NFL@L.A.: Samson Satele
November, 20, 2011
By Bill Williamson | ESPNLosAngeles.com
A look at a fortunate day for the Oakland Raiders in the Twin Cities as they beat the Minnesota Vikings 27-21.
What it means: The Raiders are now 6-4, and they will remain in first place in the AFC West regardless of the rest of the action in the division in Week 11. Denver is 5-5, and San Diego and Kansas City are 4-5.
Survival: The Raiders looked great in the first two quarters against the undermanned Vikings, who fell to 2-8. Oakland scored 24 unanswered points and led 24-7 at the half. Yet the Vikings came back thanks to several Oakland penalties. Had the Vikings not been mistake-prone (they committed five turnovers, including two interceptions that were deep in Oakland’s territory), they could have won this game. The Raiders need to find a way to play a complete game moving forward, but they'll take a win.
Spreading the ball around: In his third Oakland start, quarterback Carson Palmer had his moments, especially in the first half. He ended up 17-of-23 passing for 164 yards. It was a great sign that Palmer spread the ball around. He completed passes to seven different receivers and hit tight end Kevin Boss five times. Getting Boss more involved is paramount. Palmer’s comfort level in this offense is growing, even though his numbers weren’t spectacular Sunday.
Scary scene: Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had a good game with four catches before he injured his neck or head in the fourth quarter. He had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.
UPDATE: Oakland coach Hue Jackson said Heyward-Bey has regained all of his feeling in his arms and his legs, and he was hopeful Heyward-Bey could fly home with the team.
Controlling Allen: Minnesota sack master Jared Allen came into the game with a sack in 11 straight games. The streak ended Sunday. Oakland did allow four sacks, but it was able to contain Allen.
Big game for Bush again: Oakland backup running back Michael Bush had 109 yards on 30 carries. He has a total of 266 rushing yards in the past two games, as Darren McFadden has been out since Week 7 with a foot injury.
Satele hurt again: Center Samson Satele had a concussion in the first half. Rookie guard Stefen Wisniewski moved to center, and Stephon Heyer came in to play left guard. Wisniewski excelled at center in Week 10 at San Diego when Satele was injured.
Bringing the heat: The Raiders continued to get to the quarterback. They had five sacks Sunday and have 11 sacks in their past two games.
Penalties still an issue: The Raiders -- the most penalized team in the NFL -- were flagged 12 times for 117 yards. This is a major issue for Oakland that has to somehow be cleared up.
Fourth-quarter problems continue: The Raiders were shut out in the fourth quarter for the fifth straight game. It almost caught up to them Sunday.
What’s next: The Raiders host Chicago in Week 12.