Considered a dark-horse AFC contender after some bold offseason
maneuvering, the Raiders (3-6) are faced with the prospect of having to
finish 7-0 to even have a chance of making the postseason.
That seemingly impossible tasks begins Sunday on the road against
Washington, followed by a home game against Miami, road assignments at
San Diego and the New York Jets, a home game against Cleveland,
Christmas Eve in Denver and finally a New Year's Eve home date against
the New York Giants.
Considering the Raiders are 0-4 against the AFC West and 1-3 on the
road, running back LaMont Jordan understands if fans are a bit
"We all know the situation, you all know the situation," Jordan said.
"Ten wins goes to the playoffs. Right now we have six losses. That means
we have to run the table or our season is done."
Jordan refuses to be counted out.
"Time is running out, but I still think we've got a shot at the
playoffs," Jordan said. "You call can call me crazy, but I don't come to
work and I don't go to practice and I don't put on pads just to throw my
season down the drain. People can write us off, but we're not writing
Wide receiver Jerry Porter, who understands that at 0-4 in the
division, even seven straight wins is not an iron-clad guarantee, was a
bit more realistic.
"We need a lot of help all across the board," Porter said. "We need
the stars to align correctly, some guy to sell his team and kick
everybody off, things like that. Mathematically, it doesn't look good."
--Rookie cornerback Fabian Washington, victimized for a 41-yard
completion to Ashley Lelie on a sideline route to set up a Denver
touchdown, had excellent coverage on the play but failed to turn around
"As I turned around, I saw his hands go up and I tried to pull one of
his hands down so he couldn't catch it," Washington said. "He made a
--Linebacker Kirk Morrison is only a rookie, but already he has
figured out that mistakes in an AFC West game are worse than in a normal
"When you're playing in the AFC West, every play, every opportunity
counts," Morrison said. "I mean, from the first play until the end of
the game. I feel that dropped interception I had could have changed the
game. One play like that can hurt you in this division."
--The Raiders have saved some of their most humiliating moments for
home games against Denver. They lost 22-8 in 2003, the game in which
former coach Bill Callahan called his squad "the dumbest team in
America." Denver won 31-3 last season, Oakland's lowest point total
since being shut out in 1997.
--Coach Norv Turner isn't admitting to any feelings of nostalgia or
revenge in visiting Washington on Sunday. Turner was fired by owner
Daniel Snyder in 2000 with a 7-6 record one year after winning a
"The year I left Washington (to be offensive coordinator in San
Diego), we actually opened (against the Redskins) in San Diego," Turner
said. "That was the emotional game, a big game and all that. It's been a
long time. So much has changed. My thoughts are on our team and what we
need to do."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
--C Adam Treu, who removed himself from the game Sunday because of
knee soreness, underwent an MRI Monday. Jake Grove, who started the
first four games, is likely to start again, with Treu retaining his
--DE Bobby Hamilton, who was inactive for the second straight game
with an ankle injury, has a chance of getting back on the practice field
and being ready for Washington, coach Norv Turner said.
--DB Renaldo Hill had 10 tackles against Denver and has played two
excellent games in a row. Hill, who plays both corner in the slot and
safety in some alignments, was also a standout against Kansas City.
--LB Danny Clark went for an MRI on his sore knee but is expected to
play against Washington. Tim Johnson is the backup middle linebacker.
--G Brad Badger went in for an MRI on his sore knee Monday but is
expected to face Washington. If Jake Grove returns to his job as
starting center and Badger could not play, Corey Hulsey is the backup
guard at both spots.
REPORT CARD VS. BRONCOS
PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Key drops hurt Kerry Collins early and
interceptions hurt him late. He threw a season-high three interceptions,
including the final blow -- an 80-yard return for a touchdown that
Denver rookie Darrent Williams said he knew was coming. Jerry Porter
lost a potential 57-yard scoring pass in the sun. Randy Moss had a
season-high six catches and scored a 29-yard touchdown.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter and
23-0 entering the fourth quarter made it impossible for the Raiders to
stick with the run. LaMont Jordan had 10 carries for 43 yards at the
half but finished with only 14 for 48. Zack Crockett added three carries
for 12 yards. Oakland looked as if it could run, but circumstances
dictated they couldn't try.
PASS DEFENSE: D -- Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was beaten by Rod Smith
on a double move for a 27-yard touchdown. Jake Plummer was 16-for-22 for
205 yards and a 116.7 passer rating. Linebacker Kirk Morrison dropped an
interception that could have resulted in a 25-yard touchdown return. The
previously strong pass rush had no sacks.
RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- The Broncos averaged a season low 3.2 yards
per carry, and 23 of their 121 yards came on the first play from
scrimmage by Mike Anderson. Denver had just five rushing first downs.
While hoping to grind out the clock in the second half, Denver had 42
yards on 21 carries. Derrick Burgess forced a Tatum Bell fumble with a
SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Williams returned a Shane Lechler punt 52 yards
to set up Denver's first touchdown. Sebastian Janikowski was wide left
from 45 yards after making 10 consecutive field-goal attempts dating
back to Week 3. Chris Carr averaged 4.5 yards on two punt returns and
23.9 on six kickoff returns.
COACHING: C-minus -- It was the second consecutive time the Raiders
have been unable to get anything going against an AFC West foe despite
being at home, reminiscent of the earlier 27-14 loss to San Diego.
Oakland had some possible plays taken away by physical error in the
first half, with Porter's drop being crucial. The Raiders defense
struggled in second half with Jake Plummer's bootlegs even though they
stopped the run.