Watching the Raiders lose to the Chiefs was a lot like the day you realize She (or He) isn’t perfect.
The first month and a half of a new relationship is an amazing thing. Scientists have proved this in laboratories. In the interest of furthering the human species, it seems we are biologically programmed to overlook flaws in new partners once the click of infatuation happens. She seems slimmer, her chatter about work isn’t grating, and any warning signs of a serious mood disorder are chalked up to “she had a bad day.” His inability to hold a job for longer than eight months is “because he’s creative,” his inability to hold a past relationship for the same amount of time is because he hadn’t met YOU, silly!
Well, once that window of elevated serotonin levels closes, you realize a few things.
It wasn’t just a bad day for her, he’s actually a committment-phobic bum, and he does actually talk to his mother twice a day, and not “just during the holidays.”
Yes, reality ALWAYS sets in.
For Raider fans across the Silver and Black Nation, it wasn’t new love, but rather wins that were keeping us from seeing a very delicate truth.
And that truth is sadly obvious now.
The success of the team was contingent upon the success of Jason Campbell.
Now, not only has the infatuation high worn off, but the girl actually wants to “just slow things down a little” and maybe even SEE OTHER PEOPLE because the extent of Darren McFadden’s injury isn’t known!
But we do know this; the awesome start to the season was a perfect storm. It was a perfect storm of McFadden playing to his potential, Campbell playing beyond his, and everyone else doing their jobs well.
Not having Sebastian Janikowski led the Raiders to go for it on 4th down a few times. On Sunday against the Chiefs, it didn’t mean automatic points just because the Raiders got inside the 40.
The high has worn off, and now we need to take inventory of the damage.
1. We have a fifth round pick in next year’s draft. That’s it.
2. If Carson Palmer doesn’t learn the offense quickly, their will be blood because Kyle Boller is absolutely terrible.
3. Michael Bush was a lot more fun when he was thunder to McFadden’s lightning. Taiwan Jones is a local boy from Antioch, and it was fun watching him hurdle a defender for a nice gain in the first quarter, but if you think losing Campbell was big … losing McFadden would be (enter the ultimate doomsday metaphor here. I’m not exaggerating, and no matter how rich of a metaphor you choose, you won’t be either.)
4. This team is really banged up. That’s another thing they didn’t notice while playing beyond their means during the Win Bender … they are sore. At almost every position. The Raiders had two active CBs today. That’s it.
5. The trick plays aren’t going to work every week. The Raiders are lucky they worked as long as they did.
6. Please, please, please, let Darren McFadden be healthy after the bye week.
This is the nature of the National Football League. Injuries are part of the game, and most would rather have two competent quarterbacks than one really good one.
But here’s the nature of the Raiders season.
They played playoff-push ball during the first third of the season.
Players were going for broke and the playbook resembled that of a team leaving it all on the field in a mad dash for playoff spot.
Speaking of playing with caution, I couldn’t help but notice the one thing Boller did well on Sunday — the man slid feet-first during a first half scramble. Feet-first. If Boller could’ve taught Campbell that trick during the preseason, Campbell’s still starting and not nervously shaking his right arm out on the Raiders’ sideline.
I don’t know which quarterback was more awkward on the Raiders’ sideline during yesterday’s loss, Campbell or Boller. Campbell looked noticably nutted-up after Boller’s first interception and by the second interception he had cast aside the arm sling and seemed to be flexing his right arm to see if it was as bad as x-
rays and doctors had told him it was.
Palmer could come back after the bye week and be rust-free, but then again the Raiders could come back next week and be McFadden-free. And there ain’t a trick play or a bold trade that’s going to fix that one, friends.
The Raiders Sports Guy, Francis Mayer, has extensive experience in radio as a producer in Bakersfield, as a former morning show host at 106.1 KRAB and now producing a local morning news show. He’s also a freelance writer and huge Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Twins fan. And yes, he knows that’s an odd combination.