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ES Coverage: Redskins vs. Raiders (FINAL)


JimmiJo

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ES Coverage: Redskins vs. Raiders

orakpo121309.JPG

12/13/09

VICTORY!!!

Redskins 34 - Raiders 13

:helmet:

Hello everyone and welcome. My name is murf, and I’m coming to you live from Oakland, California, where the Washington Redskins take on the Oakland Raiders.

Let me just say, having had a chance to talk to a few Raiders fans I can’t help but get the sense that fans on both sides of this game are terrified. Think about when the season started to unravel for the Redskins. You kept thinking, “Well, at least we get to play Oakland.” And now that we’re here, a win is far from certainty.

For starters, the Raiders, who are 4-8, actually come into the game with a better record than the Redskins. Stop and think about that. When was the last time the Raiders had a better record than their opponent? It hasn’t happened very often since their last Super Bowl run.

Speaking of Super Bowls, both teams are so down on their luck that today’s Raiders Gameday program is all about Super Bowl XVIII. Yes, Oakland won that game 38-9, but it’s safe to say that any time you’ve got to go back 25 years to find a worthy subplot, you’re not exactly talking about “must-see TV.”

If that’s not bad enough, the Redskins are still searching for their first road win of 2009. They’ve dropped their first six away games and now face a Raiders team that has won seven of the last 10 times these two franchises have faced off. The most recent matchup, a 16-13 loss back in 2005, still stings for many Skins fans. Probably because the Redskins were 10-6 and made the playoffs, while the Raiders were 4-12 that season. So yeah … not a lot of reason for optimism heading into this one.

All that being said, the Redskins are taking on the Raiders – a model of dysfunction. They’ve lost at least 11 games for six straight years. Their owner is Al Davis, who might be the one owner in the NFL less popular with his team’s fanbase than Daniel Snyder.

Even though the end up essentially getting their pick of talent in the NFL draft every year, they’re still no closer to turning things around thanks to wasted picks like JaMarcus Russell. We’d say more about him, but there’s no use wasting time on a player who won’t see action today. Russell was benched three weeks ago in favor of Bruce Gradkowski, which, sadly, represented an upgrade.

The Raiders have responded by winning two of three games since Gradkowski took over, picking up surprising victories over the Bengals and the Steelers. Their defense still gives up more big passing plays than any other team in the league and has allowed more than 500 yards rushing over the last three games. So if the Redskins offense plays like it has over the last month or so, they will be able to move the ball.

As far as what to watch for today: on Oakland you’ve got to start with tight end Zach Miller. He led the Raiders is receiving a year ago and has averaged 60 yards a game since Gradkowski took over. Oakland receiver Louis Murphy is also capable of doing some damage, as evident by his four catches for 128 yards and two scores last week. Those will be the two featured targets in the passing game, but the Raiders will likely look to get their running game going early and often.

Against Pittsburgh, the Raiders ran the ball 18 of their first 28 plays. They’ve been successful of late getting the ground game going and mixing in some shots downfield when they can. It’s a smart attack and will likely be what they aim for today.

For the Redskins, all eyes are on Quinton Ganther, who is the starting running back after being in Washington for all of a month. With Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts out of action, the team turned to Rock Cartwright and backed him up with Ganther. Just one problem – Ganther has been consistently better. It was only a matter of time before the team had to reward his effort, so we’ll get to see plenty of Quinton today.

The Raiders should also brace themselves for lots of Devin Thomas, who had his best game of his two-year career last week against New Orleans with seven catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. With Santana Moss likely seeing plenty of Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Thomas get another six or seven passes thrown his way.

Finally, the weather has sucked all weekend. Today is following suit - it's rainy and muddy out there, so it's gonna be an ugly one. I'll be on the field during the game, but JimmiJo has volunteered to lend an assist during the game. Keep him company during the game and be sure to check out my take from the sidelines on Twitter (http://twitter.com/HomerMcFanboy).

Thanks guys.

