After watching the Raiders over the last 4 weeks prior to Sunday's game vs. the Eagles, I was beginning to wonder if and how they were going to pull off another victory this year. They've been flat-out terrible in all facets of the game through the first quarter of the season, and it had seemed like things were getting worse.
However, they answered the bell on Sunday, as their defense really stepped up and had the Eagles offense pretty confused throughout the afternoon. The Silver and Black defied all NFL odds on Sunday and they did it by playing a tight game with limited mistakes. They had little trouble at all getting pressure on Donovan McNabb, as they sacked him 6 times in the ballgame. They also held the Eagles talented duo of backs (LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook) to just 67 yards on the ground as well, which boded well for slowing down Philly's offense. It was the first time in the last three seasons that the Raiders held an opponent out of the endzone. Newly-acquired defensive end Richard Seymour, and Trevor Scott each got to McNabb for a couple sacks each, but the real solid play on the Raiders defense came in the secondary. The Raiders were without all-NFL cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha for nearly the whole contest as he suffered an eye injury early on. Asomugha is by far the most feared defender on that Raiders D, so to see the defensive secondary as a whole step up in his absence and keep one of the leagues' most impressive passing attacks out of the endzone was the most impressive thing I've seen that bunch do in a couple years.
Offensively, the Raiders didn't really do anything too impressive, but they did just enough to support that solid defensive outing. Before the game, Donovan McNabb met with Russell for a few minutes to talk about the youngsters struggles early on in his career. Whatever McNabb said must have gotten to Russell somehow, because the kid looked much different than he has in recent weeks. In fact, JaMarcus Russell had his best game of the season with a 68.8 QB rating , which tells you how bad his season has been thus far. His completion percentage was the area of most improvement for Russell on Sunday though. He completed 17-28 passes for 224 yards and a 60.7 completion percentage. His season average coming into the game was 39.7 percent. He did throw two picks, but he didn't lose any fumbles, which was a nice change up after he coughed the ball up 3 times last week vs. the Giants. All-in-all, Russell showed much improvement on Sunday. I think his early 86-yard TD pass to Zach Miller in the first quarter really eased some of the pressure off of the former #1 pick. It was the first time since week 1 in which Russell found the end zone through the air, so he had to have been breathing a sigh of relief after that. As far as the running game, Justin Fargas led the charge in Darren McFadden's absence, rushing for 87 yards on 23 carries. Michael Bush also added 22 yards on 6 carries.
No Trades: The NFL Trade deadline came and went on Tuesday, and as is the case for most NFL trade deadlines, not a lot happened this year. The Raiders and Niners didn't make any moves, although there could have been some guys out there that could have helped the Niners. I would have liked to see them pursue some more help for their defensive front, and preferably somebody who could have rushed the passer. Javon Kearse was a guy who was widely thought to have been available in Tennessee and could have provided the Niners another pass rush threat off the edge to go along with Justin Smith and Ray McDonald.