So much for turning the corner. Just a week removed from a decisive victory over the Broncos on their home field, the Raiders revert back to being the cure for what ails the opposition. The Chiefs had just ONE win all season coming into the game including nine straight losses but it turns out that all they needed was a trip to Oakland to fix that. Despite a great opening drive that was just what Raider fans had hoped for and should have expected after last week, that promising drive yet AGAIN ended in a field goal. It also was the best drive the Raiders had all day. So, as has been the case most of the season, there is much more blame to be handed out than credit for good play.
Chris Johnson- He headlines a short list of players who played their asses off and did their part to keep the Raiders within striking distance of the hapless Chiefs. He didn’t give up a single sizeable gain on his man until the second to last play of the game. He also had the biggest play of the day for the Raiders when, on the Chiefs’ first play of the 2nd half, he intercepted a pass and returned it to the Chiefs one yard line. From there, Justin Fargas leaped into the end zone for the touchdown. It was really nice to see a great play on defense taken advantage of by the offense rather than squandered by bad play calling and penalties.
Zach Miller- Mr Dependable was yet again the Raiders’ leading receiver. Unfortunately, through no fault of his own, that is never good news for the Raiders. He had 5 catches for 79 yards on the day. Among those catches was a 28 yard catch on the Raiders’ first drive, a 21 yard catch on third and long on the Raiders’ next posession, and two nice catches of 8 and 18 yards on the Raiders’ final drive of the day that resulted in a Janikowski field goal.
Tom Cable- The game began looking like he had finally figured out how to be unpredictable as well as utilize Darren McFadden. Then the Raiders failed as usual on their first drive and had to settle for a field goal. But that failure is not why he is here. He earned this dishonor when he called a fake field goal on 4th and 10 that was fumbled and returned for a touchdown. That was one of the worst calls I have ever witnessed. Not only did the Raiders not get three points but they gave up seven. That is a ten point swing in a game that was lost by seven points. You do the math. That stupid call alone lost this game for the Raiders. He said after the game that if the play had worked then he would look like a genius. No, sorry Cable. If that play would have worked it would have been a miracle and you would have looked like a lucky fool. And we would still be left with the same truth: Cable is a terrible game coach. The only reason there were some imaginative plays on the first drive is that the first drive is scripted ahead of time. He didn’t call any of those plays in a pressure game time situation. I originally worried about losing Cable and Knapp after the season but now I say, “Bring it on. It can’t get much worse.”
JaMarcus Russell- He’s baaa-aaack. After posting his best game of the season last week, he fell back to earth this week. He was back to his old self again. Which means he was terribly off target on most of his passes. He completed 35% of his passes on the day and had a total of 132 yards passing. The only thing missing was a fumble.
Gibril Wilson- He led the team in tackling. The main reason for this was that he gave up so many catches. He was abused all day by Tony Gonzalez. He gave up a 16 yard 1st down catch to Gonzo on the first play of the game, then gave up an 11 yard catch to Gonzo to set up the Chiefs’ first field goal of the day. Then on the Chiefs’ lone touchdown drive he gave up a 16 yard catch to Gonzo on 3rd down to keep the drive alive. While Gonzo victimized many on Sunday (8 rec, 110 yds), Wilson was victimized the most.
Gerard Warren- When the two leading tacklers are from the secondary, that is a very bad sign and it means that the linemen are not doing their job. While there were few on the line who played well, Warren barely showed up on the stat sheet with just one tackle on the day. He had no QB pressures or hurries or anything. All the while, Larry Johnson was able to rack up nearly a hundred yards rushing. Warren’s biggest knock throughout his career has been inconsistency. He is known to simply disappear in games and this is an example of one of those games.
Derrick Burgess- Yet again, he barely shows up in the stats. He too had just ONE tackle on the day. He was seen in the backfield once in which he made Thigpen step up into the pocket. We expect Burgess to rush the passer above all things but if he can’t do that, at least some tackles would be nice.
Kirk Morrison- Yet another Hero to Zero from last week to this week. Of course Gonzo victimized him a few times as well. One of those catches was on the 3rd down on the Chiefs’ touchdown drive. He also had a missed tackle on a Dwayne Bowe catch that resulted in a first down and an eventual field goal. He took a bad angle and was handled on the block that led to a huge 25 yard Tyler Thigpen run to set up the other KC field goal. He was also fooled badly on the Larry Johnson 2 yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He is the middle linebacker and he is supposed to be the brains of this defense. He was not smart in this game.
**You may note that Justin Fargas is not on this list. That is because while he did have a great game rushing the ball and scored his first touchdown of the season, he had a costly fumble on a play in which he was barely touched. The fumble led to a Chiefs field goal and put the Raiders down by two scores. So in this game he giveth and he taketh away. You may also notice that Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski are not here despite the botched pitch on the fake field goal that led to a Chiefs TD. I don’t fault them because that play should never have been called and there was nothing good that could have come of it. Blaming Lechler and Janikowski for that play would be like blaming Janikowski for missing a 76 yard field goal. Although it sure would have been nice if they wouldn’t have fumbled it and gift wrapped a TD for the Chiefs. Especially considering they have been practicing that play since last season. I’m just sayin’.