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Tight end gives Raiders 14 reasons to smile

Myers ties Oakland franchise record for receptions in a game

Raiders' quarterback Carson Palmer prepares to complete a pass to tight end Brandon Myers in Sunday's loss to the Browns.

CHRISTOPHER CHUNG / THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 10:43 p.m.

OAKLAND — Because the overall product was ragged, and because the offense spent the entire game trying to erase a deficit against the lowly Cleveland Browns, it was easy to overlook. But when the Raiders' 20-17 loss was in the books, the numbers were right there in black and white: 14 receptions and 130 yards for tight end Brandon Myers.

Myers' catch total tied the Raiders franchise record set by Tim Brown against Jacksonville in the final game of the 1997 season (that one was a loss, too) and tied for fourth most ever by an NFL tight end.

“He's just a good football player,” Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer said. “He makes plays. He gets open. He really understands what we're trying to do as an offense. ... He understands coverages and seems to always kind of find an open spot. Just naturally, you don't teach that. You don't coach that. That's just, you either got it or you don't. And he's got a lot of it.”

After catching 32 passes in his first three seasons with the Raiders, Myers has broken out big-time in 2012. He leads the team with 69 receptions, most by a Raiders tight end since Todd Christensen snagged 95 in 1986, and most by anyone in silver and black since Jerry Porter caught 76 in 2005.

THE COACH'S BURDEN

After Allen addressed the media following Sunday's loss, a Raiders public relations official announced that the coach was leaving immediately after the game to be with his father, Grady, who was seriously ill in a hospital in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The players didn't know that Allen coached the game under such trying circumstances.

“No, he didn't tell anybody,” middle linebacker Omar Gaither said. “Didn't know at all. It would have been nice to get a win for him.”

Allen expects to return to Oakland late Wednesday, in time to coach the team against the Broncos the following night. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will be in charge of daily operations in Allen's absence.

Grady Allen, 66, played linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons from 1968 to 1972.

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RAIDERS COME AWAY WOOZY

Three Raiders players suffered concussions against the Browns — and all of them in the secondary, no less. Cornerback Phillip Adams and safeties Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell all left the game with head injuries. Strong safety Tyvon Branch also missed some plays with his own issues, necessitating some serious scrambling for the Oakland defense.

The personnel shortage certainly contributed to the Raiders' spotty showing in pass defense. Five Cleveland receivers had plays of 20 yards or longer, and rookie Josh Gordon caught six passes for 116 yards.

“Yeah, that was a factor in the game, but injuries happen,” Allen said. “We gotta find ways to persevere and improve that.”

The injuries resulted in a lot of playing time for first-year player Brandian Ross. Another defensive player getting uncharacteristic reps was Omar Gaither, who started at middle linebacker in place of suspended Rolando McClain. Gaither had two tackles.

“He's a really smart guy, and on top of that he's a really good player,” outside linebacker Miles Burris said of Gaither. “He's got a lot of experience. He picked up the playbook at the snap of a finger. He just understands football, and he's even able to help get guys lined up this early being here, and he's got a good presence and leadership.”

EXTRA POINTS

K Sebastian Janikowski played in his 200th NFL game, becoming the ninth player to reach that threshold in a Raiders uniform. Janikowski nailed a 51-yard field goal but was wide right from 61 yards. His only other miss this year was from 64 yards. ... Palmer's 54 pass attempts were the second most of his career and rank fourth in Raiders history. ... WR Rod Streater's 64-yard touchdown catch equaled Oakland's longest play of the season. ... Desmond Bryant got his first NFL blocked field goal when he got a piece of Phil Dawson's attempted 28-yarder in the third quarter. That snapped Dawson's streak of 30 consecutive field goals made.

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