The Raiders Are Different & Other Notes
From the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
At times, they were the same old Raiders. Silly plays, dumb decisions and stupid penalties – they’ve been part of the Oakland landscape for the better part of the last seven years.
And they were all there on Sunday against the Chiefs. But give credit to head coach Tom Cable (right) because he’s made a difference with Al Davis’ team. He hasn’t eliminated all the dumb stuff, but the Raiders did not give up and more than a few guys in the silver and black locker room say that’s what makes the 2010 Raiders different.
“We would have went in the tank in the first quarter, probably be down 24-0 first quarter, crowd getting ready to leave,” said DT Tommy Kelly of the Raiders early troubles and how they would have reacted in previous years. “But we didn’t.”
S Mike Mitchell hasn’t been around long, but he sees the difference.
“I don’t know what it was like a few years ago, but I can tell you last year we don’t win this game,” Mitchell said. “I can say that with 100 percent assurance. You can see the change. When we got down (last year), it was almost like, ‘Here we go. It’s over.’ But this year, we don’t care. We’re going to play you until there’s no time on the clock.”
It was a roller coaster for the Raiders all day, before Sebastian Janikowski’s 33-yard field goal won the game.
“We were not very good offensively for about 2½ quarters and then kind of seemed to settle in and make some plays,” said Cable. “But we really never got in rhythm. Our defense did a tremendous job of keeping us in the game. In the first half, I wasn’t very pleased with the special teams and then they showed up big there in the second half, to get it started, obviously, with the return and the fumble.
“They got us going with some energy. We were a little bit unsettled early. Some of that, maybe, it’s just our first time being in this, but we’ll be better next time.”
So how much will a victory like this one lift the Raiders, who are going into their bye week at 5-4 and just a shade behind the Chiefs in the AFC West.
“A new building block showed up today,” said Cable. “And that is, no matter what, no matter how long it takes, we just keep grinding and find a way. And that’s what we did. The thing I’m so, so pleased about was to see us on the sideline and to just feel it, like nobody was backing down, nobody was giving in, and we were just going to keep finding a way. I kept seeing the offensive guys pull for the defensive guys, and vice versa. And it really mattered down there at the end.”
The Raiders reported paid attendance of 61,075, but there were many empty seats around the Coliseum, especially in the upper deck. Since the game was declared a sellout, more than a few ticket holders likely skipped the rain that fell all morning and through the first half of the game.
But those that were in the house, made a lot of noise. The Chiefs didn’t really show much of a problem dealing with the crowd. They were called for a pair of false start penalties, but neither was because of the noise.
Considering the weather, it was quite a crowd for a team that barely drew over 30,000 last Sunday for a home game against Seattle.
“That’s what it’s about when a team connects back with its fan base,” Cable said. “We’ve done that. We can move forward now and some good things will happen. But the emotion of the game was very good for us. We needed to be in that.”
There were moments on the afternoon where it felt like referee Jeff Triplette and his crew lost control of the game. It was definitely not the best officiated affair of the season and 27 penalties were walked off. There were also a handful of replay challenges, none from Haley. In the first half, Cable challenged two calls, winning the first and then losing the second. That left him without any more challenges and he could have used one of those in the second half.
First, Cable challenged a TD pass from QB Matt Cassel to TE Tony Moeaki. The review went in his favor, giving the Chiefs the ball at the one-yard line. When Cassel hooked up with WR Verran Tucker for an 11-yard TD, Cable challenged the call that the catch was good. This time the review upheld the call. That wiped out any challenge Cable would have the rest of the game. A coach only gets a third challenge if he scores on the first two challenges.
The replay official stepped in at the end of the first half, when Jon McGraw intercepted a Jason Campbell pass and returned the ball 21 yards. The review showed that the Raiders WR Johnnie Lee Higgins touched him down after he caught the ball.
Late in the fourth quarter there was a review of a seven-yard completion from Campbell to WR Jacoby Ford. The call was upheld.
Here are the dozen penalties walked off against the Chiefs:
- Punt return – Jake O’Connell/illegal block above the waist, minus-10 yards.
- Offense – Ryan Lilja/false start, minus-5 yards.
- Offense – Leonard Pope/holding, minus-10 yards and TD nullified.
- Punt return – Eric Berry/illegal block above the waist, minus-10 yards and TD nullified.
- Offense – Leonard Pope/holding, minus-10 yards, wiping out 9-yard gain.
- Field goal – Andy Studebaker/holding, minus-10 yards, nullifying successful FG.
- Offense – Branden Albert/false start, minus-5 yards.
- Offense – Delay of game, minus-5 yards.
- Kick return – Terrance Copper/low block, minus 15-yards, nullified 40-yard return.
- Offense – Tim Castille/holding, minus-10 yards, nullifying 6-yard gain.
- Defense – Donald Washington/defensive holding, minus-5 yards.
- Punt – Demorrio Williams/false start, minus-5 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS RUNDOWN
Kickoffs – Ryan Succop had five kickoffs and put two in the end zone. He kicked to the minus-1, 15, 6, 5 and minus-2. On average that’s the 4.6-yard line.
Kick coverage – was not good for the Chiefs as Jacoby Ford had four returns for 158 yards, a 39.5-yard average and the 94-yard return for a TD. His other three returns were for 27, 21 and 16 yards. Rock Cartwright had one return for 14 yards.
Kick returns – Javier Arenas had five returns for 98 yards, a 19.6-yard average. His longest return was 26 yards. Terrance Copper had a nine-yard return.
Punts – Dustin Colquitt punted eight times for a gross average of 43.9 yards, with a net average of 37.6 yards. He had one touchback and one inside the 20-yard line.
Punt coverage – The Chiefs picked up a turnover, when the Raiders returner Nick Miller fumbled and after a huge scrum was recovered by Williams. Miller had a total of six returns for 30 yards, an average of five yards.
Punt returns – Arenas returned three punts for a 5.7-yard average, with a long return of nine yards.
Tackles – LB Cory Greenwood and LS Thomas Gafford each had two tackles, while Donald Washington, Terrance Copper, Arenas, Williams, Verran Tucker and Andy Studebaker had the others.
There were no surprises among the Chiefs inactive players for the game: WR/RB Dexter McCluster, FS Kendrick Lewis, CB Jackie Bates, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford and LBs Charlie Anderson, Justin Cole and Mark Simoneau.
DE Glenn Dorsey was chosen as the sixth captain for the game, picked by head coach Todd Haley to join the permanent five captains.
The Raiders were without starters CB Nnamdi Asomugha and TE Zach Miller. Joining them on the inactive list were WR Louis Murphy, RB Michael Bennett, LB Bruce Davis, DT John Henderson, and WR Chaz Schilens. The third inactive QB was Bruce Gradkowski.
With Asomugha (ankle) out, Chris Johnson started at one CB spot. With Miller (foot) out, the starting TE was Brandon Myers. Murphy’s absence (bruised lung) put Jacoby Ford in the starting lineup at WR.
For the Chiefs, Tyson Jackson started at LDE for the first time since the season opener against San Diego.