The Raiders defense is to blame

The Oakland Raiders are the only team in the NFL that has given up five yards or more per rush. The defense, once considered a strength has been anything but. It is ironic that all the talk still surrounds the offense.

Raiders Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: D-minus -- A 28-yard touchdown pass from Josh McCown to Tim Dwight with 1:30 to play is the only thing that prevents a failing grade. McCown was 13-for-28 overall, threw three interceptions and could have had more. He was particularly poor throwing downfield and over the middle. Only Jerry Porter, with four catches for 55 yards, caught more than two passes.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- The Raiders got their running game back on track with 153 yards on 33 carries. Newly anointed starter Justin Fargas had 23 rushes for 104 yards, and they were consistent yards. No run was longer than 12 yards. LaMont Jordan continued to struggle with 10 yards on four carries. McCown gained 31 yards on five carries, and was more of a contributor to the running game than the passing game.

PASS DEFENSE: D-plus -- Right cornerback Stanford Routt stumbled in one-on-one coverage with Andre Davis and the result was a 28-yard touchdown that put the game away for the Texans. Journeyman Sage Rosenfels was an efficient 11 of 18 for 181 yards and evaded pressure well enough to avoid being sacked. Free safety Stuart Schweigert had an interception inside the 5-yard line -- his first in 24 games.

"I'll find out what happened on film," Routt said. "You win some, you lose some. I look at the ones I mess up on, figure out what I did, learn from them and get better."

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- The Raiders gave up 178 yards on 49 carries, an average of 4.6 per attempt, to a Texans team that came into the game ranked last in yards per carry at 3.2. Ron Dayne, the starter because Ahman Green was out, ran for 122 yards on 21 attempts despite a 2.9 average coming in. The Raiders ranked 30th in the NFL against the run, giving up 152.5 yards per game, and are the only team giving up more than five yards per carry (5.2).

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Sebastian Janikowski was one-for-two on field-goal attempts, narrowly missing an NFL record when his 64-yard attempt struck the right upright halfway up.

"It was going straight and the last 10 yards or so it turned a little bit," Janikowski said. "I thought it was going to hit the post and go in."

"It would have been good from 70 easy," Janikowski added, later amending the figure to 74.

Shane Lechler punted twice for a 52-yard net. Returns continue to be pedestrian. Johnnie Lee Higgins had one punt return for three yards. Out of five kick returns by Dominic Rhodes and Chris Carr, only Carr's 31-yarder was above average. Coverage units continue to be solid. Jay Richardson blocked a 43-yard field-goal attempt by Kris Brown.

"He ran over two guys. He made it easy," Richardson said of Terdell Sands getting penetration. "I just ran behind his big (behind).

"As soon as that ball goes, you take off, try to either run over the center or jump over him. You kind of got a sense of timing in your head when you gotta get your hand up. Then you just reach as high as you can. I felt it, though. Definitely got that one."

COACHING: D-minus -- Lane Kiffin's decision to start McCown after being out since Week 3 was a disaster, as noted by the fans who booed throughout the game. He ordered a 64-yard field-goal try with 1:15 to play in the first half that failed, leading a short-field drive and a 40-yard field goal by Brown. Whatever it is Rob Ryan is doing to try and shore up his run defense isn't working. The Raiders continue to get worse in that area, with runners finding little or no resistance on the second level.

Texans Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- The Texans played solid against one of the best pass defenses in the league. Sage Rosenfels put together the best start of his career, as he filled in for Matt Schaub, who was suffering from a concussion. Rosenfels completed 11 of 19 passes for 181 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Texans had thrown seven interceptions in the previous two games, but did a great job of taking care of the ball this time around. Owen Daniels fumbled one catch, but still led the team with four catches for 41 yards. Andre Davis caught an amazing 42-yard pass to secure the victory for the Texans in the fourth quarter. The offensive line also didn't allow one sack for just the second time this season.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- The Texans had their best rushing day of the season. Ron Dayne paced the team with 21 carries for 122 yards and one touchdown. He had a long of 39 yards and a 14-yard touchdown run up the middle. The offensive line provided some great gaps for the backs. Ahman Green only made it through one-and-a-half quarters before having to leave because of his bruised knee, but he was very productive when he was in the game. He had eight carries for 28 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown run. He also caught a short pass that he turned into a 53-yard gain.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Texans lost their best defensive player -- Dunta Robinson -- midway through the first half to a season-ending knee injury. They held everything together though. Josh McCown never was able to get comfortable. He was sacked only once. But he was hit often. He completed 13 of 28 passes for 158 yards and threw three interceptions and one touchdown. Fred Bennett, Danny Clark and DeMeco Ryans each picked up an interception. Amobi Okoye picked up his fifth sack of the season -- setting a franchise record for rookie sacks in a season.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Justin Fargas rushed for 104 yards on just 23 carries, but the Texans never let the running game get out of hand. Fargas rushed for the team's only rushing touchdown as the team finished with 153 total rushing yards. McCown was the team's second-leading rusher with five carries for 31 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- The Texans didn't make anything special happen in the return game, but they also didn't give up any big returns to the Raiders. Jacoby Jones returned two punts for 22 yards. Dexter Wynn returned two kickoffs for 51 yards. Matt Turk shanked his final punt of the game. Kris Brown had one field-goal attempt blocked. He did kick a successful 40-yard field goal though.

COACHING: B -- The coaches had a solid game plan in place against the Raiders. They stuck with the run, even when Green went down with his injury. They allowed Dayne to get into sync. Rosenfels was able to make some big plays, and even threw a risky 42-yard pass to Andre' Davis in the fourth quarter instead of making the offense just play it safe. That was a great call by the coaches. The defense played well, rallying together after the loss of Robinson. Will Demps being inserted in at safety and Fred Bennett taking the job at cornerback were good decisions.


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