Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

December 21, 2008
Cable calls it right

OAKLAND - Here's something different.

Let's give Tom Cable some credit.

He's had his share of questionable decisions in his previous 10 games as interim head coach.

He's been mockingly referred to as the Cable Guy and Al Davis' puppet.

But Cable's play-calling (and mind you I don't know how much influence Greg Knapp or anyone else had) was great to start the game and helped the Raiders win 27-16 over the Houston Texans today.

The scripted plays led to the first opening-drive touchdown since Dec. 2, 2007 and a field goal on the next drive.

"The first two drives we really didn't get off course the whole time," said quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

He kept up his tendency to be aggressive on special teams with a surprise onsides kick after the Raiders field goal that Rashad Baker recovered. It set up a second field goal.

Cable said he told the team Saturday night he would call that play.

I don't give coaching grades for the print editions, but if I did, Cable and staff would receive an "A."

And it's no coincidence the offense looked better earlier with Darren McFadden on the field earlier and Russell was comfortable from the start with McFadden playing more.

*This might have been the best game by the offensive line considering Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams plays for the Texans.

Williams didn't sack Russell. The Texans only sack came on a designed run by Russell.

Conversely, Raiders defensive end Derrick Burgess was a force with two sacks. He came into the game with 1.5 sacks this season.

*Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has a sore neck, Cable said. That's why he did not return to the game.

*The Raiders were 7-for-14 on third downs. The Raiders came into the game converting 25.7 percent of third downs.

The Texans came into the game converting 43.7 percent of their third downs, but were just 3-for-13 (23 percent) today.

*The Raiders held the Texans to 90 rushing yards. It's only the second time this season the Raiders have held a team to under 100 rushing yards.

*For the second straight game, Mario Henderson wasn't penalized. And he had an excellent block on a Justin Fargas run when he drove Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson out of bounds.

*Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson doubled his catch total from his last game in Oakland in 2006. He had two catches, but was basically a non-factor. He came into the game leading the NFL in catches and receiving yards.

*Johnnie Lee Higgins is the first player in Raiders history with three punt returns for a touchdown in the same season.

*The Raiders are now 1-3 against the Texans.

--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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