There wasn't a lot to cheer about in the Raiders' week two loss at the hands of the Dolphins. In fact, losing that badly to a team they were expected to beat and falling to 0-2 has a lot of Raider fans already going into discussions about the 2013 draft. But before you start visualizing the Raiders taking Matt Barkley number one overall or some such nonsense, let's look back at the game and dig up a few nice moments.
We pick things up in the first quarter. It's the Raiders' second drive and they are backed against their own goal line. Carson Palmer drops back and throws for Darrius Heyward-Bey who reaches up and snags the high pass for a 13 yard gain.
What makes this catch special is the man catching the ball. It's DHB, the guy notorious for not coming down with passes which aren't right on him. Sure, he makes some, but he made this catch look routine. He pulled down a high catch along the sideline in the opener as well. It shows he is making some strides as a receiver.
The catch that DHB made wasn't enough for the first down. It was a yard shy. But Darren McFadden picked up the first down with a three yard run on the next play. And a few plays later, this happened:
That was the lone touchdown of the game for the Raiders and it tied the score. Mike Goodson came in for one play to spell McFadden who had been poked in the eye, and he made the most of it. He had looked timid and shaky prior to this. He had yet to show he had fully recovered mentally from the hit Philip Wheeler had laid on him in training camp. This catch and run will do wonders for his confidence.
Also on the run, there was some terrific blocking by both Mike Brisiel on a stunt and DHB downfield, who actually took on two blockers.
After that touchdown, the Raiders held the Dolphins' offense in check the remainder of the first half. On two straight series, the Dolphins went three and out. Those two three and out series were highlighted by two big plays from Matt Shaughnessy.
On the first series, he rushes right past Pro Bowl left tackle, Jake Long for a sack on Ryan Tannehill. Then he goes all Gangnam style in celebration.
The next series, he got into the backfield to stop the running back for a two yard loss to make for two solid defensive series.
When the Raiders got the ball back, they would start backed against their own goal line again after a holding penalty on the return. But they got out of it pretty quickly with a 31 yard catch by Denarius Moore.
What makes this worth noting is the Denarius is finally back. He left in the second half with cramps but he is clearly back healthy and will be a tremendous asset for the rest of the season.
On the Raiderss next possession, they began a long drive to finish out the first half. The biggest catch on the drive was by David Ausberry who flashed the kind of skill we had hoped to see from him and more. He showed the beast of which he is capable with a wicked stiff arm.
That stiff arm takedown wasn't on some puny defensive back. No, the DB was the next guy who Ausberry left grasping at air as he broke his ankles. The abuse was inflicted on Dolphins' 6-4, 243 pound middle linebacker, Karlos Dansby. Although, Ausberry is so big (6-4, 265) he makes Dansby look small. No word on whether Ausberry yelled "Gett off me!" to Dansby on that move.
That catch and run helped move the Raiders into scoring position and they added a field goal to take a 10-7 lead at halftime.
After the half is when things unraveled for the Raiders. But there was one bright spot. And it came in an area that has struggled more than any other for the Raiders over the preseason and first two weeks of this season-special teams.
Philip Adams returned a punt 47 yards and set the Raiders up at the Dolphins' 25 yard line. The Raiders were unable to get a touchdown out of it but there were able to get a field goal and pull within one score at 13-21.
Now, go back and watch that Gangnam Style video a few more times. There's no way you can stay mad after that.