I took two weeks off after the Bronco game. Seeing the Raiders play so poorly after the upset of the Steelers was disheartening. You can imagine how elated I was this past Sunday when I got to see my second full Raiders game at a local sports bar and they were on the verge of winning, but more on that heartbreak later.
Willis McGahee sliced us up for 112 yards and a touchdown, much to my fantasy delight and my real life dismay.1 Peyton threw for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns as our secondary still had no semblance of being an actual unit.
It’s hard to believe the score was only 10-6 at halftime.
On our side of things, Darren McFadden ran for a paltry 34 yards. Carson threw for 202 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns. Janikowski was responsible for our 6 points.
I really don’t know what Darren’s issue is though. Even though our offensive line could be better (the Broncos got to Carson 3 times), he doesn’t seem to get to the holes in time. The speed is still there, as we all saw him break away from the Steelers in Week 3. Thankfully, the carries Mike Goodson have been getting are productive.
In fact, Darren Watch starts now. Chronicling how long it takes the Raiders to dump McFadden for Goodson and how long it takes McFadden to turn in a 1000 yard season for another team. These are the Raiders after all.2
This loss was an all-around team failure, however, with the offense failing to move the ball and the defense failing to stop Manning and McGahee. We could have just sent Janikowski to Denver and gotten similar results.
But to address the first title of this article, I was desperately hoping Peyton was going to end up in San Francisco or Tennessee. From what I remember, all reports where saying he was going to be a 49er. And then John FREAKING Elway came into the picture, desperate to get rid of Tim Tebow.3 Peyton bought into whatever he was selling and took his talents to Denver. To my division. I sent my dad a text about my sadness. He called me a few minutes later.
Dad: Why are you sad?
Me: Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos.
Dad: So? The Broncos aren’t in the Raiders division anymore.
Me: …the Broncos, have always been in our division.
Dad: I thought they went to the NFC a few years back.
Me: No Dad, that was the Seahawks.
Dad: Oh, that’s right. But why do you care about Peyton Manning?
Me: Because he’s Peyton Manning. That’s 2 losses a year right there.
Dad: Isn’t he hurt though? He probably won’t be the same now.
Me: If he wouldn’t be the same, he would’ve retired a Colt. We’re screwed.
Dad. Pause. Yeah, we are.
I don’t recall too many games over the years where Peyton has picked the Raiders apart, probably because we were so terrible that I try to burn the memories from my mind. But September 30th was awful and I’m glad I didn’t get to see any snaps.
Current outlook: 5-11
Which brings us to this past Sunday in Atlanta. I went to Coach’s here in Morgantown to watch with Anthony and Johnathan. I didn’t even know the Raiders played at 1, if that’s any indication at how disappointed I still was. I had planned on not writing the Diary during the Bye Week but as Week 6 creeped up, I still wasn’t ready to address the mess of a Broncos game. With the Raiders heading to Atlanta to face the unbeaten Falcons, I didn’t have high hopes.
Of course, the Raiders decided to bring their A-game to the Georgia Dome.
I watched with delight as Anthony squired every time Matt Ryan threw an interception. With Drew Brees on a bye, he had been forced to start Ryan, so it felt good watching my team actually play defense as his fantasy hopes were shattered. The later in the game it got, the better I felt, as I was sensing a repeat of our upset of the Steelers coming.
McFadden managed 70 yards this week but Goodson still had a better average from his 4 carries. Denarius had a huge day as he caught 5 for 104 yards and a TD that gave us the lead going into halftime. Despite our secondary being shaky, the three interceptions of Ryan had boosted the rest of the defense’s confidence, and we had pulled out some stops in the second half. Carson was driving us towards a score late in the fourth quarter and surely that would be enough to seal the win and ruin the Falcons perfect record.
Then Asante Samuel happened.
Samuel stepped in front of a Palmer pass intended for Moore and took it back 79 yards for the pick six. A game that was in hand became a scramble to the finish. Carson’s half-ass attempt at a tackle lightened my mood some, but I felt like we had let one slip away.
The Raiders definitely showed true grit in securing the game-tying touchdown as Palmer led us down the field with ease.You could tell just by looking at him on the sidelines that the interception had been a mental lapse and he was taking it hard. But even as McFadden broke the plane with 40 seconds left, I was concerned. After seeing Ryan lead the Falcons all the way back against the Panthers a few weeks ago, I knew he could do it again.
And who showed up to put a knife in our hearts? Tony FORMER KANSAS CITY CHIEF Gonzalez. After his 2 straight receptions, Atlanta set up on the Oakland 37 to kick the winning field goal.
From 55 yards, Matt Bryant missed. Overtime.
But we had called timeout. I looked at Anthony, Johnathan, and Chris (who had joined us at some point; he was nursing a hangover) and frowned.
“He won’t miss the second one.”
Now, I’m infamous for jinxing my teams. I remember I had was out shopping with my dad one time and we stopped at Pargo’s for dinner. As we waited for our food, he asked me who would win the Bulls/Knicks (MJ’s second-to-last Bulls season) game later that night.
Me: Eh, probably the Knicks.
Dad: Look at you! No faith in your team.
Me: No! I mean, the Bulls will win.
Dad: Too late now, you’ve jinxed them.
Sure enough, the Bulls went into Madison Square Garden and lost 93-97. And sure enough, Bryant’s second attempt didn’t miss.
It always hurts to see your team lose but I wasn’t too mad at the result. The Raiders had at least left it all on the field this week.
With our record at 1-4, things aren’t going to get any easier. After 2 games we should win (vs. Jacksonville and at Kansas City), we have the Buccaneers, Ravens, Saints, and Bengals next. With our ability this season to play better against good teams, we might be able to make all these games competitive. I’m hoping to come out of this stretch with a 5-7 record. On the other hand though…
We could potentially drop all of these games, even Jacksonville. With Maurice Jones-Drew and our history of letting backs go crazy, it’s not improbable. As much as it hurts, we could be 1-10 after these games.
Hello Geno Smith?
Nah, we would mess that up too.
Current outlook: 6-10
- Yeah, I have a Bronco on my fantasy team. He went to The U. And I feel like your team allegiances have to go out the window when your trying to win fantasy football. ↩
- I’m still mad about us letting Charles Woodson go in 2006. Sure, no one thought that he’d have even better seasons ahead but I really would have liked to seen him retire in the Silver & Black. ↩
- After all his years of being a Bronco, I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with Elway. I hated the man from the start of his career up until those last two Super Bowl seasons. Considering I hated Brett Favre back then more than Elway, I was glad to see Favre lose and Elway win the big one. I was kind of pulling for the Falcons in ’98, but I didn’t mind seeing Elway going out on top after 3 Super Bowl losses. But bringing in Manning has renewed my hatred. ↩