Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Report Cards

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 skeptical.

"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 ourselves off."

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."

NOTES, QUOTES

--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 in time.

"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 good play."

--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 game.

"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 division title.

"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 long-snapping duties.

--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 ferocious hit.

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.

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