Raiders Recap–2008 Preseason Week 3

The Oakland Raiders faced the Arizona Cardinals in the third preseason game, but this was a week of heavy hearts for the Raider Nation. Legendary Hall of Fame Guard Gene Upshaw died of pancreatic cancer at age 63. He discovered the illness last Sunday, and died 4 days later.

With Art Shell at left tackle, Gene Upshaw at left guard, and double zero Jim Otto at center, the Raiders dominated opponents for 15 years.

In addition to being a Silver and Black legend at guard, Upshaw became the chief union head upon retiring as a player. The NFL Players Association was lucky to have him. His warm relationship with former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue allowed the NFL to have stable labor peace. The league flourished.

With Silver and Black flags at half staff, the show had to go on.

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The Raiders won the toss, and after a touchback, JaMarcus Russell completed his first four passes for 37 yards. A sack pushed the Raiders back, and on 4th down from the Arizona 36, they opted to go for it rather than try a 53 yard field goal. The Raiders turned it over on downs.

Matt Leinart started for the Cardinals. On their second play from scrimmage, Leinart went for the bomb. The Raiders had tight double coverage, and the pass was intercepted by Safety Michael Huff.

A swing pass to Darren McFadden was dropped, but it was ruled a fumble. It was returned 11 yards for an Arizona touchdown. Coach Lane Kiffin challenged the call. After review, the call was reversed and ruled an incomplete pass. On 3rd and 7, Russell fired a 13 yard completion to Javon Walker for a 1st down. On the next play Russell was intercepted on a ball that was underthrown.

A 15 yard penalty on the Cardinals for unnecessary roughness after the interception had the Cardinals starting at their own 46. A neutral zone infraction pushed the ball to the Oakland 49. A pair of Edgerrin James runs moved the ball to the 36, and a Leinart pass to Anquon Boldin moved it to the 21. Working out of the no huddle, the Cardinals seemed to have the Raiders off balance. The drive stalled inside the 10 yard line, but a 25 yard field goal by Neil Rackers had the Cardinals up 3-0. The 11 play drive went 47 yards.

The Raiders were totally caught off guard by an onsides kick, but the Cardinals were offsides, and had to rekick. The Raiders began at their own 33 and went 3 and out. The Cardinals began with a holding penalty and then punted 3 plays later as well.

The Raiders began their next drive at their own 32, also had a holding penalty, and also punted 3 plays later.

The second quarter began with the Cardinals at their own 16. On 3rd and 14, Leinart threw a terrible pass after running beyond the line of scrimmage. Stanford Routt may have scored had a member of the officiating crew not gotten in the way. At that point Leinart was a miserable 4 for 11 for 25 yards and 2 interceptions.

The Raiders took over inside the Arizona 26. Russell pulled a Houdini act to escape a sack and gain 16 yards, but it was nullified by a second consecutive illegal formation penalty. The tackles were not on the line. The Raiders were totally out of sync, but a bullet to Ronald Curry put the Raiders at first and goal at the 10. A gorgeous lob from Russell to Zach Miller was ruled out of bounds, but replays showed that Miller’s knee came down inbounds. The Raiders again challenged the call. The call was upheld, and the Cardinals then jumped offsides on the field goal attempt. Kiffin decided to go for it on 4th and goal at the 5, and a pass was dropped. This is preseason, justifying the decision.

On the first play from scrimmage, Arizona running back Hightower fumbled, and the Raiders Tommy Kelly appeared to have recovered. The ball was given back to Arizona. From his own end zone, Leinart avoided a safety, threw up a prayer, and was intercepted for a 3rd time. Again, it was thrown into double coverage. The Raiders began at the Arizona 20.

Darren McFadden and Michael Bush moved the ball to a first and goal situation at the 8. Backup kicker Aaron Elling doinked a 25 yard field goal off of the upright. An alert Arizona defender plucked it off of the upright and began running it back the other way for a touchdown, but the play was blown dead. Missed field goals can normally be returned, but not if they hit the upright.

With 3:30 minutes left in one of the worst halves of football ever played, Kurt Warner replaced Leinart. On 3rd and 10, Warner was hit, fumbled, and lucky that they were able to punt.

The Raiders took over with 1:43 left in the half. With 28 seconds left in the half, the Raiders had 2nd and 3 at the Arizona 47. A holding penalty pushed them back. On the last play of a hideous half, Russell was sacked and fumbled. Both teams walked off in the field in what should be disgrace.

The Cardinals began at their own 33, and a facemask penalty on Tommy Kelly moved things forward 15 yards before a delay of game moved it back 5. Two plays later the Cardinals were in the red zone after a 24 yard Warner pass and a Hightower run. Hightower than ran up the middle for a 13 yard touchdown run against the 1st string Oakland defense. e minutes into the second half, the Cardinals led 10-0.

JaMarcus Russell remained in the game long enough to engineer another 3 and out drive. The Cardinals then handed the ball to JJ Arrington, who ran 66 yards for a touchdown and a 17-0 Cardinals lead.

The Raiders then announced that they were forfeiting the season so they could get the # 1 draft pick again. No, not really.

Kiffin did keep Russell in the game, most likely to get him killed in a meaningless game so that the season would officially be lost. The Raiders did reach the Arizona 44 before punting. The Cardinals started at their own 12. They brought in their 3rd string quarterback, officially ending any reason to care about the game. Arizona running back Vincent, who might be 7th string, escaped a tackle, and broke off a 30 yard gain. The only positive aspect of the 3rd quarter for the Raiders was that it ended. On the first play of the 4th quarter, a touchdown pass had the Cardinals up 24-0.

Andrew Walter entered the game, as he and Michael Bush replaced Russell and McFadden. Walter has potential, but it would be nice if he was ever able to enter a situation that was not hopeless.

The Raiders furious rally fell short as they did not manage to score any points. Coach Lame Kiffin should be fired and replaced with a disciplinarian.

Cardinals 24, Raiders 0


One Response to “Raiders Recap–2008 Preseason Week 3”

  1. The greatest coach in Raiders history was not a disiplinarian. Pro football players are not kids, like college players. They’re adults and need to be treated like adults (Coughlin learned that lesson – look at where it got him!). The key is picking players who act like adults – or at least like great ball players – on and off the field. Al Davis is the problem here. He learned all the wrong lessons from the Madden years. Madden could see through a rap sheet and find the inner NFL player. Davis sees only Vegas-rated top picks. The problem is Davis, not Kiffin. Don’t get me wrong, Al Davis is a Founding Father of modern professional football, one of the most successful private institutions in the history of America, and he deserves all the respect in the world for that. But let’s face it, the one continuing factor in the Raiders troubles over the years is Davis. As a Jets fan, I’ll always love Leon Hess, but that doesn’t mean I forgot what a fool he was sometimes when it came to football operations.


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