Monday, September 24, 2007
After a streak of 11 straight losses, the Oakland Raiders, coached by Lane Kiffin, finally won a game. They beat the Cleveland Browns 26 to 24, and with a tactic used against them the following week at Denver.
In that game, the Raiders lined up to kick what would be the game winner in overtime, only to have a successful field goal attempted whistled dead because Denver Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan called a time out just a tick of the clock before the snap of the ball. When the Raiders lined up again, they missed the attempt.
This week Kiffin used the same maneuver against the Cleveland Browns when they lined up to kick what would have been the game winning field goal; the Browns came up short.
Yes, Kiffin’s a fast study. But lost in the discussion of the strategy used was that the Raiders were competitive in each game they played in, and so were bound to get a win.
The main difference is the offense. The combination of timed passes, varied formations, short drops, and zone-blocking has formed an offense that can move the ball and keep the defense off the field, which is a good thing because this Raiders defense isn’t the driving killing force of 2006.
Last year, I called for then-Raiders Offensive Coordinator Tom Walsh to be fired even before the season started, no so this year. Last year, the Raiders were a study in offensive ineptitude --- this year, the system they use is state of the art. I predicted a 9 and 7 season for the Silver and Black. I’ll stick to that.