Wow, what a game! Losing the way that the Raiders have been losing these last three weeks, NOBODY could have thought that the Raiders, a 14 point home underdog, would beat the Eagles.
They did so by actually outscoring the Eagles. They outscored the Eagles because the defense held the Philadelphia to 3 field goals! I said before the game that all I was looking for from this game was a certain effort that proved the team cared and could display the kind of pride that is representative of a professional football team. It's one thing when your pride is challenged by the media and the fans, but when your pride and character is challenged by one of your peers, as was the case last week by NY Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce, it's quite another. Pierce said playing the Raiders was like playing a scrimmage, so the Raiders responded this week in the wake of those comments with the kind of pride and character that befit a professional football team that cares. The inspired play and passion, to me, is as important as the win was.
The game itself was incredible just from the standpoint that the Raiders lost the turnover battle and had Russell completing two short passes to wide receivers. The patchwork offensive line held up and the running game finally appeared, but wins are going to be hard to come by if they can't get their wide receivers much more involved. Hopefully Schilens is back for the Jets and will be able to elevate the entire wide receiver unit's play.
But the defense, that's where this game was won and they surprised everyone, especially the Eagles with scheme they brought Sunday. It sounds from the reports from the post game that Al finally let the coaches and players play the kind of defense that they wanted. I offer you these choice quotes from the locker room:
"They did some things that we weren’t really expecting," Justice said, "some stuff that they really didn’t show the first couple game, and we were caught by surprise. We didn’t see the stuff they were doing on tape. They didn’t blitz as much as they did this game. It was a shock. " Eagles offensive lineman Winston Justice
"I don't know if you guys noticed it," cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha helpfully informed reporters after the Raiders' 13-9 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at the Oakland Coliseum. "We were in the (Cover-)2 (defense), double coverage, blitzing with it, every snap."
"They're known for playing man coverage," McNabb said. "They dropped back in a lot of zone, more zone than we've seen in the early games. They came up with more of a blitz package today. They were able to get pressure."
"I'm sure they thought we were sorry and didn't want to play," defensive end Trevor Scott said.
"We looked at the film last week and knew that we didn't show up to play," Seymour said. "We got embarrassed. We just said, 'Hey, let's come out this week.' If we all put it together, then we could do something good."
"This time, I guess it worked out just because we knew the type of weapons that they had, and he said he was going to do it," Asomugha said. "Maybe he’ll see that it actually works, and we’ll stick on it. He said that he might get yelled at for it, but he’ll keep it going." Nnamdi Asomugha speaking about defensive coordinator John Marshall's game plan for the Eagles.
We also cannot forget special teams. The game-altering, field position-changing punting of All-Pro Shane Lechler, who is a true weapon for this team as well as Janikowski's now automatic kicking.
The offense is quite far from playing at a high level, but at least there is finally some progress to hang out hat on. Now the question is whether they can build from this win and carry it over on a consistent basis.
What are your thoughts on the game Nation? Can the Raiders inspired and build from the fundamentals of this game and bring it on a weekly basis?