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Other Week 2 Game Recaps
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Week 2 Game Recap: Oakland Raiders 23, Kansas City Chiefs 8

What you need to know

Oakland Raiders

This team likes to run. They began with the RB tandem of Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden, and were moving the chains somewhat, until Fargas went down with a groin injury. That's when McFadden turned the lights on and tore up the KC defense for 164 yards and a touchdown. He was virtually unstoppable in the second half although there are reports that he may be dealing with a turf toe injury. Third string option Michael Bush almost cracked the century mark with 90 yards and a touchdown when he replaced McFadden.

The passing game was the polar opposite. JaMarcus Russell could not get anything going all day. Only one pass was completed to any of the wide receivers, and his total for the day was 6-17-55-0. He did limit mistakes -- no interceptions, fumbles, or sacks, and looked in control of the offense if not exactly in synch with it.

The defense was a bright spot. Both against the pass and run, they dominated the Chiefs. Notably, they shut down Chiefs RB Larry Johnson, who has a long history of torching the Raiders in the ground game. Their coverage and pass rush were excellent; the Chiefs rarely had much time to throw, and when they did manage to get rid of the ball, their target was invariably blanketed by a Raiders DB.

Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback Brodie Croyle was already out of action, and now add backup Damon Huard to the list. For most of the game, the snaps were split between third stringer Tyler Thigpen and fifth string WR Marques Hagans, with Thigpen getting the majority. He got better as the game progressed but did not look quite NFL ready.

Larry Johnson, who normally runs wild over the Raiders, was strangely silent. 12-22-0, with zero receptions. He had only two carries, for one yard each, in the second half. This offense looked bad no matter who was under center, but it was strange that they gave up on the man that is supposed to be the main focus of the offense so easily, since the game was in reach (despite being shutout for most of it) right up to the end.

Dwayne Bowe (6-90-0) and Tony Gonzalez (5-39-1) did enough to give the offense some small bit of respectability (and watchablility). Both players were tightly covered yet still made key catches in the clutch. Gonzalez is still the Chief's top red zone target, and Bowe was unflappable, making tough catches with the game on the line.


What you ought to know

QB JaMarcus Russell, Pass: 6 - 17 - 55 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0

Russell looked lost at times (and the numbers certainly back that up) but the other side of the coin is that he looks to have the poise and composure to bounce back from this debacle. Despite the poor showing, the main positive was that he made no costly errors. No sacks, no interceptions, and no fumbles. Unfortunately, you can almost add completions to that list. His WR corps was seemingly missing, which did not help (only one catch by any wideout); he had some success throwing to his running backs and tight end, but inexplicable kept trying to get the ball to the wide receivers, even though it clearly wasn't happening. Bottom line, the running game bailed him out this time.

RB Darren McFadden, Rush: 21 - 164 - 1, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)

No doubt they will be calling this McFadden's coming out party. He had a spectacular second half, busting loose for five 20+ yard rushes (one was for 19 but only because the end zone got in the way). Once Fargas went down, he became the main rushing threat, and was rested in favor of Michael Bush after each big play. It is worth noting that in the first half (while splitting carries with Fargas) he was ineffective, showing a good initial burst but failing to find the hole for any serious yardage -- once he became the focus of the running game, he found his rhythm and had no trouble at all finding holes. There was some concern that McFadden was dealing a turf toe injury during the game and he did yield to Michael Bush at the end of the game. Stay tuned this week to see how that goes.

RB Michael Bush, Rush: 16 - 90 - 1

Bush saw his first action in the second half, after the Fargas injury. He spelled McFadden regularly -- like clockwork, he was subbed in on the play following all four of McFadden's 20+ yard runs, and often for a couple plays after that. He showed good power charging through the line, and had a nice TD run to cap off the scoring near the end of the game. Like McFadden, the bulk of his yardage came in the second half of the game. His one negative was a fumble that he lost, after allowing the ball to be stripped away.

RB Justin Fargas, Rush: 9 - 43 - 0 (1 targets)

Fargas was running well before he suffered a groin injury late in the first half. He pulled up lame while running a deep passing route and did not return. McFadden actually started the game and got the ball on the first play, while Fargas carried the ball on the second play of the game. It looked like about a 60-40 split in carries, favoring Fargas, pre-injury.

RB Justin Griffith, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets)

If only his QB had noticed him earlier. Hard to believe, but Griffith, the starting fullback, was the second leading receiver for the Raiders. Both catches came in the second half.

WR Ashley Lelie, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (6 targets)

Lelie appeared to be Russell's favorite wide receiver on the day, and reaped the benefits -- a whopping one catch for 11 yards. Lelie did nothing to separate himself from an all around horrendous looking passing game, but neither did he have any glaring errors. He was targeted once in the red zone.

WR Ronald Curry (4 targets)

Curry dropped the first ball thrown his way, and had no luck the entire game, ending with zero catches for the day. He was primarily looked to in the second half, before the Raiders realized they could just run the ball all day.

WR Chaz Schilens (1 targets)

Not a big part of the offense, Schilens was targeted once on a deep route in the second quarter.

