Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders weren’t surprised, just whipped

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, October 3rd, 2010 at 7:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Unless you’re one of those people who considers a 31-24 loss no better than getting blasted 38-0, it could have been worse.

The Raiders gave the smallest non-strike home crowd (32,218) since 1967 a reason to stay interested until the game’s final moments.

When the Houston Texans run up yardage figures like they did Sunday at the Coliseum, it wouldn’t have been unusual to see the Raiders go into one of their patented tortoise shells and simply absorb the beating.

The biggest problem the Raiders had with the way they lost to the Texans isn’t that they’d seen it all before in past years, it was that they’d seen it all before during the week of practice.

They watched the Texans run their zone blocking, stretch-and-cut running game time after time, with quarterback Matt Schaub then operating with bootlegs to either side and play-action passing.

Then the Raiders went out and played as if they’d never seen it before.

“I thought they came in and did exactly what they’ve tried to do all year and that’s establish their run game and they did a good job of it,’’ Raiders coach Tom Cable said. “We never seemed to get a handle on it, or slow it down. I thought offensively (the problem was) our inability to have some consistent pass protection.

“We got whipped on both sides of the line of scrimmage. That’s the bottom line.’’

That whole offseason of making personnel moves and creating a sense of urgency to stop the run?

The Texans benched the NFL’s leading rusher, Arian Foster, for the first quarter for disciplinary reasons and he still rushed for 131 yards on 16 carries, including a 74-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Houston had 249 yards on 36 carries. If Gary Kubiak had wanted to really punish Foster for his tardiness to meetings and practice, he should have let backup Derrick Ward (80 yards, 12 carries) stay in the game and go for 175.

The play of the Raiders offensive line had Bruce Gradkowski playing under duress for most of the game. He completed 24 of 39 passes for 278 yards but fumbled twice, losing one, and also had a pair of interceptions.

The last one came when a protection breakdown on a blitz forced an intentional grounding call, which eventually brought up fourth-and-16. Gradkowski got off what should have been a first-down pass to Louis Murphy, only to have it bounce off his body and into the hands of Troy Nolan for a diving interception with less than two minutes to play.

News, notes and quotes as the 1-3 Raiders pick themselves off the deck and look down the barrel of a 13-game losing streak to the San Diego Chargers next Sunday at the Coliseum:

– At least the Raiders kept the crowd entertained. They deserved it for bothering to come out at all. The 32,218 count was the smallest in a non-strike year since Dec. 24, 1967, when the Raiders beat the Buffalo Bills 28-21 in the regular-season finale.

No paid attendance figure was ever lower in Los Angeles.

Keep in mind it’s a tickets sold figure. No way there was 30,000 people at the stadium. It looked like a preseason game.

– There were some blunt assessments of the whipping they got from the Texans.

“We didn’t stop the run,’’ defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. “I’m not a big stat guy, but the stats tell the story. It’s demoralizing when a team can run the ball at will. We didn’t stop the run and there is no excuse for that.’’

Said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly: “It’s a (bleeping) shock to me. I thought we would handle it better. As a defense, we’ve got to play better, I’ve got to play better. Can’t nobody go out there and say nothing after they run for 200 yards in your house without their best player, basically.’’

Kelly says he’s as comfortable as a nose tackle as he is in the three-technique spot, but when John Henderson is out, he’s almost always on the nose.

The plan all week was for the Raiders defensive line to disrupt the Texans offensive line, break up their zone schemes, or break the momentum of the rope, as Cable put it. Instead of breaking up the rope, the Raiders were hung by it.

“We knew what we were getting ready to go against,’’ cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. “ It was stressed the whole week, about the zone blocking scheme, a great running scheme. And they have the boot off of that. And they came in and did exactly what it was. It was just a matter of us being able to stop in more consistently.

“We didn’t do that. We played well in spurts today. The rest of the time, they had their way with us.’’

– Middle linebacker Rolando McClain is fond of downplaying anything he’s seen in the NFL as having already seen it at Alabama in the SEC. He wasn’t saying anything Sunday, brushing off the only reporter who approached him with a brusque no comment and heading for the door.

No reason to explain why he was walled off by tight end Joel Dreesen on Ward’s game-opening 33-yard scoring run, or how Foster beat him for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make the score 31-21.

That stuff did happen all the time in the SEC. Except it happened to Vanderbilt.

– We’ll have a better idea Wednesday when Darren McFadden does or does not practice, but it appears his run of good health ended on a 23-yard run when he pulled up and reached for his right hamstring, left the game, and did not return.

McFadden said his training camp injury was to his left hamstring, not the one he hurt Sunday.

