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Thread: Our boys get some respect
Our boys get some respect
The Associated Press
Stopping Rams receivers won't be easy for NFL's top pass defense
The Raiders' lone saving grace this season has been their defense, but after giving up a season-high 303 passing yards to the Cincinnati Bengals last week, even Oakland's most stable unit was shaken.
Warren Sapp says the Raiders had better get over it.
With the St. Louis Rams and perennial Pro Bowl receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce coming to town, Oakland has no time for self-pity.
"It's the greatest show on turf, so here it comes," Sapp said of the Rams. "There's no way to lick our wounds. Let's bandage this thing up and let's go to work because these guys here ain't playing, either. We can't look backward and say, '(The Bengals) hung 420 on us and they didn't punt.'"
Cincinnati was just the second team this season to pass for more than 300 yards against the Raiders, who had not allowed a single player to reach 100 yards in a game before facing the Bengals. Both Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh did it against Oakland, combining for 13 catches, 219 yards and one touchdown.
Now comes maybe an even tougher task: trying to shut down one of the most productive receiving tandems in league history in Holt and Bruce. Between them, the two have more than 23,500 yards in receptions, 143 touchdowns and nine trips to the Pro Bowl in their combined 21 years in the NFL.
This season, Holt is fifth in the NFL with 76 catches, 985 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 34-year-old Bruce has 58 catches for 826 yards and two touchdowns.
Surprisingly, neither player leads St. Louis in receptions. That honor belongs to running back Steven Jackson, who has caught 82 passes for the Rams.
But it's Holt and Bruce who figure to attract most of the Raiders' defensive focus.
"These guys have been around and playing with each other forever," Oakland safety Stuart Schweigert said. "They know exactly what they're supposed to be doing, and their timing is very precise. When you have the opportunity, you have to make sure you're jamming them and re-routing them.
"With Holt and Bruce, they're really one and the same. They both go over the middle, they both do their over routes, they both can go deep, they can beat you off the line," he said.
The Raiders play primarily man-to-man coverages in the secondary but tried to mix things up against the Bengals, going to zone defenses for much of the game. That plan backfired when Cincinnati exploited the seams and gaps in the coverages for big gains while paving the way for quarterback Carson Palmer to throw for 303 yards and two touchdowns.
It was only the second time the Raiders have allowed an opposing quarterback to break the 300-yard mark against them.
Palmer did throw three interceptions - two to Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who is tied for the league-lead with seven. Fabian Washington, the Raiders' other starting cornerback, also intercepted a Palmer pass and has four picks on the season.
Even with the interceptions, both had their problems against the Bengals, problems that need to be corrected if Oakland is to have any chance against St. Louis.
"I really do believe they're the best two corners in the league as far as what they're expected to do and how they perform every week and what they have to do," Schweigert said. "They've been shutting down some great receivers this season."
Re: Our boys get some respect
Marc Bulger combined with Torry Holt and Issac Bruce= Doom for the Raiders pass defense. The Raiders will be facing their toughest test this season against our offensive passing prowess. I hope they play alot of man coverage.