The Raiders had an awakening last week against the Chargers. Of course the Chargers have been the NFL's version of an espresso shot lately. But there is something to be said for taking the opportunities presented and creating a few opportunities of one's own. The Raiders did a lot of both on Thursday when they beat the Chargers 24-17 on their "home" field.
This win was an overall team effort that showed the Raiders' ability to dominate in just about every area. Perhaps the dominance didn't all happen simultaneously but it happened in one area at any given time. And it showed the potential for this team to put it all together, especially once they are able to get healthy.
The hardest part about this week's B&B was deciding who would receive the top spot. There were several deserving players but in the end I had to make a tough decision. Just keep that in mind when looking at the top few that in any game like this one, heroes are not so easy to single out.
Palmer had some great games in Cincinnati, there is no doubt. I am sure if I dug through the numbers I could find a game or two in which his performance was equal or greater on paper than this one. But, in my limited scope, I personally don't think I have ever seen him play a better game than this one. Through three quarters of play, Palmer had a perfect QB rating: he threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions, he completed 11 of 13 passes for 256 yards. One of those incompletions was when Denarius Moore slipped and couldn't come down with it.
In the fourth quarter he had his first off target throw as well as his lone interception. Even the interception was not his fault as his arm was hit as he threw, causing the ball to sail up for grabs. Palmer put together a masterful game. He would finish 14 of 20 for 299 yards, two TD's, and one INT with a 125.0 QB rating. He also jumpstarted a new offense for the Raiders as he had five passes of over 25 yards which is the most the Raiders have had in nearly 20 years (Hostetler had six in 1993 per Josh Dubow of the Associated Press).
Bush ripped off enormous chunks of yardage all day on the Chargers including a 44 yard run and a 55 yard screen pass. His 44 yard rush got things started off early on the first play of the second possession. He settled in after that when on the next drive he rushed for two first downs and a touchdown. Next Raider touchdown drive came in the second quarter and featured a 23 yard run by Bush. His 55 yard screen came early in the third quarter and led to the Raiders' final touchdown of the day. After that they just kept "feed(ing) the stud," as Bush put it, as he continued to churn out the yards and eat clock.
By the end, he had toted the rock 30 times for 157 yards (5.2 ypc) and caught three passes for 85 yards. His one mistake in this game was in the passing game when he missed a block that led to Palmer getting hit as he threw, resulting in the interception. Otherwise, he may have been the logical choice for top Baller. But it is impossible to overlook 242 yards from scrimmage.
During the Raiders' bye week it was noted that Wimbley had just one sack on the season through seven games, after putting up a team leading 9 sacks in 2010. He then got his second sack against the Broncos—still below what we have come to expect from him. But he knows how to catch up in a hurry. He had four sacks in this game erasing any doubts about his abilities since getting his monster contract this offseason.
Chargers starting left tackle Marcus McNeil was knocked out of the game in the first quarter and from that point on, Wimbley went on his tear. His first sack opened the second quarter and closed the door on that Chargers drive. Shortly thereafter, he stopped another Chargers drive with a sack on third down. Then on the last series of the first half, he had a third sack. When he wasn't sacking Philip Rivers, he was pressuring him and hitting him with regularity. Wimbley had his final sack on the second to last play of the game to force a long last gasp pass attempt by Rivers who was sacked a final time to end the game.
Along with his four sacks and many hurries (7) and hits (5) on the QB, Wimbley also led the team with seven solo tackles. He becomes the first Raider to have four sacks in a single game since Anthony Smith in 1993.
The level of trust that has developed between Palmer and Denarius so quickly is astonishing. He threw to Moore 12 times last week though only completed four of them. But that didn't discourage him from going for his new favorite target again. This time he had a great deal more success. But things didn't start out looking that way. Moore slipped on the turf (third week in a row) and dropped the first pass thrown to him. Next time he saw the ball was fielding a punt in which he ran backward for two yard loss. And that was his entire first quarter. Then things turned around... big time.
On the Raiders' first possession of the second quarter he had a spectacular 46 yard fingertip grab that made the round of the highlight reels. It set up a field goal to put the Raiders up 10-3.
