Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thinking about Monday Night

I gave it a day to kind of settle myself down and organize my thoughts a little bit. I know that's not a very bloggy sentiment; blogs are for emotional reactions. Well, I got those out Monday night, during and just after the game, on my Facebook feed. Feel free to add me as a friend if that's the sort of thing you want to see (or hide/block me if you don't want to see that stuff).

The post-game reactions from most of the local writers and columnists and bloggers was pretty consistent: the Raiders were impressive in their loss, got jobbed by the officials, and look like they might at some point, if they keep up the intensity, and if JaMarcus continues to improve and gets some WR help, they could be a pretty good football team. My favorite two reactions were from Tim Kawakami and Lowell Cohn, mainly because they're the two most skeptical local writers:


But this one was the best game of the bunch, and better than several of the Raiders’ few victories over the last six years–IF Cable can keep this level of energy and dedication going through to December.

If the Raiders play like this, they should go right through Kansas City next week and if it keeps up they should be within striking distance of .500 or above all year, and maybe even at the end of the year.

And if they get anything more out of JaMarcus Russell (12 of 30 for 208 yards), other than the rainbow TD on fourth-and-15, then the Raiders could actually be… well… decent to pretty good this year.

There, I said it. And I mean it.

I'm getting tired of writing the Raiders are bums. It's nice to write something else for a change.

So you praise the Raiders even if they didn’t finish. You praise the running game - dynamic, powerful, a real stunner especially in the first half. And you praise Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. And you praise the defense. Where in the world did this defense come from?

And mostly you praise Russell. You don’t go wild over Russell. He hit tight end Zach Miller with so many beautiful passes over the middle, nice breakaway moments. And when he did that you remembered what a talent he is. But then you saw him overthrow wide receivers all night long and you remembered he has so much to learn.

And when you were about to give up on him, and after he got clocked by Shawne Merriman on a quarterback keeper in the fourth quarter and had to miss a few plays, he came back and threw that perfect pass to Murphy. And you realized, gosh, this kid can do it. He has it all if people just will be patient.

In so many ways, watching this game provided the textbook example for what it's like to be a Raiders fan. It had everything you love about football: hard hitting, nasty line play on both sides of the ball, fierce hitting in the secondary, smash-mouth running, stellar tight end play, a beautiful long pass on 4th and 15 that was Aristotelian Platonic in its Al Davis-ness. And yet you also had a horrible call on a replay review at the end of the first half that came not even on a challenge from the Chargers but on a booth review because it happened in the final 2 minutes of a half, which brought back the Tuck Rule crashing up from the pit of every Raiders fan's stomach like day-old bile. As soon as that ref announced the play was under review, every Raiders fan held two competing and completely opposite thoughts in their minds: 1. it's a touchdown and there's no way it can be overturned; and 2. of course it's going to be overturned, we're the fucking Raiders for chrissakes. And then you had the inability of the defense to finish the game at the end, reminding us why we haven't won more than 5 games for 6 years in a row.

And the worst part of it, or maybe it's the best part, is that going into the game I was fully expecting another 41-14 or 27-0 blowout. But by the third quarter, I'd bought in, and was thinking, "Shit, we can play with these guys." And when JaMarcus threw that perfect rainbow to Louis Murphy, I was jumping up and down, disturbing my neighbors below, hugging my wife, and I thought, "We are going to win this game!"

So when we didn't, it was like being punched in the stomach. Maybe it's like Coach Cable says, that this loss hurts in a good way.

Anyway, I'm in. The Kool-Aid is drunk. Stay tuned for more obnoxious, f-bomb-laden Facebook updates.

Because it's on.


dobolina said...

I'm happy that your Raiders looked good, and sorry that they lost, but JaMarcus Russell still stinks.

He might be the most inaccurate passer I've ever seen.

The Raiders will get nowhere significant with him under center.

John Sousa said...

You forget we've been through a lot of bad quarterbacks recently. I'm thinking of Rob Johnson, Rick Mirer; and remember, Gruden won 8 games with Donald Hollas as his QB. Are you really telling me JaMarcus isn't an upgrade over Donald Hollas?

The accuracy is an issue. But I'm pinning my hopes on this, that if he can improve and get into the mid-50s even, percentage-wise, his other intangibles will make up for the extra 5 or 6% that a great quarterback would post. He seems to be emerging as an inspiring team leader, he can move in the pocket; his decision-making is improving, and that gun, when unleashed, is beautiful.

plus, my brother paid like $250 for that #2 Jersey. I don't want it to be in vain.

dobolina said...

If Russell's gun was an actual gun, and he was a sniper, he'd take out 10 civilians before he finally hit his target.

I don't know that Russell is that much of an upgrade over Hollas, especially for $32 million in guaranteed money, plus whatever he's "earned" the past 3 seasons.

You obviously watch the guy more than I do, but from what little I've seen, I don't see a leader. I see the AFC's version of Tavaris Jackson, except even less accurate.

Dan Hauenstein said...

Ok, I'm more than a bit worried about JaMarcus and his accuracy. But Tavaris Jackson? No way.