ALAMEDA, CA – The Oakland Raiders’ first team looked much improved over their loss to San Francisco a week ago, but still not good enough for Raider Nation or head coach Hue Jackson. Jackson remained winless as head coach of the Oakland Raiders as the Silver and Black lost to the New Orleans Saints 40-20 at the Coliseum Sunday night.
The Raiders’ defense allowed Drew Brees and the Saints to rack up 514 yards on their way to an easy victory, while the Raiders offense showed signs of life for the first time since losing to Arizona in the preseason opener.
While Jackson can take some solace in the first team’s abilty to keep pace with Brees and the Saints’ high-powered offense, he wasn’t happy with the way the supposed strength of the team got pushed around on Sunday.
“Here’s my expectation, as I said before,” Jackson began after being asked about the tough offensive opponent. “WE have good players, and our good players need to play great. When you say doing it against Brees, last time I checked, I kind of think they were going up and donwn the field. We need to make some plays. We need to get people off the field.”
The Raiders needed the clock to help get the Saints off the field. Of New Orleans’ 11 possessions on the day, they finished six of them with five touchdowns and one field goal. Out of the five possessions that the Saints didn’t score on, two were stopped by the end of play for both the first half and the end of the game. Forcing the opponent to punt just three out of 11 times on the field is not what the Raiders had in mind.
Brees led the first three drives for the Saints, which combined for 35 plays, 223 yards, 17 points, and 14:14 of game clock — he left the game with 7:28 remaining in the first half and the Saints leading 17-7. He led all but his backup, Chase Daniel, with 189 yards on 15-23 passing for a 90.7 QB Rating. Daniel finished with 191 yards on 9-18 passing and two touchdowns for a 125.0 QB Rating.
For the Raiders, Jason Campbell looked comfortable in the pocket. The Raiders’ starter finished the game with 150 yards on 12-17 passing with one touchdown, and a QB Rating of 92.8. His day would have a little better had it not been for a pick that bounced off of tight end Brandon Myers’ hands in the end zone and into the hands of Saints defender Jonathon Amaya with 17 seconds left in the first half.
After Sebastian Janikowski forced his first of three touchbacks, the Saints began the opening drive from their own 20. Aided by four completed passes for 73 yards against rookie cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, Brees moved the Saints methodically down the field for the opening score. The drive, which took 4:15 and 11 plays, was an 80-yard march that concluded with a one-yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram.
Not to be outdone, the Raiders took the ensuing possession and turned it into a score of their own. After Nick Miller muffed the kickoff out of bounds at the Raiders’ nine-yard line, Jason Campbell got some help from a veteran and a rookie receiver, and Michael Bush handled the ground game for an 11-play, 91-yard scoring drive.
Bush had five carries for 32 yards on the drive, but it was sixth-year pro Derek Hagan who capped it off with a 35-yard catch and run touchdown. Hagan, who changed his number to 80 after Terrelle Pryor was drafted and took jersey number six, made a move reminiscent of Jerry Rice in his prime by catching a six-yard pass near the left sideline before making a quick move to his right, and leaving his defender trailing behind for the score. On the drive, Campbell completed three passes (Denarius Moore 1-5, Hagan 2-47) in four attempts for 52 yards.
In the first half, the Raiders would score once more, but it was just as spectacular as the Hagan touchdown catch. Janikowski came on the field for a fourth-and-six 57-yard field goal with 2:36 left before the break. The field goal brought the Raiders back to within one score, 17-10.
The second half began with Kyle Boller at the helm for the Raiders. Boller, who threw for 69 yards on 5-7 passing, was aided by the debut of rookie tailback Taiwan Jones. The Raiders’ fourth-round pick out of Eastern Washington showed he belonged in the NFL with a highlight 22-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. After rushing for 10 yards in the first half on four carries, Jones exploded in the third quarter for 53 yards on seven carries.
For the game, it was Hagan who led the Raiders in receiving with six receptions for 121 yards and his stunning 35-yard touchdown. On all six receptions, Hagan was open for the catch. Moore and Nick Miller each caught three passes for 23 yards.
Jones led all rushers with 81 yards in his debut on 13 carries and his touchdown run. Only Michael Bush carried at least five times, and he did that for 32 yards with a long of 12 on the Raiders’ first drive.
Stopping the violence
NFL head of security, Jeff Miller, was in attendance. At halftime he praised the Raiders for the methods they’ve taken since 2008 to prevent the type of incidents that happened at Candlestick Park last weekend. According to Miller, some of those methods, plus preventing tailgaters from staying in the parking lot after the start of a game were advised by the NFL to the 49ers and the San Francisco Police Department earlier this week.
Miller continued to praise all those responsible at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum for the measures that have significantly reduced violent incidents during Raiders games — also citing fans being appreciative of the police presence.
Another Mike Shanahan?
The last time the Raiders finished a preseason without a win, Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahan was the coach in 1989. He got fired four games into that year — his second season with the Raiders. There’s no doubt that Hue Jackson does not want to follow in those footsteps.
Ironically, he’ll have to beat the Seattle Seahawks next week, where the man he replaced currently resides as an assistant. Not only Tom Cable is in Seattle, but former Raiders Zach Miller and Robert Gallery will be working towards making sure that Hue goes 0-for-4 to begin his career.
Photo Slideshow by Al Schnoor
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