The following Raiders' possession, he got a reprieve after a bad choice to field a punt at the one yard line when on the do-over punt, he blocked the gunner to keep him away from the ball and allow it to bounce in the end zone for a touchback. He also had a seven yard catch on that drive. The drive after that was almost all Denarius. He returned the punt 21 yards to their own 44 yard line. Two plays later with the Raiders at the Chargers 33 yard line, Denarius broke away from two defenders to catch a perfectly placed pass at the goal line and take it in for the touchdown. He would catch another touchdown pass from 26 yards out on the Raiders' next drive. The remainder of the game for Moore consisted of a nice 11 yard catch in which he scooped it up off the turf and a nifty move on a punt return to the 30 yard line. He finished with five catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Cooper Carlisle, Stefen Wisniewski
It seemed nearly every time you saw Bush burst through a gaping hole and run wild into the secondary, it was through a block by one of these two. Carlisle was the first to get a notch on his belt when he pulled from his right guard spot to lay a gap clearing block that sprung Bush for a 44 yard gain. Later the two of them executed a screen play to perfection that gave Bush a convoy for him to break off 55 yards. Those two big runs are just the most obvious examples. Wisniewski, who was filling in for the injured Samson Satele, and Carlisle were doing some serious work and Bush's 157 yards rushing and 242 yards from scrimmage is proof of that.
There is a saying or perhaps it was a song lyric, I don't know, that "You don't know what you've got until it's gone." While I wouldn't completely subscribe to that with what I have seen from McClain, there is a ring of truth to it. As critical as I have been of McClain, this team is clearly better with him in the lineup. McClain is the team's middle linebacker and it becomes obvious what that means when you watch this defense with and without him in it. He was playing through an injury in this game. He was visually hampered by it, but if you didn't actually see him laboring, you never would have known it. He had several run stuffing tackles at or near the line of scrimmage and even had a tipped incompletion and three passes defended. He dug deep late, when the Raiders needed it the most. With the Chargers down by a touchdown in the fourth quarter, McClain had a QB pressure to force an incompletion, a run stuff at the line, and then ended the drive with a pass defended.
He didn't have a great day but he did have the Raiders' only turnover. After the Raider defensive backs had three previous golden opportunities to pick off Philip Rivers that came up empty, Giordano was finally able to get an interception. It came late in the fourth quarter after the Chargers had driven down the field and were looking to tie the game. Rivers dropped back and threw a long ball to Vincent Jackson and Giordano intercepted it in the end zone. In the process he became the only Raider defender to have more than one interception this season.
It's a second straight top Buster for Curry. In his short time with the Raiders we have gotten a really good indication of what kind of player he is. He is a high energy, hard hitting player with little in the way of instincts or football intelligence. That becomes a serious liability in pass coverage more than anything. We picked up his poor play in the third quarter last week and again, that is where we pick it up this week.
On the Chargers' first drive out of the locker room, they began exploiting the pass coverage of Curry. He gave up an 11 yard catch and a 22 yard catch on that drive. The result was the Chargers' first touchdown. On the next drive, Curry gave up a 10 yard catch on third and one and gave up a 20 yard catch on the very next play that put the Chargers in field goal range. The next Chargers drive, he was out of position which left running back Jacob Hester wide open for a seven yard touchdown catch. So that's three drives, three scoring opportunities, and two touchdowns for the Chargers facilitated by Curry surrendering five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Curry says that his high energy defines him as a player. That high energy works well in basic run defense. But in every other area, it won't cut it. He was left confused facing Tebow's read-option attack last week and he was lost in coverage against Philip Rivers this week. The Chargers went into the locker room at halftime and came out knowing just the guy they could exploit to move the ball down the field and score. And you can bet every other team from here on out will take the same approach, though they probably won't wait until the third quarter.
As usual, Routt played a good game for the most part. But he usually seems to make us forget all about his fine coverage skill because he keeps getting victimized when it counts the most. On the Chargers' first touchdown pass, he was in perfect position to intercept it or at very least defend it. He saw it coming the moment he left the line and had what felt like an eternity to size it up. Then he leapt in the air and came away with nothing. The receiver, Vincent Brown (who?) plucked it away and came down with the 31 yard touchdown catch. As the Raiders' number one corner, he HAS TO make those plays—and he just doesn't. The Chargers were lined up in fourth and one and Routt gave up a catch and missed the tackle and it went for 17 yards to the seven yard line. The Chargers scored the touchdown on the next play. He was later called for holding.
