Hey Philadelphia Eagles fans, you’re welcome. Didn’t think the Raiders could travel from west to east and pull a road win? Didn’t think the Raiders could win two in a row since…who knows? Think the Raiders didn’t stand a chance with top receiver Ronald Curry and pro bowl corner Nnamdi Asomugha out for the game?
You know where I’m going with this. In a game where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a 6-1 home team, desperately needing to win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Oakland Raiders went into Tampa and gave the Bucs more than they could handle.
Despite throwing a late interception returned for a touchdown, Jamarcus Russell settled down and led the Raiders down the field on two efficient 4th quarter drives sealing the game.
As for Michael Bush, a top 10 running back out of the 2007 draft had he not broken his leg at Louisville, the second year back ran for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns including a beastly 4th quarter run to the right blowing through every Tampa Bay defender. You can watch the game highlights here at the NFL.com site. Bush’s run is on around the 2:30 mark.
As for the final game of the 2008 season, the Raiders reaffirmed hope across Raider Nation that the team is progressing. Managing to beat a tough Houston team at home and traveling into Tampa on back-to-back weeks, Jamarcus Russell has clearly developed and the new Raider backfield tandem of Fargas-McFadden-Bush provides intrigue for the 2009 season.
At 5-11, the Raiders will have the 7th overall pick ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2009 Draft.
As for next season’s schedule, the Raiders will face the San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, and Baltimore Ravens in Oakland. On the road, the Raiders will travel to San Diego, Denver, Kansas City, Dallas, New York for the Giants, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.
The Raiders have shown a lot in the final two games this season. Yet a tough off-season awaits the team as direction and guidance still remains hazy. Al Davis needs to re-evaluate his own future role in the Raiders organization. If Tom Cable doesn’t remain the coach, the Raiders need to begin their search. Asomugha becomes a free agent and the league would certainly offer him the world.
But amidst everything, Raider Nation heads into another hopefilled off-season.