The mood in the Coliseum parking lot before Sunday's game against the New York Jets could best be described as eerily quiet. Festive, maybe by other team's standards, but very, subdued for the Raider Nation, especially coming off an impressive win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Perhaps they could see the storm coming.
By the time the Jets left town, they had handed the Raiders second shutout loss at home in 10 games at the Coliseum under Tom Cable's watch. And it was ugly in just about every phase, with apologies to punter Shane Lechler who had a tremendous day.
A lot of the talk during and after the game was obviously on the quarterback change, and rightfully so. Yet as bad as JaMarcus Russell looked _ and let's be real here, Bruce Gradkowski wasn't all that better _ Oakland's defense was just as rough, if not more so.
It's one thing to give up 100 yards to an opposing running back, but to let two backs on the same team do it, one who was a third-stringer, is unforgivable. After knocking Leon Washington out of the game with a broken leg, the Raiders allowed Shonn Greene to put together his own personal ESPN highlight tape. Greene repeatedly gouged Oakland's run defense to the tune of 144 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
With Thomas Jones chipping in 121 yards and another score, New York piled up 316 yards on the ground alone, or 53 more than Oakland had in total offense. That marked the second straight week the Jets topped the 300-yard plateau on the ground, an incredible accomplishment at the NFL level.
But it's something that looked far too easy against the Raiders.
"What we have struggled with this year thus far is the run game and today was no exception to that," defensive end Greg Ellis said. "It's just clear cut, teams know it. It's not a secret and that's why the Jets came out and were committed to running the football. And yeah, obviously they went up on us early so that worked in their favor to what they wanted to do, but if they wouldn't have went up early, they would still wanted to do that and it would be on us to stop them."
It didn't help that the offense turned the ball over twice on its first three possessions, both times at Oakland's own 4-yard line. The defense put up a strong goal line stand on the first before Jones plowed into the end zone from a yard out. The next time it was rookie QB Mark Sanchez getting the honors.
"We didn't create any turnovers, and we didn't stop the run," defensive lineman Richard Seymour said bluntly. "So I don't think we could've beat an Oakland high school team today."
As for where the blame lies, Cable said it's wide-ranging.
"When a team runs for 300-plus it's everybody," he said. "I don't know that you say it's just up front, it's the backers, or it's this or that. It's everybody."
Plenty of blame to go around
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