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I wouldn't go as far as calling Curry a buster this week. San Diego had about 90 yards rushing, and about 250 yards passing. You know, that's a very nice day for a defense, against an offense as explosive as SD. Oakland did a far better job, than say, Green Bay the week before.
Curry made some big plays. He took Marcus McNeill out of the game with a brutal hit. He made a key 3rd down stop on a screen.
I agree that he was not one of the best players - but that doesn't mean he actually played bad. Just not to the same level of excellence
give denarius a break on all the inconsistant production after all he is a rookie, and they say wr don't really come into their own until year three. after that maybe you can critique
Denarius Moore is without question a superstar in the making. Any Raider fan in their right mind knows that this kid is a very special player. I can just sense that Carson Palmer sees a young OchoCinco in him, and it is very clear that Palmer is going to use Moore as his lethal weapon. The incredible thing about Moore, is that he has more touchdowns (4) in his rookie season than DHB (3) does in his entire career, which is year number three as a starter. A FIFTH ROUND PICK????? I can only imagine how Mike Mayock must feel after watching him play against the Chargers knowing he was selected at such a late round. As I recall, the knock on Moore in college was "a lack of consistent production".....I think Mayock is the best of the best in regards to draft analysis, but he definitely struck out on this one. Does anyone who watched the game on TV know what he had to say??? I was at Qualcomm stadium with by brother- in- law so I did not hear Mayock's commentary on Moore. It would have been fun to hear...
Kamerion Wimbley was top baller for me. He had 7 solo tackles, 4 sacks, and 1 Pass Defended. ESPN also credits him with 5 more QB hits. As good as Palmer, Bush and Moore were he was the main reason why we won this game. Rivers just had no time to throw at all. If he did have time to throw, the Raiders would have lost one as our Offense wasn't rampant in the second half.
Sorry but for me RoMac wasn't a baller. He did better than previous efforts but was helped by a (mostly) dominating D-line. He was seen floundering after Matthews on the 2nd and 20 in which he didn't get anywhere near him in what was a short dump off pass that ended up on our 2 yard line. His lack of pace was obvious there for all to see.
Desmond Bryant should have been a Baller. Two tackles for loss and a sack is a great return for a guy who doesn't get on the field all that much.
Stephon Heyer was exceptional on the O-line and I thought was more prominent than Carlisle.
Richard Seymour should have been a Buster. The commentary team described him as a 'wylie veteran' but that means he shouldn't giving up us many penalties as he has done this year. If there were stats available he'd be near to the top. Also on a line that was dominant he was surprisingly a non-factor. I think I saw 2 QB pressures against a banged up Chargers line. No tackles, no assists, no sacks. Fortunately for him Wimbley was on fire and Kelly, Henderson and Bryant all had good games.
I think you missed out on lito shepherd as a baller to come in and play as well as he did was balls itself although he dropped that pass I thought he did well and I think you need to give curry time to develop as he kept gates quiet for most of the game!
Saying that, he is potentially something special. His seperation from cornerbacks, in the first 5 yards, is as good as I've ever seen from a rookie.
You know, he reminds me of Jackson for Philadelphia
I agree. But there's a difference between being an explosive receiver and being a reliable receiver. Moore has more explosion, and big plays, but I wouldn't say he's been as reliable as DHB this season.
A lot of his poor route running, and drops have cost Oakland dear over the last 2 weeks. These aren't mistakes DHB is making.
You know, Moore is a rookie, so you sort of expect it. I just mean, teams don't win if they just have explosive home run hitters. They need guys to step up and be consistent every single down. This is what DHB was doing.
