Where did that come from? Earlier in the year, I made it clear that this Raiders team had the potential to beat any team, and to lose to any team. That’s the kind of squad that drives a fan crazy, and usually costs a coach his job, because at times, they can look spectacular. And at times, they can look lousy(see 49ers).
On Sunday, you could argue that the Raiders played about as perfect a game as one could possibly play. It was 21-0 midway through the first quarter. In fact, I was out with the family, and when I first saw a score, I thought it said 38-14 Oakland, but it was from a little bit of a distance, so I just assumed I saw wrong, and that it must have actually read 14-3 Denver in the 3rd quarter.
As I walked to the car, I thought, This is going to be a boring game to catch up on later this evening. 4 field goals in the last 6 quarters. Staring at a record of 2-5, I was all ready to put the finishing touches on another Raiders eulogy.
And can you blame me? I mean, 38 points from this Raider offense a week after what we saw against San Fran when they actually played like a bunch of dead men walking is truly shocking. I was never more in favor of the death penalty than after that embarrassment against their Bay Area rivals.
Keep in mind that against the Chargers, they tallied 35 points, but 9 of those came off two blocked punts and another 7 on a fumble return late in the game.
Not that those don’t count, but yesterday’s score was more indicative of the offense getting their act together. And it all starts with the quarterback. A week after Jason Campbell was given last rites after the worst showing of his career, he was given CPR and revived in Denver. Someone should check his DNA. Actually, don’t.
And with Jason making plays in the pocket, that opened up the running game. Or maybe it was the running game that helped Jason. Either way, Darren Mcfadden has finally made it clear that he won’t be following in JaMarbust Russell’s footsteps. In fact, on Sunday, the only footsteps McFadden saw, or should I say heard, were the ones chasing him from behind. Almost 200 total yards and 4 touchdowns. To put that in perspective, Justin Fargas led the Raiders in touchdowns last year with 4. McFadden led them in 2008 with 4. Heck, in 2006, the offense scored 12 touchdowns ALL YEAR!
The former top pick is having a Pro Bowl-type year, with 750 total yards and 6 touchdowns on the season. But more than that, he has become the threat the Raiders not only thought he’d be, but the one they have to have in order to keep the morticians at bay.
When a team has been on a downward spiral as long and nightmarish as the Raiders have been on, it’s all about baby steps–as long as those baby steps are the ones chasing McFadden into the end zone, and out of the Gates of Hell. We’ve been there for way too long.