Postgame wrap


News, notes and quotes following the Raiders 24-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium:

— “Stop, stop, boom.”

That’s how Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly described an Oakland defense that spent the week working on preventing big plays, and then gave up a staggering 384 yards on 10 snaps against the Cowboys.

It all started when running back Tashard Choice, taking direct snap from center, found a hole up the middle and ran 66 yards in the first quarter.

The Cowboys had 195 yards on 25 carries with 144 of those coming on three plays _ the run by Choice, a 46-yard touchdown run by Felix Jones and a 32-yard run by Marion Barber.

In the passing game, Miles Austin caught 145 yards worth of passes on seven receptions, with a long of 49 yards. Tight end Jason Witten, playing at left than full speed with a foot sprain which nearly kept him out of the game, had five catches for 107 yards including a 44-yard reception and a 37-yard reception.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Cowboys coach Wade Phillips seemed to be of the opinion that the Raiders man-to-man defense made things too easy for the Cowboys.

“We’ve had a few games like this year, people scheming us and finding big plays on us,” free safety Michael Huff said. “I think once one comes, we start to think more and play outside our game, and then they hit us with another one and another one. I don’t really know what it is. We’ll watch film the next day and see what happened, but as its going on, we don’t realize it.”

Said Richard Seymour, who may as well have been reading from the same script from years past as Warren Sapp, said: “I think it all starts in practice, understanding where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to do and taking care of your job. I can’t take care of someone else’s job and someone else can’t take care of mine. Everybody has to take responsibility for their play on the field and we have to get better as a group.”

— Read why the Thanksgiving Day loss was particularly galling to Raiders owner Al Davis in my column for Bay Area News Group-East Bay.

— On offense, the Raiders too a handful of shots downfield and came up with little, with most of the damage coming underneath and on shorter patterns. Not surprising, really, because the Raiders have not been a good deep throwing team all year and it’s not what is best suited for starter Bruce Gradkowski.

“There were plays there to be made downfield and I didn’t make them,” Gradkowski said.

— The Raiders unveiled a new defensive wrinkle by starting Trevor Scott at weakside linebacker in place of Thomas Howard, although Howard played plenty as Scott played in different areas of the defense.

On some plays, Scott was designated as an “elephant” pass rusher, a term the 49ers used for Charles Haley when John Marshall was defensive coordinator with the 49ers.

Only twice, however, did Scott line up with his hand down like a defensive lineman.

“A few days ago they said they wanted me to start at (Will) this game so I was like, `all right, let’s run with it,’ ” Scott said. “If it’s an opportunity to get on the field, so be it. Some guys don’t feel comfortable in a two-point stance, so if they stick with it, great.”

Scott had five tackles, two sacks, three tackles for losses, three quarterback hurries and made a special teams tackle.

He also collided with Tyvon Branch pursing a Tony Romo deflection on a play which could have resulted in a touchdown return for Branch.

— Running back Darren McFadden had 43 yards on 14 carries and had a 16-yard catch out of the slot. It was the most snaps McFadden has seen split wide this season.

— Cornerback Chris Johnson remains a true believer.

“Once we get back to sound football and doing everything like we’re supposed to, I still stick to my guns,” Johnson said. I don’t think there’s a team that can actually beat us if we play sound football.

— The Raiders opened the game strong on the ground, with Justin Fargas gaining 52 yards on six carries in the first quarter and only “ yards on six carries afterward. Michael Bush, after last week’s fumble, was de-emphasized, with just eight yards on three carries.

— Darrius Heyward-Bey got his first touchdown on a 4-yard catch from Gradkowski, with his next step catching a deep ball. He added a 17-yard reception later in the game. He got solid reviews from his quarterback and Cable. He has nine receptions for 124 yards in 10 games.

— Punter Shane Lechler kicked nine times for a 54.8 average and 46.3 net and is currently at 51.9 for the season, ahead of Sammy Baugh’s all-time mark of 51.4 set in 1940.

— More misery on kickoff returns _ Gary Russell replaced Jonathan Holland and had 15 yards on his only attempt, essentially stopping at a wall of defenders at the 17. Tony Stewart fielded a short kick for 11 yards.

— The Raiders overcame a 15-yard chop block penalty on Robert Gallery to persevere an score on their lone scoring drive, something they almost never do.

Gradkowski hit Murphy on a 23-yard pass to the 1, with Gallery’s penalty pushing it back to the 13. Gradkowski had a 21-yard scramble which helped the Raiders make up some of the yardage.

— Defensive end Greg Ellis didn’t finish the game because of swelling in his knee. He had just two tackles in his homecoming game.