Brandon Marshall averages about 2-3 touchdowns a season as an example
"A lack of consistant production" sums up his season so far to be honest! Not trying to knock him or anything but this year he could be called inconsistant as well:
Week 1: 0 rec, 0 yards
Week 2: 5 rec, 146 yards, 1 rush 25 yards
Week 3: 4 rec, 34 yards, 1 rush 23 yards
Week 4: 3 rec, 19 yards
Week 5: 0 rec, 0 yards
Week 6: 1 rec, 9 yards, 1 rush -3 yards
Week 7: 1 rec, 4 yards
Week 9: 4 rec, 61 yards
Week 10: 5 rec, 123 yards
Those are pretty incosistant numbers! It may not be his fault now (or in College) but at the moment I don't think he (or any of our WR for that matter) have shaggen the inconsistant tag,
@Spartacus There is no denying that Moore had a "lack of consistent production". That is a fact. Mayock needed only look at the numbers to see that. The qustion is why. Some insist it was the shakey quarterback play at Tennessee. It appears at this moment that may have been the case. Moore had big games and then disappear in college. He just had a big game. If he can keep it up, we will have our answer. If he can't, we will have the other answer.
@Spartacus Btw, like the OchoCinco comparison - many similarities in their skillsets, and he could very well become a favorite target of Palmers! Think Ford will be something special as well though! Had it not been for the injury he would have had a monstrous day!
@Spartacus Moore can become something very special, especially as Palmer seems to have trust in him! He needs to continue to develop, and he has several aspects of his game that he needs to work on! .. One thing I really liked about his play in this game was that he NEVER quit on a play! He did that a couple of times last game against the Ponies, and I am sure HJ called him out on it in the meeting room (especially the int), so it is great to see him turn it around so quickly!
The reason he dropped in the draft was inconsistancy as you say - teams didn't know what they would get! He had a new QB and a new coaching staff every year, so he was hampered by the inconsistancy in scheme, players (really bad QB and Oline play) and style that kept changing! But he also always improved throughout the seasons!
Always complimented for his speed and hands, he was critizised for his routerunning - rounding off the routes instead of making the hard cut! Also several reports came out about him having troubles with a couple of the QBs and coaches as he was sometimes left almost completely out of the gameplan, causing several analysts to question his attitude..
Mayock mentioned the lack of production, but i think he also said that he had a great deal of raw talent and that some consistency might be the key for Moore in the NFL..
No matter what, several teams lost a potentially great player leaving yet another late rd. gem in the draft history of the Raiders!
I agree about Seymour. He hasn't played that well for 3 weeks now.
I think he gets by on reputation
@DevonRaiderUK Now you see why it was so hard to pick the top Baller. There were at least four deserving candidates. I went with the guy who had a perfect passer rating through three quarters. Wimbley benefitted greatly from Marcus McNeil leaving the game.
Why do you think they had such good games. Seymour was drawing double teams freeing them up to make plays.
@Dmk1973 Gates kept himself quiet. He is not the same player this season. He looks slow and overweight.
@Dmk1973 i would tend to agree. he told everyone before the game he had a chip on his shoulder... he wants to succeed once more. he did so in this game. good for him. DVD can take a back seat to this guy if he continues to play well against his former team coming up!
Devon: Bryant deserves to be on the baller list. he is proving more and more of himself every game. having Seymour, TK, and Waufle teaching him has helped this kid tremendously. it will continue to show up against the viqueens, their pass blocking is almost as bad as the chargers'.
LD: i agree with your assessment of Curry. the man was dropped out of SEA for a reason... the huge problem here is that he's still better than Groves, even in pass coverage! if not better, they're equally bad in that aspect. I knew we should have gone after someone in the off season... this just isn't working. we had better go hard after someone after this year... and by the way Hue acted on it in midseason.. i'm sure he will. obviously, this doesn't help us for the immediate future. Ponder should look good on his short throws next sunday... he'll pick on that side all day.
I agree - Moore and Ford are both "all or nothing" players at the minute. Explosive, but not reliable.
Let's not forget, we've lost 2 of the last 3 games with them starting. And much of that is because of their poor WR play.
The losses to KC and Denver, Moore had less than 70 yards. DHB was averaging more than that, per game, up until Palmer came in.
I agree the numbers are a little inconsistent, but, in Denarius' defence, DHB was the primary target in weeks 4-7, and Moore was the second and third option, unlike the last 2 weeks. For a rookie, we have to give him credit, as he is putting up far better numbers than DHB did his rookie year, and DHB was the 7th overall pick in the draft. Moore was selected in the 5th round, so his production value for when he was selected is off the charts...Just wait and see how well he plays in the last 7 games. Carson Palmer and Denarius Moore are going to be a lethal combination....
