The Oakland Raiders win over the Cleveland Browns was largely overlooked and forgotten as a result of the injury to Jason Campbell and resulting trade for Carson Palmer. However, while the quarterback position is the most important position in football, it is still only one position. Due to Campbell going out in the first half, this game was won mostly by the rest of the team, not the quarterback.
As a result, the Raiders did what they were supposed to do in defeating an inferior opponent, improved to 4-2 and started their first win streak of the season with back to back wins against the Houston Texans and the Cleveland Browns. Lets take a look at how they did it.
Passing Offense: As I mentioned above, the Raiders lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell in the first half of Sunday's game. Back up Kyle Boller finished the game for Campbell and did a decent job. Boller had plenty of questionable moments as he threw a number of errant passes. However, Boller did exactly what he was asked to do. He protected the ball, made a few key passes and even a nice run. Nothing exceptional out of the passing game, but nothing that really hurt us either.
Rushing Offense: Darren McFadden had a good, but not great day. Though, with that being said, it is probably telling that I did not get very excited about a day in which McFadden put up 91 yards rushing on 20 carries for an average of 4.6 yards per carry and one touchdown. McFadden has been so good this season, you almost expect him to put up more than 100 yards every game. That may not be realistic, but it goes to show how dominant McFadden is playing right now. The team combined for a total of 151 rushing yards on the day, making it another impressive ground performance for the Raiders.
Passing Defense: Colt McCoy put up 215 yards and two touchdowns agains the Raiders, without giving up a pick. Not a bad day for the Browns gun slinger. However, he also only went 21 for 45 and averaged 4.8 yards per attempt, not a good day for the Browns gun slinger either. He had a decent number of yards and two touchdowns mostly because the Browns were playing from behind. The Raiders defense did a good job of shutting McCoy down most of the game as McCoy put up over 90 of his yards on a late fourth quarter drive for a touchdown. If not for that touchdown drive, this would have been an A performance.
Rushing Defense: What was once their biggest weakness, has now turned into a strength for the Raiders over the past two weeks. One week removed from holding standout back Arian Foster in check, the Raiders held the Browns ground game to a measly 65 yards combined. Sure, Peyton Hillis was injured early in the game, but as the Raiders showed against the Patriots, they had problems with even average backs at times this season. This was a great performance for the Raiders rush defense.
Special Teams: What can be said about the unit that won the game for the Raiders. The special teams unit produced two touchdowns, one on a 101 yard return by Jacoby Ford and one on a 35 yard fake field goal. The Raiders also did a fine job of keeping one of the games best special teams players in check. Joshua Cribbs was a complete non factor in the game.
Coaching: Whenever your starting quarterback goes down in the first half of a game, it is largely on the coaching staff to ensure that the team keeps their heads in the game. Not only did the Raiders coaching staff do just that, Hue Jackson played a major role in the win by calling the fake field goal that wound up being the difference. If not for his decision to go for it on fourth down when a chip shot field goal would have put the game out of reach, this would be a straight A.
Overall: The Raiders did what they were supposed to by beating an inferior team. However, they did it in the face of adversity and did not allow the loss of starting quarterback Jason Campbell stop them from getting the win. This was a very big game for the Raiders as they continue to show that they will not crumble in the face of adversity.
Up next, another winnable game against the Kansas City Chiefs at home.