I’ll get to the “but” part later.
The Raiders ran for a whopping 300 yards and defeated the Chiefs in Kansas City, 23-8. It wasn’t pretty and the Chiefs came back to within a score late in the fourth, even with their 3rd string QB, but the Raider running game looked strong and the defense went after them.
What a difference from the passive defensive plan that Rob Ryan employed last week. Could it be that Kiffin’s comments, the fan outrage, and the media ridicule made Ryan reacquaint himself with the concept of a blitz? I still think the guy is a terrible defensive coordinator because one good game against a hobbled and mediocre team does not redeem five years of bad football.
Besides opening it up and mixing in some blitzes, Ryan had Kalimba Edwards back to rush the passer at RDE and Derrick Burgess finally looked like his old self at RDE. Last week, rookie Trevor Scott was swallowed up on every play and Burgess was invisible. DT Gerard Warren had an excellent game as well.
Props to all the running backs – Fargas, McFadden, and Bush, but the most credit should go to the offensive line. It’s pretty obvious where their strengths lie – the running game. If they can just improve their pass protection, this unit will be solid. I was very worried about the left OT situation with Kwame Harris out, but “super” Mario Henderson looked pretty darn good going against a decent DE in Hali. The Raiders made sure they kept most plays going right, but the young guy acquitted himself very well.
Some random notes: Higgins looked much better than last year as a return man, but then again he had a return where he tried to reverse field and went backwards. What happened to Ronald Curry’s hands? Is Javon Walker ever going to be a factor? Tyvon Branch looks like a player! DeAngelo Hall still looks shaky to me. How did McFadden, with his 4.33 speed, get caught from behind on his long run? Why doesn’t a professional announcer and a former pro QB not know the rules for touching the ball on punts?
Again, Raider fans should temper their enthusiasm because of the weak opponent, the fact that the opponent had a chance to tie the game late, 55 yards passing is not something to write home about, and the “but” part I alluded to earlier…
He (Kiffin) saw a reporter and said, “See you later . . . maybe,” before ducking behind a red curtain. The he poked his head back out and added with a playful grin, “If I don’t, it’s been good.” ….more
There are reports that Kiffin will be fired by Monday, regardless of the game’s outcome. If true, this is ludicrous. Raider fans should all boycott Davis and not attend games or buy merchandise. I sincerely hope this is media fabrication or just some sportswriter hazarding a guess based on the bizarre week leading up to the game. From the writer’s perspective, he can just say he was fed bogus info if he’s wrong. If he’s right, he gets credit for breaking the story.
Here are some disturbing signs that this may actually happen:
- Davis reportedly saying, “He’s not the guy I hired.”
- Kiffin always referring to Davis as “the owner”, which Davis may take as a sign of disrespect.
- The crazy press conference that Ryan had where he disputed (and contradicted himself) the Ryan-as-Davis-stooge theory.
- This quote from Kiffin, “We don’t have a general manager; everything goes through the owner. That sets up a difficult situation at times. Knowing who the owner is, you know from Day 1 there’s no job security.”
After a day where Raider fans taste sweet victory over a hated rival and have some hope for the rest of the season, it may turn bittersweet by this time tomorrow.
(PS In honor of the blown call by Ed Hochuli that gave the Denver Broncos a second life vs the Chargers (and led to victory), the photo above shows another call the zebras missed on Sunday. It was called an incomplete pass and took a sack away from Burgess and the Raiders. It wasn’t reviewed. By the way, that bad call by Hochuli was exactly like the play where Russell fumbled near the goal line last week vs Denver.)