“I was just trying to go for another gear and I just pulled up,’’ McFadden said. “I’m going to go to the trainers and see what they have me doing. I’ll take it day to day.’’

McFadden had 12 rushes for 47 yards and caught six passes for 82 more, a nice bit of strategy considering the hard-charging Houston front seven.

– McFadden will likely hand the baton this week to Michael Bush, who looks up to the task with seven rushes for 40 yards, a 2-yard touchdown run and two receptions for 16 yards.

– It looked for a moment as if Jason Campbell would get back in the lineup when Gradkowski took a second wallop from Bernard Pollard in the right shoulder area on a third-down play. The Raiders punted, and Gradkowski went to the locker room for a minute.

Gradkowski insisted he was fine, threw a few balls on the sideline and returned.

– The Raiders had 20 or more first downs (24) in four straight games since 2002, when they had a seven-game streak and a five-game streak.

– Langston Walker and Asomugha, both of whom have seen Raiders seasons go south in a hurry after a poor start, insist opening 1-3 will not factor in to practice and preparation.

“This is the 2010 version of the Raiders,’’ Walker said. “We’re not worried about what we would have done last year, two years ago or whatever. We’re playing for right now and those types of things, for me personally, don’t enter into my head.

“I can vouch for the 53 other guys on this team that we’re not thinking about that. We’re thinking about going out there and winning and whipping somebody’s ass.”

Walker found himself with the unenviable task of blocking end Mario Williams, who the Texans flopped to the left side with good results.

“I’m confident because we’re in games more than we were in the past,’’ Asomugha said. “Plus, there are so many new players that they don’t know what `Here we go again’ means. I think we’ll be fine.’’

– Louis Murphy (clavicle) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (groin) weren’t deemed ready to play until pregame warm-ups, with the team poised to activate Shaun Bodiford from the practice squad if necessary.

By game’s end, Murphy had one catch (he was targeted seven times) and Heyward Bey one (he was targeted five times). That’s 2-for-12 for seven yards to the two starting wide outs.

Murphy conceded he didn’t know if he’d be able to play with his clavicle injury and was limited all week. It’s clear he wasn’t himself, although he declined to blame his game-ending bobble and interception from Gradkowski on the injury.

Moments before Heyward-Bey was late to look and adjust to another Gradkowski pass and the ball hit off one hand and fell incomplete. He had another very difficult chance near the end zone on a leap bounce free.

Neither were easy plays or even plays he should be expected to make. Both were at least a possibility for an upper tier receiver.

– Some nice offensive adjustments by the Raiders in getting Miller involved in the outside game (often in conjunction with a Heyward-Bey deeper route on the same side). He caught a career-high 11 receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown in 13 targets.

That gives Gradkowski a 131.4 passer rating going to Miller and 16.6 to his starting wide receivers.

– The Raiders were 3-for-3 scoring touchdowns in the red zone after being 3-for-13 coming in. Hue Jackson made the best call of his tenure as offensive coordinator on a 13-yard touchown pass from Gradkowski to Marcel Reece on third and goal from the 2. Virtually the entire Houston defense bit on the McFadden run, with Reece drifting uncovered into the end zone.

– Remember coach Cable’s 24-point plan? The Raiders would be in good shape if they scored 24 points per game. Since then, they scored 23 against Arizona and lost by a point. Then they scored 24 and still lost.

As for penalties, the Raiders didn’t have their first one until deep into the second half (an illegal block on a return by Brandon Myers) and later added an intentional grounding call on Gradkowski which preceded the final interception.

– Other players who didn’t finish the game were linebacker Thomas Howard (knee strain) and running back Michael Bennett (hamstring, of course).

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  • http://www.alaska.com SammyTheBull

    32000 tkts sold, but some estimate att at around 22, 23000.
    every once in a while the camera would pan the stands following the ball. huge sections of empty seats.
    scroll back, pre-LosAngeles.
    Al in his box, on high, surveying jam packed stadium.
    fast forward to Al, sitting alone, talking to noone, wondering what happened.

    and never taking any of the blame.
    He actually feels those 23000 were there to see him in his box. sad sad figure al has become

  • DKnight007

    UCLA Raiders Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 12:38 pm
    Team management is freaking joke. They do nothing to change culture other than firing coach and his staff bring in few new players and assume culture will change that way. Listen Amy Task, John Herrera and the rest of you order takers, YES men here’s something you could do:
    - Bring in Tony Robbins to talk to the team. He can hopefully get through to these overpaid/under-achievers to rise above their low threshold of pain and push themselves to the next level to become mediocre.
    I’m serious Tony is a proven world class motivator. Have Rolando McLain walk over fire. Have Richard Seymore do the same.
    http://www.tonyrobbins.com/

    ^^^^^^^^
    This is exactly the problem and that is why most fans are not buying season tickets!

