Raiders go from good to terrible

"We're not playing well, we're not making plays, we're not moving the ball," Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin said. "Our quarterback is getting hit in the game. The running game's not going."

Raiders Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: D-minus -- Remove one drive, when Josh McCown completed four consecutive passes for 72 yards and a touchdown just before the half, and it's a total failure. McCown's lone touchdown pass, a 25-yarder to Jerry Porter, would have been intercepted had it not been for a terrific play by Porter. On the other hand, McCown's other pick bounced off the hands of Ronald Curry. Andrew Walter was not terrible in a mop-up role.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- An excellent running team the past two weeks against Kansas City and Denver, the Raiders managed just 85 yards on 28 attempts. Once Justin Fargas (15 carries, 57 yards) left with a rib injury, LaMont Jordan gained 1.9 yards per carry on 11 attempts. Even when the Raiders had accepted defeat and simply ran the ball to kill the clock, they still couldn't gain ground.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- Stuart Schweigert had a red-zone interception, a minor blip on the radar screen. Greg Jennings victimized Stanford Routt for an 80-yard touchdown play that put the Packers up 24-7 in the third quarter. Donald Lee got free for a 46-yard touchdown reception. Brett Favre was 15-for-23 for 266 yards. Green Bay receivers consistently made yards after the catch.

Nnamdi Asomugha was looking forward to getting a workout against the Packers passing game and Brett Favre. The veteran quarterback is known to be unconcerned with the reputation of defensive backs, as he gives his receivers chances to make plays.

Asomugha, after intercepting nine passes last year, has had a lonely 2007 with one interception and very few chances to make plays. In the first half, Favre went at Asomugha, who went over the top and broke up the pass, only to be flagged for a debatable pass-interference penalty.

"I was very upset," Asomugha said. "That was my first breakup on Favre, and they took it away from me."

Of the 23 passes Favre threw, Asomugha estimated "two or three" came in his direction.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- Ryan Grant rushed for 156 yards on 29 carries, making him the ninth running back to break 100 yards on the NFL's most porous run defense. Grant had 90 yards by halftime. He finally got tired from finding so many open running lanes, and he gave way to Vernand Morency (seven carries, 23 yards). Ryan ran 6 yards for the game's first touchdown, bulling Schweigert into the end zone.

"I learned this a long time ago, one man don't make a defense, and one guy ain't that big of a difference-maker," Warren Sapp said. "Do your job and hope everybody's doing their job. It's just a trust system. It's always going to be that way. You're only as strong as your weakest link on defense. If somebody can find your weak link and expose it, they're going to come get you.

"I mean, as much as this team likes to throw the ball, there's no way they were going to throw the ball. We just didn't have the right mentality to come out today. Just didn't have it."

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- The Packers scored two special teams touchdown, one on a 57-yard punt return by Will Blackmon, the other when Blackmon recovered Tim Dwight's fumbled punt when it bounced into the end zone. It was the first punt return TD ever off Shane Lechler as an NFL player and contributed to a season-low 28.4-yard net. Sebastian Janikowski missed a 44-yard field-goal attempt. The Raiders had no kickoff returns longer than 22 yards.

COACHING: F -- Whatever it is coaches must do to get a team ready to step up in class, Lane Kiffin and Co. came up way short. Coming as it did after the Raiders' best game of the season, you wonder if they let up a little rather than impressing upon the players what they were facing heading into Lambeau Field to meet a 10-2 team. Coaches in the booth missed the fact that Blackmon stepped out of bounds at the 5-yard line on his punt return score, with the Packers getting off the extra point before a challenge flag was thrown.

Packers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Brett Favre wasn't asked to do much from the standpoint of letting loose with his sore throwing arm. After working out the kinks in a sloppy first quarter, which included a handful of off-the-mark passes and WR Koren Robinson failing to look back in time for a downfield throw that resulted in Favre's only interception, the crafty QB and his targets connected the rest of the way. Favre finished 15-for-23 for 266 yards and two touchdowns, with a passer rating of 115.5 -- his sixth 100-plus rating in the past seven games. WR Greg Jennings and TE Donald Lee combined for nearly 75 yards after the catch on their 80- and 46-yard touchdown receptions in the second half. A revamped offensive line kept Favre sackless, though he had to shake off a few hits in the pocket.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-plus -- Ryan Grant is warming up just as the temperatures are plummeting to zero. In an effort to protect Favre's arm, Grant was counted on to carry the offense for stretches and did so with a bang. By the time he was pulled from the game midway through the fourth quarter, Grant had 29 carries for 156 yards -- season highs for a once-undependable Packers running game. Running lanes were abundant from the outset against Oakland's leaky front. On the rare occasions Grant encountered resistance, he lowered the boom and broke would-be tackles. Wily Warren Sapp shed newly inserted RG Junius Coston to drop Grant for a couple of losses; otherwise, the line was in sync blocking, for a change.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- Take away four straight passes from Josh McCown that added up to 72 yards and a touchdown before halftime, the Packers would have gained a shutout. On a day when McCown and Andrew Walter completed just 12 passes for 148 yards, that quick-strike series was reminiscent of the ease with which Dallas exploited the Green Bay secondary in the Packers' previous game. S Atari Bigby and CB Al Harris were the culprits, with Jerry Porter rising over the shoulders of Harris to pull down the 25-yard touchdown and hanging onto the football on a hit by late-arriving Bigby. Incidentally, both defensive backs had interceptions in the game. Even with a more aggressive pass rush, bolstered by the return of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Green Bay was shut out in the sack category for the second consecutive game.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The Raiders, as expected, went with a heavy diet of running the football, to no avail. LBs Nick Barnett (10 tackles) and A.J. Hawk (eight) were tenacious in pursuit. Barnett ran down LaMont Jordan for a tackle at the ankles behind the line of scrimmage on a third-and-1 play in the third quarter. S Nick Collins flew in to take down Justin Fargas for a 2-yard loss as Fargas tried to get to the edge on a fourth-and-1 call in the opening quarter. Fargas managed only 57 yards, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. As a team, Oakland averaged 3 yards on 28 rushes.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-minus -- Will Blackmon was "instant offense" in his second game back from a broken foot that had sidelined him since early October. He scored two touchdowns, the first on a 57-yard punt return that was electric for all of his cutting and darting to avoid traffic, though TV replays later showed he stepped out of bounds inside the 10-yard line. Blackmon later wisely fell on the football in the end zone after it squirted through his hands as he attempted to pick it up twice inside the 10 following Jason Hunter's tackle that caused a fumble by Tim Dwight on a punt return. Korey Hall had five tackles to spearhead a dominant performance by the coverage units that held the Raiders to a measly average of 16.6 yards on seven kickoff returns. Mason Crosby's struggles at Lambeau Field continued on a cold but calm afternoon. He had an ugly miss from 43 yards and also was wide left from 52.

COACHING: A -- A scoreless, sputtering first quarter gave off impressions that Green Bay was having a hangover from its pivotal loss at Dallas. The players, though, turned it on in the final 45 minutes and outplayed Oakland in all facets to wrap up the team's first division title in three years. Mike McCarthy was true to an unorthodox game plan of running the football at will, and Grant and the offensive line delivered. The organization's patience to keep Blackmon on the 53-man roster when he supposedly was headed to injured reserve paid off with the young player's breakout effort. Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders turned up the heat more than usual with an assortment of blitzes to force premature throws by McCown and Walter.


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