Part of the Bay Area News Group

Colts had the winning look, Raiders did not

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Sunday, December 26th, 2010 at 8:30 pm in Oakland Raiders.

News, notes, quotes and observations from the Raiders’ 31-26 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at the Coliseum:

— Indianapolis is closing in on its eighth straight division title because of Peyton Manning, of course, but also because the Colts have had systems in football in place for a long time and play that way.

There isn’t a lot of difference between the talent on the Colts and Raiders, but unlike past years, when a lot of the Oakland talent was largely myth, you could even make the argument that the home team had the better players.

Indianapolis players are plug-ins for specific roles, and their execution makes up for anything they may lack in pure ability.

The Raiders found themselves unable to cope with the Colts adjustments Sunday, whether it was Peyton Manning recognizing the big nickel with Mike Mitchell immediately and switching pass plays to run plays, or the Indianapolis Cover 2 defense playing deep, allowing short completions and rallying up to make the tackle.

Indianapolis ran for 191 yards on 39 carries, the most yards since it had 226 in 2007. Oakland had only three tackles for losses. Dominic Rhodes, who re-joined the Colts just three weeks ago and played for the Raiders in 2007, had 98 yards on 17 carries.

It was Rhodes’ biggest yardage game since he gained 122 yards for the Raiders against the Chargers in the 2007 season finale.

Cable said the Raiders should have been able to stop the run with their big nickel and said the Colts hit a few big plays but then noted, “it was a lot of fours and fives and fours and fives. It was good consistency on their part.’’

Defensively, Indianapolis shut down the outside run to Darren McFadden (45 yards, 11 carries) and leaving one to wonder why Oakland didn’t go right at the heart of the Colts defense rather than trying to string it out against a team that was at its best on the perimeter.

Oakland had 80 yards on 20 carries.

Asked about the Colts’ ability to defend the perimeter, Cable said, “We’ve faced that before. In the first half, certainly, they had a plan for our outside run.’’

McFadden was limited after an ankle injury late in the third quarter. Cable called it turf toe, McFadden said he rolled an ankle.

“I don’t think it was anything they were doing,’’ McFadden said. “We just kind of got away from it when we got down. It was kind of off and on and we couldn’t stay on the field long enough to help the defense. It was frustrating.’’

My column for Bay Area News Group papers illustrates that outside of the AFC West, the Raiders aren’t much different than the teams we saw from 2003 through 2009.

— The Raiders had their vertical game reduced to swings and short passes by the Indianapolis Cover 2 pass defense. Quarterback Jason Campbell completed 29 of 42 passes but for only 231 yards and a long of 26 yards to Louis Murphy.

“They were smart about us. They knew what type of team we are, and they took away some stuff,’’ said Chaz Schilens, who caught two passes for 16 yards _ his first catches of the season. “A lot of cover-2, they made it hard on us. The shorter stuff underneath was a little more open, so that’s what we were trying to do.’’

– Cornerback Stanford Routt said he didn’t want to know how Kansas City was doing against Tennessee. Cornerback Chris Johnson said he heard the Chiefs were up 31-7. Zach Miller didn’t want to find out but someone told him the Chiefs had won.
Did it matter? Hard to tell. Looked more like the better prepared team won.

— Peyton Manning’s stats were nothing to gawk at _ 16 of 30 for 179 yards, three touchdowns and interceptions by Michael Huff and Chris Johnson.

But he dominated the game in terms of pace, tempo-and play-calling.

Defensive end Tommy Kelly on Peyton Manning: “He checks out on a lot of stuff. A mean a lot of stuff.”

Safety Michael Huff on Manning: “It’s tough. He’s an offensive coodinator on the field and calls whatever he wants to call.”

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha on Manning: “There’s not a quarterback I’ve played against that controls the game the way he does. He basically handles every situation and he’s a coordinator on the fly.’’

It was vintage Manning on the Colts’ final first down, a 26-yard naked bootleg around left end.Manning didn’t tell anyone in the huddle what he was doing, the better to sell the play, and slid to a stop at the 4-yard line rather than score a touchdown to kill the clock.