“I don’t know what happened. I just know swelling, a lot of pressure, going down my leg, going down my knee down my shin and my calf. I don’t know if I did something during the game,’’ Ellis said. “It started off swelling some but that’s to be expected coming off the scope but when we started playing, it was just killing me.

“That’s pretty much it. I don’t have a lot of answers for it. Obviously I hate it, coming back to my ext-team and can’t play the whole game. That’s not good.’’

Anthony Spencer, the player who replaced Ellis and has been under some heat because he came into the game with no sacks, had two of the Cowboys’ three against Gradkowski. DeMarcus Ware had the other against Mario Henderson.

Ware generally got the better of Henderson all day, with four quarterback hurries.

Cornerback Tyvon Branch, who came up huge last week against Cincinnati, had just two tackles and a pass defensed. He also drew a stare from Johnson, who was expecting help inside, on a 6-yard pass from Romo to Roy Williams for a touchdown.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • new englandraider

    SnB i dont think green has blocked badly at all. he’s solid in both run and pass blocking. his problem has been false starts. and lots of em. he had a few early b4 he got hurt, now 76 is killin us with the flags. if green had someone better than 66 to his left, he’d probably be a lot better. i dont think he’s the greatest rt ever, but aside from the penalties, he actually not THAT bad

  • new englandraider

    really dirt lot?

  • yeah Dirt Lot you got a link or something?? Please

  • new englandraider

    wow. yep. bspnews. damn, i dont like golf, but u gotta hope the man is ok. being injured in a crash sux. been there.

  • 4evaRaider


    WINDEMERE — Golfer Tiger Woods was injured this morning when the Cadillac SUV he was driving struck a fire hydrant and then hit a tree, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

    The crash took place about 2:25 a.m. as he pulled out of his driveway, investigators said. He was taken Health Central Hospital. Troopers described his injuries as serious.

    No other vehicles were involved. The crash remains under investigation and charges are pending, troopers said.

    It was not an alcohol related-crash, the report said.

    This story is from our Bright House Networks partner, Central Florida News 13

  • new englandraider

    1 car accident. serious condition hit a hydrant

  • new englandraider

    what kinda charges could be pending if alcohol wasnt an issue. dont know fla law, but here in mass u cant be cited for anything traffic wise a cop doesnt see. i think. wow. something is up man. if charges are pending.

  • new englandraider

    2;25 am? turkey day. pending charges. i dunno

  • new englandraider

    whatcould he have done criminally pulling out of his driveway?

  • 4evaRaider

    the tryptophan kicked in

  • new englandraider

    huh? 4eva.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    408RAIDER Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:10 pm
    SnB offense defense specialteams

    yep yep and yep.. I understand your frustration.. Not every 1 is cut out to be part of RAIDER NATION!! Me Im ride or Die bout my football team.. You gotta take the good with the bad.. Or in our case the bad with the worse.. Either way its NATION 4 life!!!
    In my note I mentioned 18yrs of seasons like this. I have been, am part of, and will continue to be a part of Raider Nation. As far as living and dying….the Nation has been dying for years with this.

    But as you say….Nation 4 Life! I just wish membership was about winning too!

  • 4evaRaider

    turkey has an amino acid called tryptophan…it makes you sleepy once injested =)

  • 4evaRaider

    or protien or something

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    new englandraider Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:10 pm
    SnB i dont think green has blocked badly at all. he’s solid in both run and pass blocking. his problem has been false starts. and lots of em. he had a few early b4 he got hurt, now 76 is killin us with the flags. if green had someone better than 66 to his left, he’d probably be a lot better. i dont think he’s the greatest rt ever, but aside from the penalties, he actually not THAT bad
    The bottom line is good teams don’t have a ton of false starts, holding penalties or personal fouls. Good teams have accurate QBs and Receivers that make catches. Good teams have defenses that don’t give up big play after big play..

    The problem with these Raiders is that this mess happens year, after year after year and shows NO SIGN of improvement

  • S&B

    We all want to win I wish I had a magic wand to make it all better but I dont…


  • # 4evaRaider Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    turkey has an amino acid called tryptophan…it makes you sleepy once injested =)

    And I always thought it was cuz I ate too much… LOL

  • 4evaRaider


  • new englandraider

    as much as i think cable is a fool, we cant keep changing systems, coaches. etc… thats part of jr learning disability right there. that being said, fassel or weiss will be our coach next yr and will suck for 24-32 games and be fired. bill cowher has had losing seasons. bill belliCHOKE has. holmgren, shanny,the tuna. all of em. these dudes aren’t willing enough to keep learning knew things. they’re paid already.

