Raiders: What Went Wrong in Foxboro?

It's no surprise the Oakland Raiders lost the game against the New England Patriots, at least when you take into consideration the main bugaboo-- penalties. The Raiders not only committed more penalties than the Patriots in their 20-30 loss to the World Champions, they did so in an alarming fashion. With so much riding on the season opener, how could the Raiders self-destruct like that?

PHOTO: Oakland Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt (26) interferes with a reception by New England Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown during the fourth quarter in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, Sept. 8, 2005. The play set up a two-yard touchdown by the Patriots. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Raiders: What Went Wrong in Foxboro?
By Staff

Mike White couldn't solve this problem, Joe Bugel did no better. It wasn't a phenomenon of Jon Gruden's reign. Bill Callahan was tormented by it. And now, Norv, it's your problem.


Thursday night, the Raiders had 16 penalties for 149 yards in prime Massachusetts real estate.

Consider the following:

-- Six of the first seven penalties of the game were against the Patriots. 15 of the next 16 were against the Raiders. Either that's a total collapse of self-control or it's a disease.

-- 149 yards was more than double the number of yards the Patriots' ground game, featuring Corey Dillon, ran for.

They came from everywhere -- six on offense, six on defense, four on special teams. They ranged from four holding penalties of varying types, three flagrant personal fouls, one interference, two delays of game.

And it must be contagious because a rookie, Stanford Routt, earned 38 yards in penalties on one series alone.

And it could have been worse. Two more penalties were declined (a fifth holding and a second interference).

Bad as the Raiders have been in this department over the last 10 years, and they have usually either led the league in being penalized or come precipitously close, this one was epic. Only three games out of the last 145 stand out as no less than this one's equal in the penalty department.

-- The 2003 opener against Tennessee, 17 penalties for 173 yards.

-- Another 2003 gusher against Cleveland, 19 penalties though for "only" 128 yards.

-- A 1996 Denver game in which 20 flags were dropped on the Raiders for 157 yards.

"I'm really concerned about the amount of penalties," Turner conceded. "The way we're going to go about it is look at every one of them and coach off of them."

"That's something I'm not used to," running back LaMont Jordan said.

Chances are, he will adapt.

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