- murf

TODAY'S SCRATCHES

Redskins:

23 - DeAngelo Hall

45 - Mike Sellers

55 - Alvin Bowen

69 - Paul Fanaika

78 - D'Anthony Batiste

92 - Albert Haynesworth

97 - Renaldo Wynn

10 - Richard Bartell (3rd QB)

Raiders:

12 - Darrius Heyward-Bey

56 - David Nixon

67 - Roy Schuening

69 - Khalif Barnes

84 - Javon Walker

89 - Nick Miller

94 - William Joseph

3 - Charlie Frye (3rd QB)

:helmet:

JIMMIJO'S CORNER

3:00PM

Hey everybody, JimmiJo here to hang out with you today.

Here my thing, having Albert Haynesworth out is bad. Having DeAngelo Hall out is a disadvantage. Having both out sucks, as in a lot.

The Redskins have struggled the past three weeks shutting teams down late. They are failing to get pressure and turnovers. What does Haynesworth and Hall have to do with these? Everything. Haynesworth is the single biggest reason the Redskins are getting more sacks this year, and Hall leads the team with four interceptions.

As for offense, I have to agree with Murf that Ganther is just playing better. But Jason Campbell is the key and if he play like he has the past month, the Redskins should get this one.

But it is a road game, and the Raiders have beaten some darn good teams this year.

Keys to the game

- Jason Campbell has another solid day

- The defensive line generate some pressure

- Safeties must keep everything in front of them

- New kicker, no misses

I know folks are thinking Washington should get this one. But I'm not taking this one for granted.

3:48PM

God bless the red zone channel. There is nothing better to pass the time waiting for the game to start.

That being said, after four years of covering this team, I still get amped up before kickoff.

Kickoff

Ok, we are set to go. Here's to a good game, with no injuries.

1st Series - defense

I didn't like them giving up the screen for 22 yards, but the run defense looks good. And how about Reed Doughty getting the sack on third down?

Good start.

Now let's see how the offense looks.

1st series - offense

Started well enough with Ganther rushing for 5. But on second down, Levi Jones blocks in and leaves a man free to destroy Campbell on the sack. Then, Campbell scrambles and throws the ball away, despite Moss running free down the middle.

Three-and-out.

And how about Lorenzo Alexander with the shoestring tackle on the punt?

Murf Alert

"Gano had the leg from 50 plus in warmups, but lacked the accuracy. He missed both attempts."

Pressure

Two sacks on the day so far. Doughty gets the first, and Brian Orakpo gets the second.

Anyone else notice the Redskins are blitzing more today?

Flat to start

Campbell starts the game 0-3. Devin Thomas and Santana Moss drop passes they should not have. And Quinton Ganther is your offense leader with two carries for eight yards.

The offense has 0 first downs and 2 total yards after two drives.

Do you have anything in flat offense? Anything at all?

Raiders 3 - Redskins 0

And all this time we thought the problem was that LaRon Landry is not a free safety naturally. But see, he loves to get beat at strong too.

Redskins continue to bring the pressure, and forced a field goal.

Redskins 7 - Raiders 3

Two big plays in the drive. Ganther breaking tackles for 42 yards, and Campbell scrambling for 13 to covert the thrid down in the red zone.

This set up the 6-yard touchdown pass to Fred "Freddy Delight" Davis.

Raiders 10 - Redskins 7

The penalty on Davis came back to haunt them, as the Radiers started on the 50-yard line. A 24-yard pass to McFadden and a few plays later, Oakland leads 10-7.

Nice stop by Moore on third down. But the Raiders went on fourth down and made the Redskins pay.

Redskins 10 - Raiders 10

It is becoming the Fred Davis show with a nice 27-yard catch. And oh, lookee there; the Redskins have themselves a kicker now.

All tied at 10.

Redskins 17 - Raiders 10

The Freddy Delight show continues. He now has three catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns.

But first, it was nice to see the Raiders victimized by their own stupid penalties.

Also nice was seeing Santana Moss getting something going.

At the half

This first half seemed like mostly bad offensive football, good defense, and a few flashes mixed in. But before I am too critical, since when is the Redskins scoring 17 in the first half bad offense?

Ok, I take it back.

