Back provides Raiders lone silver lining
Reece sets career high for rushing in otherwise dismal loss to Saints
Published: Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 10:21 p.m.
OAKLAND — The Raiders' 38-17 loss to New Orleans on Sunday had everybody on the home side pretty glum, but it was not without silver linings.
Marcel Reece, converted from 255-pound fullback to 255-pound halfback in light of injuries to Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, was highly productive. He ran 19 times for 103 yards, having more success getting around the corner than the speedy McFadden has seen this year, and added 90 yards on four receptions.
It was a career high for rushing yardage, easily eclipsing the 48 he gained at Baltimore last week. And Reece was just 10 yards shy of becoming the first Raider in 26 years to post 100 yards both rushing and receiving in the same game. Marcus Allen last did it at Denver in 1986.
“He presents a nightmare for the (defense) because he played receiver in college (at Washington), so he has speed,” right tackle Khalif Barnes said. “There's really no linebacker that can match up on him, where you have a linebacker in man-to-man situations. And he has good vision running the ball. He presents a threat for a lot of defensive coordinators, too.”
Reece was in no mood to celebrate his accomplishments after the game.
“The bottom line is, if you don't win, the stats are irrelevant, the numbers are irrelevant,” he said. “I don't even know what they were, I don't care what they were and I don't want to know what they were.”
WHEN MOORE MEANS LESS
Believe it or not, Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is on pace to shatter the franchise record for passing yards in a season.
Palmer has averaged 303.5 yards per game so far. If he keeps that up, he'll wind up with 4,856 for the season, eclipsing the 4,689 yards that Rich Gannon posted in 2002.
It's unlikely Palmer will be the NFL's most valuable player, as Gannon was that season, but clearly he is doing some things right.
One thing he isn't doing well is incorporating Denarius Moore into the offense.
The second-year wide receiver was considered a major component of the Oakland offense after catching 33 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. But Moore missed some of the team's offseason workouts, and most of training camp, while nursing a hamstring injury. He still does not seem to be on the same page with Palmer.
Sunday, the quarterback targeted Moore seven times — and completed one pass to him, for 9 yards. On one second-quarter play, Moore ran deep while Palmer threw shorter, expecting the receiver to cut off his route. New Orleans' Roman Harper nearly intercepted the pass.
“I need to look at the film and see what happens, and we need to sit down and talk about it,” Palmer said. “He's our go-to guy.
He's our No. 1 receiver, he's got a lot of plays for him and we haven't had a ton of time on task, and I think that's why some of the miscommunication things come up. The guy had a bad hamstring injury all offseason, all training camp, there's times it shows and it's my fault.”
Moore has 35 receptions for 584 yards this season, missing just one game.
RAIDERS GET TORCHED
ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, in town to cover the 49ers-Bears game on Monday night, lit the Al Davis Eternal Flame before Sunday's contest at O.co Coliseum. He received a hearty ovation from the Oakland fans, as did former Raiders running back Marcus Allen when he lit the flame earlier this season.
It's unlikely either man would have been welcome while Davis was alive. He frequently aimed verbal jabs at Gruden after trading the coach to Tampa Bay in 2002, and more or less refused to speak Allen's name after a drawn-out spat in the early 1990s.
Sunday, heir Mark Davis acknowledged that he chooses the firestarters.
“Maybe some people thought they were unresolved feelings, but (they're) very close to my mom and myself,” Davis said. “And part of the Raider family. And once a Raider, always a Raider. “I've had trouble with my dad at times,” Davis added with a laugh. “Once or twice.”
For the first time all season, the Raiders did not score in the final two minutes of the first half. ... Palmer was over 300 passing yards for the third straight game, a career first. ... Saints QB Drew Brees extended his NFL record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 53rd consecutive game. ... Oakland CB Joselio Hanson forced a fumble in the second quarter (recovered by the Saints), and on the next play pressured Brees into an intentional-grounding penalty. ... WR Juron Criner recorded his first NFL touchdown reception. ... Omar Gaither, signed Wednesday, made his Raiders debut on special teams. ... Rookie Tony Bergstrom saw his first significant action of the season, mostly as a third offensive tackle on short-yardage downs.
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