  • new englandraider

    snb. i agree with what you say, but the last two games green has played he hasnt done ANYTHING wrong. i think he had 3 false starts in game 1 sd. after that, i dont remember anything more than maybe 1 after that. i know he was injured. but he has been solid the last two weeks. maybe grads mobility is helping a little. i just think he is ok if he doesnt false start. just like i think gerard warren takes all the criticism that should be leveled at tommy kelly. man i love this team. i wish they all had success. it’s like borderline embarassing to be a fan right now. but i came home from hospital at birth in raider gear and will be that way til the day i die

  • jhill

    vegas raider Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 11:20 am

    So we have a crappy O-line, no good WR’s, an awful coach and a “garbage” QB. Than how did we pass for 200 yards?

    If Peyton or Brees was QB yesterday, they would have each completed a few more passes than Bruce, and what got close to 300 yards passing? How is that possibly if literally everyone sucks? Something has got to give.



    CMON man! We had TWENTY yards passing at the half. 45 yards through 3 qtrs.

    Our Oline, as a whole, sucks!

    Our WRs, as a whole, SUCK!

    Our HC, OC, and playcaller are REALLY bad!

    And Gradkowski is just as bad as Russell since all of the about is forced on him.

  • jhill

    If our ENTIRE offense wasn’t so young, maybe we could afford to bring along a guy like Cable. But with the youth we have on offense, we can’t afford to have the HC, OC, and playcaller all learning on the job!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    I am the 1st proponent of coaching stability. But Cable jacked everything up by taking control of playcalling. Every part of this team has regressed under his short leadership.

    He needs to go. He was a marginal candidate to begin with…now he shows his incompetence every week.

    get him out of here.

    Davis is a constant…can’t change him…but we can change the coaches

  • jhill

    At a minimum, we need to hire and “Asst HC/Offensive COordinator” type.

  • jhill


  • Charlie


    Let’s change head coaches. (Has not made a difference yet).
    Let’s get a great WR. (Moss)
    Let’s get a SB QB. (Collins)
    Let’s draft DMAC.
    JR needs more WR’s.
    Let’s get a good SS so we can stop the run.
    Rob Ryan has bad schemes which is why we can not stop the run. Get a new DC.
    JR needs better coaching. We get Tollner and Hackett.


    Football starts at the line of scrimmage.

    With the exception of Seymour and Gallery we do not have good lineman. Good means winning the majority of your matchups w/o penalties.

    Our lineman are either developing projects like Henderson/Shaugnessy or they are bad like Green,Warren and Kelly.

    We must draft lineman in the first and second rounds.

    Hers another hint.
    Because we have waited so long to do it we probably will not see the playoffs for two years even if we start in 2010.

    See Ya.

  • Why do you guys think that since the late ’80s (sans Gruden years), we almost ALWAYS follow a big win with a loss?

  • Yo MR happy belated turkey day Brethren… Still bashin on Big Al I see.

  • jhill


    Can u give me an example of an 09 team enjoying success based upon your theory? I know the Jets have a lot of 1st round Oline guys, but I can’t think of many other teams.

  • JHill, don’t forget to tell Vegas that Dallas was playing prevent for most of our last drive, giving Gradkowski everything underneath, until that final 4th down where they blitzed everyone. How many yards was that drive? If Dallas puts the full court press on us in that drive, I think our passing yards are more like 150. 200 is unacceptable by NFL standards, Vegas. Gradkowski sucks. Get past that, all of you playing this gotcha game about Gradkowski being better than Russell. They both suck, period. Grad is just a little better at WCO fundamentals. He still sucks.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    jhill Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 12:46 pm
    At a minimum, we need to hire and “Asst HC/Offensive COordinator” type
    At a minimum? — Tom Cable is a terrible head coach. His roster selections are terrible as well.

    My fear…Gradkowski becomes another “Cable guy”

  • If Gradkowski was really this team leader his supporters claimed he was before yesterday, we would not have lost in the fashion we did. We didn’t even show up. Yesterday was proof that this team has no “leader”, Gradkowski included. So let that go, too.

  • new englandraider

    331 maddenraider right on 100%

  • new englandraider

    they saying tiger is out of hosp. in good condition. couple facial lacerations

  • 408 Raider, what case do you have to defend Al? Let’s hear it. Make a case for Al Davis, since you’re calling me an Al “basher”, as if anything I’ve said about him is some kind of exaggeration. Oh, and happy turkey day to you, too.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Talk about stupid draft picks. With all the emphasis on drafting runningbacks…

    Justin Fargas was the undisputed starter for that game!