@nilbymouth@Spartacus the only one on the roster is Moore. Ford would have a shot, but now he'll be worse than inconsistent ... god man, Ford and DMAC are killing us! it's time to get BOSS INVOLVED! Moore will open things up underneath for TJ and Boss... Hue had better call for more 15 yard passes. both of them are good with YAC ... use that ability against MIN and they will crumble on every drive just like SD did.
@LDizzle@Spartacus like it matters. he had a crappy QB in TEN and he had a mediocre at best QB in Campbell... now he has a star QB that can drop it in on him. the timing is still even slightly off too... that's what's exciting. Palmer is just getting started! this offense will go off... especially if/when DMAC returns healthy. LOOK OUT!
Honestly, Levi, I think that even AJ Greene would have struggled playing at Tennessee. From the coaching changes to the quarterback changes as well, I think it was amazing that Moore put up the numbers he did. It's hard to compete in any sport when there there is a lot of turmoil, and Denarius faced a lot of it in college. I really see Moore's numbers skyrocketing now that Carson Palmer has got his groove back.....
I agree with you 100% that several teams lost out on a potentially great player in Denarius Moore. Kansas City comes to mind first and foremost. Jonathan Baldwin is average at best, and was all hype comming out of college. He is not in Moore's league, and I bet KC would draft Moore in a second if they could do it over again. Moore is playing like a first round pick, even with a little bit of inconsistency in this years play. However, now that Carson Palmer is starting to find his game, Moore's numbers will definitely be a lot more consistent, and I see a rookie of the year run from him in the last 7 games...
@LDizzle That hit idn't get Curry off the Busters list tho'!
As you say 4 genuine candidates, arguments for in all cases. Wimbley can only beat who is in front of him. He was drawing double teams from the Back late in the game as he was un-blockable. I'm not sure how a perfect QB rating is arrived at but if there was a defensive stat to compare it with, Wimbley wouldn't be far away.
I don't buy that.
Seymour hasn't played that well for the last 3 weeks.
Oakland didn't get any pressure at all on Cassel or Tebow all game. It's why we lost both
@JamesMichaelFawJr Seymour was double teamed every play? Didn't see it, aint buying it.
yes, this defense does not function without McClain lining players up. you see him yelling at everyone behind him, watching them get into line? yea, Blackstock could not do this in the UFL and cannot do it in the NFL. the man is a SCRUB! it is terrible he's backing up the position. we're so thin at LB, it's mind boggling. this is nothing new, but it's becoming painfully clear as the season goes on.
McClain just needs to hit the right holes a little more consistently, and he's a BOOM first round pick. this comes with experience... like all recent raider 1st rounders, they take until about year 3 to show up. i believe RolMac has the talent... that arthritis in his foot or ankle really clouds his future though... very unfortunate that he must deal with this problem. of course there was no waying of knowing this before the draft ... so it's on NO ONE.
@Spartacus@nilbymouth they already are. the NFL is on notice now... and will drop that FS back at times, allowing EVERYTHING underneath. they won't have a choice. that's how there was GAPING HOLES for Bush most of the game... aside from SD's lack of effort in the second half...
DMAC on those Bush runs would have had at least 2 TDs if not more. that game would not have even been close.
I agree with you. Curry is the reason McNeil went out. He destroyed the guy with a brutal pass/rush hit.
Maybe Curry was the worst of the 3 linebackers, but that's only because the other 2 played their best game of the season.
Curry had a good game. San Diego only passed for 280 yards. Gates did next to nothing.
Aaron Curry was better in pass coverage, than Clay Mathews the week before
You've got to give linebackers at least 3 years. It's a very complicated position, and takes them time to get up to speed.
Some guys get it straight away. But others take a couple of years.
Look at AJ Hawk, Lawrence Timmons and guys like that. Both those guys were picked around the same spot. Both took at least 3 years to break through. Both are now pro bowl level players.
You know, AJ Hawk - a lot of fans had him down as a bust. Took the guy 5 years to break out. He may well be leading his D to a second superbowl ring in 2012