The Oakland Raiders followed up their first win this season by losing three straight games by at least 20 points for the first time in franchise history.
So coach Tom Cable wants to make sure his team doesn’t get too high about a 13-9 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday that was a drastic turnaround from the three previous losses for Oakland (2-4).
“The most important thing for me this week is for us to do it again,” Cable said Monday. “That’s really all I care about. Do it again.”
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Cable’s message is echoing in the locker room where the players were not in a celebrating mood after the game or on Monday either. They know how much more work is needed for the Raiders to reverse their slow start and overcome six-plus years of losing.
“We have to look at it for what it is,” running back Justin Fargas said. “It was a great win for us to get back on track and that’s what we have to do with it, is get back on track and build off it and carry the momentum into next week and not just think we can show up and win the game. We have to fight for everything.”
Cable said one win makes a team feel good, two in a row provides a team confidence and three straight gives a team the belief that it has arrived. The Raiders will look for their second straight on Sunday against a struggling Jets team that has lost three straight following a 3-0 start. Oakland hasn’t won three in a row since late in its Super Bowl season in 2002.
The Raiders are a long ways from achieving that but did show some positive signs for the first time in weeks. After losing the opener in the closing seconds to San Diego and beating Kansas City in Week 2, the Raiders were outscored 96-16 the past three weeks, failing to gain 200 yards in a single game and being mocked by opposing players, booed by their own fans and criticized harshly in the media.
“We have talent across the roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” defensive lineman Richard Seymour said. “It’s about us taking care of our responsibilities. I think we looked at the film last week and knew that we didn’t show up to play, and that’s what’ll happen. We got embarrassed.”
The Raiders were the more physical team against the Eagles, dominating the line of scrimmage for much of the game by using a surprisingly high number of blitzes on defense and protecting JaMarcus Russell well on offense.
They had six sacks of Donovan McNabb, didn’t allow a touchdown for the first time in three years, and controlled the clock with the running game to pull off the win.
“I know we have good players. Whether or not you all agree with me, it doesn’t matter,” Cable said. “That’s what I believe and that’s what it is. And I know we have enough scheme. So in order to prove it, you have to go out and take a win. You have to go get it. You have to get it, reach for it with both hands and grab it. That’s what we did yesterday.”
The victory obscured many recurring problems for the Raiders on offense. The team managed only one touchdown, averaged only 3.3 yards per carry, and turned the ball over twice.
The only sparks on offense came from Fargas, who ran for 87 yards, tight end Zach Miller, who had six catches for 139 yards, including an 86-yard TD catch, and fullback Gary Russell, who caught five passes for 55 yards.
JaMarcus Russell completed just two of his seven passes for wide receivers for 6 yards and one interception on a high pass that went through Louis Murphy‘s hands. The Raiders scored only 13 points, missing a big chance for more when Russell badly underthrew a wide open Murphy on a fourth-and-1 from the Philadelphia 40.
“We have a long way to go offensively to get where we want to be,” Cable said. “Yesterday, we hung in there and battled the right way. We blocked a little bit better. We did throw some balls off target and all that but we made a couple of plays, we made one big play, we were able to use the backs throwing the football a little bit yesterday. It’s all a concern, really. We have a long way to go. We have to get better.”
NOTES: WR Chaz Schilens is expected to play this week for the first time since breaking a bone in his left foot in August. … LG Robert Gallery, who has been sidelined since breaking a bone in his left leg Sept. 20, said he probably won’t return this week and might not return until after the bye Nov. 15 against Kansas City. … Pro Bowl CB Nnamdi Asomugha is not expected to miss practice time this week despite missing most of Sunday’s game after getting poked in the eye.