That's correct, two losses so far as evaluated by Starters vs. Starters. When Romo and the Cowboys went in for halftime, 3-0 - ahead by a field goal - the characteristic Cowboy arrogance expressing itself by smirks on several of their faces, the Raiders had lost the opener; for despite Oakland's defensive dominance, our O could not generate a single point against a Dallas top 5 NFL defense.
Against Chicago, when the Starters played an entire half, the score at midway was Oakland 13, Chicago 14. Yes, Oakland lost again by a thin margin despite controlling the clock and dominating most of the stats - but three critical mistakes, like lightening, undid 30 minutes of effort.
Looking at those
games scrimmages with cool detachment, those tests served us well. Oakland lost those contests by a combined 4 points not for lack of heart or talent but for want of execution. Execution comes with concentrated practice and the Raider system is generously giving playing time and learning opportunities to most of its non-blue-chip rookies - Veldheer, Bruce Campbell, Walter McFadden, Travis Goethel, Jacoby Ford, Stevie Brown, and even Jeremy Ware. Over time, all that experience and opportunity to polish and perfect execution will serve us well.
So, keeping it all in focus, being critical while staying positive, I expect the Raiders to end the first half this Saturday with more points on the board than the solid (but loathsome) 49ers they'll meet - despite S.F.'s impressive defense and rushing prowess. We are on a very positive improvement curve that - given our players gifts and characters - should continue upward with every passing week.