Jason O. Watson
"A win, is a win, is a win" That is the overarching feeling coming out of the Raiders game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. I really hope that one of these games the Raiders will play well in both halves and end the game with a win. Instead they have been an incredibly inconsistent group of cardiac kids with two wins and one loss that have come from game winning field goals. Still it's good to wake this morning contemplating a victory no matter how ugly.
I will take a close game (win or loss) over how terrible the Raiders played against Denver and Miami but I still really want to see a win that doesn't have me on the edge of my seat. It would be nice to see this team have a chance to laugh and smile on the sidelines in a blow out victory, perhaps it will be next Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. However, given the history of the Chief/Raider rivalry probably not, but there's still hope.
Its officially time to be worried about Darren McFadden. We were already worried about him coming into this game but that worry is now at another level. The Jaguars came into this game giving up over 160 yards rushing per game. That should have meant finally a truly dominant game by DMC but with 19 carries for 53 yards (2.8 ypc) it was anything but dominant.
It is now time to start giving some of McFadden's carries to Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones. I am not saying bench DMC altogether but the Raiders need more from their running game. If that production is not coming from McFadden then maybe they can get it from somewhere else. Hopefully Darren can suddenly snap out of this funk but this nastiness has already lasted through week 7 and there is no light at the end the tunnel yet to be seen.
Darrius Heyward-Bey came out the gates strong and ended strong. He disappeared a little inbetween but was instrumental in this win. He finished the game honoring the number on his back with 4 catches for 85 yards but his most important play was not any of those catches. It was actually a play that he was interfered with in the endzone that set up the Raiders game tying TD. The Raiders would not have won this game without him.
Carson Palmer was pretty terrible through a lot of this game. However when it mattered most, he came through and that's what really counts in the end. His 56% completion percentage was not ideal but even with a less than stellar game he still ended up with close to 300 yards passing and two touchdowns. Just Win Baby!
The defense really came up big in the second half of this game. Thank your lucky stars for that because the first half was awful. There is little excuse good enough to allow 17 points in the first half from one of (if not THE) worst offenses in the league. Especially not when that team's starting RB and starting QB were both knocked out of the game. They bounced back big time though, only giving up six second half points and getting the overtime fumble recovery that set up the game winning field goal. One could argue the fine defensive play was due to the dysfunctional play of Chad Henne but I will not go farther on to that type of thinking.
In the end all that really matters is getting that W. The Raiders did that and now must move on to the K.C. game. No other team in the division played this week so the Raiders gained another half game on San Diego and Denver. Those are the two 3-3 teams leading the division with the Raiders at 2-4 and the 1-5 Chiefs rounding out the AFC West.
This division was supposed to be tough this year but right now it appears not to be very special. That could be good news for the Raiders who now have just a little more life in them. After appearing to already be on life support after just 5 games this win is a welcome sight. Another win next week coupled with a loss by both the Chargers and Broncos would have the Raiders tied for the division lead. Who would have thought a 2-4 team going into week 8 could say that? Not me. But here we are.