Being an Oakland fan and living in New York is possibly the best thing that has happened to me this week. All of the constant talk down and laughter always fall on me whether we win or lose. However, given the fact that the Giants got CRUSHED by the Saints and that the Jets lost to a very bad Buffalo Bills team (Sanchez isn't God in their eyes no more, LOL), I watched and listened to the Raiders game however I could...and boy, what a win. However, what did I see that was very important in this game?
1) JaMarcus Russell managed the game better than he has so far this season.
If you look at the stats, his QB Rating was a 68.2. 17/28, 224, 1TD, 2 INT.
Okay, Minus these two factors: 1) Zack Miller's 86 yard Touchdown (I'll get back to this) and 2) One of the interceptions (I don't count tip drills, Tip Drills ARE NOT The QB's Fault.)
15/26, 138, 1 INT.
Not pretty stats at all, but better than what we've seen so far.
However, I saw some throws that JaMarcus made, that wowed me, being that he was so horrible throwing for the past 5 games (well, maybe not the Giants game, but...yeah, let's forget that game.) For example, the 4th down play, where JaMarcus rolled out, and threw a good pass to Murphy, who dropped the ball. Now, some of you might say, "That's Russell's fault; he should have threw it higher." To you all, I say this: Remember Week One, where he couldn't throw the ball toward a receiver on the sidelines within 5 feet? To go from that, to doing throws like the one to Murphy, that impressed me. Yes, he did throw some throws that could have been picked off again, and was picked off once. All of those were to Zack Miller in the Middle. Meaning, He was trying to get it to his best player right now. He still needs to work on finding the open man and hitting him, no doubt about that. I leave you with one thing, however: JaMarcus did work the Screen game.
2) Our Run Game decided to show up a little.
Fargas put in a good effort this game- 23 for 87 yards. Bush didn't do much - 6 for 22. However, the running in total was 116 yards, and that shows that the Offensive Line did their job to let our runners finally get some yardage in. However, there were times that I thought that Fargas could have broken one. Seriously, he had the chances. This means we still have a lot of work to do there. Kudos to Fargas and Gary Russell for stepping up, showing Bush and McFadden how it should be done every game.
3) We Blitzed, and it WORKED.
6 Sacks. ‘Nuff Said.
4) We played Zone, and it worked.
It did. Although Man is what the Raiders live, the zone worked good. It did.
Now, for Player Highlights:
1) Zack Miller - If he didn't score that touchdown, we would have lost that game.
2) Louis Murphy - This guy is quickly becoming a star on our team. He catches okay for us (needs time to develop those hands), blocks well (Hence why Zack Miller scored that TD), and shows ability to make plays. He still has work to do, as seen with the 4th down pass he dropped, and the tip drill interception. But we need a player like him.
3) STANFORD ROUTT - Now, why is this guy in capital letters?
Nnamdi Asomugha, our BEST player hands down, was out for most of the game. Chris Johnson looks like he needs to start studying under him again, as he was getting beat in many plays that Donovan McNabb overthrew (Thank God for that.) However, this guy, he played GREAT coverage. He did. He didn't get beat by receivers like usual, he stayed with the receivers, got some very key bats in, and helped out very much. But here's the biggest reason why I capitalized his name.
On a drive where the Eagles were deep in Raider territory, Routt was called for a pass interference play, where upon the review, the broadcasters admitted that it looked like the receiver, Jeremy Maclin, had tripped, either on his own feet, Routt's feet, or the turf - there was no push at all. The importance of this call? It took away Routt's Pick-6. Basically, the refs cost us 7 points.
4) Richard Seymour - 2 sacks - He look like he's back.
5) Trevor Scott - 2 sacks - That's what we need from him.
6) Jay Richardson - 1 sack - Ditto.
Now, for the things the team needs to fix:
1) Johnnie Lee Higgins - He needs to be a better catcher and Punt returner - We do not need 2 fumbles, we really don't.
2) The inside game - Westbrook ate us alive in the middle, just like Darren Sproles did. This HAS TO STOP.
3) The Run defense - we're lucky that Andy Reid didn't run all game, or else we would have lost. We need to play better run defense. I can't suggest how; that's not my job (and I'm not good with run defense).
4) The deep middle - Tyvon Branch has played well. However, I feel that he needs to increase pressure on the tight ends he covers - we play Antonio Gates one more time, Dustin Keller, Jason Witten, Heath Miller, Chris Cooley, and Todd Heap. Get me? Pro-Bowl tight ends. He's done well so far, but now is time to play even better.
5) The run game - we need some long runs that hurt the other team. Seriously, we really do. So, more work from the O-Line.
6) Chris Johnson - we REALLY need him to play better. When Nnamdi's on the field, he is the PRIME target. All of the big deep plays that happened to us - most of those were on Chris Johnson.
7) Dropped Balls and Tip Drills - This has to stop as well. Maybe the receivers should catch bricks to get their hand game up.
8) The Blitz - It worked to day, so do all of raider nation a favor and KEEP DOING IT.
9) Bush and McFadden - They need to step it up. Seriously. If not, let's just use what works right now.
10) Darrius Heyward-Bey - Get him off the field, and let him learn. Make him catch bricks as well. And let us see more of Javon Walker (O_O, he was in the game!) - let's see if he really is a bust (which I think he is).
11) The offense - WE HAVE TO FINISH OFF PLAYS WITH TOUCHDOWN, NOT FIELD GOALS.
12) The coaching - Keep working at it...Now that we found something that work, let's not get back into the bad playcalling and boring old schemes we usually run, okay?
Let's hope this carries into the Jets game..because we have a Really good chance of winning that one.