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Sunday, December 28, 2008
Rapid Reaction: Raiders 31, Buccaneers 24


Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Tom Cable and Michael Bush just increased their chances of staying in Oakland in 2009.

Playing hard for the second straight week, the Raiders ended a disappointing 2008 season on a high note with a win over Tampa Bay, a team that was struggling but was playing for a playoff berth.

A win over former Oakland coach Jon Gruden will not hurt Cable's chances of staying in Oakland. Cable finished his interim stint in Oakland with a 4-8 record. He replaced Lane Kiffin after four games. Oakland finished the season 5-11.

Oakland did win its final two games, though, and it broke a streak of five straight losses in the season finale. The Raiders, who were often blown out under Cable, will now begin the search for a new coach. Cable has expressed his desire to stay in Oakland and he will likely get a look.

Bush also helped his cause by rushing for 177 yards on 27 carries. He had a 67-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, in which Oakland scored 17 points. Bush was close to being traded earlier in the season and he was used sparingly this season. Now, Oakland knows it has a capable player in its tailback stable.

This is, indeed, a nice end to the season for Oakland. But it can't be romanced by the two-game win streak over two mediocre teams. The Raiders are not close to being a playoff team in 2009. If the right things happen, and quarterback JaMarcus Russell develops, they could contend. But this team still has a lot of work to do.

But the back-to-back wins take some of the sting out of what was supposed to be a season of significant progress in Oakland.