Raiders’ coach upset over penalties
ALAMEDA, Calif. ” Tom Cable gave the Oakland Raiders one night to celebrate their first win since he took over as interim head coach three weeks ago.
When the team reported to work Monday, the problems ” the countless penalties, leaky run defense and inability to close the game out in the fourth quarter that got clouded over in a 16-13 overtime victory over the New York Jets ” took center stage.
“Now we get down to what really went on, and that’s the part that we’ve got to look at, got to make some corrections,” defensive end Jay Richardson said. “Make no mistake, that was not a pretty win, that was not how you draw it up. But we were happy to get a win, especially against a good team. … At the same time, we had a lot of mistakes, a lot of stupid penalties, a couple of bonehead things guys did that if we can clean that up it wouldn’t have to be like that.”
Richardson was one of the culprits, being flagged for two offside penalties on the opening drive. Oakland had nine penalties in the opening quarter, including two offside calls that were declined, and a season-worst 14 for the game.
Most of the infractions were presnap violations, with the Raiders being called for five false starts, four offsides, one delay of game, and one illegal formation. The other penalties were for illegal contact, chop blocking and holding.
“This penalty thing is ridiculous,” Cable said. “We’ve got to address it, not that we haven’t in the past. But it’s got to continue to be a point of emphasis.”
The 14 penalties were the most the Raiders committed in a win since having 16 in a 20-17 victory over the New York Giants on Sept. 13, 1998. What makes matters worse is it came at home, where the offense doesn’t have to deal with loud crowds trying to disrupt the snap count.
The Jets committed four false starts of their own, and Raiders offensive lineman Kwame Harris suggested referee Jerome Boger’s crew was quick with the flags. Harris committed three of the false starts, giving him an NFL-worst six on the season.
Richardson blamed the early offside call on Jets center Nick Mangold, who he said moved the ball forward after it was set to catch the Raiders lining up in the neutral zone.
Cable took the blame Sunday for the penalties, saying he had the team too fired up. But he wasn’t accepting any excuses on Monday.
“Everybody is looking for a reason why and the real reason why is your focus,” he said. “You can call it how you want. But you line up offsides, or you don’t line up right and got an illegal formation. … Don’t blame anybody else, let’s blame ourselves. We’re the culprit and it needs better focus.”
Despite all the penalties, the Raiders were in position to win in regulation. But the defense allowed an 87-yard touchdown drive to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter and a 61-yard drive to set up the tying field goal in the final seconds.
The last drive came after Oakland was unable to run out the clock following an interception of Brett Favre with 1:55 remaining. The inability to finish games has haunted the Raiders the past two seasons. They lost five games last year that they led in the fourth quarter and had two losses this season after entering the fourth with two-score leads.
Richardson said that in the past players would have started passing blame around after the tying score, but this time they rallied together. The defense recovered and held the Jets to two first downs on three overtime possessions before Oakland won it on Sebastian Janikowski’s 57-yard field goal.
“Everyone was together, like, ‘Let’s keep fighting, see what happens,”‘ he said. “I think it’s the first time since I’ve been here that I’ve seen the whole team have the same feel about something like that and just make a decision. So that was cool.”