Redskins-Raiders Preview

The Oakland Raiders have pulled out two surprising victories in

the last three weeks thanks to fourth-quarter comebacks.

The Washington Redskins have been victimized by one in three

consecutive games.

The Raiders look to win a third home game in the same season for

the first time since 2004 when they host the Redskins on

Sunday.

Oakland (4-8) beat AFC North-leading Cincinnati 20-17 on Nov. 22

and knocked off defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh 27-24 last

Sunday.

Both victories came thanks to late comebacks. After the Raiders

rallied for 10 points in the final 33 seconds against the Bengals,

Bruce Gradkowski threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter

versus the Steelers, including the game-winning 11-yarder to Louis

Murphy with nine seconds remaining.

Gradkowski became the first Raiders quarterback to throw for

three TDs in the final quarter since Ken Stabler did it against New

Orleans in 1979. He also is the only NFL quarterback since at least

1991 to throw three go-ahead touchdown passes in the fourth.

Gradkowski started for the third straight game in place of the

ineffective JaMarcus Russell, posting a career-high 121.8

quarterback rating as he went 20 of 33 for a career-best 308

yards.

“I’m pretty confident in my abilities and being a starter in

this league,” said Gradkowski, who hasn’t been a regular starter

since 2006 with Tampa Bay. “If (Sunday) cemented it, that’s good.

My goal is to continue to be successful and put this team in

position to win football games.”

While Gradkowski has led the Raiders to two comeback wins, the

Redskins (3-9) have blown fourth-quarter leads in three straight

and lost those games by a combined seven points.

They fell 33-30 in overtime to New Orleans last Sunday after the

undefeated Saints scored 10 points in the fourth, tying the game on

a 53-yard pass from Drew Brees to Robert Meachem with 1:19

remaining.

The Redskins missed a 58-yard field goal as time expired after

Shaun Suisham missed a 23-yard try with 1:52 left, which would have

given Washington a 33-23 lead. The Redskins got the ball first in

overtime but Mike Sellers fumbled at Washington’s 37-yard line to

help set up New Orleans’ winning field goal.

“We could have been 6-6 and fighting for something,” Jason

Campbell, who threw for career highs of 367 yards and three

touchdowns, told the team’s official Web site. “Instead we’re

3-9.”

In response to the latest loss, Suisham was cut Monday. He made

his first 13 field goal attempts this season but had two key misses

in a 7-6 loss to Dallas three weeks ago.

“I know he’ll be upset,” coach Jim Zorn said on his weekly radio

show on ESPN980. “He should be, but yet there’s an accountability

there. We’ll all end up being accountable for our season, no

question about it.”

Rookie Graham Gano has never kicked in an NFL game but will be

taking over for Suisham, who may not be the only one to have

recently played his last game for Washington.

Clinton Portis was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after

suffering a concussion last month. He has since struggled with

vision problems and dizziness, and there are questions when and

where he’ll play again. In his eighth NFL season, Portis rushed for

494 yards and one touchdown in eight games.

“Do I think there will be change? I do,” Portis said on his

weekly radio appearance. “And if I’m part of that change would I be

sad and devastated? I won’t.”

This is the teams’ first meeting since the Raiders won 16-13 in

Washington on Nov. 20, 2005, and the first matchup at Oakland since

1998.

The Raiders, who have won four of five versus the Redskins, have

gone 2-6 at home every season since finishing 3-5 in 2004.