The fact is; this offense is learning how to score, and we love to see it.

We also love the defensive effort today. Two sacks, and a lot of pressures and hurries on the quarterback. Also not bad preventing a scoring drive to end the half.

What we hate is LaRon Landry and his poor coverage. Maybe it is the adjustment in playing strong again, but he has got to check these folks at the line to re-route them. Reed Doughty continues to look good. Fred Smoot and Carlos Rogers are playing well today.

But all praise to Fred Davis. The kid is stepping up and showing why the Redskins drafted him in the second round.

Washington has the lead at the half, and they get the ball to start the third.

Hope the good feeling keeps going...

Not so much

Very poor offensive series to start. Antwaan Randle El has got to catch the slant there. And then once again, the line is letting guys run free.

Oakland with good field position to start at their own 44.

Gradkowski out

It looks like Orakpo wrenched Gradkowski's leg pretty good. Let's see how JaMarcus Russell does.

Redskins 17 - Raiders 13

JaMarcus Russell came in a handed the Raiders a spark, going 2-for-3 for 19 yards. Washington's defense stiffened however, and Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 54-yard field goal.

Field position

The Redskins have got to do something to turn the poor field position around. Keep giving them the ball on the 40 and bad stuff will happen.

End of third

Brian Orakpo has three sacks on the day. The team has five. And the offense is finally getting something going, in Raiders' territory.

Need a score here peoples.

Redskins 24 - Raiders 13

Very nice 13-play, 80-yard drive that ends with a one-yard touchdown run by Ganther.

Fred Davis with nice block to convert the third down on the Moss catch. Other heroes include Malcolm Kelly and Rock Cartwright.

Now let's see what the defense can do.

Redskins 31 - Raiders 13

Landry showed what he can do, but intercepting Russell. Four plays later, Ganther added his second touchdown on the day. The Redskins break their season scoring total for the third straight week. They have 31 with 9:42 remaining.

Oof

We love Orakpo getting his fourth sack and a forced fumble. But we are going to razz Carter from now on for that failed scoop and score.

Then Randle El muffs the punt.

What the deuce?

Defense!

The Redskins have eight sacks on the day.

And lookee there, they are running the clock down.

Redskins 34 - Raiders 13

Let's see; 34 points, and eight sacks so far. With two minutes left, I am going to go out of a limb and say they are going to win this one.

:helmet:

PHOTOS

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To see a slideshow of ExtremeSkins game photos click HERE

To see the complete set of ExtremeSkins game photos click HERE

:helmet:

AUDIO

To listen to comments from Andre Carter click HERE

To listen to comments from Phillip Daniels click HERE

To listen to comments from Fred Davis click HERE

To listen to comments from Quinton Ganther click HERE

To listen to comments from Rocky McIntosh click HERE

To listen to comments from Santana Moss click HERE

To listen to comments from Brian Orakpo click HERE

To listen to comments from Devin Thomas click HERE

:helmet:

MURF'S TAKE

I'm in a hurry to get to the airport, so please forgive me if this comes across more as bullet points instead of a completely coherent recap.

The Redskins finally did today what they've been unable to do since Jim Zorn took over this team two season ago - they blew out an opponent. This 34-13 beatdown was a thing of beauty because the offense and defense both shined.

We'll start with the defense, who I beat up on some this past week after they failed to close out three close games against Dallas, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

Today they played a subpar opponent and took care of business. Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski looked average at best, completing 10 of 18 passes for 153 yards, while being sacked twice. Well, when Redskins defensive end/linebacker Chris Wilson knocked him out of the game ... the Raiders quickly realized how much they missed him.

JaMarcus Russell, who might be the biggest bust in NFL history, came in the second half and was absolutely dreadful. He was 10 of 16 passes for 74 yards and an interception, while being sacked six times for 52 yards.

In fact, the eight sacks by Washington was the most they've had in a game since 1990. The team record is 10. According to Sonny Jurgensen, had JaMarcus Russell played the entire game, the Redskins would have had at least 15 sacks. Not to pile on, but one of the players even referred to Russell as "The Statue of Liberty" because he's basically incapable of evading any kind of pass rush.

