One of the most repeated needs for the Oakland Raiders has been the need to score points. The Raiders did just that on Sunday when the entire team joined in the fun and scored points as the team racked up 35 on their way to victory.
The Raiders 35 points were the highest point total since scoring 38 against the Buffalo Bills in week seven of the 2005 season. That is a space of 77 games where they weren't able to light up the scoreboard.
The Offense, as can be expected was the largest contributor of points with 19. They set Sebastian Janikowski up for two field goals. Jason Campbell led the team on a 93 yard drive that consumed over half of the third quarter. It finished when Campbell hit Zach Miller in the back corner of the end zone on third and goal from the one, and Janikowski nailed the extra-point. In the fourth quarter, Campbell again methodically drove the Raiders. This time it was a 77 yard drive that ended when Michael Bush carried the ball over the goal line for six points and a one point lead. The Raiders attempted a two point conversion to up the lead to three, but the pass intended for Darrius Heyward-Bey.Jason Campbell, who entered the game after Bruce Gradkowski had to leave with a shoulder injury spread the credit to his teammates, “I thought my teammates played great, it wasn’t about me. The offensive line was big and we ran the ball real successfully – that was the topic this week, to run the ball. When the game got in the line, the guys came up big on the goal line to get us into the endzone, and Michael Bush ran hard. When guys go down, other guys step up and contribute and make plays – Darren was having an outstanding season and Bush was able to come in and make plays.”
It was the Raiders' special teams that opened the scoring when Rock Cartwright broke through and blocked the punt of Mike Scifres. The ball skipped through the back of the end zone to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead. The second time the Bolts line up to punt it was Brandon Myers who broke through and got his hand on Scifres's punt. Hiram Eugene scooped up the ball and scooted into the end zone to extend their early lead to 12-0. These nine points off of two blocked punts loom exceedingly large against the backdrop of an eight point win, not mention the momentum from getting these early huge pays from such an unlikely source.
Special teams coordinator Brian Schneider said, "(It) was nice to feel like we're a big part of winning the football game."
Perhaps the single most important score came from the defense late in the fourth quarter. The Raiders were tenuously clinging to a one point lead and the Chargers had penetrated to the Raiders 23 yardline. In a call that normally seems to go against the Raiders, the Chargers were called for holding to push them to the outer limits of field goal range. After an incomplete pass, Michael Huff jarred the ball loose from Philllip Rivers for his second fumble of the day. Chris Johnson kept it alive so Tyvon Branch could scoop it up and sprint 64 yards for a touchdown.
Michael Huff recounted causing the fumble, “I was on Sproles side, so I knew I had to beat the one-on-one. I had to beat Sproles. I did that and just got a hand up and luckily I hit his arm. Once I saw Tyvon running I knew he wasn’t going to get caught, so I started celebrating.”
After the game, Head Coach Tom Cable saw the point explosion as a breakthrough, but said that the team had been closing in on it. “It's been coming though. If you look at us all year, other than really the Tennessee game. It's been coming. You could see us being real close, real close. The fact that we did it in the kicking game and on defense as well, that's how you get point totals like that.”
Wide receiver Louis Murphy was pleased that the team scored, but he also mentioned that they could have had more. “We left so many more plays out there on the field we could have made. Its great to say that we scored a lot of points. We just got to keep going, keep working hard, so much more we can do.”