Postgame wrap


News, notes and quotes from the Raiders 34-13 loss to the Washington Redskins Sunday at the Coliseum:

— Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski said he had a sprained MCL and a partially torn MCL afterward and vowed to rehab in earnest to return, but with three games to play, could be done for the season.

“I’ll try to get back, do whatever I can to get healthy fast if I could,” Gradkowski said. “That’s the only thing I worry about. The thing that gets me downis the guys. The guys out there on the field.

“I felt good, I felt like we were moving the ball well, I felt like our attitudes were good. It was going to be a good game. I knew we’d find a way to win this one. It was tough.

“I actually didn’t get to see the second half, I had to come in here. But it’s just tough. It’s tough because the past couple weeks I felt us great positive attitudes and energy and then this happens. But you know stuff happens for a reason. We just have to battle back and we’ll be all right.”

Gradkowski was 10 of 18 for 153 yards and led one scoring drive in the first half. JaMarcus Russell was 10 of 16 for 74 yards. While the pass protection was spotty for Gradkowski, it was non-existent for Russell, who was dumped six times and never had a chance to be effective.

His one interception over the middle to LaRon Landry set up the touchdown that put the Redskins up 31-13, coming on the opening play of a drive following a 13-play, 80-yard Washington touchdwon march which consumed 6:01.

Russell was taken to task for saying Friday that “guys are making plays” for Gradkowski. The truth is he didn’t get nearly the support Gradkowski did in terms of protection. While players won’t admit it, there seems to be a noticeable dropoff once Russell enters the game simply because they don’t have confidence in him.

— Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden had Raiders fans fondly recalling better days or dreaming of his return to Oakland in a visit to Ricky’s in San Leandro while in the Bay Area to work as an ESPN analyst for the Cardinals-49ers game on Monday Night Football. Read about it in my Web exclusive column.

— Having been beaten up by the fans in terms of booing, Russell apparently didn’t feel like sticking around to be beaten up in question form by the media. His locker was empty by the time reporters entered following Tom Cable’s postgame press conference.

— It wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence for Russell that Cable conceded he gave some thought to playing No. 3 quarterback Charlie Frye in the second half and wanted to wait until Monday before saying who would start for Gradkowski in Denver against the Broncos.

— The Raiders offensive line, with Robert Gallery out for the season following back surgery (he had it Saturday), was no better in run blocking than it was in pass blocking. Facing a Washington defense that was ranked 21st against the run and was without tackle Albert Haynesworth, the Raiders gained 65 yards on 24 carries (27 yards per carry) with a long of 10 yards.

Mario Henderson, in particularly got worked by Washington rookie Brian Orakpo, who had four sacks.

“I don’t know man. I really can’t say. I’m going to be a man and take the blame for the ones I gave up,” Henderson said. “I’m just going to leave it at that. I just have to work on that. I’m a team player. I just have to work on things. I take full responsibility for the ones I gave up.”

Henderson’s thoughts on going forward with Russell weren’t exactly brimming with optimism.

“I don’t know what the deal is with Bruce but we’re all going to have to pick it up,” Henderson said. “If (Russell’s) the man we’re obviously going to have to pick it up because he’s back there.”

— The Raiders tied their season high with 14 penalites, and their penalty yardage of 118 was the highest since their 2005 season opener.

— The Raiders have been outscored 119-23 after victories, losing to Denver 23-3, the New York Jets 38-0, the Dallas Cowboys 24-7 and Washington. Those games followed wins over Kansas City, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

“It’s not us. It’s not been us, and again, we had an opportunity to win a game here against the Redskins, and we did not take care of business,” Cable said. “The penalty thing just kind of falls right in line with that.”

The worst sequence came at the end of the first half when the Raiders picked up a debatable 15-yard penalty for interfering with Antwan Randle El’s ability to field a punt. Never mind that Randle El caught the punt and never called for a fair catch.

The Raiders were so angered over that call the bench, received a 15-yard penalty for unsportsman-like contact, with John Fassel and punter Shane Lechler leading the charge.

The Redskins, instead of starting at the 10, opened at the 40-yard line.

Four plays later, they were in the end zone, with Jason Campbell hitting Fred Davis over the coverage of Mike Mitchell for a 17-yard touchdown. The Redskins went into the half leading 17-10.

— Safety Michael Huff left the game in the first half with a stinger and did not return. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha had a forearm bruise that needed to x-rayed and he returned in the fourth quarter. Tight end Zach Miller took a head-high shot from Rocky McIntosh late in the game and left with a stinger.

The blow enraged some members of the Raiders bench, rookies Mike Mitchell and Louis Murphy in particular. Mitchell continued jawing with cornerback Fred Smoot, who the Raiders felt was celebrating over the hit, and made a beeline for him when the game ended.

Players and coaches intervened.

“I was always taught you respect the game, you respect players of the game,” Murphy said. “While Miller’s was down, they were just talking trash while he was down, while he was hurt.”

Did Murphy and Mitchell lose their poise, or was it refreshing that two players who were angry and hated losing were sticking up for a teammate?

Linebacker Kirk Morrison voted for the former.

Defensive end Greg Ellis saw it both ways, feeling it was OK to be mad, but that there’s a time to back off and be a professional.

— Remember when there was room for all three running backs in a game plan?

No longer. Michael Bush had no touches for the first time this season.

“I don’t know there’s room for it right now. It’s a matter of getting in flow,” Cable said. “The plan was to come out and move Darren around so that means Darren and Justin.”

McFadden had three catches for 84 yards _ his most career yardage in a game. In the first half, one reception came on a slant pass, the other a downfield throw, both from Gradkowski, against LaRon Landry. He gained only 21 yards on eight carries, and there was no sign of the pitch play that gave the Raiders a key first-down last week agianst the Steelers.

Offensive lineman Roy Schuening was promoted to the 53-man roster but was inactive for the game. He replaced Gallery, who was put on injured reserve.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer