Oakland Raiders Victories Adding Up... Can You Dig It?
Captain Jack Rack 'em Levy – Oct 30, 2012
Can you count Suuuuuuuuuckas??
That is the famous inspiring leading ear-grabber of the speech given by Cyrus, leader of the Riffs gang in the movie The Warriors to the assembled mass of New York gang leaders and senior representatives. The gathering was a meeting espousing the overwhelming numbers of gang members in the city compared to the pittance in corresponding numbers of uniformed police officers whose jobs were to thwart their efforts in crime…
… And no, as many haters have theorized in private, it was NOT a reunion of Raider Nation members who had recently been released from prison, circa 1979. The Warriors is actually a great film and ahead of its time, and I certainly hope it won’t be remade and ‘updated’ such as Walking Tall and I Am Legend – the jury is still out on Red Dawn since I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks promising and hopefully won’t disappoint…
Back to the original question, and to answer Cyrus, I most certainly can count. If you wish to count along with me (why do I feel an irresistible urge for ‘Count Chocula’ or to watch Sesame Street right now??), there are some very important numbers to tally if you’re a fan of the Silver and Black. To wit:
1 – Number of games back from the AFC West leading Donkeys the Raiders currently find themselves at presently.
1 each – Number of games left between the Raiders and their AFC West foes, so it is still anyone’s division… although I honestly think KC is on the ‘Suck Sharply for Barkley' sweepstakes.
2.75 – Number of games VS the AFC West which will be played in front of a ‘home crowd’ – the San Diego game is a defacto Home Game, but officially listed as an away game…
5 – Number of games OUTSIDE the AFC West having the Raiders play against teams with (current) losing records – Tampa Bay, New Orleans, BENGALS, Cleveland, PANTHERS – with the two teams in CAPS being away games. Only an away game with the RAVENS have them at a better than .500 record presently, although Baltimore has lost many of their ‘stud’ defenders this season, and even that game could be considered a possible win.. IF THE RAIDERS PLAY TO THE ABILITY SHOWN TWO WEEKS AGO IN ATLANTA. THAT Team can beat ANY opponent for the rest of this year and beyond…
8 – Number of games many of the so-called ‘experts’ stated it would take our offensive line to ‘gel’ in this Zone Blocking Scheme, springing Darren McFadden to monster games of years gone by. Hell, at this point I’d take a ‘slightly better than pedestrian’ showing by DMac, and indeed was ecstatic when our blazing yet bruising workhorse went over one hundred yards on Sunday. Fantasy owners no doubt screamed a blood-curdling cry when DMac tripped up on what was a sure late fourth quarter touchdown. Those pundits have one game left for ‘wiggle room’ against a quite stout Bucs run defense. No mulligan taking allowed the following week (game nine) when we play a historically solid Ravens run defense, which has proved to be porous this season by comparison.
By the way, the ‘new/improved defense’ sure hasn’t needed half a season to play up to its capabilities… even including the fact we’ve been playing sans our starting cornerbacks for much of the year and a displaced safety playing quite well manning one corner spot, but I guess that’s just DIFFERRRNT (SIC) as they say down South…
9 – Number of wins one can assume will make the Raiders at least ‘in the discussion’ for the playoffs, one more than the mediocre eight wins which have kept us out of the playoffs these past two years.
13 – Number of consecutive games (and counting) Carson Palmer has thrown for 200+ yards for the Raiders, a franchise record and streak which should continue with this Sunday’s game against the porous Tampa Bay defensive backfield.
45 and 30 – Number of points the Gannon-led Raiders laid on Tampa Bay the last two times the Bucs played out in Oakland (1999 and 2004). Ok, going down memory lane is nice when you ‘go there’ and forget about the game Gannon played against the Bucs in 2003… never mind… but the reality is this Raiders’ passing offense is on a par if not better than the Gannon offenses of past (with less capable receivers mind you, although who really is going to match a Rice / Brown / Porter corps in capabilities, ‘eh?) Additionally, if someone can remind Greg Knapp to incorporate more Power Blocking Runs into his game plan (along with sending out an APB to find Marcel Reece and have Knapp incorporate him more into our offense as well, since his next sighting may be on a milk carton) we should be able to win this upcoming game against a Bucs defense (especially) and offense which is mediocre to plodding at best.