    ANd as usual…he comes through with another pedestrian effort

  • new englandraider

    only thing is gradkowski throws a catchable ball. russell’s throws are too hard or fast. our pu$$y wrs cant handle that. was funny as hell when jruss threw at higgins just b4 benching and announcer said jlh jammed a finger i think. grads is no better than russell. if he had the 3-5 drops jruss has had each game, he be around 45% completions. they both suck, but the wr’s do not help. yesterday murph ran a post from left slot was wide a$$ open, and wasnt even looking for the ball until he got to a certain point where he was around 3 cows. then he starts looking in at qb. damn rookies

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Real MR,

    There is no defending Davis’ decisions. He has been an absolute disaster as a GM and Owner.

    However, there are those that say…Davis is the Raiders….and the losing is just a part of the whole thing.

    I kind of agree with that sentiment.

    I no longer expect the Raiders to win games anymore.

    I just follow them because I am a fan and there are only 16 regular season games a year to get upset about

  • SnB, what do you mean we can’t change Davis? Davis can change. He can quit. Nobody is holding a gun to his head and forcing him to run the Raiders. He can still own the team and hire a GM to run it. Al is only a “constant” because he chooses to be one. There’s no divine force that’s putting him there. And as long as Al’s there, the players and coaches won’t change, either. Who do you think hires them? If Al doesn’t change, the coaches and players don’t change, either. Al changed when he hired Gruden. Let Gruden have more control than any coach in recent memory. So, until Al in fact changes, something you not only insist he won’t do, but seem to be ok with the fact that he wont do it, the players and coaches won’t change, either. Only the names will change. The results will be the same. From a coaching standpoint, give me the differences between Cable and say, Shell, or Turner, or Callahan, or Bugel. Oh, and do include results to back up your answers, please.

  • new englandraider

    timing is off in passing game. and dmac had that dude beat and the noodle arm qb couldnt reach. odds are jruss would’ve overthrown him by 4 yrds

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    new englandraider Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 1:16 pm
    only thing is gradkowski throws a catchable ball
    B.S NE Raider. THe only reason “Grads” is playing is because Russell has struggled so immensely.


  • new englandraider

    matt millen 4 gm. lmfao

  • Dark Forces

    Al Davis looked pretty good in the owners box yesterday. He should be able to watch his team lose for another 10 or 15 years.

  • SnB, Davis is NOT the Raiders. Davis never built a winning Raider team on his own. There are some who believe Davis is the Raiders, and they’re retarded. Be smarter than them and know that Davis can leave, and fans can put pressure on him to leave, through any legal and effective avenues.

  • new englandraider

    i hear ya SnB. i agree jruss has played poorly. however he hasnt actually had a lot to work with. granted he is fat and all that stuff. but how can anyone say grads is more accurate. he misses passes. like i say if you throw in the 3-5 drops per game avg, you’re looking at below 50% completions. part of it is scheme, part of it is 2 rookie wr’s and oline is inconsistent. good at times, bad at times

  • new englandraider

    it’s all just depressing.

  • NE, Gradkowski isn’t better than Russell, at tall. Imagine if Russell goes out there yesterday and has the exact same game Gradkowski did. Imagine what Gradkowski’s supporters would be saying about him. They would be putting the loss entirely on him. All of those bad passes, etc. And those were mostly WCO passes, dumbed down for our remedial talent. Crossing patterns. Gradkowski is supposed to be a better WCO QB than Russell and he can’t hit guys on CROSSING PATTERNS? Crossing patterns is the bread and butter to the WCO.

  • Charlie


    Study the drafts of todays top teams over the last five years and you will see the percentage of day one picks they invested on the Oline and Dline.

    It is far greater than the Raiders during the last nine years.
    As a matter of fact since 2000, our perctenage of first and second round picks on lineman is lower than any other nine year time frame in the history of the Raiders.
    We have gotten away from our roots and it has killed this team.

    I did the analysis about a year ago.

    Hell, the Steelers first pick this year was on the line.

    It is simple math.
    Nine of your starting twenty two are lineman if you play a standard 4-3 Defense. That is forty one percent of your team!!!!!!!!!!

    Other than QB, the line is the heart of the team.
    Win on the line and you win games.

  • A lot of those Gradkowski guys are wisely absent today, I’ve noticed.

  • new englandraider

    im with you madden. i would rather struugle and have russell learn, than sit. we aren’t going anywhere this year thats for sure. jr is potentially the future qb. grads is not. so why change. if he doesnt do any better next week in pitts, i say u gotta go back to jr.