New problems continue to plague Raiders

It seems to be the story of the Raiders for the past few years: As soon as one problem area gets fixed, another rears its head.

Against the Minnesota Vikings, Oakland's offense was able to put up some while the defense recovered their first fumbles of the. But it was the Raiders' inability to contain Minnesota's running game that led to their sixth straight defeat.

The Vikings were without star rookie running back Adrian Peterson, who strained his knee the week before, but backup Chester Taylor sure looked like an All-Pro against the Raiders.

Aided by great blocking by his offensive line - another thing the Raiders lacked against the Vikings - as well as familiarly-bad tackling by the Raiders' defense, Taylor repeatedly gouged the Raiders for long runs on his way to rushing for 164 yards and scoring three touchdowns during Oakland's 29-22 loss at the Metrodome.

While the Raiders collected only 61 yards themselves, the Vikings gashed the Raiders for 228 yards on the ground.

"In any game, but especially if you go on the road and you can't stop the run, it's going to be tough," Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin said.

Oakland had played well against the run the week before against Chicago to put itself in a position to win until the final minutes, but that clearly wasn't the case against Minnesota. Instead, there were more plays such as the one that saw free safety Stuart Schweigert miss a tackle on Taylor that allowed the back to complete a 38-yard touchdown run that gave the Vikings a 19-13 second-quarter advantage.

"Unfortunately, I felt we went back to our issue we had had in the previous four games before (the Chicago game)," Kiffin said of Oakland's numerous missed tackles.

To make things more frustrating, the old, persistent habit came at a time when the Raiders did something it had not been able to do this year. Prior to Sunday's game, the Raiders had not made a single defensive fumble recovery but left the Metrodome with four.

The defense took the ball away from the Vikings five times while the Raiders committed only two turnovers.

"(The coaches) were stressing all week that we didn't have any fumble recoveries," cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. "That was one of the objectives of this game - to punch the ball out and recover it - and we were able to do that. We (were facing) a new quarterback, and he hadn't been in for a couple games, so we knew we would be able to get a couple plays.

"It was good to finally get those turnovers."

However, as important as the turnover battle is during a game, that was rendered irrelevant as Taylor ran all over the Raiders defense almost at will. Defensive tackle Warren Sapp implied after the game that it's more than just the tackling; it's knowing where to be and then getting there to make a play.

"Somebody told me, ‘A lot of people know what to do but few people do what they know," defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "That's what we're in the middle of. We're in the middle of ourselves. We're right in the way of ourselves being a good football team, of winning games, all the time."


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