Raiders Report Card

It might have been the best game to date from the Oakland Raiders receiving corps but the rest of the team couldn't comply in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings.


Daunte Culpepper passed for a season-high 344 yards but the numbers are misleading. He was sacked four times, fumbled twice and was intercepted once. There was also the usual problems with holding onto the ball too long, which paved the way for Minnesota's pass rush to have a big day. Culpepper did do a good job of spreading the ball around and the team had its most productive day since Week 3, but it wasn't enough to overcome the plethora of mistakes that keep plaguing the offense. Grade: C+


Despite Minnesota having one of the league's stingiest rush defenses, the Raiders insisted on trying to wedge Justin Fargas through the middle. It hardly worked. Fargas, now firmly entrenched as the starter with LaMont Jordan on the bench as a healthy inactive, managed just 60 yards on 22 carries while the ground game as a whole had a net of 61. Dominic Rhodes made another rare appearance in the backfield and carried twice for one yard. Grade: C-


When Culpepper found time to throw he generally did a good job of getting the ball down the field to Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter. The two combined for nine receptions and 208 yards, though neither got into the end zone. Tim Dwight and TE Zach Miller had three catches apiece, as well, while John Madsen caught a 10-yard TD. But Madsen also dropped a critical third-down throw that stalled an Oakland scoring drive in the first half, while Curry and Dwight were both called for false starts Grade: B


Oakland's inability to control the line of scrimmage left little running room for the backs and had Culpepper in a scramble mode most of the day. Minnesota's talented tandem of Kevin Williams and Patrick Williams clogged the middle and prevented Fargas from getting to the second level where his speed is advantageous. The line was hit with five penalties, including two each by LG Robert Gallery and RT fill-in Paul McQuistan, who was pressed into duty when starter Cornell Green went down with a foot injury. Grade: C-


So much for catching a break with Adrian Peterson on the bench. Vikings' backup RB Chester Taylor rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns while Minnesota amassed 228 total yards on the ground. The Raiders did such a poor job of tackling up front that DT Warren Sapp (6 tackles, 1 QB hurry, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery) was the only defensive lineman with more than two tackles. Terdell Sands had just one tackle while Gerard Warren had two. DE Chris Clemons had two sacks in his first start of the year but did little else. Grade: D+


Taylor not only did a great job busting through Oakland's offensive line but he also got past the Raiders' LBs with little problem. Kirk Morrison (10 tackles, one fumble recovery) had a nice day but made too many tackles downfield, while Thomas Howard matched his season low with just three tackles. Robert Thomas added four tackles and a forced fumble. It doesn't help when the defensive line is getting blown off the ball but the linebackers have to do a better job in run support. Grade: C


Minnesota ran a reverse wide receiver pass on its first play from scrimmage and gained 79 yards after safeties Stuart Schweigert and Michael Huff both bit on the run. It didn't get much better after that. While Tarvaris Jackson only passed for 177 yards, he frequently found wide open receivers to throw to which helped the Vikings sustain several drives. There was also the normal allotment of missed tackles and bad angles. Losing Nnamdi Asomugha -- who made his first interception of the season -- to a concussion didn't help, either. Grade: C


Sebastian Janikowski tied his own team record with five field goals and once again was the Raiders best scoring threat. That's 16 of 17 for Jano since opening the year 1 of 5. His kickoff out of bounds late in the fourth quarter was critical but it's hard to pin much blame on him. Same goes for punter Shane Lechler, who carried a 47.8-yard average despite missing on one kick that went just 33 yards. Give credit to the coverage teams, which did a solid job of containing Minnesota's kick returners. On the flip side Oakland's own returner men did little. Grade: B


Oakland's self-destructive ways continued to blow up any chance the team had of winning, and the frustrations boiled over into the locker room where players spoke angrily about the repeated mistakes. The upside is that the team didn't cave in after falling behind early, but they've done that all season so it's not as if this was a step forward. Until the team finds a way to stop an opponent's run game and until they get more consistent play from everyone on offense, the results will be the same. It definitely won't be easy to turn around, either, not with a trip to Kansas City on tap next week. Grade: C

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