Raiders need to finish the game

The Oakland Raiders pined about finishing two weeks ago when they failed to keep a lead and couldn't come through with an answer. The defense failed to hold a lead again last week and almost lost the game but a lucky break changed things.

Coach Lane Kiffin was resisting the knee-jerk reaction that the Raiders defense became too passive in allowing the Cleveland Browns to rally from a 26-17 deficit and come within a well-timed time out of winning the game.

Through 10 possessions, the Raiders looked like the defense they thought they'd be. Cleveland, which had run up 554 yards in the previous week's win over Cincinnati, had just 143 yards in total offense.

The Raiders only sacked quarterback Derek Anderson once, but did enough to disrupt his timing so the Browns passing game wasn't anything close to what it was against the Bengals.

Then, with the Raiders seemingly in control, it all fell apart.

The Browns tore through Oakland for 149 yards on their last two possessions and actually saw what they believed to be the game-winning kick going through the uprights. The problem was, Phil Dawson's 40-yard field goal was negated because Kiffin had called a time out moments before _ just as Mike Shanahan did to the Raiders and Sebastian Janikowski the week before.

Tommy Kelly's block of the second attempt bailed out the Oakland defense.

Included on Cleveland's final drive were 33 and 23-yard passes from Anderson to Kellen Winslow and a 13-yard Anderson to Joe Jurevicius pass to the 22-yard line before the kick.

Kiffin saw enough early on to see Oakland's defensive potential.

"We have to finish a lot better than we did on the last two drives of the game," Kiffin said. "There were some great things in the first half. The first five series of the game there were three punts and two interceptions. So we did show our personality of who we are on defense for a half.

"Now we need to do that for a full game. That's how we should play defense. We should be a great defense here. That's what we keep working for. For a half, we showed that."

Kiffin didn't believe a lack of blitzing was the problem.

"It's about being consistent," Kiffin said. "All of a sudden in the fourth quarter we had mental breakdowns and missed assignments. They weren't doing different formations or different plays. It wasn't about what they were doing, it was about us. When it gets loud and you get tired, you have to continue to do things right."


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