It was just one game in a long, disappointing season.
And, it came against one of the worst teams in the NFL. Yet Sunday’s performance by the Raiders’ offensive line and running backs is something for the players and coaching staff to savor.
Though the team’s rushing offense has largely been spinning its wheels, for one game it was humming at full speed against the Kansas City Chiefs in a 15-0 win at O.co Coliseum.
The Raiders rushed for 203 yards and ran the ball 45 times.
Darren McFadden, despite an ankle injury last week, had a career-high 30 carries for 110 yards. Backup Mike Goodson had 89 yards.
For one game, all the criticism of the switch to a zone-blocking scheme this season was put to rest. The Raiders – who ran the ball so well in recent seasons – were again controlling the Chiefs’ front seven and opening holes.
“It felt great to be out there and run the ball the way we did,” McFadden told the Bay Area News Group’s Jerry McDonald. “The offensive line did a great job, and it was a good, all-around game for us.”
Offensive tackles Khalif Barnes and Jared Veldheer, plus guard Mike Brisiel, loved the way the Raiders committed to the run.
“Oh, man, you just love that,” Veldheer told McDonald. “We’re going forward, not backward. … We were committed to it. Everyone had the right mindset, and the biggest thing of all we were able to execute it. That’s the biggest thing. It was awesome.”
Barnes said the backs and linemen were in sync on the zone-blocking assignments.
“There were guys out there grunting and straining and being committed to their blocks,” Barnes said, adding that the running backs were making the right reads and cuts.
Added Brisiel, to the San Francisco Chronicle: “We stayed committed to it. When you run the ball like that, you finally see the play-actions opening up. That’s the way the offense is supposed to run.”
Whether the Raiders will be able to keep it up in their final two games is the biggest question, however.
Oakland (4-10) will travel to Carolina this Sunday to take on the Panthers (5-9), who blew out the Chargers Sunday 31-7. Oakland will finish the season the following Sunday against San Diego.