Raiders look for Silver lining but see Black

The Oakland Raiders losing streak continues and it appears time to hand the reigns over to JaMarcus Russell - that could provide the spark that sends the spirit back into the team and its fans.

Raiders Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- A flat-out failure in every way. The handful of times QB Josh McCown had open receivers, he missed them. WRs Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter failed to get separation. When McCown scrambled, receivers failed to come back and meet the ball. There was no passing gain of more than 14 yards. Running backs were non-contributors, as Justin Fargas caught all five passes to backs for 23 yards. Rookie TE Zach Miller had four catches for 43 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Fargas ran hard but without the success he has this season, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry (23 carries, 81 yards). The best rushing play of the day was the first one, a McCown option off a spread formation that broke for 24 yards. Erase that run and the Raiders averaged 3.2 yards per carry. Dominic Rhodes was elevated to No. 2 ahead of LaMont Jordan, but he had only one carry for 2 yards.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- Considering starting CB Nnamdi Asomugha and nickel CB Fabian Washington were out with injuries, it was nearly an "A" performance right up to the moment when Bernard Berrian got past Chris Carr for a 59-yard touchdown reception from Rex Grossman that essentially won the game for the Bears. Stuart Schweigert had one of his better games at free safety, and Raiders had a decent pass rush with three sacks. No interceptions, however.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- It's true the Bears entered with one of the NFL's worst rushing attacks, but the Raiders countered with an equally bad run defense. Oakland finally got to flex some muscle at the point of attack, holding the Bears to 2.3 yards per carry (78 yards, 34 carries). Lead back Cedric Benson needed 29 carries to reach 76 yards. Terdell Sands helped control the middle of the Raiders line, with Kirk Morrison and Robert Thomas cleaning up with nine tackles each.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus -- Devin who? The Raiders were serious about kicking to the most explosive return specialist in NFL history and bottled up Devin Hester. They simply let Shane Lechler kick it high and raced downfield to bottle up the man averaging 19.6 yards per return. Hester got 14 yards on six punt returns, and he averaged 17.0 yards on two kickoff returns. Lechler punted nine times for a 48.1-yard average and a 46.6 net. Sebastian Jankowski converted field-goal attempts of 37 and 52 yards. Johnnie Lee Higgins fumbled a punt, which the Raiders recovered. All that was missing was something extraordinary in the return game.

COACHING: C -- The Raiders seemed to come out ready to play more so than in past games. Defensively, Rob Ryan threw in a few more blitzes and even toyed with a five-man front during which Warren Sapp, Sands and Gerard Warren were all on the field at the same time. Special teams game-planning against Hester was high quality and beautifully executed. The passing game was a monumental disappointment, not so much in the play-calling but in the ability to execute. That, and one big play by the Bears, turned a potential win into a loss.

Bears Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus -- The aerial attack was lethargic for most of the game, first with starter Brian Griese, and then with Rex Grossman, who came on in relief after Griese suffered a sprained left shoulder. But the frequently maligned Grossman came through with a perfectly thrown 59-yard TD pass to Bernard Berrian (four catches, 89 yards) for the winning points with 3:11 remaining. WR Muhsin Muhammad (four catches, 87 yards) had his biggest yardage game of the season.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus -- Thirty-four carries produced just 78 yards (2.3 yards per carry) against one of the NFL's worst run defenses, including 29 carries and 76 yards by Cedric Benson. The Bears' long run of the day was just 9 yards, a problem all season for a team with a long run of just 16 yards through nine games.

PASS DEFENSE: A-minus -- The Bears allowed just 80 net passing yards. The Raiders' longest completion all day was just 14 yards, and the Bears sacked Josh McCown four times, three by DE Adewale Ogunleye, and intercepted him once (Danieal Manning). McCown completed just 14 of 27 passes. Ogunleye got a strip on his last sack, which gave the Bears the ball at the Raiders 3-yard line and set up the clinching TD.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- Take away a 24-yard run by McCown on the first snap of the game off an option play, and the Bears allowed just 89 yards on 28 carries, including 81 yards on 23 carries by Justin Fargas, who also lost a fumble.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus -- Devin Hester was shut down by the long kickoffs of Sebastian Janikowski and long punts by Shane Lechler, coupled with outstanding coverage by the Raiders. Hester had 14 yards on six punt returns and 34 yards on two kickoff returns, but he had a 64-yard punt return nullified by a holding call. The Bears coverage units played well.

COACHING: C -- The Bears stuck with the running game, even though the numbers were unimpressive, and that helped manage the game and keep the defense fresh enough to shut down the Raiders and keep them out of the end zone. SLB Hunter Hillenmeyer played more snaps in nickel at the expense of nickel CB Ricky Manning Jr., and the ploy worked exceptionally well, considering the Raiders' 80 passing yards. The running game still needs major improvements.


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