OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A season's worth of frustration came
barreling out of Bill Callahan's mouth after Oakland's latest
mistake-filled defeat when he called the Raiders "the dumbest team
Question on the Broncos: At this point, is their best strategy to keep pounding the ball with Portis?
Running the ball seems to be the only successful play the Broncos have in their offensive arsenal. Their QB isn't playing well and they may be over-relying on Clinton Portis. They need more offensive balance if they want to make the playoffs.
Question on the Raiders: Should they re-sign Charles Woodson or let him become a free agent?
The Raiders should re-sign Woodson for the simple fact that they won't find anyone good enough to replace him. They rely on good cornerbacks for their schemes, and with Woodson and Philip Buchanan on either side, they'll be set for a number of years.
Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.
"If we don't learn how not to beat ourselves, we won't win
again, and we won't win for a long time," Callahan shouted to
reporters after his team's 22-8 loss to the Denver Broncos on
"We've got to be the dumbest team in America in terms of
playing the game. I'm highly critical because of the way we give
games away -- we give 'em away! Period. It's embarrassing, and I
represent that. And I apologize for that.
"If that's the best we can do, it's a sad product."
The Broncos kept their slim playoff hopes alive, and their
bitter division rivals sure made it easy.
Clinton Portis carried 34 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns
and the Broncos held Oakland without a touchdown for the first time
since the AFC championship game in 2000 against Baltimore.
"I just got into a groove and I just kept wanting the ball,"
said Portis, who received the game ball from coach Mike Shanahan.
"I didn't want to give it up to anybody else."
Denver (7-5) is four games behind Kansas City in the AFC West
and trailing four other teams in the postseason race.
All the Broncos really had to overcome was the wet weather -- the
raucous Raider Nation was subdued for a change.
Aside from a steady rain, the Raiders' ugly performance may have
been the reason for that. What little success Oakland had moving
the ball was offset by untimely penalties and other mistakes.
The Raiders weren't thrilled to learn of Callahan's comments.
"I'm not ever going to call my teammates dumb," injured
offensive lineman Frank Middleton said. "Since you were a kid,
your mama taught you not to call anyone dumb or stupid."
Said Charles Woodson, one of Callahan's most vocal critics: "I
can't believe another grown man would call another man dumb."
After Rick Mirer completed a pass to Jerry Porter midway through
the fourth quarter, Denver cornerback Kelly Herndon forced a fumble
and the Broncos took over at their 32. The turnover led to Portis'
second TD, a 1-yard run that sealed the win.
The Raiders (3-9) kept Denver's two other scoring drives alive
Sebastian Janikowski kicked field goals of 46 and 48 yards for
the Raiders, who lost both meetings to the Broncos after winning
both during their Super Bowl season a year ago.
The Broncos were desperate to bounce back from an embarrassing
19-10 home loss to Chicago and received a more consistent defensive
effort. Denver held the Bears to 217 yards and still lost.
"We weren't very pretty out there, but we got things done,"
Shanahan said. "Last week, we were pretty, but didn't get the
The Raiders were penalized 11 times for 89 yards and lost three
fumbles. Neither team gained more than 300 yards.
This game had its share of quirks, and the score at times
resembled a baseball game.
Janikowski's first field goal made it 5-0.
After Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey was touched by Oakland
linebacker Eric Barton early in the second, McCaffrey jumped up and
made an acrobatic dive into the end zone, then hopped up and
signaled a touchdown. One referee initially called a score, but
McCaffrey was ruled down at the 8 for a 9-yard gain.
Shannon Sharpe caught a 4-yard TD pass from Plummer moments
later. Earlier in the drive, Barton deflected a pass by Plummer
intended for Sharpe along the left sideline, but the ball barely
missed landing in Sharpe's hands.
On the very next play -- third-and-13 -- Barton was flagged for an
unnecessary roughness penalty when he put a late hit on Plummer out
of bounds, keeping Denver's drive alive.
Barton agreed with Callahan's assessment of his team's smarts,
saying, "He's probably right."
Janikowski's second field goal made it 8-7.
^Notes:@ Santiago had his second blocked punt of the season. He
also had one in the Raiders' Monday night loss at Denver. ...
Oakland got its first safety since Sept. 3, 2000 vs. San Diego. ...
Jerry Rice extended his NFL record to 268 straight games with a