Oakland, CA – Another nail biting game but this time the Oakland Raiders got the victory. The loss last week brought new goals to achieve. The most crucial assignment given by head coach Hue Jackson was “to finish the game strong”.
That’s exactly what happened when the Raiders handed the New York Jets their first loss 34-24 of the season. There was a time when many thought Oakland would never have the potential to play at playoff level again.
A new and improved team walked on the field today. Darren McFadden rushed for 171 yards and had two touchdowns. His second touchdown was most remarkable when he got Oakland back into the game. McFadden rushed for 70-yards on the left end which was the longest against the Jets since 1988.
“You’ve got to set edges on this guy,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “We never did that, we know he’s got great speed. That’s why the ball has to be turned inside. It wasn’t turned inside and he made the 70-yard run.”
Oakland showed no signs of vulnerability from last week, the second-half belonged to the Raiders. The offense and defense worked together to shutdown New York’s offense. They dominated in rushing with 234 yards, the most rushing touchdowns and third-most in a game since Ryan has been coaching the Jets.
Jason Campbell was 18 for 27 passing for 156 yards. In 42 seconds the Raiders scored two touchdowns. Denarius Moore scored on a 23-yard reverse with superb blocking from the offense.
Antoino Cromartie who didn’t have his best game fumbled the ball on the 74-yard kickoff and Taiwan Jones recovered. Michael Bush’s 1-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter was the momentum that game them the confidence to comeback.
“I just feel like they’re a revamped group,” said Mark Sanchez. “We had momentum on our side, we let them hang around at halftime then they came and knocked us around a little in the third quarter.”
Oakland said the same thing last week in their loss to the Buffalo Bills, “we let them hang around and get back in the game.” That was the achilles heel that drove them through the week in becoming better. Today, the Raiders performance proved worthy across the NFL.
But that’s behind them now, Sanchez completed 27 of 43 for a career-high 369 yards but threw an interception in the first. His attempt for a second touchdown was overturned in the final minutes of the game when he knee hit the ground inches from the goal line.
After being sacked four times in the second-half Mark had to wear a visor after getting bloodied up on one of the sacks. Collectively Oakland’s defense shutdown the Jets offense.
A different ending than the game here two years ago when Sanchez was remembered eating a hot dog on the sidelines in the final minutes of when they won 38-0. The AFC champs had no idea the Raiders was a new team in the making.
“They believe in what I’m saying and that’s the greatest victory any coach can have,” said Jackson. “I’m trying to create an environment where our great players can do something special. Today they did that in front of our first sellout crowd at home and it was great.”
“Coach Hue always tells us we’re building a bully,” McFadden said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against. That’s what we’re trying to do bully them and that’s what we did today.”
Oakland’s offense got creative when they set up a halfback option to Darren. He was going to throw to Campbell but he was covered so he ran for 27-yards and the first down faking like he was going to pass.
The next play was Moore taking a reverse that the Jets were prepared for but he then cut up field past two defenders before tackling head on Jim Leonhard for the block and the touchdown.
“They’re a physical football team and I feel like they played right into our hands,” said Richard Seymour. “Because we’re pretty physical up front on the offensive and defensive lines. Any time a team wants to come in and play that type of game with us, I like our chances all the time.”
Written by: Malaika Bobino
Photos by: Miguel Blair