The keys to the loss to the Redskins on Sunday for me were :
1. THE LOSS OF GRADKOWSKI
2. THE LOSS OF ASOMUGHA FOR A LARGE CHUNK OF THE GAME
3. PENALTIES/ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT OFFICIATING
When Bruce Gradkowski left the field, so did any hope of winning that football game in my opinion.It deflated me as a fan, it must have deflated everyone in the Coliseum, and I would be very surprised if the players did not feel the same way.Along with the hope went discipline and the shambles returned.I put that down to Gradkowski not being there to keep it all in check, after he had gone to the sideline it was interesting to see players from both offense and defence clearly taking the time to ask after his well being.Juxtapose that with the demeanour of players in the huddle alongside Russell where communication was down to a minimum, and the energy levels looked affected.I am convinced that the offensive lines effort in protecting Russell was less than their best.They probably watched as he threw the interception to LaRon Landry, into quadruple coverage on first down, and thought here we go again, what is the point.Russell was sacked six times in something like 20 drop backs, I know that the Redskins defensive front played well but it looked to me that players like Mario Henderson were not interested in putting their bodies on the line to keep Russel's shirt clean.If I'm right it does not bode well if the prognosis on Gradkowski's injury is a bad one.The team was behind when Gradkowski went down but we were in the game, and but for an un-characteristic dropped pass by Zach Miller and some truly ridiculous flags we could have even been ahead at the half.
That's the second time I can remember this season that officials have thrown flags on RAIDERS coaching staff when they have questioned an already horrendous call.It's weird, I can watch any other coaching staff from around the league get into officials faces whilst screaming obscenities, and it seems to be acceptable, even to the point where the official in question seems to feel the need to explain the call to calm them down, but no flag.The way in which RAIDERS games are officiated is a joke, these tools don't even try to make it look convincing anymore.After helping the Redskins out on a scoring drive in the first half, they came back in the second with one of the most laughable pass interference calls that I have ever seen on Stanford Routt.
Routt was the man that the Redskins were obviously going to go after when Nnamdi Asomugha left the field due to injury, and they made hay while they could before he returned late in the fourth quarter, but the fact that Routt had covered Moss well, with Moss slipping to the ground due to the conditions on that particular play didn't seem to interest the officials much.Routt didn't make physical contact with Moss at any point during the play, it is quite clear that the RAIDERS and Stanford Routt in particular are capable of pass interference by telepathy, the bad boy OAKLAND RAIDERS are clearly using mind control techniques of MK ULTRA proportions.Once the criminal element, always the criminal element, and the NFL are right to nip this in the bud.God bless them for their efforts.
The penalties that were legitimate tended to be of the sloppy pre-snap type which had plagued the team earlier in the season, dare I say it before Russell got benched.No I can't blame him for those but the players are definitely more jumpy when he's around.The difference in the team after Gradkowski had left the field shows that leadership at that position should never be underestimated.Watch the first play of the game as the RAIDERS offense comes out onto the field with a spring in their step, Justin Fargas winks at his quarterback and nods his head as if to say lets go, just do your thing.Just a little thing I know but it said a lot to me.
I pray to the great Flying Spaghetti Monster in the sky that Bruce gets healthy, although the early reports of ligament damage in both knees seems to make that highly unlikely.Such a shame when watching a RAIDER game was starting to be fun again.The prospect of the last three games mirroring what went on in the second half on Sunday leaves me with a heavy heart to say the least.It will feel more like having to endure something, as opposed to watching something for pleasure once again, it was nice while it lasted.I knew that I shouldn't have mentioned the possibility of Gradkowski getting injured in an earlier post, I had to open my big trap didn't I?
Ah well there is always Charlie Frye....