Sunday, September 14, 2008

Darren McFadden and the Raiders run over Chiefs 23-8

What a world of difference a trip to Kansas City can make. The Raiders went to Missouri with their backs against the wall. Several people had the team dead and buried; winning cures all and the Raiders grew up as a team today.

The Raiders came into the game prepared to right the ship and leave town with a .500 record. The defense, under fire after a terrible week one showing, really shined. There was a lot of talk about Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan’s fiery profanity laced tirade during the week being a bad thing; but the team responded.

The Raider defense played with emotion and energy and held the Chiefs running game to 55 yards on 19 carries and no rushing touchdowns; got after the quarterback and came away with five sacks and two huge interceptions. The biggest was the second of the day and first of the year by MLB Kirk Morrison to seal the win.

The Raiders game plan was to run the football and throw when necessary. The team accomplished that task and more as they ran on, through and over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders as a team, rushed for 300 yards lead by Darren McFadden’s coming out party of 21 carries for 164 yards and his first NFL touchdown; the majority of which was in the second half. McFadden had runs for 21, 24, 51 yards and a 19-yard touchdown run.

Justin Fargas started the game and finished with nine carries for 43 yards before leaving the game with a groin injury.

The secret weapon, also known as, Michael Bush had a bit of a coming out party as well with 16 carries for 90 yards and his first NFL touchdown closing out the game. He did have a costly fumble that was potentially disastrous but the team was able to overcome the turnover.

QB JaMarcus Russell didn’t put up eyebrow raising numbers, he didn’t have to, but what he did do was manage the offense and protect the ball and not turn it over for the second week in a row.

The Raiders offensive line deserves a great deal of credit for their performance. I have to mention a huge performance by LT Mario Henderson. I had my concerns about him making his first NFL start but just as Head Coach Lane Kiffin stated he would, he played outstanding.

Mario Henderson had a baptism by fire and responded well and really stepped up and met the challenge. What was thought to be a weakness turned into a seamless addition to the offensive line. The best thing about it was that you never heard his or any of the linemen’s names.

Trust me when the offensive line is virtually anonymous until the outcome of a game has already been decided that unit played well.

The Raiders outgained the Chiefs 355 yards of total offense to 190. The win was the Raiders second straight in Kansas City.
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski converted three field goals from distances of 25, 40 and an amazing 56-yard kick; and in the process kept his streak alive by converting 15 consecutive field goals in Kansas City.

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