis Murphy 15.
What Heyward-Bey delivered was one catch for 22 yards and two huge red zone drops, the second of which resulted in an interception by the Chiefs’ Mike Brown that derailed a two-minute drill conducted by Bruce Gradkowski that had the Raiders in position to win.
When asked if the time is coming that Heyward-Bey will have to produce to validate his time on the playing field, Cable said, “I think so. I absolutely think so.’’
Heyward-Bey was gone by the time the media arrived, leaving his teammates to speak for him.
Gradkowski thought there plenty of plays to point at which were equally as damaging.
“I told him, I mean that’s a tough play,’’ Gradkowski said. `That stuff’s going to happen. It’s the game of football and it should’ve never came down to it.
“That’s what I told him. I said, “Look, it just stinks it happened then, but it shouldn’t have come down to the end like that and we had plays earlier in the game we needed to make.’’
“It’s something that everybody goes through, a moment like that,’’ cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. “So, he’s going to have to mentally be strong and get through it. He’s a professional, so those moments are going to happen. But you have to be able to bounce back from them. It’s not the end of the world.’’
“Just keep your head up, man. He was open. It was there. Stay positive man, work on it in practice, catch it a couple times, get it out of your mind and go on to the next play really.’’
Said Murphy: “ I talked to him and I just told him, ‘I’m riding with you through thick and thin.’ We came in together, we work together, we work on all fundamentals together so I’m with him, I’m in his corner all the time.’’
– Higgins caught four passes for 41 yards in his most extensive time at receiver, but was a disaster returning punts. He had a minus-2 yards on three returns and let one ball bounce a few feet from him that rolled to a stop after 61 yards.
Cable said his role in that regard will be evaluated.
– Running back Michael Bush ran 60 yards on his first carry and finished with 119 yards on 14 carries as the Raiders had a season high 182 yards rushing. It was the first 100-yard game by a Raiders back since Bush had 177 in the regular-season finale last season at Tampa Bay.
Justin Fargas had 10 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown. Darren McFadden had 11 yards on four carries.
“It really was all of them, when they were in there,’’ Cable said. “It was the same stuff, just guys blocking up front, making the right read and running with good violence.”
– Bush has no problems with the Raiders making an attempt to diversify their offense when it sometimes appears as if they should just keep running against a team which is struggling to stop them.
“You just can’t run all the time. You need to pass the ball sometime,’’ Bush said. “But as long as we keep the running backs doing what we’re doing, I guess it’s only a matter of time before they get the passing game clicking.
“ I know it’s like Week 10 or Week 11; ya’ll is like, when is it gonna happen? But we believe. We gotta keep believing that positive things will come out of it.”
– Bush said he was caught on his 60-yard run by attempting to use technology to his advantage.
“What went wrong was I looked up at the screen, trying to see who was behind me, forgetting that it’s kind of a couple seconds delay,’’ Bush said. “And I was trying to read, thinking it was Darrius there in front of me to block. Next thing you know I feel something jumping on my leg.’’
– Cable wasn’t willing to say JaMarcus Russell would remain the quarterback for next week’s game against Cincinnati, a shift in his public tone which could impact his job status, as explained in my Web-exclusive column.
– Russell wasn’t helped by a spate of dropped passes _ Cable counted eight for the Raiders in the game, but it’s also true in most cases his passes weren’t exactly put in places where the catches are made easy.
“I love JaMarcus. I love him as a player, I love him as a person,’’ tackle Cornell Green said. “The thing is, he’s in a tough predicament just because everybody wants him to save the Raiders, and it’s not about that.
“It’s more than what you see on the field. You have to give him the support and you have to block for him. For the most part we blocked good for him, but at the same time, the drops we can’t have that.’’
– The ugliest play of an ugly game was a Keystone Cops fumble sequence in which Dwayne Bowe took a blow from Kirk Morrison and lost the ball, but the ball was missed by at least three Raiders before Brian Waters recovered at the Oakland 23.
The Chiefs ended up failing to convert a short Matt Cassel pass on fourth down.
– Sebastian Janikowski missed a 45-yard field goal attempt wide left, his first miss of the season after making 13 in a row. He had made 20 straight dating back to striking an upright last season against Miami on Nov. 16.
x-The Wildcat, or the “Wild Hog’’ as Cable calls it, made its return with McFadden taking the snap as a shotgun quarterback. On consecutive plays it gained five yards, the first with McFadden running it after faking to Higgins on a reverse and the second time actually giving it to Higgins.
– The Raiders were the victims of the first 100-yard game by Chiefs back Jamaal Charles, who had 103 yards on 18 carries as the starter in place of Larry Johnson, who was released.
Charles broke off a 44-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-1 play.
“It was a toss crack and we misplayed it from the outside,’’ Cable said.
– Sam Williams and Jon Alston were alternating at strong side linebacker. Alston, who has had two so-called “minor’’ concussions this season, seemed a little woozy after one special teams hit and spent some time on the bench with his head down afterward. He re-entered the game later.
– Left guard Robert Gallery returned after being out since Week 2 and was the recipient of the tripping penalty which negated a big gain from Russell to Murphy to the Chiefs 5-yard line.
That play occurred after Heyward-Bey dropped a perfect post pattern from Russell near the goal line. The passes might have been the two best back-to-back throws by Russell this season.
“It was one of those things, I’m not going to let the quarterback get hit,’’ Gallery said. “I can’t put myself in that situation. It is what it is. It cost us pretty big, so it’s a hard one to swallow.’’
– The Raiders had one of their biggest penalty games of the year and were whistled 10 times in all for 88 yards. Both were season highs.
– Two of the worst statistical offenses in the league lived down to their reputations when it came to third down. They teams were a combined 0-for-18 at halftime and 3-for-31 in the game. Kansas City was 1-for-15, the Raiders 2-for-16.
A new low. The Raiders lose to a team that was 1-for-15 on third downs.
– Oakland has still scored two touchdowns in a game just once _ Week 1 against San Diego. They have seven touchdowns on the season. In Cable’s 21 games as head coach, the Raiders have had one or zero touchdowns 16 times.
– Punter Shane Lechler had 11 punts for a 48.3 average and his averaging 51.5 this season, a whisker ahead of Sammy Baugh’s NFL record 51.4 with seven games to play and three of them in potentially cold-weather sites.