Raiders abandon the running game

The running game show signs of life and the Oakland Raiders decide to abandon it? Raining, quarterback Andrew Walter not faring well, and it continues? This year has been marked by questionable coaching decisions.

Raiders Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- The Raiders came out throwing in an attempt to take advantage of a porous Seattle pass defense and never made it to the red zone. Quarterback Andrew Walter completed 16 of 35 passes for 166 yards. He was sacked nine times, even in the first half. Wide receiver Randy Moss had six receptions for 76 yards but continued to drop both difficult and easy chances.

"If we don't play good up front, we can't do anything on offense," left tackle Robert Gallery said. "If we don't give (Walter) time to do his job, we're not going to get anything done. It's on the line right now, like it's been all year.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- LaMont Jordan had his moments, gaining 63 yards on 9 carries, but the Raiders didn't do enough of it. Justin Fargas, with shoulder and hip problems, was a non-factor with one carry for minus-2 yards. The Raiders attempted only 13 rushes in the game, gaining 64 yards.

"I think that even though we haven't been crushing people as far as our numbers rushing, I thought we were beginning to establish an attitude in that area, helping us win games," running back Justin Fargas said. "I feel like we may have strayed away from that, for whatever reason. It was really a surprise."

"We should have run the ball more," Raiders head coach Art Shell admitted. "When they first came out they attacked us with the strong dog and the weak dog because they expected us to run. Those are run blitzes. If you come out and throw on first down you can catch them and make them pay a price for it.

"But it doesn't mean you get away from the running game completely ... we got away from it and we shouldn't have. We should have run the ball a lot more than we did."

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Fabian Washington was victimized for a 22-yard touchdown reception by Deion Branch. The Raiders had no interceptions and never even got close to one after having four the previous week. Seattle quarterback Seneca Wallace operated effectively in the rain against the Raiders, completing 18 of 30 passes for 176 yards. The Raiders had three sacks.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- Maurice Morris had a career day with 30 rushes for 138 yards as the Raiders gave up a season-high 207 yards on the ground. The Raiders failed to pin Wallace back in the pocket on one play and paid for it, with the quarterback scrambling for 37 of his 49 rushing yards. Two big gains -- the 37 yard run by Wallace and a 29-yard burst by Morris -- inflated the total. SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus -- Punter Shane Lechler fared well considering the rainy circumstances, averaging 45 yards on 10 punts and placing two inside the 20-yard line. He did have one 29-yard punt. Nate Burleson had a 17-yard punt return but little else. Sebastian Janikowski had a touchback on his only kickoff. Return specialist Chris Carr did nothing of note on punts or kickoffs.

COACHING: D -- The Raiders came out throwing based on Seattle showing run blitzes early -- an error that cost them dearly. Oakland actually had decent success running the ball but ran it only 13 times in weather much more suited for running than passing. The Raiders wasted a timeout on a strange challenge of an incomplete pass to Ronald Curry where there was on conclusive evidence to overturn. Defense came out flat early, giving up a touchdown and two field goals.

Seahawks Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- QB Seneca Wallace started quickly and found WR Deion Branch for a 22-yard scoring pass on the opening drive. Wallace also went without a turnover, an improvement over his two-interception game in Kansas City last week. Wallace was forced to play catch-up against the Chiefs, whereas Seattle led the Raiders from start to finish. That made his job easier. Dropped passes continued to hurt the offense, however. TE Jerramy Stevens dropped what should have been Wallace's second touchdown pass of the game. RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Seattle's ground game awakened in a big way as the offensive line played its most aggressive game of the season. RB Maurice Morris set a career high with 138 yards and consistently made the most of running lanes. Morris seemed to run harder in this game. He made defenders miss and even broke a tackle or two, something he had not done in previous starts. The Raiders are strong on defense, so Morris' performance was an encouraging sign for Seattle.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- The Seahawks made a statement with nine sacks, including seven in the first half. The secondary played with an aggressiveness and cohesiveness that had been missing in previous weeks. The Raiders' weak offensive line gave Seattle a perfect opportunity to make a statement. CB Marcus Trufant and FS Ken Hamlin delivered some big hits on Raiders WR Randy Moss, breaking up a deep pass that could have given the Raiders momentum.

"We've been getting talked bad about the last few weeks or so, and rightfully so," defensive end Bryce Fisher said. "So it was about time that we started showing a little bit of the reasons why (team president) Tim Ruskell brought us in here."

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Oakland carried only 13 times for 64 yards, with half the yardage coming on a single run by LaMont Jordan. The linebackers continued to overpursue at times, but the Raiders didn't have enough rushing attempts to capitalize in a meaningful way.

"Our defense had a few things to prove, and I think they played very, very hard and very, very smart, which is something we need to do," coach Mike Holmgren said.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- P Ryan Plackemeier shanked a few but got some good bounces that helped him finish with three inside-the-20s. K Josh Brown was perfect on the night despite a high-and-inside snap from LS Derek Rackley. Plackemeier did a good job getting the ball down quickly. WR Nate Burleson provided an upgrade as a punt returner, averaging 9.8 yards on four returns. RB Josh Scobey committed a 15-yard penalty by running into the punt returner prematurely, a bone-headed play that could have been costly against a viable opponent.

COACHING: A -- The staff challenged Seattle's defensive players, with positive results. A strong effort was to be expected given the opposition. Oakland's offense is the worst in the league. Emotion is another thing entirely, however, and Seattle brought more to this game than some of its recent ones. On offense, the staff played things relatively safe, with a few wrinkles that helped Seneca Wallace operate at peak efficiency. There were a few designed rollouts to avoid pressure. And Wallace had the green light to take off running when appropriate. His 37-yard scramble was one example.


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