Using the Buffalo Bills as a forum for their rushing prowess is one thing. Doing it on the road…
Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Personnel, Etc.
"Wednesday, I would have said he was very, very doubtful," coach Norv Turner said. "I thought Friday there was a chance, but Saturday morning I would have said no. He went out Sunday morning and said he was excited about the way he felt, so we plotted out a plan how we'd use him."
Moss may not be full strength against Tennessee this Sunday, but sitting out the second half against Buffalo while the Raiders ran the ball and worked the clock prevented further injury.
"Randy is no worse than he was," Turner said. "I think each day he'll continue getting better."
Moss must have been saving himself during warmups, because he loped through most of them at something less than full speed. The Raiders obviously weren't sure how much he could play, hence the activation of wide receiver Johnnie Morant for the first time this season.
He entered the game for the first time on the fifth play of Oakland's second series, with quarterback Kerry Collins throwing incomplete under a heavy rush. On the next play, Collins hit Moss for 15 yards to the Buffalo 10, and on third and goal from the 7, Collins threw a fade to Moss toward the end zone which was broken up by Nate Clements.
The Raiders settled for a field goal, and on the Raiders' next series, Moss broke off a perfect corner route on Clements and Collins led him perfectly for a 22-yard touchdown.
He ended up being the target of five passes, catching three for 43 yards as the Raiders took a 17-10 lead into the half.
"On Wednesday and Thursday, I don't think too many people thought he'd be ready to go," safety Renaldo Hill said. "He warmed up Friday and looked a little better. But it wasn't until I saw him suiting up before the game that I thought, 'OK, it's on. He's ready to go.' That shows what kind of fighter he is."
Fullback Zack Crockett said there was never any doubt.
"I knew he was going to go all week. It as just a gut feeling," Crockett said. "I've known him since he came out of high school and I know what kind of player he is. Guys who lay it on the line like that, those are the guys you want in your locker room."
--Charles Woodson suffered a broken left fibula and Derrick Gibson a dislocated left wrist. Woodson will not need surgery. Gibson had surgery Monday morning to insert pins in his wrist.
Both will be out at least six to eight weeks, and Norv Turner said Monday their progress will be monitored. If they don't appear to be recovering in time for the final two to four games, they could be put on injured reserve.
"It completely changes what we're doing," Turner said. "But our guys certainly stepped up yesterday."
Jarrod Cooper, a special teams player who rarely plays on defense, was forced into action as a safety in the "Wolverine" alignment which was designed for Woodson.
"I can't even tell you how much we're going to miss Charles Woodson and Derrick Gibson," Cooper said. "I can't even express that. But everybody gets paid. Just step up and do the job, that's all we're asking."
-- Raiders linebacker coach Pat Jones called on some veteran defenders Saturday night to answer the challenge of Willis McGahee, who proclaimed himself better than LaDainian Tomlinson "cased closed," earlier in the week.
McGahee was a non-factor with 50 yards in 16 carries.
"I got manhandled. The O-line got manhandled," McGahee said after gaining 50 yards on 16 carries. "All of us probably got manhandled, to tell you the truth."
-- For the first time this season, the Raiders opened the second half by driving for a touchdown, building a 17-10 lead to 24-10. In the previous five games, the best opening possessions of the second half netted a field goal and a missed field goal.
"That was huge," left tackle Barry Sims said. "I think the first possession of the third quarter is the most important of the game, and it's nice to get a touchdown right after our halftime. If we'd have stalled out we could have lost our momentum. Instead, we kept it going."
-- Place kicker Sebastian Janikowski had a field goal and four extra points and has 587 points, passing Marcus Allen for fifth on the Raiders' all-time scoring list.
-- Tight end Courtney Anderson, for the second time this season, was not the intended target of a single pass. After catching 5 passes for a career-high 100 yards in a Week 3 loss to Philadelphia, Anderson has 4 catches for 46 yards in his last three games. He had two penalties against Buffalo (one illegal motion, one holding penalty).
-- Fullback John Paul Foschi, a converted tight end inactive since a Week 2 knee injury against Kansas City, caught the first two passes of his career for 11 yards on checkdowns from QB Kerry Collins.
-- Defensive tackle Warren Sapp had his second sack of the season and several pressures of Buffalo quarterback Kelly Holcomb. He was awarded one of three game balls, along with defensive tackle Ted Washington and safety Renaldo Hill, and Norv Turner said it was his best game as a Raider.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
REPORT CARD VS. BILLS
PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Kerry Collins (19-for-27, 261 yards) had his most steady and accurate performance of the season. Randy Moss caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in a limited role. Doug Gabriel had a career-high 101 yards on five receptions. A couple of dropped passes from an "A" grade.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- LaMont Jordan had personal bests in carries (28) and rushing touchdowns (3) while running for 122 yards. Zack Crockett had 33 yards on 7 carries. Run-blocking was excellent in second half after a so-so first half.
PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- Considering the loss of starters of cornerback Charles Woodson and safety Derrick Gibson, the secondary held up well. With only a few exceptions, Buffalo receivers were brought down after short gains. Bills quarterback Kelly Holcomb had 159 yards on 19 completions. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha let Lee Evans beat him to the inside for a 5-yard touchdown.
RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- Defensive tackle Ted Washington walled off the inside and Buffalo running back Willis McGahee was held to 50 yards on 16 carries. Effort included a goal line stand in which McGahee and Damon Shelton were stopped on third and fourth down at the 1. Strong game inside by Warren Sapp (5 tackles).
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Chris Carr gave the Raiders prime field position for two touchdowns with a 29-yard punt return to the Buffalo 35 and a 32-yard kickoff return to the Raiders' 40. Buffalo kickoff return specialist Terrance McGee got loose once for 57 yards but otherwise was held in check. Carr muffed a punt, but recovered it at the Oakland 6. Shane Lechler had just three punts for a 45.7-yard average with a long of 54.
COACHING: A-minus -- Only quibble was the slow start, with the Bills driving 82 yards in nine plays on their first possession. Buffalo's rushing defense was suspect, giving up 158.5 yards going into the game, and the Raiders ran right at it with 37 attempts for 162 yards. Defensive coaches adjusted well on the fly to the absences of Woodson and Gibson.
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