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Raiders enter toughest part of schedule after brutal loss

Playing the New York Jets and New England Patriots in back-to-back weeks wasn’t going to be easy under any circumstances. Now, Raiders coach Hue Jackson gets the unenviable task of rallying his troops on the heels of a fall-from-ahead 38-35 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
The Raiders allowed touchdowns to the Bills offense on all five of the Bills’ second-half possessions and failed to hang on to what seemed an insurmountable lead.
Raiders coach Hue Jackson was hopeful of returning to Oakland with an unblemished record, a locker room full of confident players and thousands of fans eager to climb aboard the Build-A-Bully Express.
Those hopes were dashed when the Bills turned a fourth-and-goal play into a game-winning touchdown. The Raiders came close to pulling out the victory on a Hail Mary pass from Jason Campbell to rookie wide reciever Denarius Moore on the final play of the game.
In the end, Jackson is left with the consolation of knowing his offense played well, he can rely upon Moore, veteran receiver Derek Hagan and that his defense needs to find a way to get consistent pressure on the quarterback and get off the field.

*Much has been written about Moore in these spaces the past seven weeks or so, about how he was the best player in training camp for the Raiders.
Yet, no one was going to take Moore serioulsy until he performed in a regular-season game. Mission accomplisheed for Moore.
He caught five passes for 146 yards and one touchdown, executed the back-end of a double reverse for 25 yards and almost came away with the ball for a game-winning touchdown.
Jackson summed it up best early on in camp when he said that the game doesn’t seem too big for Moore. Indeed, there is nothing about Moore that indicates he is a rookie.
He caught everything he got his hands on, including a 50-yard pass for a touchdown in double coverage that gave the Raiders a 35-31 lead late in the fourth quarter.
For quotes from Moore on his breakout game, read beat writer Jerry McDonald’s game story in a little while. I was not at the game and have no access to player and coach quotes.

*Moore wasn’t the only wide receiver to make a huge impression. Veteran Derek Hagan was activated for the first time this season in light of the Raiders being without the services of receivers Jacoby Ford (hamstring), Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee) and Louis Murphy (groin/hamstring).
He caught five passes for 61 yards and performed the way he did throughout training camp and Oakland’s four exhibition games, when he was their leading receiver.
It will be interesting to see how Jackson uses his receivers once Ford, Murphy and Heyward-Bey are healthy. That might come as soon as next Sunday in the home-opener against the New York Jets.

*Quarterback Jason Campbell had a quiet but spectacular day throwing the ball. He completed 23 of 33 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns.
The lone blemish came on the final play of the game, when his Hail Mary pass into the end zone was intercepted. He finished with an impressive 108.5 passer rating.
Numerous times, Campbell guided the Raiders on sustained drives, completing key passes on third down that kept alive the drives. He also converted a third-and-one play and scored a touchdown on quarterback sneaks.

*According to STATS LLC, the Bills became the first team to score touchdowns on all five second-half possessions since it started keeping track of such things in 1993.
On those drives, the Bills piled up 366 yards on 40 plays. In doing so, the Bills overcame a 21-3 halftime deficit and improved to 2-0. They have scored 79 points in two games.

*The Raiders felt as if they were on to something when they held the Denver Broncos to 38 yards rushing Monday night.
The Bills rushed for 217 yards, including 43 on one run by running back Fred Jackson in the third quarter. The Bills averaged an astonishing 8.7 yards per rush.

*There was some concern about how the Raiders would respond to playing a game on the East Coast only six days after a road game against the Denver Broncos.
That turned out to be a non-issue, as the Raiders jumped to a 21-3 halftime lead and appeared headed toward their first 2-0 start since the 2002 season.
It’s possible that the long flight and playing three time zones away from home caught up with the Raiders in the second half, though.

*Running back Darren McFadden turned in another fine showing on the heels of his 150-yard rushing performance against the Broncos.
McFadden accounted for 143 yards offense and two of Oakland’s five touchdowns. Overall, the Raiders rushed for 131 yards, but only at 4.4 per attempt.
A second-half fumble that was recovered by the Bills led to one of the Bills’ five touchdowns and overshadowed McFadden’s solid play.

*Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson had a game he just as soon would forget ever happened.
The Bills went after him time and again, especially in the second half, when Johnson was lined up against receiver Stevie Johnson.
In the end, Johnson had a chance to be the hero. He had his hands on a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone, only to have it knocked away by Donald Jones.
Johnson had his fair share of Oakland’s eight penalties, as well.
Fellow cornerback Stanford Routt intercepted a pass for Johnson in the first half, and he also broke up a pass at the goal line. That apparently was enough for the Bills to stay away from Routt and go after Johnson.

*The Raiders played penalty-free football until midway through the second quarter. It appeared as if the added emphasis upon reducing the penalties that plagued them the first game was paying dividends.
Lo and behold, the Raiders committed eight for 85 yards in the final 2 1/2 quarters and several of those helped the Bills keep alive drives and get back in the game.

*Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain rebounded from a game in which he went without a tackle to post a team-high 10 against the Bills. He also broke up three passes.
However, stats oftentimes are misleading, as was the case with McClain’s overall play today. He missed several tackles throughout the game and struggled in pass coverage, at times, too.

*Fitzpatrick attempted 46 passes against the Raiders without being sacked. This, against a Raiders defense that entered the game tied for the league lead with five sacks.
The credit goes to the Bills offensive line for executing their assignments well and throughout the game, the Bills for running quick-hitting plays that didn’t give the Raiders much time to get to Fitzpatrick, and the Raiders unwillingness to blitz often.
The Raiders blitzed quite often against the Broncos, and it paid off time and again. The few blitzes that were called by defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan on Sunday most times were with two players who seemed more content with taking up blockers and not getting to Fitzpatrick.

*Rookie running back Taiwan Jones touched the ball for the first time in a regular-season game. It came on a run in the first half that netted 4 yards. He didn’t touch the ball the rest of the game.

*Strong safety Tyvon Branch also came up empty on a pass that should have been intercepted. Fitzpatrick’s pass went right through Branch’s hands in the end zone and into the hands of tight end Scott Chandler for a touchdown.

*The injury to Ford necessitated Nick Miller pulling double duty as the punt and kick returner. He, too, had a rather forgettable afternoon.
Miller averaged only 15.3 yards on his four kick returns — Ford is the regular kick returner — and 9.5 yards on his two punt returns. Twice, he slipped on kick returns and was stopped shy of the 20-yard line.

*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

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103

Live blog: Raiders vs. Bills in-game analysis

Follow the action live as the Raiders square off with the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bay Area News Group writer Steve Corkran will be live blogging and taking your comments throughout Monday’s season opener.

Please note, anything you submit could be used in a future Bay Area News Group article.

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300

Raiders-Bills official injury report

OAKLAND RAIDERS at BUFFALO BILLS

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Status Report

OUT
WR Jacoby Ford (hamstring), S Michael Mitchell (knee), WR Louis Murphy (groin)

QUESTIONABLE
TE Kevin Boss (knee), T Stephon Heyer (knee), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee), S Michael Huff (groin), DT Richard Seymour (ribs)

PROBABLE
QB Jason Campbell (foot), CB Chris Johnson (groin), RB Darren McFadden (shoulder), DE Jarvis Moss (foot), CB Joe Porter (concussion)

Practice Report

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

Wednesday
WR Jacoby Ford (hamstring), S Michael Huff (groin), S Michael Mitchell (knee), WR Louis Murphy (groin), DT Richard Seymour (ribs)

Thursday
WR Jacoby Ford (hamstring), S Michael Huff (groin), S Michael Mitchell (knee), WR Louis Murphy (groin), DT Richard Seymour (ribs)

Friday
WR Jacoby Ford (hamstring), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee), S Michael Mitchell (knee), WR Louis Murphy (groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Wednesday
TE Kevin Boss (knee), CB Chris Johnson (groin), RB Darren McFadden (shoulder), DE Jarvis Moss (foot)

Thursday
TE Kevin Boss (knee), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee), RB Darren McFadden (shoulder)