The Raiders had closed within 31-26 on Campbell’s 6-yard pass to Zach Miller, which capped an 80-yard drive with 1:51 to play. The Raiders then failed to recover the onsides kick, with Colts tight end Jacob Tamme coming down with it.

Miller had nine receptions for 66 yards, his most catches since getting 11 in Week 4 against Houston. It was his first touchdown since Week 7 in Denver.

–Campbell found himself needing to unload the ball early and took some shots although he was sacked only three times. Edge rushers Robert Mathis (1.5 sacks) and Dwight Freeney (1 sack) made their presence felt and you know it was a long day for rookie Jared Veldheer when Cable said of his performance, “I think today he learned how to utlilize help.’’

— The Raiders, meanwhile, did not sack Manning. Nor did they get close to sacking him. Manning has always been one of the best in the league at getting rid of the ball.

Rookie Lemarr Houston played a lot of defensive tackle in the absence of Richard Seymour (inactive with a hamstring pull) along with Tommy Kelly and John Henderson. Henderson was credited with 11 tackles.

— Raiders place kicker Sebastian Janikowski broke the club scoring record with his field goals of 49, 38, 51 and 45 yards. He has 135 points, breaking the mark of Jeff Jaeger (132 in 1993).

Janikowski is the first kicker to have two kicks of 59 yards or more. He had a 61-yard field goal against Cleveland last year.

– Jacoby Ford’s game-opening 99 yard kickoff return for a touchdown gives him three this season, a Raiders record. He also opened the Miami game with a kickoff return for a touchown. Oakland lost both times Ford started the game with a kickoff return.

“When I get to the kicker I pretty much know I’ll get to the end zone every time,’’ Ford said.

– Some Raiders actually seemed confused that they weren’t going to get a shot at the playoffs even if they run the table in the division.

Johnson said he even heard a rumor the league would make a rule change of some sort to reward teams that went unbeaten in division play but didn’t make the playoffs.

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  • Just Fire Baby

    Bcz,

    Didn’t really think that was a catchable pass.

    I believe it was on the TD drive.

    Was pretty faded and irrate at the time, so may have be a little off on the facts, lol.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    494.Just Fire Baby Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 10:46 am
    This can’t drag on into February with the lockout looming. The new HC has to be in place right away and needs to start working on 2011 immediately.

    ****************************

    Isn’t that an oxymoron Dakota?

    Without a labor deal in place, all 32 facilities are going to be ghost towns the first week the season ends.

    ++++++++++++++++++

    I am not sure, but I think that the current labor agreement expires in March, so I think the new coaching staff could get in there and get some work done before these idiots begin the lockout. Players that want to succeed would show up and get acquainted with the staff, pickup their playbooks, workout guides, etc to prep for the 2011 season while the lockout goes on. Players that don’t bother to do so, well, then the coaching staff has an idea of which players are serious about their careers, and which are just in it for the paycheck.

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    John Madden as GM??

    Too funny TW! Guy is only what, 74 years old, and 32 years removed from coaching the game?
    ———–
    This from a guy who vote for McCain to run the country, he’s 12 years removed from reality!? Too old, McC woke up and saw his shadow, 2 years of gridlock.
    Madden would know exactly who to fire in the front office when Al goes on……..

  • bcz24

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 11:01 am
    Bcz,

    Didn’t really think that was a catchable pass.

    I believe it was on the TD drive.

    Was pretty faded and irrate at the time, so may have be a little off on the facts, lol.
    ************
    It hit him in the palm of his hand. Not an easy catch, but a play could have been made. Just saying, he didnt catch every ball thrown his way.

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    Kirk…

    “499.Kirk Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I don’t know that much about football, so just a thought…

    Why not copy the strategies of teams like the Steelers and the Patriots, who seem to do well year after year?

    Obviously what we are doing is not working.”

