So here we are again mourning another loss. This time instead of a blow out or a heartbreaker it was just a complete lack of execution. In a game that any halfway decent team should have won, this team somehow found a way to lose anyway. Hopefully among the Ballers and Busters, some reasoning can come of this whole debacle.
As usual he made every other player on the field, including his own teammates, look like they were in some kind of sub-division by comparison. He had one pass thrown his way that he intercepted as if he were saying, “Seriously, Delhomme, do you really want to test me?” to which Delhomme responded by not risking it again. It was masterful and effortless and could be taught in football camps for years as perfect technique. Most of the game Aso was guarding Steve Smith who didn’t catch a single ball against him and finished the game with one catch for nine yards. Later in the game, Aso had a pass defended but it was not even his man. So apparently he has so much talent that he can lend some of it to his fellow defenders. How generous of him.
He had his best game since returning from his groin injury. Every drive he was ripping off nice chunks of yardage. On the Raiders’ first drive he had runs of 9, 5, and 10 but the drive stalled when Walter was sacked and couldn’t convert the third and long. Later in the game he had a 17 yard run which wasn’t enough after an offensive holding penalty. He had a nice 5 yard run that put Janikowski in range for his record breaking field goal in the third quarter. He finished the game with 89 yards on 22 carries. Although when running to the right side of the line where Cornell Green is, he had 7 rushes for a total of 4 yards. Without that sad stat he averaged 5.6 yards per carry.
Congratulations Seabass for surpassing the great George Blanda to become the Raiders’ all time leading scorer. On the day, he scored the only points the Raiders had with his two field goals: the first from 38 and the second from 45. Late in the fourth quarter he was forced to attempt a 58 yarder that missed off of the cross bar. Most NFL kickers could never hope to reach the post let alone be accurate from that range and since that would have been yet ANOTHER Raider record to eclipse his own record he set this season which had broken his previous record, I will give him a pass on that one. He was also booming kickoffs into the end zone in this game and had two touchbacks.
Yawn! He is so predictable. Long, high, soaring punts yada yada yada. I suppose only the specifics change from game to game. His first punt was downed at the 9 yard line. A couple of punts later his punt was left alone and settled at the 4 yard line. But I suppose when you tie for 2nd in the NFL all time with 11 punts in a game, you have plenty of tries to be spectacular. That or mess up. Which he never did. And never does.
This was a tough one. Perhaps I should put the ball hawking Rashad Baker here because his tackling is certainly “Buster” material. He really surprised me with his play. He is a damn fine free safety as far as coverage is concerned. And we saw none of this ability in the preseason. He had two really nice interceptions on Sunday and he did it in the fashion that you want to see from your team’s free safety. He took nice angles and swooped in to be the SAFETY valve to cover the deep routes of the receivers. At this point that is all we can ask for considering we haven’t been getting much of it lately.
I have been critical of Morrison this season because he doesn’t seem to be in the right position to make a play most of the time and he gives up too many catches. He led the team in tackles which is usually expected from the middle linebacker but only one of those tackles was on a catch made by the man he was covering. He played the run quite well and had two run stuffs. The first was on DeAngelo Williams on third down to force a punt and the other was on Jonathan Stewart on a posession that resulted in a Panthers three and out.
Congrats Cornell, you looked worse than Kwame Harris in this game. Because while you were just as porous in giving up sacks (2), you made life miserable for Justin Fargas every time he tried to run to the right side. Fargas ran 7 times to the right side and those runs looked like this: 2, 1, -3, 0, 0, 1, 3. Which as I mentioned earlier is a total of 4 yards. On top of that, right after a really nice 27 yard Zach Miller catch and run you had a false start to help kill that drive. Thanks buddy.
I thought there was supposed to be equal time between he and Mario Henderson in this game? As it turns out, Henderson played about one quarter (and looked solid) and Harris played the rest of the game. In the process, he gave up two sacks to Julius Peppers.
Jonnie Lee Higgins
He had reservations on this list about five seconds into this game when he took the opening kickoff out of the end zone and fumbled it at the 16 yard line to set up the Panthers’ first touchdown. But then he played the rest of the game like the JLH we knew and hated in the preseason and early in the regular season. He ran right into the defenders almost every time and didn’t break anything to give the Raiders favorable field position. His punt returns on the day looked like this: -2, 9, 0, -3, 0, 2, 11. He had two punt returns with negative yardage? I thought he learned from that running backwards crap! Then on the punt return he had that went for 2 yards there was an illegal block in the back called. So even with an illegal block in the back he couldn’t muster more than two friggin yards? Two of the main reasons the Raiders lost this game were turnovers and field position and he was almost solely responsible for those two problems.
Both of the Panthers’ two touchdowns on the day went through him. The first was a 3 yard catch by Musin Muhammed who was his man and he was really trailing on the catch to make it look easy. The other was the DeAngelo Williams 69 yards run that came from his and Baker’s dual missed tackle. He is usually the antithesis of Rashad Baker. Hiram can’t cover but he is a solid tackler and Baker can cover but can’t tackle. Seems like the story of the Raiders.
He seems to still be oblivious as to what kind of team he is putting on the field. To sum up why he is on this list I will use someone else’s words:
“There are two ways to meet difficulties: You alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them.” — Phyllis Bottome.
In other words you need to use a game plan that utilizes what this team has. The screen passes to Michael Bush are a good start but this is no time to take baby steps. I am sick of talking about the Raider players with an overall tone of “You did the best you could under the circumstances.” Well, Tom, you are not doing the best YOU can under the circumstances. This defense played way too well to have to endure a shoddy offense that lacks discipline and focus. And that falls squarely on your shoulders.
Every week someone reminds me that Al needs to be on this list. I usually don’t mention him because it goes without saying. But I agree that he should be here and so here he is. This week it is for the releasing of DeAngelo Hall. Sure Chris Johnson played admirably and this defense looked better than it has in a while. But let us not forget what repercussions came from DeAngelo Hall. We traded away a HIGH second round pick (34th overall), signed him to a ridiculous deal that strapped the team’s ability to re-sign Asomugha long term, we traded former first round pick Fabian Washington for a fourth round pick, that fourth round pick turned out to be Arman Shields who hasn’t played this year because of injury and in the small amount of time he played in the preseason, he didn’t look very good, DeAngelo Hall played terribly for eight games in which he made a million per game, and now the possibility of the Raiders EVER seeing him turn it around is lost because he is gone. Sorry, I am sure none of you needed to be reminded of the disaster Al has made of this team this year but there it is.