Monday, October 01, 2007
So the Oakland Raiders travel down to Hell (South Florida) and stomp out the fires awaiting them. Then they lay siege to the Miami Dolphins by scorching them for 299 yards rushing and five touchdowns to come away with a 35-17 victory.
Though the game was an overall team victory, QB Daunte Culpepper was the fearless leader as the team followed his every command. Daunte led by making on-field decisions that only a battlefield General with experience could make. He passed for two touchdowns, ran for three and was as pumped up as anyone who'd escaped from hell once and now returns with a vengeance to shut the place down.
Daunte lit it up when it mattered most, in the red zone. This Raiders team is doing what good teams do, scoring touchdowns when in position instead of settling for field-goal attempts inside the twenty-yard line.
The new blocking schemes of line coach Tom Cable are paying dividends. Raiders running backs had huge holes to run through with Justin Fargas having a career day filling in for injured Lamont Jordan. Expect Dominic Rhodes to add to this fiery running game come week six after the bye. And welcome back wide-receiver Jerry Porter, we've missed your offensive scoring threat.
Special teams gave one away with a fumble by rookie Johnnie Lee Higgins but the Defense proved its mettle by intercepting two Trent Green passes, sacking him twice and pressuring the Dolphins quarterback constantly throughout the game.
The one plus for the Raiders that went unnoticed was the absence of drive-killing and pass-interference penalties. The Raiders only incurred two penalties for fifteen yards in the game. Yes, 2 for 15yds, another sign that the Raiders are committed to excellence once again.
Finally, the play calling may have seemed like an easy task to those of us watching at Ricky's Sports Bar in San Leandro, Ca, a great Raiders Headquarters/Sports Center to visit for any sports fan. But do give coach Lane Kiffin and his staff credit for sticking with what worked and fooling the devil out of the Miami Dolphins with creative plays when first downs and touchdowns were needed. Lest we forget last season's head decision maker:
"wish it into the cornfield son, just wish it into the cornfield"