Raiders thump 49ers 18-6
Michael Bush
Senior Writer
Posted Aug 9, 2008


The Raiders had no problem handling the San Francisco 49ers in their preseason opener Friday night. Find out what went right and what went wrong in Oakland’s 18-6 win in Michael Wagaman’s latest update.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

· Punt returner Johnnie Lee Higgins returned one punt 53 yards for a touchdown and had another 37-yarder called back because of an injury.

“He looks really confident and it’s good to see because it’s something we talked about this offseason and during camp, the confidence level that he’s playing with and he’s bigger and stronger,” head coach Lane Kiffin said. “It showed up today. Unfortunately we had a penalty on the first one. Then he looked dynamic on the next one. It goes back to the way that we try to build this team, that if you can play great defense or play special teams and not turn the ball over, you’re going to win a lot of games. I thought that was a good example for halftime, to not score on offense and to be ahead because of those three things.”

· Running back Michael Bush carried 8 times for 27 yards but made the most of his short-yardage runs and was very impressive on the 5-yard touchdown burst up the middle he had in the third quarter to make it 15-3.

“I thought his feet looked exceptional, his ability to jump-cut, stop and start is something in practice that you sometimes can’t see as well as you can in games, so I was very pleased with Michael,” Kiffin said.

· Reserve cornerback Michael Waddell gave up three long completions early but rallied to recover two fumbles, one after he stripped the ball from the receiver.

· Oakland’s defense held the 49ers to 70 yards rushing and intercepted a pair of passes, one each by Stanford Routt and Hiram Eugene.

· Running back Louis Rankin, who has been one of the early stars in camp, broke free on a 72-yard sprint down the field before being hauled down by San Francisco’s defense. Rankin finished with a game-high 91 yards.

· Even though the Raiders only got one sack -- coming from defensive tackle Josh Shaw -- they did a good job of putting the pressure on San Francisco’s quarterbacks, especially early. Defensive end Kalimba Edwards looked particularly quick off the snap, just missing two sacks.

· Darren McFadden did a lot of running inside, which was unexpected, and finished with 48 yards on 12 carries. McFadden would have had more had he not had his head down after bouncing outside to gain a first down in the first half.

WHAT WENT WRONG

· Quarterback JaMarcus Russell didn’t generate a scoring drive, and although he showed good poise in the pocket, he was sacked once and completed only 2 of 5 throws for 13 yards.

· Wide receiver Javon Walker let a lob throw from Russell slip through his hands. San Francisco cornerback Walt Harris defended on the play but Walker should have made the catch, especially if he’s going to be Oakland’s top receiver.

· Left guard Robert Gallery got beat by San Francisco’s Ray McDonald on one play and McDonald was able to bring Russell down for a sack and short loss. Backup right tackle Mario Henderson also had a tough time, getting called for back-to-back penalties in the second half.

· Defensive tackle Terdell Sands got hit with a personal foul penalty late in the first half, helping sustain the 49ers’ first scoring drive.

INJURIES

· Sebastian Janikowski did not play after suffering a leg injury late last week. The Raiders don’t believe it’s serious but signed Aaron Elling to handle the kicking chores against San Francisco. He responded with one extra point and a 23-yard field goal.

· Rookie safety Tyvon Branch suffered a broken thumb on his right hand and played with a cast the rest of the night but will undergo surgery early next week. Kiffin said the injury will be able to continue to play despite the injury.

· Wide receiver Drew Carter injured his right knee and cornerback DeAngelo Hall suffered an unknown hand injury, but Kiffin said neither is considered serious.

QUOTABLE

· Head coach Lane Kiffin after Oakland did not commit a turnover: “It’s what we preach every day about not giving it up and protecting the ball, ball security. Anytime you go into a preseason game you’re playing a bunch of different centers, different quarterbacks and all the different guys that touch the ball. We didn’t put a ball on the ground the whole day so to come out of there with four turnovers to nothing is more pleasing than anything else.”

· Running back Michael Bush on his 5-yard touchdown run: “I had one of those flashbacks like I was in college. You see the goal line in front of you and you gotta do what you gotta do to get in.”



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