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Monday, October 18, 2010
Moving on: Oakland Raiders

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Here are some areas the Oakland Raiders need to focus on after a 17-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers:

Recap: The Raiders were flat in a rivalry game against a 0-5 team. Oakland, now 2-4, was unable to keep up the momentum up after snapping a 13-game losing streak to San Diego last week. Oakland has now gone 22 games without winning back-to-back games.

Biggest area to fix: run defense. This area was supposed to be better this year after Oakland spent the offseason addressing the problem. It is not better. San Francisco’s Frank Gore had 149 yards. Routinely, this season, Oakland has allowed long runs and Gore's longest was a 64-yarder. Until it can stop the run, Oakland’s defense will not be able to truly improve.

Biggest area to build on: passing defense. The Raiders didn’t go a lot of good things in this game. But it did hold Alex Smith to 196 yards passing after allowing 431 passing yards to Philip Rivers last week. It probably has a lot to do with Smith, but there was improvement made in this area.

What to watch for: Oakland plays at Denver on Sunday. It has to hope quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder) and running back Darren McFadden (hamstring) return. Oakland missed these two guys against the 49ers.