Raiders let Dolphins wriggle off the hook

Johnnie Lee Higgins had a 91-yard punt return for touchdown and the defense had one of its better games but it wasn't enough to halt the Raiders' losing streak, which extended to four games following Sunday's 17-15 loss to Miami.

WHAT WENTRIGHT

· Quarterback JaMarcus Russell is obviously still bothered by his knee injury and had to come out for a series in the first half but he did a pretty good job managing the passing game, completing 15 of 22 throws for 156 yards and an 88.4 rating. He didn't get the team into the end zone but after two straight weeks of very little production out of the position, Russell's day was at least a step in the right direction.

· A week after being put on the inactive list Ronald Curry came through with six catches for 73 yards. The six receptions are the most by an Oakland wide receiver this season. Curry was only playing due to an injury to Javon Walker.

· Oakland's special teams had a solid afternoon, highlighted by Higgins' 91-yard punt return for TD, the Raiders first in three games. Sebastian Janikowski added a pair of field goals -- he also clanked a 46-yarder off the right upright -- and punter Shane Lechler carried a 52.7-yard average with four kicks inside the 20.

· Defensive end Jay Richardson made his third career sack a big one, dropping Miami QB Chad Pennington in the end zone for a safety in the third quarter.



WHAT WENT WRONG

· Oakland had no answer for Ted Ginn Jr., who abused the Raiders for a 40-yard touchdown on an end around in the first quarter and later caught a 7-yard pass on 4th-and-5 to set up the Dolphins' game-winning field goal.

· A year ago the Raiders caught a break when Ronnie Brown got hurt early in the game between the two teams. This time around Brown stayed healthy and repeatedly gouged Oakland's defense, rushing for 101 yards and averaging 6.3 yards a carry.

· Running back Darren McFadden felt great before the game and declared himself ready to go, but the rookie had just three carries for 13 yards to go with two catches for one yard. It was a rough day all around for the Raiders backfield: Justin Fargas had only 57 yards on 17 carries while Michael Bush dressed but did not play for the second time this year.

· Third down continues to be the Achilles Heel of the offense. This time Oakland converted only 2 of 11 third-down tries, preventing the offense from ever getting into a flow. The Raiders faced 3rd-and-10 or longer five times and failed to convert on each one.



BY THE NUMBERS

7: Penalties called on the Raiders, all of them pre-snap calls and all of them coming in the first half. Oakland played flag-free in the second half.

6: Sacks credited to Miami's defense, though one was on Darren McFadden trying to run out of the Wildcat and the other came after Marques Tuiasosopo dropped the ball while trying to fake a handoff.

10: Tackles by cornerback Chris Johnson in his second start of the year after replacing DeAngelo Hall. Johnson also made a great play to strip Ronnie Brown for a fumble and was credited with a half-sack and QB hurry.



INJURIES

· Quarterback JaMarcus Russell had to sit out a series with a mild ankle sprain but it didn‘t appear to be serious. Russell returned and finished the game.

· Linebacker Jon Alston suffered an unknown injury in the first half.



THEY SAID IT

· "At that point it was just enough is enough, so made the switch. I thought Mario did a nice job in the second half."

-- Raiders interim head coach Tom Cable on his decision to replace left tackle Kwame Harris with Mario Henderson

· The difference between us and them is they'd gone on a three-game win streak and were playing with some confidence. And you know this is good for us. It hurts because you lost but we're getting closer. And I know that and the players know that and we've got to keep pounding away and we'll get a break one of these days."

-- Cable on the Raiders fourth consecutive loss


SB Report Top Stories