Rushing the way to go

With the quarterback play in Oakland suspect, running the ball seems to be the only option left. LaMont Jordan ran the ball as well as he ever has since joining the Raiders.

Raiders Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: D-minus -- Only one play -- a 46-yard touchdown pass from Josh McCown to Jerry Porter -- keeps this from a failing grade. McCown completed eight of 16 passes for 73 yards and threw three interceptions, two to Dre Bly and one to Champ Bailey. He overthrew Porter on what would have been a potential game-winning play in regulation. With Bly and Bailey tying up the outside, the Raiders didn't make any headway to tight ends in the middle of the field or running backs on checkdowns. A disaster.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- LaMont Jordan rushed 23 times for 159 yards as the Raiders gained 200 yards. It was the first time an Oakland back gained 100 yards against an AFC West foe since 2002. McCown contributed scrambles of seven and 21 yards, both for first downs. Rushing average was 5.7 yards per carry. Zone-blocking transition going even better than expected.

PASS DEFENSE: C-plus -- Thomas Howard intercepted a pass and ran 44 yards for a touchdown and Kirk Morrison had his second interception in two weeks. If only the secondary, apart from Nnamdi Asomugha, covered as well as the linebackers. Denver quarterback Jay Cutler passed for 13 first downs, occasionally putting the ball into tight spots but more often hitting open receivers. Javon Walker caught eight passes for 101 yards and Brandon Marshall had five receptions for 82, including a 22-yarder in overtime to set up the winning points.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- Travis Henry gained yardage consistently, rushing for 128 yards on 26 carries. Backup Selvin Young contributed 43 yards on three attempts. Cecil Sapp was unimpeded on a four-yard run for his first career touchdown. The Broncos are one of the NFL's top rushing teams, but more was expected in this area of the Oakland defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus -- Shane Lechler punted 48 yards to the Denver 8 at the end of the third quarter, a play that contributed to a Raiders safety a short time later. Sebastian Janikowski made the biggest kick of his career, from 52 yards away, only to have it erased by a Denver timeout. He followed with the biggest miss of his career, striking the left upright. Gutsy call on an onsides kick recovery by Chris Carr. The Raiders punted, but Lechler's ensuing punt set the stage for the safety. Nothing special in the Oakland return game, but nothing big surrendered, either.

COACHING: C -- Kiffin's decision to go with McCown, who was listed as doubtful with finger and foot injuries, has to be taken to task. There's no guarantee Daunte Culpepper would have done any better, but the Raiders passing game was stagnant and needed a spark. On the plus side, the Raiders, for the second week in a row, overcame a considerable deficit and were in position to win.

Broncos Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Jay Cutler threw a couple of interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. That interception was tough to avoid because it was tipped at the line and Oakland linebacker Thomas Howard caught it on the run. The Broncos made a few plays passing the ball, including a pass to Brandon Marshall that made the game-winning field goal in overtime a chip shot.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Travis Henry gained 128 yards and Selvin Young had a 40-yard gain. Denver averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Fullback Cecil Sapp had a touchdown and fellow fullback Mike Bell gained a big first down on Denver's final drive. The only drawback was Denver didn't finish many drives in the second half, which knocks the running game's grade down slightly.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- The secondary earned the highest grade even though Dre Bly was beat for a 46-yard touchdown by Oakland's Jerry Porter. Take that play off the board, and Josh McCown was seven of 15 for 27 yards. Champ Bailey and Bly each had an interception, with Bly's pick coming at the end of regulation. That made up for getting beat earlier in the game.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- With no passing game, Oakland still stayed in the game. They were able to pound the ball on the ground, gaining 200 yards as a team with a 5.7-yard average. LaMont Jordan ran strong all day, and his 33-yard run in overtime put Oakland in position to attempt a field goal, which was no good. Denver has played very well on defense with a few lapses against the run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Todd Sauerbrun had a good day, averaging 49 net yards per punt with three touchbacks on kickoffs. Denver had trouble covering kicks in its first game, but Sauerbrun nullified that. On the other hand, Denver didn't make any plays returning the ball. All four kickoffs were touchbacks, and Domenik Hixon averaged only four yards per punt return. Jason Elam missed a field goal, but hit a game-tying field goal late in regulation and the winner in overtime.

COACHING: B -- The Broncos have to figure out how to turn their impressive yardage total into more points, but many of those mistakes that led to scoreless drives weren't on the coaches. Two straight weeks the Broncos have been in a tight game and made good decisions and play calls that led the team to a victory.

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