We were coming off a blow out and I was banking on Coach making the changes needed for us to get a win. I picked up the schedule and as I looked at the ‘W’ I wrote next to this game, I pressed play and was ready for anything. After last weeks massacre had taken place, Coach Cable said. “At some point you have to say enough is enough and start thinking about the rest of the team”. I figured him to be talking about Russell but as the starting lineup took the field, I saw that wasn’t it. The Raiders first possession ended in a 3 and out with a pass nearly intercepted as Russell threw it behind Heyward-Bey. Oaklands second possession ended in another 3 and out and included Russell being sacked. All I could think about is Murphy saying last week, “We have to be able to come out and give our defense a rest, keep our defense off the field and to just continue to move the chains. We have to go 10 yards at a time, constantly move down the field, and continue to build momentum”. With that said, our Defense was back on the field but I remained optimistic. I can say that our first two opening drives were the only ones that I had a problem with. We had control after that for the majority of the game if not the rest of it. The offense played well and our defense was showing out. Our penalties accounted for 23 yards which was also an improvement. Trevor Scott set the tone with a sack during the Eagles first drive. The emotion he had after the play, I felt as I watched it at home. Scott came right back on Phillys second drive and sacked McNabb again. I said immediately to myself ‘oh this aint gon be no easy ass whooping Cletus’.
He was in a zone and I was right there with him. McNabb escaped a third sack by Scott. Eagles’ kicker Akers misses a field goal. The Raiders looked like they came to play. They must have been reading those emails I’ve been sending (smile). JaMarcus threw a pass to Zach Miller and he ran for 86 of his 139 yards for a TD. (Longest TD by a TE in Raider history)His TD was assisted by 2 good blocks from rookie Wide Receiver Louis Murphy. If you didn’t see them you missed a good play by the former Gator. I’m glad he didn’t hurt himself. Routts pick 6 hyped the crowd and they stayed hype even after they called it back. Raider Nation was in the building and as well as the Raiders were playing the stadium wasn’t going to get quiet until the game was over. Vargas looked out there picking up 87 yards. He looks healthier and hopefully he’ll continue to progress and stay healthy. The offense complimented the defense this game. It was rough out there on McNabb. Donovan escaped a sack by Tommy Kelly and then escaped another one by Seymour. Since Richard missed him the last time, Seymour came back so he could reintroduce himself with back to back sacks on McNabb. McNabb was so shook up; he was calling time outs he didn’t have. He’s become the CWebb of football. Philly had three consecutive 3 and outs, 2 missed field goals and 6 dropped passes. I wonder if the way the Raiders played had anything to do with those comments that Antonio Pierce made or if we did some serious soul searching. Whatever the case, I hope they keep it up. The Eagles were shut down, converting 2 out of 16 third downs and unable to get in the end zone.
Russell finished the game with 224 yards and 2 interceptions. It seemed as if he was tired of letting his team down, like he was mad at himself for playing like trash. Russell stepped up Sunday, like he actually knew how to play some football. Raider Nation was pleased. Some make jokes that it was the pigeon that stayed on the field the whole second half but we were on at every aspect, beating them all over the field. 18 first downs to their 14, 325 total yards compared to their 283 and even controlling the time of possession with 33 minutes to the Eagles 26. John Marshall handled his business with the defense. McNabb was sacked 6 times. As terrible as it is, a 1-5 record shouldn’t be taken lightly. That’s the team that really has nothing to lose. Mix it with the heart of a Raider and I’d say you’re in some trouble. Eagles didn’t eat 14 years ago and they weren’t eating on Sunday. We prepared well for this game and executed as we should. Was it a fluke, some might say yes. There are still things we need to work on but the win Sunday proved that we are capable of doing so. We practiced hard and when you practice hard you play hard and when you play hard you win easy. Next up the J-E-T-S… Sanchez better watch out. We're on one!