Friday
TE Kevin Boss (knee), T Stephon Heyer (knee), S Michael Huff (groin), DT Richard Seymour (ribs)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Wednesday
QB Jason Campbell (foot), CB Joe Porter (concussion)

Thursday
QB Jason Campbell (foot), CB Chris Johnson (groin), DE Jarvis Moss (foot), CB Joe Porter (concussion)

Friday
QB Jason Campbell (foot), CB Chris Johnson (groin), RB Darren McFadden (shoulder), DE Jarvis Moss (foot), CB Joe Porter (concussion)

BUFFALO BILLS

Status Report

OUT
WR Marcus Easley (illness), LB Robert Eddins (foot), CB Terrence McGee (hamstring)

DOUBTFUL
DT Torell Troup (back)

PROBABLE
WR Steve Johnson (groin), LB Arthur Moats (knee)

Practice Report

DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

Wednesday
WR Marcus Easley (illness), LB Robert Eddins (foot), CB Terrence McGee (hamstring)

Thursday
WR Marcus Easley (illness), LB Robert Eddins (foot), WR Steve Johnson (groin), CB Terrence McGee (hamstring)

Friday
WR Marcus Easley (illness), LB Robert Eddins (foot), CB Terrence McGee (hamstring)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Wednesday
LB Arthur Moats (knee), DT Torell Troup (back)

Thursday
LB Arthur Moats (knee), DT Torell Troup (back)

Friday
DT Torell Troup (back)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

Friday
WR Steve Johnson (groin), LB Arthur Moats (knee)

*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

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256

Coach Hue Jackson delves into WR Hagan issue

Coach Hue Jackson was asked Friday why wide receiver Derek Hagan was inactive against the Denver Broncos in the regular-season opener.
Well, let’s just say that Jackson has been waiting for an opportunity to respond to those who questioned the decision and called him on his repeated preaching about performance-based play.
First, let’s give Jackson the microphone since he, obviously, has yearned for the chance to fire away at his critics (in the interst of full disclosure, yes, I was one of the most vocal).
“OK, let me, because this has come up several times, about Hagan,” Jackson started. “I just said Hagan’s done a great job and, obviously, he was our leading receiver in the preseason, right? But I never once said he’s the best receiver on our team. I never once said that.”
For the record, no one quoted Jackson as saying Hagan is the best wide receiver on the team. Back to Jackson.
“What he did in the preseason gave him an opportunity to be on this football team,” Jackson said. “It did not make him the starting receiver on this football team. So, let’s make sure we understand where I was with Hagan.”
Where Jackson stood was on firm ground about those who performed best in training camp and exhibition games would be rewarded with playing time. He uttered this stance numerous times.
Hagan caught 12 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown in Oakland’s four exhibition games. He outplayed every receiver on the roster, though it’s important to note that Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy and Chaz Schilens missed some or all of the four games.
Moving on, Jackson said there’s a role for Hagan on the team. That will be defined by Jackson as he learns more about his roster.
“Now, if he gets an opportunity this weekend, he gets an opportunity,” Jackson said. “But I get to make that decision. Nobody else. Me. So, everybody else who thinks I was supposed to put him out there because he was our leading receiver in the preseason, forget that we had other guys that have been very good receivers on this team.
“So, I get to make that decision. That’s the decision I made last week and on we go. Now, if he plays this week, he plays.”
At that point, I reminded Jackson that the media takes their cues from what he says, and that Jackson said playing time would be performance-based.
To which, Jackson replied:
“Yeah, but here’s the deal,” Jackson said. “You said that ‘performed the best.’ No doubt, but we had some other guys that hadn’t practiced that I’ve seen perform in games and make big plays, i.e. Jacoby Ford. So, you guys were like, I’m supposed to sit him down, sit Jacoby Ford down, and let this kid play.”
Um, coach, no one said that that I am aware of. It would be easy to make a case for Hagan playing ahead of Schilens, rookie Denarius Moore and Game 1 starter Darrius Heyward-Bey, though.
Let’s not get in the way of Jackson’s rant. He’s not through yet.
“No, that’s not where I was,” Jackson said. “So, let’s make it clear about what that was. That was for him to get on the team. Performance is what matters, and that’s what got him on the team. That’s where it starts first. Then, he has to continue to perform and beat some of these guys out and then he’ll play. That’s the way it works.”
So, there you have it. What Hagan did in practice and exhibition games was good enough to get him a spot on the 53-man roster. For him to play in a game, he’s going to have to do even more in practice.

