By Steve Corkran
Monday, September 19th, 2011 at 12:47 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour has been a part of far more victories than losses during his 11-year NFL career. Yet, he has been involved with a fair amount of losses during that time, as well.
The loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl several years ago no doubt ranks at the top of Seymour’s list of tough losses. Oakland’s 38-35 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday made the list.
“I’ve been in many games in my career, and that’s one of the most heartbreaking ones I’ve had,” Seymour said Monday.
The Raiders squandered a 21-3 halftime lead and allowed the Bills to rally from 28-24 and 35-31 deficits in the fourth quarter.
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly has seen his more than his share of losses during his eight-year career with the Raiders. The Bills loss tops his list.
“That’s about the worst one since I’ve been here,” Kelly said. “In eight years, we ain’t never been up on nobody 21-3 and lost. We ain’t never been up on nobody 21-3 that many times since I’ve been here. Man, we just got to go back to the drawing board. It’s just a real tough pill to swallow. Real tough.”
Seymour and other players said as tough as it is to cope with the stunning loss Sunday, there isn’t much time to wallow. The undefeated New York Jets roll into town Sunday fresh from a 32-3 victory.
“It’s easy,” Seymour said in terms of getting over the Bills loss. “As a competitor, as a player, you want to get back on the field. I wish we had a Thursday night game this week, just to get back out on the field and redeem yourself, so to speak. We’ve got to come back and rally as a group and pull together.”
*Kelly and Seymour credited the Bills with designing an offensive game plan that called for quick, short passes that negated the Raiders pass rush.
More times than not, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had the ball out of his hand long before the defensive linemen got anywhere near him with their rush.
Fitzpatrick attempted 46 passes without being sacked, even in the face of a blitz from time to time. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain was penalized for holding the only time the Raiders sacked Fitzpatrick.
“Matt (Shaugnessy) or Trevor (Scott) told me about a couple of times they came scot-free and before they could even get there, it was gone,” Kelly said. “So, hey, they had a good game plan, they executed their game plan, so you got to give credit to the Bills.”
Seymour said the Raiders now have to figure out a way to defend against such an approach because future opponents are apt to do the same thing.
“I don’t think he ever held onto it longer than 3,” Seymour said. “(He was throwing) short, dink-and-dunk passes. We could have got our hands up to try to bat some passes down. But we give them credit. They game-planned us and they executed well.
“It’s a learning experience for us. Anytime you get beat, that’s a formula for another team to look at, so we have to look at the game plan and the film, and we have to get better.”
*Quarterback Jason Campbell said the Raiders did a nice job of building a 21-3 halftime lead, but they failed to keep down the Bills when they had an opportunity in the second half.
The Bills scored touchdowns on all five of their second-half possessions. That’s what can happen if you give a team a reason to believe, Campbell said.
“You’re on the road, you can’t give a team life,” Campbell said. “I feel like once we gave them life, gave them momentum, they caught their chemistry as well on offense, and it just became a boxing match. Like I said, that’s any team.
Once you get a team down, you got to keep them down. And once you give them life, all it takes is a couple plays, and they’re awake.”
Raiders coach Hue Jackson hammered home that point during his post-game speech, according to Campbell and other players.
Jackson won’t speak with the media at his weekly news conference until 2 p.m., so we don’t have any idea what his thoughts are about the game just yet.
*Cornerback Stanford Routt had another outstanding game for the Raiders. He intercepted a pass, broke up a couple of passes and more than held his own against the Bills passing attack.
None of that matters to Routt, he said, because he was part of a defense that allowed 35 second-half points and enabled the Bills to overshadow a superb offensive showing by the Raiders.
“You definitely don’t want to ever feel like you’re letting your offense down,” Routt said, “and yesterday we did. It was 21-3 at halftime or something like that. Anytime it’s a lead that big, as a defense, you have to go in and bring that home.”
Several players struggled in pass coverage and against the run Sunday. Cornerback Chris Johnson, McClain and strong safety Tyvon Branch also committed costly penalties in the second half.
Perhaps most glaring, no one covered wide receiver David Nelson on his game-deciding, 6-yard touchdown catch with 14 seconds left.
“I don’t think confidence is anything that lacks in the secondary,” Routt said. “I know you guys in the media, you all try to criticize or chastise a certain individual back there for getting beat on a play, but I don’t think we’re lacking in confidence at all.”
*Wide receiver Derek Hagan caught five passes for 61 yards in his Raiders debut Sunday. Rookie Denarius Moore added five catches for 146 yards.
Hagan said their performance validated what they did throughout training camp and Oakland’s four exhibition games. It also bodes well for the Raiders offense moving forward.
“We knew going into training camp we had guys that can get the job done,” Hagan said. “It just shows we have depth. It doesn’t matter who’s in there. A team really can’t focus on one receiver, and that’s a great thing to have because we all know we all can make plays, and Jason has the confidence to throw any one of us the ball, and he knows we’re going to go out there and make the play for him.”
*Campbell’s 50-yard touchdown pass to Moore came on a throw into tight double coverage. Yet, he feels as if he can take those kinds of chances when guys like Moore are so aggressive going after the ball.
“It was one of those trust issues,” Campbell said. “You see him getting behind the safety and you know he’s going to be pretty much one on one with the corner. (Moore) went up and got the ball at its highest point and made a play for you, and you look around the league, you see guys scoring points. Around the league, you always see guys making plays and that’s exactly what he did – he made plays. He made plays on one of the third downs, in the red zone, on a sideline catch where he went up and got the ball at the highest point. As a quarterback, you learn to trust a guy.”
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