Monday, 1 October 2007



Oh dear Mr Porter, and I'm not talking Jerry.It was a night to forget for Joey and the rest of the fish, especially on the ground, and as the second half sideline shots of Miami's linebacking Nostradamus became more frequent, I almost felt sorry for him, almost.

The Oakland RAIDERS amassed 299 rushing yards on a soggy field, admittedly against a team that were struggling to stop the run and missing Zach Thomas, but 299 YARDS in one game, that is brutal running in any ones book.This is the team that averaged 94.9 YPG last year.We are averaging 194.2 YPG through 4 games so far this term and have 777 Yds rushing which is half of the total for the full season in 2006.

The comparisons are staggering, especially if the rushing game continues on pace throughout the year.It is clear that when Lane Kiffin hired Tom Cable he was making THE hire of the offseason.Cable, with the switching of Gallery and Sims, and the addition of Carlisle, Newberry, and Green, along with the coaching of the blocking scheme that he has become synonymous with, has transformed the worst line in the league to a unit, a unit that just will smash you in the mouth and keep coming.

In the second half in particular last night, the RAIDER o-line were swaggering, not staggering, SWAGGERING up and down Dolphin stadium, Pride and Poise in motion. The Miami defense was pummelled and demoralised in the fourth quarter, and it was a thing of beauty to watch.

I watched the game a second time, watching the o-line specifically, to see who stood out.The fact is, it would be unfair to pick any one guy, the group were powerful, and with no holds and no false starts, disciplined.What was noticeable was the way that Zach Miller was moved around to counteract Jason Taylor, where he won the battle all night.Miller may not be lighting up scoreboards as yet as a receiving threat, but he is doing a job for the team and is another important factor in the RAIDERS' success on the ground.The real plus is that the success of Justin Fargas in the second half proves that this offense will give opportunities for any of our backs to make yards.Dominic Rhodes and Micheal Bush must be chomping at the bit.Fargas though was running hard both inside and out, and despite the doubts of the commentary team, that hit from short-lived RAIDER Donovin Darius, did nothing to keep Huggy Jnr. from his career day.

Despite the heroics of Fargas and Jordan, the day belonged to Daunte Culpepper.Passing stats of 5 of 12 for 75 yards and 2TD's is not normally headline stuff, but add three rushing touchdowns and that picture perfect TD dart to Jerry Porter in the 4th quarter, and Daunte deserves his glory.

To make it sweeter of course, all this came against the team that allegedly escorted him from the practise facility when it was decided he wouldn't be required in Florida any longer.That's classy, and no wonder DC took such pleasure in rubbing salt in the wounds of a disastrous Miami team, not to mention the boo boys in the stands.

The reaction to Culpeppers TD's on the sideline was great to watch, Kirk Morrison dusting him down after his last TD in particular, while the RAIDERRRRRSS chants came down onto the field.It was noticeable how Jamarcus Russell was sticking close to DC during the sideline meetings, listening intently to the feedback from #8.

The much maligned RAIDER Defense turned in a solid display, and the Achilles heel of late, the secondary, did a good job on a Miami passing game that had put up some numbers previously.The defense were tipping balls everywhere, Thomas Howard was among the Int's again, Kirk Morrison should have been too, and Stanford Routt got his pick after a great piece of coverage.Rob Ryan has been getting criticism for a lack of QB pressure, but the use of Howard and Morrison in coverage is surely taking advantage of their playmaking abilities, and the play of Gerard Warren is starting to show glimpses of a No.3 overall pick, he had a great sack, got pressure up the middle and was held continuously.If Warren continues to get better each week the pressure should hopefully come with the return of Burgess.

Finally Lane Kiffin.The team were playing with a smile on their face, and that was before we were well ahead on the scoreboard.The way he puts his faith in the players on fourth down plays with no hesitation is great to see.Sapp put it this way - "He's on our side, its fun to come to work again".It's fun to watch our team again too.

Now the bye, and rest a few bodies, get some back (please god The Burge) and then two divisional games to follow.If the RAIDERS run all over the Chargers on the road, then the Silver and Black will definitely be back.


Calico Jack said...

Great post LeighRaider!

The CBS analysts were foolishly wrong about Huggy Bear Jr. when they said he would run hesitantly after the hit by DD. Fargas is the epitome of a TRUE warrior. Nothing stops this guy from running with reckless abandon and passion. The bare bones essense of football is running & tackling. Seeing our O unit establish a dominating rushing attack is truly a sight for some sore S&B eyes.

P.S. Do you remember when Cable was quoted as saying during the early phase of training camp that the Raiders OLine was talented and that he had more to work with than in Atlanta? I thought the guy was crazy but how can you argue with the #1 ranked rushing unit in the entire NFL? Cheers & Pay Raises to Lord Cable!

dax said...

I was there and it was a beautiful sight. A bit wet, yes, but still beautiful!