Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

November 24, 2008
Raiders show signs of growing up

DENVER - As the Raiders piled up a few questionable penalties team officials were become red-faced.

It was if Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler should have been playing two-hand touch.

There were three personal fouls for unnecessary roughness called for hits on Culter in the Raiders 31-10 win at Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday.

One was on defensive tackle Gerard Warren and two were on linebacker Thomas Howard for hitting Cutler with his helmets.

Howard's penalties were especially questionable.

But something happened during the game.

The Raiders just kept playing.

The team that's loved to blame the officials when things go wrong didn't use the flags as a reason to fold.

They kept playing and won.

"It's touchy when you get to talking about those refs so I'm not going to get too deep into it," Howard said. "All I can say is ... they made the calls, we lived with it. We didn't let it get us down. So we just went back in there and played."

Interim head coach didn't want to say too much but called the penalties on Howard "ridiculous" which might earn him a fine (even though those calls were ridiculous).

But it's a step in the right direction for a franchise that's become accustomed to failure and excuses.

"You know it's kind of been the battle cry the whole time," Cable said. "We're gonna keep pushing, keep playing, keep playing."

Cornerback had an interception return for a touchdown negated when he was called for holding on the same play.

Johnson continued to play well in spite of the call in the second quarter.

"I didn't think it was holding," Johnson said. "But if the refs made that call I've got to respect that call. I couldn't let that one take my confidence away so I just kept playing."

The Raiders are still an incredibly young team in a lot of areas. Sunday's showing was a sign that players are starting to understand what it takes to win.
Dare I say a sign of maturity?

"I guess you could say that," Howard said. "A sign of maturity always sounds good. But it was just us sticking in there. What else can we do when a ref makes a call like that? What else can you really do but play?"

*Johnnie Lee Higgins was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after a backflip after his punt return for a touchdown.

The reason? Apparently his falling on the landing somehow is penalty-worthy.

If Higgins had stuck the landing, there would have been no penalty.

*JaMarcus Russell had his second consecutive solid game after completing 10 of 11 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.

Russell is 25 for 33 (75.8 percent) for 308 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions in his last two games since sitting out the Carolina loss with a knee injury.

And next up is Kansas City, which allows the opposition to complete 66.6 percent of its passes and has only six sacks all season.

*Darren McFadden ran for two touchdowns. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper ran for three scores Sept. 30, 2007 at Miami.

The last time a running back ran for two touchdowns for the Raiders was LaMont Jordan. He scored twice Nov. 27, 2005 against Miami.

*Both of Cable's wins as head coach have come over division leaders (New York Jets, Denver).

*Cable was a bit teary eyed after the game and said it wasn't from allergies.

"It's just been a lot of hard work," he said. "And we're getting there. And I know you all think I'm crazy when I say that for the last month. But the bottom line is I just believe in our players and I believe in what we're trying to do. So you just keep pushing and when you do it right enough, long enough, something good is going to happen. So, I don't know. I'm just happy. I'm very happy, I know I seem calm right now but it's a lot of hard work. Today was a good day for the Raiders."

--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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