Running not in the cards

LaMont Jordan

The run has ended, but the streak continues. The Oakland Raiders dropped their 17th straight to AFC West foes on Sunday.

A rushing juggernaut through four games, averaging 194.2 yards per game, the Raiders have been bottled up by two of their rivals in the AFC West, San Diego and Kansas City.

The Raiders rushed for 53 yards on 23 carries against the Chargers and 55 on 24 carries against the Chiefs, losing both games and extending their AFC West losing streak to 17 games.

In the second half of the Chiefs loss, Oakland gained just 22 yards on nine carries -- and 12 of those yards came on a single run by LaMont Jordan.

Things don't get any easier against the Titans, who happen to lead the NFL in rushing defense, giving up just 59.7 yards per game.

The Raiders, who emerged from their bye after the Miami game, found Chiefs and Chargers teams which loaded up against the run, putting eight men in the box and daring Daunte Culpepper to beat them with the pass.

"They did a great job of bringing safeties down, their four did a tremendous job of clogging up the holes," Culpepper said. "We're going to see defenses like that week in and week out, and we've got to continue to get better."

Coach Lane Kiffin believes the Raiders need to run better, not less frequently.

"I think we have to run the ball," Kiffin said. "This team is not built to sit back and throw the ball 50 times. That's not who we are personnel-wise."

Jordan had just 11 carries for 29 yards, one week after gaining 42 yards on 18 carries against San Diego. Dominic Rhodes, in his first extensive action as a Raider, added 21 yards on nine carries.

Aside from Jordan's 12-yard run and one of 11 by Rhodes, the Raiders gained 32 yards on 22 carries.

Jordan acknowledged defenses stacking the box.

"Teams are going to put eight in the box. They're going to do what the two teams have done for the past two weeks," Jordan said. "When we look at the film, we're going to realize we just got out-executed. We got a few big plays from our passing game but when it's all said and done, the strength of this offense is running the ball. The last two weeks, we didn't do a good job of doing that at all."

The Raiders saw it from the flip side against San Diego, when LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 198 yards on 24 carries as the Raiders brought eight in the box to try and slow him down.

Jordan thinks the yards are still out there to be had.

"You can run against those fronts," Jordan said. "We looked at the San Diego tape, we saw we had nothing but gaping holes. If we did just get that one block or if I as a back can make that one cut and make it fast enough, it's there. And we're close, but heck, we're close to about being out of the playoffs if we keep losing."

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