    — Because once upon a time the Raiders used to be the opposite of those kind of squeaky-clean franchises, we used to do it our way, we used to cheat, get players nobody else wanted and then beat the crap out of every other team and everyone hated us for it, that’s what made the Raiders great.

    Sadly, times have changed and we need to adjust, we seem to slowly be moving forward.

  • http://atm Raider O

    HC: Harbaugh, Gruden, Del Rio, or Hue.
    OC: Hue
    DC: Del Rio, Fox, Singletary, M Lewis, or Vikings DC/ HC

    Make it Happen Al!!

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    503.RaiderTW Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 11:04 am
    John Madden as GM??

    Too funny TW! Guy is only what, 74 years old, and 32 years removed from coaching the game?
    ———–
    This from a guy who vote for McCain to run the country, he’s 12 years removed from reality!? Too old, McC woke up and saw his shadow, 2 years of gridlock.
    Madden would know exactly who to fire in the front office when Al goes on……..
    ++++++++++++++

    zzzzzzzzzzzz Ob@ma is the Josh McDaniels of politics.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Bob,

    I miss thee days bro. We were pioneers, and now we are at the bottom feeders. Very sad!

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    Hey Bcz24…

    Congrtulations on your FFL championship man.

  • HayesDaze37

    It’s a great day to be a Raiders fan! Isn’t it?

    What a sad day yesterday was…but a season full of promise…with what looks to be promising near-and-long-term futures for the Raiders.

    Anyone who thinks HueJax has demonstrated he’s ready to be the HC of THIS Raiders team isn’t thinking correctly.

    It has taken 7 years to get the team back to relevancy on a wide scale…7 long years to find the right mixture of personality, toughness, attitude, leadership, and PLAYER RELATIONS to make the progress this team has made.

    Taking the talent on any team, and turning it into a winning program is difficult enough. When a team is this close to being good again — after the worst period of losing in NFL history — it would be a terrible mistake to start anew.

    There isn’t an assistant on staff who’s any more ready to do what Cable has already done…to get the team thinking differently about themselves, and to perform at its highest level/s in a generation.

    Bringing in ANY different HC, even a big name, would be dangerously tinkering with a team that needs to stay on solid ground.

    HueJax, Marshall, Fassel, et al, have all done admirable jobs…but they’ve each had major meltdowns doing their jobs at different times this year…and their meltdowns have directly influenced the outcomes of losing games, just as surely as a Jano miss or a Murphy drop has.

    The best choice to be the HC of the 2011 Raiders…is the HC of the 2010 Raiders.

  • http://atm Raider O

    We need a new HC and toy guys aretaljing politics?!
    Dems Suck
    Reps Suck
    They are all funded by Corp America, socaj we please focus on real issues!
    We need a new HC!!!
    You People need Focusit!

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    Everyone knows Al will stand pat especially when Barney Cable beats KC & we become the first NFL team to win all divisional AFC west games. Al will love it and we did improve. Now stop the f**ing run!!!!

  • Raider Dell

    Raider O Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 11:12 am
    We need a new HC and toy guys aretaljing politics?!
    Dems Suck
    Reps Suck
    They are all funded by Corp America, socaj we please focus on real issues!
    We need a new HC!!!
    You People need Focusit!

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Raider O

    What doesn’t suck?

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    You People need Focusit!
    ——
    I haven’t been Focusit in years!!!

  • HayesDaze37

    The DHB slant??

    DHB fully extended his one arm that had any chance to reach the ball, even though it was virtually un-catchable (no aligator arms!). He didn’t drop a single uncontested/catchable ball thrown his way yesterday. DHB wasn’t why the Raiders lost yeterday.

  • I am Spartacus

    zzzzzzzzzzzz Ob@ma is the Josh McDaniels of politics.

    —————————————-
    So, does that make Bill Belichick Karl Marx?

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    This needs to be the year Al recognizes he’s diminished & needs to leave a Legacy just for the Raiders’ future. Hire a GM!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Dell,

    I’m glad you asked. J Haebaugh!!