    Your idea to bring in Robbins is actually a good idea.

    Couldn’t hurt anymore could it? LOL

  • http://raiders.com Raider Ray

    Motivation is the coaches job. Our coaches aren’t doing it.

  • DKnight007

    SammyTheBull Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 12:44 pm
    32000 tkts sold, but some estimate att at around 22, 23000.
    every once in a while the camera would pan the stands following the ball. huge sections of empty seats.
    scroll back, pre-LosAngeles.
    Al in his box, on high, surveying jam packed stadium.
    fast forward to Al, sitting alone, talking to noone, wondering what happened.

    and never taking any of the blame.
    He actually feels those 23000 were there to see him in his box. sad sad figure al has become

    ^^^^^^^
    Yep…the old man Al is a shell of his former self….he doesn’t truly care about winning anymore either.

    If he did….he would give REAL head coaches what they want to turn the team around.

  • http://raiders.com Raider Ray

    DKnight, what does he care about? Apparently he doesn’t care about making money either.

  • DKnight007

    The defense can’t stop the run and they can’t create turnovers…..not good!

    Oh and the special teams isn’t so special!

    Without the defense being able to step it up in a game in game out basis….this team has no chance at winning games consistently.

  • Tars983

    it depends which hayesworth you get..we already have enough ppl with more leverage than our head coach. adding players that think they are bigger than the team can be tough…although still probably worth a 4th rd flyer. if we can even pay him

  • Just Fire Baby

    The worst thing I saw yesterday was on one Texans running play.

    Wimbley kept trying to go to one-side, and McClain get sending him the other side. Wimbley even looked at him, like WTF I need to go over there, but McClain was admanant about it.

    Snap….. ball goes right where Wimbley wanted to go, easy 12 yard gain.

    *Sigh*

  • DKnight007

    Why can’t this defense every get consistent pressure UP THE FREAKIN MIDDLE and get in the QB’s face to disrupt his timing??

  • http://raiders.com Raider Ray

    Got to go guys. I’m actually going to the Raider Image with my son. He want’s to get a Heyward-Bey jersey.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Props to Bruce Campbell and his two tackles yesterday (according to Gus Johnson).

    Only in the twilight zone of the Raiders, can a QB throw his best pass all day, and that ends up an INT to seal the loss.

  • JLofty

    Oh my aching colon. Man was I f’kd up yesterday. Always a good time partying at the Coli with 26K of your closest friends.
    Too bad the D didn’t do much yesterday. Not much at all.

  • DKnight007

    Raider Ray Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 12:52 pm
    DKnight, what does he care about? Apparently he doesn’t care about making money either.

    ^^^^^^^^
    Exactly….he is lost looney old man who listens to his evil yes men and women advisors (Herrera, Trask, Taylor) cause they want to keep their high paying jobs, cause they know they won’t get another job like it.

  • LA to TheBay

    Raider Ray Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 12:57 pm
    Got to go guys. I’m actually going to the Raider Image with my son. He want’s to get a Heyward-Bey jersey.

    Herrera? Is that you?

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    JFB,

    Seriously, if they bench DHB and went wth JLH, Bruce would get 4 or 5 more receptions a game.

    Bruce did ok…held the ball longer than usual..but played well enough to win. Him and zach miller were money.

    get DHB out and make him the slot guy…he is a liability on the field right now who is only playing because of his contract.

  • DKnight007

    JLofty Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    Oh my aching colon. Man was I f’kd up yesterday. Always a good time partying at the Coli with 26K of your closest friends.
    Too bad the D didn’t do much yesterday. Not much at all.

    ^^^^^^^^
    It used to be fun doing that….until the actual game starts and then it becomes a buzz kill more often than not and then causes a bad hangover!

    Not fun….

  • http://raiders.com Raider Ray

    By the way, there are plenty of great deals to be had at the Raider Image:

    http://www.raiderimage.com/category-jerseys-authentic.html

    Check out the Aaron Brooks, Lamont Jordan, Ronald Curry, and JaMarcus Russel jerseys for only $99.

  • mistic1

    # SnB offense defense specialteams Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Mistic,

    Our d-line has played in 1 game. the rams…other than that ghey’ve gotten rolled up and down the field. They can’t stop the run and that D-Line is turning McClain into a bust in the making.

    If you stop the run..the opponent becomes 1-dimensional. By forcing the pass, the Raiders can leverage that MILLION DOLLAR secondary to do its job…my forcing the pass, the opponent loses the time of possession battle.

