Curry emerges in loss

Watching Ronald Curry reemerge brought smiles but there was little else that produced a feeling of elation in the Oakland Raiders loss on Sunday.

"Personally, I am still looking for my first win as a Raiders quarterback," Aaron Brooks revealed. "I think a win would be a moral victory. It would build confidence and help our conscience going into the offseason, so we can say, ‘You know, we're not as bad as people think we are.' And, you are never as good as you think you are either."

Raiders Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: D-plus -- The Raiders have dramatically increased the use of three-step drops and their completions have gone up, but they remain duds in the red zone. Quarterback Brooks was 23 of 39 for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Nine different receivers caught passes. The bright spot was Ronald Curry, who caught eight passes for 99 yards and his first touchdown since Dec. 5, 2004. Curry's 35-yard catch and run was the lone play of significant yardage.

"Even though we lost, it was a big accomplishment for me just to get back and play again," said Curry. "The main goal for this year was just to come out and show everybody that I was back. Getting into the end zone was big. You pride yourself on what you contribute to the team — at least I do. It was good to get into the end zone."

"The guy is a true professional," Brooks said of Curry. "He's a great guy, he works hard and he is very deserving of everything that he has received. It was very fulfilling to see him get back into the end zone. We were able to get in a grove. Basically that whole drive was he and I connecting, so it's nice to see that."

RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus -- So much for the plan to get ReShard Lee involved. Justin Fargas has 13 carries for 37 yards. He had 10 for 34 at the half, with the Raiders forced to abandon the run when the Bengals took control. Lee was dumped for a 3-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 play in the second half, with 350-pound plus lineman Sam Adams blowing past rookie Kevin Boothe.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- The Raiders had three interceptions, two by cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who had an excellent game, and one by Fabian Washington, who did not. They did little else right. Oakland cut back on its man-to-man defense and employed more zones, perhaps realizing the rushing the passer would be difficult with Derrick Burgess lined up against Willie Anderson. The Raiders looked like a team which doesn't play much zone -- which in fact they don't. Both starting receivers, T.J. Houshmandzadeh (eight receptions, 118 yards) and Chad Johnson (five receptions, 101 yards) went over 100 yards. Carson Palmer was 20-for-28 for 298 yards, with two touchdowns and the three interceptions.

"That's the toughest that we've seen," Asomugha said of the Bengals offense. "On film, we knew they were going to be tough. It wasn't a shock."

RUSH DEFENSE: D-plus -- Rudi Johnson ran for 117 yards, mostly right into the heart of the Oakland defense, to set up the Bengals passing game. Johnson scored on touchdown runs of 9 and 6 yards with the Raiders offering little in the way of opposition. Tackles Tommy Kelly and Terdell Sands were in on six and five tackles, respectively, but Warren Sapp pitched a shutout.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus -- Sebastian Janikowski missed his fifth field goal attempt in a row, with the last three hitting the left upright. It was hardly a gimme, from 51 yards out. He connected from 33 yards to break the streak. Chris Carr averaged a strong 26.4 yards on five kickoff returns. The Raiders kept Cincinnati return specialists under control. Shane Lechler punted twice for a 51.0 average. Oakland's punt return team wasn't needed -- the Bengals never punted.

COACHING: D -- The Raiders have made some adjustments to their passing game which has helped move the ball, but they continually on the opponent's side of the field. Shell talks about the importance of being stubborn with the run as the goal line approaches but the Raiders seldom try it. Rob Ryan may have out-thought himself with the addition of mixing in more zones than usual rather than going with the man-to-man that has been a strength of both cornerbacks. Fabian Washington looked lost and the Bengals exploited the Raiders with matchup problems, getting Houshmandzadeh matched up against linebacker Sam Williams and victimizing nickel back Tyrone Poole in the middle of the field.

Bengals Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Despite three interceptions by Carson Palmer, the Bengals played well in the pass offense. T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson had 118 and 101 yards. Palmer tossed two touchdowns and 297 yards, going over 10,000 for his career. The line allowed no sacks.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Rudi Johnson ran for 117 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns. Third-down back Kenny Watson added 22 yards on the ground. The Bengals had eight rushing first downs. Johnson did lose a rare fumble on a run play.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Raiders had just 199 pass yards, and Cincinnati linebacker Brian Simmons intercepted a pass. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph recovered a fumble after a completed pass. The Bengals also had four sacks, including two by end Robert Geathers. Geathers now has 10.5, making him the first double-digit sack man for Cincinnati since Alfred Williams in 1992.

RUSHING DEFENSE: A -- Oakland had just 45 yards, the fourth consecutive game the Bengals have allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards. The Raiders did not gain a first down on a run play.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Shayne Graham missed an extra point. Kyle Larson did not have to punt. Glen Holt had two kickoff returns for a 30-yard average. Still, the Bengals gave up a 26.4-yard average on kickoff returns to the Raiders.

COACHING: A -- Marvin Lewis prepared his team, and the Bengals avoided a letdown between prime-time games against Baltimore and Indianapolis. Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski called a good game by running the ball 39 times, compared to 28 pass plays.


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