Darren McFadden

Raiders aren’t ready for prime time … yet

I was just googling the Raiders/Patriots box score to see what Wes Welker’s total stats were on the game, and in the instant I typed the top result I saw a headline from the San Jose Mercury News that read “Patriots deal Raiders dose of reality” … and it was.

Sure, Welker ran wild over an injured Raiders secondary to reel in 9 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown reception.

The statistics told half the story.

Jason Campbell and Tom Brady had similar days, statistics-wise. So did BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Darren McFadden.

But Campbell threw two interceptions and Brady threw none.

Campbell’s first interception was a curious one. It looked like a receiver either fell down in the end zone and missed a timed route — although I didn’t see anyone within ten feet of the ball, except for three Patriot defenders — or Campbell badly underthrew a ball he meant to throw away in the red zone.

Either way, somebody fell down or Jason Campbell failed to execute a pass (throwing the ball away through the uprights) that ANYONE reading this should reasonably be able to make.

Tom Brady however, completed a pass that no one reading this blog — unless Peyton Manning or Drew Brees is a fan of BASG — could’ve ever made.

That’s pretty much the difference in the game.

Richard Seymour racked up two penalties on an early drive that would’ve gone a long way to dictating the pace of the game. His Patriots counterpart, Vince Wilfork, shed a blocker and stepped into a passing lane seemingly on cue to pick off a pass intended for Darren McFadden and pretty much stuck a knife in the Raiders.

That’s the entire difference in the game.

The great players on the Patriots played good games, and made the brilliant plays when they had to.

The great players on the Raiders played good games, and made some really terrible plays when it mattered.

That’s the difference between the Raiders “always being in games” (which will get old quick, but sounds good now because the team was really bad since playing in the Super Bowl almost ten years ago), and being a playoff team.

The Positive

There were a lot of takeaways.

Darren McFadden is elite. He’s going to continue making huge plays if he stays healthy.

Kevin Boss was an excellent free agent signing, and the Raiders passing attack is only going to get better when Louis Murphy returns.

Denarius Moore was the bargain of last year’s draft. While he was pretty quiet Sunday, the plays he did make looked great.

Jason Campbell made several good decisions when his protection broke down, including running up the middle for positive gains twice, and he threw for over 300 yards while throwing some great looking passes … and one really bad one.

Michael Bush loves hitting people as much as he loves scoring touchdowns. He’s the new Zack Crockett.

The Negative

There are going to be penalties relating to spirited and aggressive play, but they aren’t making enough plays to offset that.

Stanford Routt is good without Nnamdi, but only if Chris Johnson and Michael Huff are healthy. (Charles Woodson had a pick six for the Pack on Sunday. Oh … what could’ve been.)

Last week the Raiders’ run defense made LaDainian Tomlinson look young again; this week Pats rookie RB Stevan Ridley looked like an old pro in his fourth career game.

SUMMARY: I had a sick feeling that last week was too soon to start calling Uncle Al “Mr. Davis” again. BASG was right about that. The Raiders are not yet ready for prime time. The small mistakes have to stop. It’s that simple. This team is good, but not great. Yet.

The Raiders Sports Guy, Francis Mayer, has extensive experience in radio as a producer and former morning show host at 106.1 KRAB in Bakersfield, and now works producing a 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.

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