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Whelming The Storm: The Defensive Performance Shouldn't Be Forgotten

The Cap'n Can Make It Happen.
The Cap'n Can Make It Happen.

Yesterday, for brevity’s sake, sucked. I am trying to avoid being too over or underwhelmed, but to see your team struggle, kick it into gear, and come up short is a tough cut of beef to swallow. 

I think the extra swift kick to the gut is... well the defense performed, Jason Allen somewhat mostly somewhat excluded. Raiders running back Darren McFadden had 51 rushing yards (68 total) and under four yards per carry. If you had told me those numbers before the game, where I said 100 would’ve qualified as a good defensive day, then I would have thought Houston would win.

Jason Campbell didn’t do much more, with a quarterback rating of 67.6, as the Raiders did not have a first down until nearly the end of the second quarter and went 3-15 on third downs all day. Again, these are numbers that would lead me to believe in a Houston win.

Granted, Darrius Heyward-Bey had the best game of his young career (hi, Jason Allen), but the defense played better than I thought and better than last year’s group ever could. The defense is not to blame for Sebastian Janikowski’s mutant leg, the back-breaking late game fake punt run, or the terrible special teams coverage (sensing a theme here?).

The defense also didn’t miss a field goal, drop a sure touchdown pass, or get dominated across the line of scrimmage all day. Instead, the lasting images of yesterday, in my mind at least, will be Brian Cushing’s bloody face, DeMeco Ryans stuffing runs in the backfield, and Johnathan Joseph blanketing Denarius Moore (Oakland’s leading wide receiver heading into Sunday) all day. 

I guess the goal of this post is to point out, before it gets completely lost in the abyss that is overwhelming post-game and injury news overreaction, the defense and what they did yesterday. It is not a victory, or even a half-victory, but the defense, led by two healthy and recovered inside linebackers, played exceptionally well yesterday. 

In an attempt to whelm the storm of The Schaubian Debate and Mario Williams injury news, I will take solace in the defense's performance. 
Heck, I nearly forgot about mentioning their quick three-and-out to give the offense another shot to win the game at the end. It is not the first time they made a stop when they needed to this season either. A great many things went wrong yesterday, but the defense's performance certainly was not one of them.

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