WR Johnnie Lee Higgins (1 targets)

Higgins had no chance on his one target, a poorly thrown ball in the red zone.

WR Javon Walker

Was a non factor in this game.

TE Zach Miller, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (2 targets)

Miller was the Raiders' leading receiver. He hauled in one very nice catch in traffic, and in an all too small sample size (two targets, two catches) was easily the most reliable Raiders receiver on the field.

PK Sebastian Janikowski 3 - 3 FG, 2 - 2 XP, 11 points

With some heavy wind, he looked very good. He booted a career long 56 yard field goal (with a small bit of help from the wind) and all but one of his kickoffs were downed for touchbacks.

OAK Rush Defense

They made Larry Johnson and company look positively mortal. They were consistently strong against the ground game; the longest rush they allowed was seven yards (not counting a 15 yard QB scramble). In the second half, with the Chiefs trailing, they only had four rush attempts to defend (which totaled 5 yards).

OAK Pass Defense

The Raiders pass rush and coverage were so good that it's hard to praise one or the other. KC quarterbacks had very little time to throw, and very little to throw to. They showed chinks in the armor late in the game when they seemed to have a little trouble keeping pace with the Chiefs no huddle offense, which led to the only TD they allowed all game.


QB Tyler Thigpen, Pass: 14 - 33 - 151 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0

Upon entering the game, Thigpen appeared confident but also seemed nervous. To beat the pass rush, he was taking three step drops and unloading the ball quickly and fearlessly into coverage. As the game progressed he showed slightly better decision making and accuracy. His one shining moment came on a drive late in the game, playing mostly hurry up offense, in which he marched the team 80 yards in under three minutes for the touchdown and two point conversion. The main difference being that he locked onto Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez. He did throw one interception, a pass intended for a triple covered Gonzalez.

QB Damon Huard, Pass: 2 - 4 - 17 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 15 - 0

Huard mysteriously did not return to the game after throwing an interception. Later it was reported that he had suffered "mild head trauma". He looked good on a 15-yard scramble. He did not have any particularly accurate throws, but did not play enough to warrant any real criticism, good or bad.

QB Brodie Croyle

Croyle was inactive due to a separated shoulder.

RB Larry Johnson, Rush: 12 - 22 - 0

Johnson was just not much of a factor. The Raiders stopped him cold in the first half, and in the second he did his best Javon Walker impression and disappeared.

RB Kolby Smith, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 4 - 19 - 0 (4 targets)

Late in the second half, Smith caught a few dump passes, and also dropped one. He shared time with Jamaal Charles as the backup to Larry Johnson, but none of the Chiefs tailbacks had any success on the ground.

RB Jamaal Charles, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (2 targets)

The Chiefs appeared to be trying to get the ball in Charles' hands a bit more. The first play of the game was a deep pattern (underthrown by Huard) to Charles. He only had three carries as the Chiefs all but abandoned the running game in the second half.

RB Mike Cox (1 targets)

Cox, the starting fullback, caught the ball on the Chiefs successful two point conversion. He also recovered a fumble earlier in the game.

WR Dwayne Bowe, Rec: 6 - 90 - 0 (9 targets)

Bowe was the only Kansas City player who truly rose above the pure awfulness that this offense was exuding. Once Tyler Thigpen realized he had a receiver who could haul in anything within close proximity, they were off to the races. His splits tell the story: One reception for seven yards in the first half; 5-83 in the second.

WR Marques Hagans, Pass: 1 - 1 - 5 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 (2 targets)

Hagans was a part of the Chiefs apparent "Musical Quarterbacks" strategy, implemented after Damon Huard's injury. Thigpen and Hagans rotated somewhat randomly, subbing in for each other within the same offensive series'. Hagans, normally the fifth string wideout, completed his only pass attempt, but for the most part spent his time under centre scrambling away from the Raiders pass rush.

Hagans actually saw the field more as quarterback. Early in the game he caught a seven yard pass that was called back due to a penalty.

WR Devard Darling, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets)

Darling was not a big part of the passing game. He was part of a three man rotation that shared the field opposite Dwayne Bowe. In other words, one third of the fourth option on offense.

WR Jeff Webb (4 targets)

Webb's main contribution was in drawing a pass interference penalty. He had no success getting open and was blanketed each time he was targeted.

TE Tony Gonzalez, Rec: 5 - 39 - 1 (16 targets)

It seemed like about twelve of those sixteen targets came in the final four minutes of the game. Gonzalez was barely targeted throughout the match, until desperation time. He rose to the challenge, proving again that he is without a doubt the Chiefs best red zone threat.

PK Nick Novak 0 - 0 FG, 0 - 0 XP, 0 points

Novak had no field goal attempts or PAT attempts.

KC Rush Defense

In the first half, they kept the damage to a minimum, but consistently gave a little on each rushing play. In the second half, things basically fell apart as Darren McFadden absolutely carved them up.

KC Pass Defense

The pass rush was good, pressuring Russell often, but not good enough to garner even a single sack. They limited the passing game to a paltry 55 yards, and that mostly on screen patterns and dump passes. But when the team can't stop the run, even when they know it's coming, that is simply not enough.