Raiders feeling the bye week blues

Prior to the start of the NFL season, the Oakland Raiders looked at a week three bye week as a curse. Perhaps it was a blessing given the abysmal start.

The Raiders have a week off to examine what has gone wrong with the first two weeks of the 2006 season, and it's up to coach Art Shell and the team's veteran leadership to make sure the defensive and special teams units don't begin pointing fingers at the offense.

Not that it wouldn't be valid.

The Raiders lost 28-6 to the Baltimore Ravens, not a bad point total considering they had six turnovers and six sacks. In a 27-0 opening loss to San Diego, the Raiders were shredded in the first half by LaDainian Tomlinson but played better in terms of yardage surrendered in the second -- although they did give up a pair of touchdowns.

Special teams play, aside from a 72-yard kick return to open the game against Baltimore, has been very good.

The Raiders had only two serious defensive breakdowns against Baltimore, a 65-yard, seven-play drive to close the half and give Baltimore a 16-3 lead, and a 34-yard scoring run by Mike Anderson with the game already decided.

"You look at our defense, and you look at the score -- the two-minute drill they scored at the end of the half, and at the end of the game, they had their run," running back LaMont Jordan said. "The defense came on the field three times with their offense on our side of the 50, and we hold them to field goals."

Said Shell: "The only thing I can hang my hat on right now is the defense and the special teams are playing pretty decent. Our defense is playing well enough for us to win games."

Defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who had two sacks of Baltimore quarterback Steve McNair, thought the overall effort of the defense was good.

"When a team is kicking field goals, you're definitely giving yourself a chance to win," Sapp said.

He said he couldn't worry about any problems the offense might be having.

"Just gotta keep plugging," Sapp said. "They'll catch up with us."


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