  • HayesDaze37

    O — Did you really mean to say we needed a “hood draft?”

    I’m pretty sure I’d prefer a good draft over a hood draft.

    *yes, I know it was a typo*

  • http://atm Raider O

    Harbaugh*

    Hire J Harbaugh!!! He doesn’t suck!!

  • I am Spartacus

    RaiderTW Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 11:17 am
    This needs to be the year Al recognizes he’s diminished & needs to leave a Legacy just for the Raiders’ future. Hire a GM!

    ______________________________________
    Late in the game when CBS flashed the shot of Al sitting in his wheelchair with a white slobbering towl over his lap, a part of me died.

  • bcz24

    Bob Marley Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 11:09 am
    Hey Bcz24…

    Congrtulations on your FFL championship man.
    ***********
    You had a great year too man, injuries down the stretch hurt ya a little i think, and I havent won it yet! But Thank you!

  • bcz24

    HayesDaze37 Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 11:15 am
    The DHB slant??

    DHB fully extended his one arm that had any chance to reach the ball, even though it was virtually un-catchable (no aligator arms!). He didn’t drop a single uncontested/catchable ball thrown his way yesterday. DHB wasn’t why the Raiders lost yeterday.
    ************
    I didnt say DHB cost us the game. JFB said DHB caught every ball thrown his way. I simply pointed out that he was mistaken. Besides, catching 2 balls wide open is hardly something to be proud of. Our FB is a better WR than DHB for Jeezus sakes!

  • 187killa

    Man, i never watched all the raiders game in a year like i did this year. it kinda sucks too that i have to wait another whole 9 months to watch raiders football, i remember being so excited for it this season…basically, i hate offseason time after a dissapointing year =/

  • RaiderfanNY

    Don’t forget that Hue Jackson has been a coordinator for one season and has been with the Raiders for one season.

    If the guy is smart, and I think he is, he could do a much better job next season.

    Just give him a new lineman or two and a new QB.

  • http://atm Raider O

    HD37,

    I prefer good too, but I would take hood over bust every draft.
    Get us some Hood Players!!

  • YoungAmerican

    There’s about as much of a chance Harbaugh will be the coach of the Raiders next season as there is that Gruden will come back. So basically, none at all.

    Good coaches go where they have some control over the schemes they implement, their staff, and the personnel.

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    Raider O move your fingers on your keyboard, fix the typos & type like a minkey.
    Hire J Harbaugh!!! He doesn’t suck!!
    —-
    I’m all for hiring coaches that don’t suck!

  • VanHeathen

    Cable does need to go,
    his failure to have the team ready to go after the bye weeks, road games etc, speaks to his lack of overall preperation…
    Al HAS to bring in someone new who has a coaching pedigree in the NFL, period.

  • AbusedByAl

    Give credit to Indy, we lost to the overall better team. If we finish 8-8 it is not bad because this is who we are: Better than last year but not great. We do not belong in the play-offs yet. It’s the simple truth. I personally think Cable will be back at HC.

  • HayesDaze37

    It ain’t over for DHB…and I maintain he’ll play a big role for the Playoff Raiders in the not-too-distant future.

    A new GM?? To do what, run the Draft for us? Was there something wrong with last year’s draft? For the past few years, the Raiders’ drafts have been some of the better ones in the League. The Old Man can still judge talent.

    Al as GM…until Al doesn’t want to do it anymore!

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    Al’s gong to keep Cable, we all know that. We also know he’ll draft a Corner first pick in the draft, 2nd round.

  • Raider Dell

    I was at the game yesterday. The National Football League Network has the Raiders, Indy game on their rewind, which is free.(NFL.Com)

    Nothing changed to what I saw, we suck!!

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    Yeah, Dell, it’s on Weds. on the NFL chnnl, too. Had to watch it online, sucked.

  • I am Spartacus

    Al’s gong to keep Cable, we all know that. We also know he’ll draft a Corner first pick in the draft, 2nd round.

