Leftover thumbs ups and thumbs downs from Sunday

By Os Davis  |   Tuesday, December 02, 2008  |  Comments( 30 )

Oakland Raiders
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It’s tough to take away positives from a loss (particularly against a bottom-feeder like the Kansas City Chiefs), but not impossible when many of your guys put in gutsy performances and give some glimmering of hope. The Oakland Raiders were once again just this short of the fairly elusive ‘W’ on Sunday and because they have been eliminated from playoff contention, backers have to be concentrating on present-day individual performance and potential short-term future.

(Although snapping that nasty 10-game losing streak on Thursday against the San Diego Chargers would be nice.)

The following, then, are some cheers and jeers, goods and bads, kudos and, um, the negative of kudos left over from the Chiefs game. In the plus column were. . .

Zach Miller
– Readers of this writer’s stuff here at RealFootball365.com knew this column wouldn’t get to the end without celebrating Miller, so let’s just get it over with. Despite the bad drop on the Raiders’ last scoring drive, Miller delivered in catching passes and blocking, again showing a complete game reminiscent of, say, Tony Gonzalez.

Darren McFadden – So McFadden only ran the ball twice for 37 yards and wounded/killed many a fantasy team (ouch): He also ended up the Raiders’ second-biggest receiving “threat” with 50 yards via air and even threw a couple of notable blocks. Statistically not contributing much, a review of the game shows McFadden well involved in nearly every play he’s out there; he’s a model of what Reggie Bush should be, and 10 years from now this über-Bush will be more fondly recalled than Reggie. (Just hope he’s still in Oakland, eh, Raider Nation?)

The coaching staff – You had to love the excitement Tom Cable & Co. infused into the game (the first half, anyway), blown novelty plays or no.

JaMarcus Russell, part I – Whoa, did Russell come out both cool and hot. In the first half, this stud of a specimen marched his team downfield with assurance, even if his bullets were off-target half the time. He started 5 of 10 for 58 yards, dashed for another memorable 17, and triggered that awesome hook-and-ladder that adversely affected his stats (despite a gain of 20 yards on the play, Russell gets credit for one completion to Ronald Curry for minus-4).

But then, there’s the dark side – not in a good way, fans – and surely there’s no better way to lead off this segment of the list than with. . .

JaMarcus Russell, part II – Damn, this dude is a paradox. At the half, the seemingly calm, cool, collected Russell had led his Raiders to a 10-3 deficit. In the second half, Russell got up to his usual tricks -- i.e., having defense and special teams bail out his offense as much as possible, by managing to go a crazy pitiful 3 of 12 for 30 yards; meanwhile, Oakland knots up Kansas City in second half, 10-10.

Shane Lechler and Tony Stewart – Of course, we can always claim (as does much mainstream media) that it was the already infamous blown trick field goal that made the difference on the scoreboard. If you’re down with this opinion, blame these guys; if you have any qualms about dissing Lechler, incidentally, just note this was one of his weakest games of the season even without the between-the-legs trickery. And where was Stewart's block, upon which this play reportedly hinges?

Kirk Morrison – So let’s get this straight: In playing Larry Johnson’s Chiefs, your defense gets burned up the middle repeatedly by. . . Tyler Thigpen? OK, to be fair, L.J. did his share of Raider-scorching, too, but mostly giving up gains to Thigpen on more attempts than all your players not named Justin Fargas? Morrison started the season slowly, and it’s beginning to look as though he’ll be mostly marking time the rest of 2008. Dude looked positively asleep on Sunday; somebody wake him before the Chargers do it again!
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About Os Davis

Os Davis has taken a twisted route to get to RealFootball365.com in his nearly 17 years in professional writing, working in any number of capacities in the sportswriting, news reporting and film criticism worlds. In print media, Os has served as editor at a few publications, including Albuquerque's...
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CommentsComments: 30  |  Sign Up  View all comments
03:00 AM
well, what should i say? its no surprise that thigpen went up the middle and anybody who's seen even just the littlest game film...
03:02 AM
oh yeah 1st and 2nd so npbody has to wake up and hear raidehz whining about having to work and missing the game..TOO BAD...
Raider Revenge
07:52 AM
In Russell defense their is no one there for guidance. There is no tutor. I would love to have Rich Gannon in his ear or a Ron...
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