Will the Raiders ever win?

The Oakland Raiders seemed determined to pick first in the 2007 NFL Draft. Up 21-3, they had no drive in the second half against Cleveland and ended up losing.

Raiders Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: D-minus -- The only thing preventing a failing grade is a 5-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Walter to Randy Moss. Walter was 9-for-23 for 58 yards, had no completion longer than 15 yards and was sacked four times. The Raiders were unsuccessful throwing long, medium and short. LaMont Jordan's 2 receptions came on emergency forward pitches under pressure.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-plus -- Two big plays -- a 59-yard run by LaMont Jordan and a 48-yard burst around right end by Justin Fargas -- and little else. Jordan's play was a touchdown. Fargas' run led to a touchdown. The Raiders got nothing going in the second half and failed to run for first downs with a 21-3 lead. Jordan was stuffed on a key fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Some great plays -- two interceptions by Nnamdi Asomugha, a nice breakup by Fabian Washington. But the Raiders gave up three touchdown passes in tight, biting heavily on play-fakes. The Raiders allowed a 22-yard completion to Kellen Winslow on a fourth-and-8, leading to a key Cleveland score on the first drive of the second half.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-plus -- Reuben Droughns gained 100 yards on 25 carries, and Cleveland averaged only 3.0 yards per carry overall, but the Raiders gave ground on plays when they needed a big stop. Frye gained 2 yards on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter when the Raiders desperately needed the ball.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- Kickoff returns of 53 and 65 yards by Joshua Cribbs and a 58-yard return by Dennis Northcutt directly led to 17 points, puncturing coverage units which had played well since Day 1 of training camp. The Raiders did little of consequence on their own returns. Shane Lechler averaged 48.7 yards per punt but net was just 36.5 because of Northcutt's return.

COACHING: D -- Apparently failed to convey how to play with a lead. Offense continued to show a lack of creativity and reliance on deep drops when unnecessary. The defense was suckered by play-fakes near the goal line even when no viable runners were in the game. The press box coaches told Art Shell not to bother to review a 15-yard completion to Ronald Curry on third-and-16 when challenge appeared prudent. Jordan was stuffed on the next play on fourth-and-1.

Browns Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- This would have been a B but for Charlie Frye's poor decision late that led to an interception. Until that point, Frye looked very good against a struggling Oakland team. He seems comfortable in the pocket, makes good reads and is finding his playmakers. Frye occasionally holds the ball too long, but he is improving every game. The magnitude of the poor late decision, though, knocks his grade down.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Reuben Droughns bounced back from a shoulder injury for his first 100-yard game of the season. The Browns finally gave Droughns the ball, running him 25 times. The Browns ball control helped them keep possession for 20 minutes in the second half, a key factor in their comeback win.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- Two huge runs gashed the team in the first half, as Justin Fargas broke a 48-yarder to set up a touchdown and Lamont Jordan scored on a 58-yarder. The defense bounced back to play very well in the second half, but a good team does not give up two big runs like that -- nor does it give up 194 yards rushing, which Oakland totaled.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- The Browns' success here could have been more attributable to the Raiders Andrew Walter, who really struggled on offense. But without their three top corners, the Browns gave up 46 net yards passing. Walter threw for just 68 yards, and he was sacked four times. No matter the reason, the result was good -- especially considering the Browns were using their fourth and fifth corners on every down.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- These units may be the reason the Browns won the game, as the return games were outstanding. Dennis Northcutt's 58-yard punt return set up the game-winning touchdown and Joshua Cribbs' 53-yard kickoff return set up the Browns' first score. The Browns offense did a good job, but the entire team was sparked by the return game.

COACHING: C -- The Browns won, which is good, but they fell behind 21-3 to a not-so-good Oakland team and still made some questionable offensive calls. Those included a handoff up the middle in the first period on third-and-15 when a 10-yard completion would have meant a field goal, and the decision to have Frye throw late when the Browns were up there and at the Raiders six-yard line. Oakland had done nothing offensively the second half, so a field goal would have virtually sealed the win.

SB Report Top Stories