The New Orleans Saints continued the Oakland Raiders misery with a 31-26 win in Oakland Sunday. The Raiders (2-5) have now lost four games in a row and frankly, despite a massive overhaul in the offseason, look like the same old team that finished the 2003 season at 4-12.
The Saints (3-4) extended their lead to 24-19 with 4:34 left in the game on a 41-yard John Carney field goal. Oakland's Carlos Francis fumbled the ensuing kickoff which the Saints' Colby Bockwoldt returned 6-yards for a touchdown, making it 31-19 New Orleans. Oakland cut the margin to 31-26 when Kerry Collins hit Jerry Porter for a 13-yard touchdown but the Raiders never gained another possession.
Oakland took a 9-0 lead on three Sebastian Janikowski field goals before the Saints responded with 21 unanswered points. Aaron Brooks threw a touchdown pass to Lamont Hall and Deuce McAllister added two rushing touchdowns. Collins later hit Doug Jolley for a 34-yard touchdown pass.
That touchdown ended a drought of seven quarters in which the Raiders failed to score a touchdown. Collins, who had been struggling mightily since taking over for the injured Rich Gannon, drew a cascade of boos.
Collins encouraged the fans one time by waving his arms toward the Black Hole section behind the south end zone. As if Raider fans need an excuse to show emotion.
"I guess it's the competitor in me," Collins said. "I get fired up. When people get down on you and are calling for you to get pulled, it gets my juices flowing."
Collins has thrown nine interceptions and only four touchdown passes in 4 1/2 games since taking over for Gannon. Collins still finished the day 26-of-45 for 350 yards. The Raiders offense, however, performed once again in disappointing fashion one week after producing only 145 total yards in a 31-3 loss to the Broncos.
Oakland outgained New Orleans 432-322 in total yardage but had to settle for four Janikowski field goals.
"We ended up kicking field goals, and that has an effect as the game goes on," Raiders coach Norv Turner said.
Collins' lone interception turned out to be costly as Tebucky Jones picked off Collins and returned it 55-tards to set up a McAllister touchdown.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com