Leading the defensive onslaught was rookie defensive end/linebacker Brian Orakpo, who tied the team record for sacks in a game with four. Orakpo was reminded after the game (by defensive end Phillip Daniels) that he now shares the record with ... you guessed it ... Phillip Daniels.

While the defense was busy playing its best game of the year, the offense was happy to continue its string of strong performances.

Jason Campbell went 16 of 28 for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and finished with a QB rating of 106.5. For what it's worth, Campbell has now had a passer rating over 100 in three of the last five weeks.

Campbell played well, even when, at times, he had little to no time to pass, because his receivers were able to find space and make catches. Fred Davis, who has become the team's go-to threat in the passing game, was the first tight end to score a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders this season. He liked it so much, he did it twice.

With Davis making plays in the passing game, Quinton Ganther took care of the rest. Ganther, who is originally from California, couldn't have asked for a better day. Making his first start as a Redskin, he had 93 total yards and two touchdowns. Making it all that much sweeter was the fact that he did so in front of 200 friends and family members in attendance. This was a game he admitted he'll never forget.

And honestly, this is a game many of us won't forget. Because for one day, this team played the way we all thought they would when the 2009 season began. The offense didn't have to settle for field goals. The defense didn't give up a backbreaking fourth-quarter drive and everyone goes home happy. Well ... except Raider fans.

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Vinny Cerrato announced that LaRon Landry will be at strong safety today, instead of free safety. Kareem Moore will slide over to free safety.

On the subject of Landry, I chatted with one defensive player this week who blunted questioned LaRon's work ethic.

"I don't know if he's putting in the time it takes at that position," he said.

Keep in mind, these comments were made before this move was announced. Very telling comments, if you ask me.

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Wanna know why the Raiders are where they are? In addition to former first rounder JaMarcus Russell, Darrius Heyward-Bey is also glued to the bench today. It's simply inexcusable to have a first rounder like Heyward-Bey inactive on game day for a 4-8 team.

Might explain why folks were calling him Darrius Heyward-Bust as far back as training camp.

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I'm getting ready to head down to the field. In my preview, I mentioned several different players I'll be keeping an eye on during the game. If you think of some guys you'd like me to key in on from the sidelines, post a comment here and JimmiJo will text me. I'll post what I can on Twitter and you guys will, once again, have your very own sideline correspondent.

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How does Gano look? Is he booting them in from 60 in pre-game?

And the Raiderette cheerleaders? Hot or not?

Saw Janikowski miss a few field goals in the less-than-desirable weather during warm-ups, but didn't see anything from Gano. No cheerleaders around just yet.

I will gladly track both of these subplots and report on Twitter. Thanks.

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I'm getting ready to head down to the field. In my preview, I mentioned several different players I'll be keeping an eye on during the game. If you think of some guys you'd like me to key in on from the sidelines, post a comment here and JimmiJo will text me. I'll post what I can on Twitter and you guys will, once again, have your very own sideline correspondent.

Landry / Moore / Levi Jones / Malcomb.

JimmiJo, what's TheMurf's twitter id?

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Saw Janikowski miss a few field goals in the less-than-desirable weather during warm-ups, but didn't see anything from Gano. No cheerleaders around just yet.

I will gladly track both of these subplots and report on Twitter. Thanks.

Thanks to you for your coverage.

I am interested to see if Gano's kickoffs go past the twenty yard line. Little things like that add up to a complete effort.

Also, while the Raiders have sucked for a long, long time, their cheerleaders always seem to be impressive.

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had a multi-faceted post all typed out for ya and lost it murf.:mad:

see what you can tell about who's calling what plays, when, during the game to see how it matches up with all various froms posters give the credit/blame in threads, and also just curious as to what you can discern about where attitude, focus, and intensity is at this week.

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Is it just me or was Fred Davis' second touchdown celebration way more over-the-top than the one he got flagged for?

God bless the consistency of NFL refs.

Been a banner year for the zebars, too,

murf, can you a actually smell the alcohol on the refs breath or see pipe-burn marks on their mouths?

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