Sure, we really DO need to get our own running game going too (and how long have we been saying that this year?!?!?) but it at least appears the Raiders running of DMac (and whoever spells him) showed some signs of life Sunday in Kansas City. Additionally and purely off the top of my head it appeared to the naked eye that SUCCESSFUL, LONG RUNS Sunday were ‘quick hitting man beating man in front of him schemes AKA Power Blocking.’ Listen, I don’t have the game on tape, nor am I going to search YouTube, Hulu or wherever to confirm that hypothesis (since my bandwidth here won’t enable full analysis until probably the 2nd… OF DECEMBER!!!), so let’s just call it a ‘gut/eye check feeling’ shall we? Most other runs having DMac ‘blown up in the backfield’ I can GUARANTEE you were ZBS runs…
1,000,000+ – Number of Raiders fans worldwide who would go absolutely bonkers wild if the Raiders could get their fecal matter together, playing to the capabilities shown in fits, spurts and pieces of games for a solid showing the rest of the year… which may incorporate that number nine (plus) needed for the playoffs this year.
Yes, it truly was a satisfying trip to the sports bar on Sunday, as we saw a game the Raiders put away early and primarily sat on, minus a couple of heroic Matt Cassel drives following the hasty departure of Brady Quinn. Cassel did his best impersonation of past Chief quarterbacks who had no issue carving up the Raider secondary primarily using the Tight End, eventually tying the game up at six points apiece. It even looked perhaps the Chiefs would gain their first regulation lead OF THE SEASON, but Oakland’s defense stiffened and our Cut-throats led at the half via a ‘gift’ muffed punt return turnover, leading to Palmer’s airmail touchdown to a leaping Denarius Moore. Oakland up 13-6 at the half as many members of Raider Nation heaved a collective sigh of relief…
…which turned to more jubilation when the Raiders recovered a fumble on the Chiefs’ first play on their second half series, returning the favor of ex-Raider Stanford Routt’s interception of Palmer’s pass on the Raiders’ first offensive play of the game. Tommy Kelly’s fumble recovery resulted in a near immediate Janikowski field goal and ten point lead the Raiders wouldn’t relinquish on the day. Oakland’s defense was not gashed for big yardage nor plays nearly all day, kept vaunted KC running back Jamal Charles bottled up both on runs and receptions, and aside from a tense second quarter under Cassel alluded to earlier, this game was not the nail biter our team had both lost and won the previous two weeks. Thank Goodness, right? The Defense grabbed not one but two interceptions and a fumble, with an additional fumble recovery on special teams. All is good with the world, right?
Well… kinda. This was a win the Raiders SHOULD HAVE over a lesser opponent, and it can lead to further building blocks of encouragement, empowerment and improvement over the next few games… provided the Silver and Black comes out and vanquishes the Bucs this upcoming Sunday, along with at least putting up a gutsy performance if not victory against the Ravens in two weeks. Hey, I’m a VET… go out and win in Baltimore for me on Veterans’ Day, ok?!?! It’s not like this isn’t our best chance to have some ‘stick it to ‘em revenge’ we haven’t yet given the true ‘Dirty Birds (of Maryland)’ since Tony Sirafatso belly flopped on Rich Gannon in the AFC Championship game of 14 January 2001. This retired Sailor would greatly appreciate a win the next two weeks, especially since my ‘homeport’ is smack in the middle of faux Pirate country in Tampa!
As Cyrus would say, “Another Raaaaaaaaaiderrrrrrrrrrs Victory…. Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu DIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGGIIITTTTTTTTTTT!!” Until I get a chance to put a broadside into the Succaneer Schooner, the Captain of the Raiders’ Galleon signs off with his thirsty for Victory “YAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!”
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