    Bruce Campbell? He’s on the practice squad if not for his draft status. The kid can’t even get acivated, with the offensive line the Raiders have. Not buying it.
    ============================================================

    Our d-tackles are serviceable, maybe middle of the road when we are healthy. we need to draft a run stuffer in the mold of a young hendu.

    Campbell not being active is a problem, I think cable is making a mistake not having him run. he is a very good power blocker, and couldnt do any worse than walker at tackle or car lisle at guard.

    Failure to develop the o line including our o-line draftees is a major factor and will cost cable his job.

    The fact the offense is moving and scoring points bodes well for jackson. That fact that our young skill positions are playing better overall this year also bodes well for jackson.

  • Tars983

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    Only in the twilight zone of the Raiders, can a QB throw his best pass all day, and that ends up an INT to seal the loss,. october 4th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    ”””””””””

    the pass to dhb the play before was nice too..the timing was little early, but that is on both of them. but still dhb has to want the ball and be ready to make a play..

  • Bauce 4 Real

    SnB you sir watch the same games as I……without a guy to effectively hold the interior of the line the run D has no chance to win. We literally watching the middle getting dominated play upon play

  • Bauce 4 Real

    I wish people could also see the Texans fullback smashing holes open. Would be nice to have that. Marcel Reece is not a fullback. Manase Tonga on your PS serves nothing for you. Our backs will not get the max value out of a game.

  • RaiderDebo

    SammyTheBull Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 12:23 pm
    # RaiderDebo Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    werent you that sad sack that was still crying the blues, the other day, over jamarcus?
    rushing to prop any sorry take about jamarcus, while jumping on anyones post that was negative about Grad?
    in other words, others think and post, and you jump on?
    makes u look weak, and slow
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Yeah, right. Just check out his blog. I have plenty of my own posts on the subject. But I had to tip my cap to the most accurate synopsis of yesterday’s game I’ve seen so far. And you’re the slow one if you can’t see that this team is dealing with the exact same problems of a year ago.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    wrong.
    year ago the qb was a fat lazy total bust who didnt give a damn, who just cashed his check, and laughed at the notion he even needed to improve, much less be adequate.
    not sure who’s slower, you or priesttj.
    not sure it matters
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    OK genius. If we aren’t dealing with the same problems as last year, why do we have the same record?

  • DKnight007

    RaiderDebo Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 1:18 pm
    SammyTheBull Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 12:23 pm
    # RaiderDebo Says:
    October 4th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    werent you that sad sack that was still crying the blues, the other day, over jamarcus?
    rushing to prop any sorry take about jamarcus, while jumping on anyones post that was negative about Grad?
    in other words, others think and post, and you jump on?
    makes u look weak, and slow
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Yeah, right. Just check out his blog. I have plenty of my own posts on the subject. But I had to tip my cap to the most accurate synopsis of yesterday’s game I’ve seen so far. And you’re the slow one if you can’t see that this team is dealing with the exact same problems of a year ago.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    wrong.
    year ago the qb was a fat lazy total bust who didnt give a damn, who just cashed his check, and laughed at the notion he even needed to improve, much less be adequate.
    not sure who’s slower, you or priesttj.
    not sure it matters
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    OK genius. If we aren’t dealing with the same problems as last year, why do we have the same record?

    ^^^^^^^^
    Because Al Davis sucks, Cable sucks, and so does the defensive scheme overall.

    The O-Line sucks also…and WR corp is still young and learning.

  • Bauce 4 Real

    Murphy….brother if you hurt then sit……playing ineffective vs a bad pass D is unacceptable…… higgins should have had your reps. he for sure catches that fourth down play!

  • bigboss229

    aint no excuse for whats going on. it’s been 7-8yrs since a winning record. theres good talent on the team but no disclipine! u have to be able to stop da run in dis leauge. u have to block n dis leauge, as a fan its just sad and hurtful dat it aint came together yet!! your being paid good money to play a game youve played all your life, just play football and get it together>

  • bigboss229

    a real number! wr dont drop that many passes

  • http://insideoaklandraiders bulldog10

    Just whupped is sooooooooo right. Better yet, the Raiders were whupped ghetto – style. Sorry to say but this coming Sunday against the Superbowl Chargers will be yet another exercise in futility as in 14 STRAIGHT LOSSES to the Supers! To spare the grief I believe the Raiders should just call the NFL League Office and request a cancellation of the upcoming debacle. Why subject the team to additional humiliation and embarrassment. To play this Sunday would a disgrace to the Old School Raider greats who used to represent the true Raider Image. This version is so so sad.