Raiders lose 24-23 at Arizona to a thoroughly undeserving Cardinal team that only had 227 total yards.
Painful loss. Unexpected loss. The kind which are always the most painful. The kind of game this young team needs desperately to win to grow confidence. The Raiders had a chance to be 2-1 for the first time since 2004 and all they needed was for the highest paid kicker in the sport to kick one through from 32, or the opponents 14 yard line. He’s made 19 in a row from that range. 19.
I was hoping it wouldn’t come down to him - the sideline shots of Janikowski after the two misses didn’t make me feel confident? He didn’t look right but heck, I thought, this is a gimme for any kicker, much less him, right?
I feel for Janikowski. I’m sure however bad I feel, he feels worse. I doubt he’s blowing it off like rookie Jacoby Ford seems to be doing if his Tweets are any judge. Pretty sad when a fan takes a loss harder than a player. Having too many players with that attitude is why the Raiders have been in this 7 year funk. But back to Janikowski, three missed field goals, including a chippy game winner, should never happen with a first round pick. I’ll say it again, the Raiders wasted a first round pick on him. If the Raiders kept someone like Joe Nedney when they had him, they would have been better served. Jano has been consistent in recent years, but he has lost more games than he has won in his career.
Today, I wish they hadn’t placed it in his hands so quickly. Raiders had a first down at the 13 with 55 seconds and a time out left. They ran the ball up the middle twice and then tried the field goal on third down. I hate it when teams don’t try to punch it in with real football players before they leave it to a kicker.
It was a mistake-filled game by both sides, but Raiders outplayed and outgained Arizona in their opener at home.
Mistakes. A motion penalty on Mario Henderson on a 3rd and two with about four minutes left really hurt. First, it made converting the third down much harder (they didn’t) and it pushed Janikowski’s attempt from a 53 yarder to a 58 yarder. He missed it as it just slid right. It appeared the extra five yards was the difference. I noticed that Mario slammed his helmet to the ground later when Jano missed the game winner. Mirror, anyone?
Mistakes. Gradkowski did own up to it, but he really should have called a time out on 2nd and goal from inside the one. He tried to beat the clock and it cost the team a probable TD. I was just screaming at the TV as the play clock rolled down. Then, he follows that by going twice to that famous TD machine Heyward-Bey from the six.
Mistakes. I’m starting to see why it is that people were saying coaches wanted to cut S Mike Mitchell – he missed a tackle on the opening kickoff return that went for a TD and really does little else to distinguish himself on defense. He was practically a first round pick, if you remember.
And what about Jason Campbell? Trust me, if he were behind center, he would have been sacked at least five times and fumbled thrice. Gradkowski, even with what happened today, gives them the leadership and best chance to win. What the Raiders should have done, is make a play for Michael Vick when they had a chance. Look at him now. A QB that can run is what this horrendous offensive line needs.
Enough. I need therapy now. Please bounce back guys.