Around the League: Raiders

Any NFL player looks forward to the bye week much like an 8-year-old looks forward to Santa Claus. The Raiders aren't 8, and they'd probably rather keep playing than have a week off after their first feel-good game of the year.

The Raiders finally played a game where they got on a roll in terms come-through performances when they dispatched Dallas 19-13. It wasn't the complete game coach Norv Turner was looking for, but it had its moments.

"The biggest thing we've been working on the last month is being able to finish a game off," Turner said. "(To) make plays down the stretch, in the fourth quarter, on the last play of the game to put the game away."

At 0-3 going into the Dallas game, the Raiders were a ripe candidate for meltdown. They had played well in New England and Philadelphia and probably should have beaten Kansas City at home. All they had to show for it was bruises.

But against Dallas, the Raiders did what Turner was talking about. They made plays down the stretch, they survived the last two plays of the game, and they put the game away.

Significantly, they did it on defense with grit and persistence, stopping the Cowboys inside the Oakland 10-yard line by shutting off potential game-losing pass plays that were aimed for Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn.

Cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Charles Woodson came up with the big stops to finish off the game. The Raiders' pass rush materialized at last and tormented Drew Bledsoe into an 11-for-28 passing game, sacking him four times -- two by the free agent who was expected to make it happen, Derrick Burgess.

It was just the injection of spirit the Raiders were looking for. Now, of course, there is no guarantee after two weeks of inactivity, they will remember how they came to bring their A-game.

Then again, their next challenge after 13 days with no game might require some extra time. The Chargers are coming off two superlative efforts of their own, outscoring the prolific Giants and then ending the Patriots' 21-game home winning streak. The Raiders defense figures to have its hands full with a Chargers team that scored more than 40 points in each game.

Consequently, does the bye, particularly the win going into it, consist of a positive ... or something less than that?

"It's huge," safety Stuart Schweigert said. "We have a division game coming back, and this gives us two weeks to prepare for them and for us to heal. But it's just one victory. We need to get a little streak going, and it starts right now."


The vaunted Raiders offense accounted for only one touchdown, none over the last three quarters, but Oakland rode four Sebastian Janikowski field goals to a 19-13 victory over the Cowboys.

The game marked the resurrection of the Raiders rushing game that had accounted for only 21 yards the previous week. LaMont Jordan scored the lone Oakland touchdown and rushed six times for 38 yards on a drive to a field goal.

Although Randy Moss didn't get into the end zone, his 79-yard reception on Oakland's second offensive play did what it was intended to do -- it backed the Cowboys up into two- and three-deep coverage to make sure it didn't happen again. That led the Raiders to rush for 129 yards and gain some semblance of control of the clock. As Jordan noting, "Today, you saw the complete balance of our offense."


--RB LaMont Jordan established career highs in both rushing attempts (26) and yards gained (126) in the win over Dallas.

--QB Kerry Collins failed to generate a passing touchdown against Dallas, but he had 23 more attempts without an interception, bringing his streak of passes without an interception to a career-best 149.

--DE Derrick Burgess' two sacks against Dallas tied a career high.

--C Jake Grove left the Dallas game on the ninth play of the second half with a knee strain. He was replaced for the remainder of the game by Adam Treu. The Raiders did not divulge the severity of the injury.

--WR Randy Moss caught four passes for 123 yards (30.8 average) against Dallas, raising his season average to 24.6 yards a reception.

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