Raiders smart gameplan led to win

Josh McCown

Quick routes, avoiding late game mistakes, and having a safety net were among the keys to Oakland's victory over Denver on Sunday.

BY THE NUMBERS

137: Rushing yards needed by Justin Fargas to reach 1,000 yards for the season. Since they returned to Oakland in 1995, the Raiders have had only four running backs reach that plateau

83.0: Quarterback rating for JaMarcus Russell in his NFL debut 125.2: Quarterback rating for Josh McCown, who had by far his most impressive game as a Raider

3: Penalties called against Oakland, the team's second-lowest mark of the season

WHAT WENT RIGHT

* Josh McCown has had some of his worst games at home and the Oakland crowd has never been shy about letting him know it but McCown was at his best against Denver. Credit the play-calling, which had McCown getting rid of the ball quickly through short routes to his receivers and screen passes to the running backs and kept him from getting sacked

* For the second straight week Oakland avoided the late-game mistakes that have been so costly throughout the year. And for the second straight week, it was the Raiders' opponents who fell apart with the game on the line. Denver scored three straight times to get back in the game but came up empty-handed on its final three drives

* Rookie tight end Zach Miller provided McCown with a critical safety net late in the fourth quarter, catching back-to-back passes from the quarterback on designed rollout plays after the Broncos had pulled within 24-20. Miller still stayed in to help block but Oakland is doing a better job springing him as a receiver, and it worked well against Denver

* Turnovers have been a big problem for Oakland both offensive and defensively but save for the one fumble by McCown, the offense was error free in that department while the defense had two interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries

WHAT WENT WRONG

* After opening game with a long touchdown drive, Oakland's defense surrendered an 83-yard TD drive to the Broncos, a series marked by multiple missed tackles and gaping holes

* Kicker Sebastian Janikowski stubbed his foot into the grass on his 48-yard field goal attempt in the first half and it clearly effected his performance the rest of the way, particularly on the 35-yard kick he pushed wide left

* McCown left the field to get treatment on his injured left hand after throwing his third touchdown pass. When he returned, it was obvious the hand was still bothering him; he bobbled the snap exchange twice in a three-play span, fumbling away the second

* Rookie fullback Oren O'Neal missed a block on Denver linebacker D.J. Williams, who stuffed Oakland running back Justin Fargas for no gain on a 4th-and-1 play from the Broncos' 25-yard line

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