    _______________________________
    Or DE, which we could probably use. Not much of a pass rush with Seymour out and Houston filling in at DT.

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    On top of everything else we need depth. Al, just pick up Champ and draft a killer DT & stop the run!!!

  • HayesDaze37

    Cable deserves a 2-year extension right now.

    Hello Carson Palmer?

    We need a near-top-quality QB (that’s as good as it gets, availability-wise) to improve the play we get at the position…while we actually draft, and grow, a young QB from the early-mid rounds of the upcoming draft.

    Yes, we can actually find a top-flight QB in the draft…

    …the Raiders NEED a QB who is a born leader and captain and winner. The Raiders need a charismatic leader for their Offense.

  • DKnight007

    525.RaiderfanNY Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 11:23 am
    Don’t forget that Hue Jackson has been a coordinator for one season and has been with the Raiders for one season.

    If the guy is smart, and I think he is, he could do a much better job next season.

    Just give him a new lineman or two and a new QB.

    ^^^^^^^^
    He also needs a TRUE #1 WR!

  • Just Fire Baby

    …the Raiders NEED a QB who is a born leader and captain and winner. The Raiders need a charismatic leader for their Offense.

    **********************************

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Jason Campbell, Jamarcus Russell, Andrew Walter, Daunte Culpepper and Aaron Brooks.

    Enough of the “laid-back” guy.

    At this point, I will take below-average talent with above-average intangibles over above-average talent with below-average intangibles.

    With the caveat that they can stay healthy for 16 games, which unfortunately excludes my man Bruce who can’t stay healthy for 16 quarter better yet 16 games.

  • I am Spartacus

    At this point, I will take below-average talent with above-average intangibles over above-average talent with below-average intangibles.

    __________________________________
    I agree completely. Passion, intelligence and a strong work ethic. It’s what makes a klutzy-looking PManning a great quarterback.

  • bcz24

    I agree completely. Passion, intelligence and a strong work ethic. It’s what makes a klutzy-looking PManning a great quarterback.
    ********
    Cannon-like arm and deadly accuracy play a little into Peyton as well…

  • http://Raiders.com RaiderTW

    You’re talking Hostetler & Gannon or Stabler (later yrs) rather than JC, McNabb, Kolb?

  • I am Spartacus

    bcz24 Says:
    December 27th, 2010 at 11:56 am
    I agree completely. Passion, intelligence and a strong work ethic. It’s what makes a klutzy-looking PManning a great quarterback.
    ********
    Cannon-like arm and deadly accuracy play a little into Peyton as well…

    __________________________________________
    True. Jeff George had both of those in spades (Jerry Mac has said more than one that George had the best and most accurate arm he ever saw), but he had none of the intangibles.

  • HayesDaze37

    Health issues almost made DMC a bust.

    Health issues are playing a large part in Gradkowski being labeled a bust — albeit a “cheaper” one.

    One thing’s for sure…one cannot improve, if one is not on the field. We have way too many athletes not able to do anything athletic for this team, all year long.

    If I could wish for something better in the Draft, I’d wish for players who could stay on the field long enough to turn into great Pros (sooner).

  • r8rwill

    evenin’ nation,
    #539 you say “At this point, I will take below-average talent with above-average intangibles over above-average talent with below-average intangibles”, didn’t we just go thru that with the greatgradkowski? lol

  • EARP

    Ahoy Raider Brethren,
    We need CARSON PALMER!!! Yesterday unleashed hell on the Chargirls defense! And w/ no name receivers. AL & RAIDER front office, wake up & get the veteran that will that will WIN! It ALL starts at the QB position, he will put up 25-35 TDs w/ Ford, Murph & co. Going no

  • Terry

    ” HEY let’s have Campbell try sling it out with Peyton Manning instead of running it on one of the softest “D’s” in the NFL..” GGGEEEEEZZZZZZ what Jepardy finalist came up with that one….
    If you don’t think Manning is REALLY good
    alway’s read what other teams PLAYERS say about him……whats next ” hey KC can’t run the ball lets play pass “