Oakland going for a rarity: 2 wins in row

Ah, the physical and mental hurdles that a team must jump on its
way back to respectability.

Last week, the Raiders beat the
Chargers for the first time in 14
attempts. And now, at 2-3 and with a chance at being .500 six games
in for the first time since 2002, Oakland is staring another number
in the face.

It has been 21 games since the Raiders have won two in a row.
That’s the second-longest streak in the NFL right now, with the
Detroit Lions having gone 45 games without repeated tastes of the
good life.

“Last year, I guess we just lived on that high and then didn’t
come out the next week and play to the intensity that we’re
supposed to,” receiver Louis Murphy said. “But I don’t feel there’s
going to be anyone that will have to get amped up for this next
game. It’s the Battle of the Bay.”

The Raiders have a great chance to win a second game in a row
today, as the Niners are 0-5. Coach Tom Cable is confident – his
team is more talented and physical than previous editions, and he
thinks its mentality is different, too.

“We’ve changed how we do business from Wednesday to Sunday,” he
said. “Now it’s a matter of going out and repeating that kind of
effort, intensity and desire that it takes on Sunday, and we’re
getting close to that. … I think we’re about three-quarters of
the way there. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there.”

Cable has given the players reminders every day to let go of
last week’s big win and focus on what they need to do against the
49ers. He admits that he won’t know if his words hit home until
this afternoon.

“So it will be a test for us how we come out and play,” he said.
“The expectation is high, definitely.”

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha wants his teammates to treat today’s
game like another day at the office.

“It’s like at a regular job,” he said. “After that weekend, then
the week starts again and everything from the past is the past. So
once we hit Tuesday, then a Wednesday, we start all over again, and
we forget everything that happened.”

Well, not everything. The Raiders should take into today’s game
that they can run the ball, have a great weapon in tight end Zach
Miller and that its defense made plays down the stretch against San

“Confidence comes from winning games,” Asomugha said. “You can
have a little bit more of that after beating the Chargers. I think
it will help us a lot in this game.”

DHB doesn’t bite: Niners receiver Michael
Crabtree said this week how much he was looking forward to showing
the Raiders they made a mistake drafting Darrius Heyward-Bey over
him last year. Reporters asked Heyward-Bey about that, and he said,
“I’m going against their defense. That’s all I focus on.”

Heyward-Bey did disagree with the notion that he has better
chemistry with Bruce Gradkowski than Jason Campbell, this week’s

“Jason’s a good quarterback, and we go out there, and it doesn’t
even feel different,” said Heyward-Bey, who has one catch for 2
yards the past two games. “When he calls a play, I’m like, ‘OK,
he’s going to throw the ball to me; let’s go.’ “