Hot Topic and Player Notes: Raiders

Norv Turner was beaming over the play of his secondary in the wake of Oakland's 34-25 win over Tennessee. The Raiders are without their highest-paid player, cornerback Charles Woodson, and Derrick Gibson, a physical strong safety who does his best work near the line of scrimmage.

Since both players had multiple duties, it was an area of concern - especially since Woodson (broken fibula) is out a minimum of five more games and Gibson (dislocated wrist) is gone for the season after being placed on injured reserve.

Lo and behold, the area of concern became an area of strength, though admittedly against a Tennessee receiving corps even more depleted than the Raiders' defensive backs.

Members of the Oakland secondary broke up a season-high eight passes - three each by cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha and two by free safety Stuart Schweigert.

Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair completed 26 passes, but for only 229 yards despite taking a number of deep shots at the Raiders.

Washington and Asomugha both had breakups of sideline passes that have been 40-plus yard gains. Schweigert, making a correct read to the post, had a breakup at the goal line.

"They took a lot of shots at them," Turner said. "You don't see a team throw that many times deep. Our guys held up. They really held up. I think we can continue to improve because there's some things those guys saw, some things they haven't been exposed to, and they're going to continue to get work."

Washington, a first-round draft pick out of Nebraska, had seen his time increase every week but was exhausted as he pulled off his uniform.

"I've still got a lot of work to do, but I did OK," Washington said. "Starting is a big difference. I thought I was in shape to play a complete game because I was playing a lot of plays in the last month. But it's different - a lot different."

The Raiders mixed coverages and alignments almost down-by-down. Asomugha and Washington played exclusively on the outside. Renaldo Hill, instead of playing primarily as a safety, played slot receivers as a nickel back, with Jarrod Cooper playing strong safety and Schweigert free safety.

The Raiders also activated Denard Walker for the first time this season and used him in the dime. Return specialist Chris Carr and rookie Stanford Routt also saw time, with Routt playing when Asomugha went out temporarily with a rib injury and again when Washington needed a break after a deep route.

Although he played less than expected, Routt came up with a tackle of Steve McNair on a third-and-10 play, bringing him down after a 9-yard gain at the Oakland 15 and forcing a Tennessee field goal that cut the score to 27-25.

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Kerry Collins had a 95-pass streak without an interception snapped when he threw a pass directly to Tennessee cornerback Reynaldo Hill, who returned it 52 yards for a touchdown.

--QB Marques Tuiasosopo, in reserve of an injured Rich Gannon, had his best game as a pro against Kansas City in 2003, completing 16 of 28 passes for 224 yards. With the score 17-10, Tuiasosopo hit Tim Brown for a 5-yard pass to the 1 as time expired.

--RB LaMont Jordan gained more yards as a receiver (five receptions, 69 yards, 1 TD) than as a rusher (20 carries, 67 yards) against Tennessee.

--FB John Paul Foschi, who caught two passes for 14 yards, had finger surgery Monday but is expected to face Kansas City.

--RB Zack Crockett, who had eight touches (seven rushes, one reception) the previous week, had only one carry for 2 yards against the Titans.

--WR Jerry Porter turned a 10-yard route into a 26-yard touchdown and a 15-yard pattern into a 44-yard touchdown on passes from Kerry Collins en route to six receptions for a season-high 123 yards.

--WR Randy Moss, nagged by rib and groin injuries and also taking a blow to the head, caught three passes for 26 yards.

--WR Alvis Whitted did not catch a pass - Jerry Porter and Randy Moss were the only wideouts with receptions - but ran 24 yards with a reverse against the Titans.

--TE Courtney Anderson did not catch a pass for the second consecutive game. He was called for holding once.

--PK Sebastian Janikowski quietly had one of his best overall games. He successfully converted field goal attempts of 22 and 32 yards, was 4-for-4 on extra points, and hit six of his seven kickoffs into the end zone with a season-high four touchbacks.

--DT Warren Sapp, with 2 1/2 sacks, equaled his season total of 2004 with the Raiders. He has 4 1/2 for the season. Since getting a career-high 16 1/2 sacks in 2000, Sapp's highest sack total is 7 1/2 in 2002.

--LB Danny Clark is coming off one of his best games, recording 12 tackles, a sack of Steve McNair and one pass defended.

--DT Ed Jasper is getting considerable playing time, working alongside Warren Sapp in the nickel defense. He had a sack of Steve McNair and was credited by Sapp for controlling the center on two plays in which Sapp recorded sacks.

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