Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 23, 2008
Defense befuddles Cutler

DENVER - After scoring 31 points and coming up with three touchdowns, it would be easy to praise the offense.

The offense had gone 15 quarters without a touchdown before coming through with three in the second half of the Raiders' 31-10 win at Invesco Field at Mile High.

But lets give Rob Ryan and the defense some credit for doing a good job against a team that put 41 points on the Raiders Week 1

Jay Cutler hadn't completed less than 50 percent of his passes in a game until today (16 of 37).

Only New England has held the Broncos to few points this season.

"The big thing for us was that was the third scoring offense in the league and we held them to 10 points," said linebacker Kirk Morrison. "Week in and week out Jay cutler has been finding ways to pick defenses apart."

The Raiders didn't sack Cutler, but forced him to move around a lot in the pocket.

And Cutler went after cornerback Chris Johnson no fewer than 10 times. Johnson more than held his own against Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal.

"The first couple times I thought they were going to try go to go the other way after I got the pick (that was called back) and knocked a couple of balls down," Johnson said. "But Jay's a good quarterback and he was going to try to catch me slipping. I just had to stay on my game the whole time."

Johnson is quickly earning the respect of teammates for his play in place of DeAngelo Hall.

"We believe in him because he's been around and he's got good technique and he's not afraid to play guys up close, not afraid to get beat," said Nnamdi Asomugha. "No one was really surprised but they threw a lot balls at him and he played well."

*Like every other team that plays the Raiders, Denver basically stayed away from Asomugha the entire game.

Asomugha nearly had an interception in the fourth quarter when he nearly picked off a pass intended for Darrell Jackson.

Stanford Routt was covering Jackson at the time. Jackson made sure Asomugha didn't hold on to the ball.

"Me and Stanford talked about it," Asomugha said. "I said if they're not going to throw at my guy I'm going to come off and I'll look at your guy ... Cutler told me after the game I'm not going to give you many opportunities. You've got to make the most of it."

Cutler had more nice things to say about Asomugha after the game.

"They have the best cornerback in the game," Cutler said of Asomugha. "He takes away half of the field."

*Darren McFadden scored two touchdowns. The last time that happened was Sept. 30, 2007 in Miami when Daunte Culpepper ran for three scores and Jerry Porter caught two touchdowns.

*The Broncos lived up to their rep as a poor team in defending the pass. JaMarcus Russell completed his first nine passes in going 10 for 11 for 152 yards and a touchdown.

Michael Bush also completed a pass to tight end Zach Miller.

*Jon Alston helped escort Johnnie Lee Higgins to the end zone on his 89-yard punt return for a touchdown while holding his helmet after it came off during the play.

"In the middle of the play I was like I've got to keep my head on a swivel," Alston said. "And try not to get knocked out."

*The Raiders now have 12 touchdowns from the offense. Five have come against the Broncos.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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