*Nick Miller is one of the more versatile players on the Raiders roster. That, more than anything, played into his making the 53-man roster each of the past two seasons.
All his talents just might be on display Sunday against the Bills, given injuries to wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and kick returner Jacoby Ford.
Miller’s primary role is that of punt returner. However, he also is a backup receiver and one of several options on kick returns. He performed all three in practice Friday.
Jackson would not say who is going to return kicks Sunday. Rookie Taiwan Jones and veteran Rock Cartwright also lined up on kick returns during practice Friday.
Jones declined comment in the locker room, saying he had to shower before boarding the plane.

*The Bills turned in, perhaps, the most-impressive showing of Week 1 by rolling into Arrowhead Stadium and rolling up the defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs 41-7.
Mind you, the Chiefs are quite difficult to beat at home, even when they aren’t in the midst of a successful season. The Raiders pulled off the feat last season.
Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly has a message for the Bills, lest they get too caught up in their season-opening victory.
“It caught everybody’s attention around the league,” Kelly said. “Anytime you can go on the road and have a victory like that, that’s going to open up a lot of people’s eyes. But the thing about the NFL is, that happened last week. You’ve got to do the same thing this week. So whatever they did is a nice, impressive victory. Bu they’ve got to come and deal with us now. And we ain’t the Chiefs.”

*The Raiders received some encouraging news Friday with the return of defensive tackle Richard Seymour and free safety Michael Huff. Both missed practice Wednesday and Thursday.
Seymour is battling sore ribs. Huff strained his groin against the Broncos. Their return Friday makes it likely that they intend to play against the Bills. However, they are listed as questionable, which equates to a 50-50 chance of playing in NFL injury report lingo.
Seymour no doubt wants to play. He has more sacks against the Bills (7) than any other team during his long, illustrious NFL career.
Huff said in the locker room that he intends to play, no doubt.

*Jackson said Murphy (groin) and backup safety Mike Mitchell (knee) also are out for the Bills game. Both players said they are targeting the New York Jets game Sept. 25 for their return from injury.
Defensive tack

*Tight end Kevin Boss made it through his third straight practice this week without any setback from the left knee injury he suffered against the 49ers on Aug. 20.
“It’s definitely improving each day,” Boss said. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there and playing some football again.”

*Running back Michael Bush received huge props for his starring role in helping the Raiders close out their 23-20 victory over the Broncos.
Some people are taking to calling him the closer.
“I don’t consider that a role,” Bush said. “It’s something that needed to be done. The line did a great job. It’s was something that we did. We were practicing on it. We just had to move the chains, and we got it done.”
When reminded that closers get paid top dollar, Bush said: “I’ll take it.”
He said he also is aware of the fact that people always seek to label players as something or other.
“Something that comes with the territory,” Bush said. “I’m always getting labeled as something. So, if (everybody) wants to give me that, I’ll take that, too.”
Jackson said he views Bush as more than just a late-game specialist.
“I’m not going to say he’s the closer,” Jackson said. “There’s a couple of things, whether it’s Darren (McFadden) or him, that I know they have a good feel of doing. At the time, there are a couple of things that I’d seen that I thought would give us an opportunity to finish the game.
“You always keep a couple things in your back pocket when you need them the most, and I thought this young man would run those particular plays very well. So that’s why he was there.”

*Here’s the full injury report, in Jackson’s words:
“Ford, did not practice, and he is out, OK? Heyward-Bey, did not practice, and he’s questionable. Murphy, did not practice, he is out. (Stephon) Heyer, limited, questionable. McFadden, full, probable. Boss, limited, questionable. (Jason) Campbell, full, probable. (Jarvis) Moss, full, probable. Seymour, limited, questionable. Huff, limited, questionable. (Chris) Johnson, full, probable. Mitchell, did not participate, he is out. (Joe) Porter, full, probable.”

*Follow me on Twitter: @corkonthenfl

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