The Raiders rank third in the league in average gain on first down,
6.42 yards a play. It stands to reason, then, that with that kind of a
head start, they should be successful on third down.
This particular set of seemingly related statistics lies.
The Raiders rank next-to-last in third down conversion percentage (29
percent, 14 of 49). It's a contradiction, right?
Wrong, according to coach Norv Turner. The statistics are skewed
because 10 of the Raiders' 107 first-down plays went for big yardage.
Those plays netted 342 yards, almost half of the 687 yards they were
credited with on first down. Included were plays of 73 and 64 yards and
eight others that gained between 20 and 32 yards.
Simple subtraction shows, then, that on 97 of Oakland's first downs,
the Raiders average first-down play netted 3.56 yards.
That meant they needed 6.44 yards for a first down on 91 percent of
their third downs.
And that is the virtual opposite of what that 6.42 average gain on
first down would seem to indicate. If their average first-down play were
computed minus the 10 big ones, it would show an average gain of 3.56
And that would place the Raiders third from the bottom in the league
rather than third from the top.
--LG Langston Walker (strained abdomen) was back at practice Thursday
and is now considered out likely to play Sunday.
--C Jake Grove (knee), who had indicated he thought he might be well
enough to play against San Diego on Sunday, did not practice and will
probably be listed as out on Friday's final injury report.
--QB Kerry Collins' third-down passer rating of 65.7 ranks No. 24 in
the NFL. He has only completed 45 percent of those passes and has yet to
throw for a touchdown on third down.
--RB LaMont Jordan continues to lead all AFC running backs in pass
receptions with 20 for 147 yards and a touchdown.
--K Sebastian Janikowski is tied for fifth in NFL kickoff touchbacks
--Although he has the longest punt return in the AFC this year (34
yards), rookie PR Chris Carr ranks just sixth in the conference in
average (7.4 yards).
--A $50 Randy Moss Halloween mask was making the rounds in the locker
room Thursday but players declined to put it on. RB Zack Crockett said
he didn't want to frighten his children but LT Barry Sims conceded that
the hair (done Afro style) was pretty appealing.