Raiders snap 3-game slide with defeat of Eagles
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Louis Murphy sprinted upfield and laid out a defender with a punishing block. Not satisfied, he caught up to the play again and delivered a second block that allowed Zach Miller to cruise into the end zone on an 86-yard catch-and-run.
For an offense criticized for lacking big plays, intensity and leadership, a rookie receiver gave the Oakland Raiders all three in one play that answered the skeptics.
Miller scored the only touchdown of the game, Justin Fargas helped control the clock by rushing for 87 physical yards and Oakland's defense harassed Donovan McNabb all day in a 13-9 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
"We went out and threw a fight on somebody and said, 'Enough. Let's play,'" coach Tom Cable said. "That's all you can say. There's no magic words or anything like that."
It was a major turnaround from the last three weeks when the Raiders (2-4) lost by at least 20 points for the first time in franchise history, capped by a 44-7 loss to the Giants last week.
After that game, New York linebacker Antonio Pierce said it felt like playing a scrimmage. Those comments were posted in the Raiders' locker room this week and the team responded to the critics in impressive fashion.
"That gave me extra fuel," Murphy said. "You have to look yourself in the mirror and man up. His comments were true. We played flat. We didn't play with any emotion. This game was totally different. We took those comments to heart."
Only one Eagle flies
The Eagles didn't have a great balance and should have used Brian Westbrook more as Westbrook was the only success on offense. Donovan McNabb completed just 34.3 percent of his passes to Eagles not named Westbrook, mostly due to a harassing Raiders defense that had six sacks.
Westbrook vs. rest of Eagles Westbrook Rest of Eagles
Rushes 6 8
Yds 50 17
Rec-Targets 9-11 12-35
Yds/gm 81.8 34.3
-- ESPN Stats and Information
The key Sunday was the Oakland defense. Coordinator John Marshall mixed in more zone coverages and blitzes than usual to combat a high-powered Philadelphia offense that was averaging the second-most points in the league.
The Eagles abandoned the run early, only had Michael Vick on the field for two plays, allowed six sacks and were the first team in three years to fail to score a touchdown against the Raiders.
"They were able to get home and hit our quarterback," coach Andy Reid said. "When we did have opportunities we didn't take advantage of opportunities."
Philadelphia's last chance ended when McNabb underthrew DeSean Jackson on fourth-and-4 from the Oakland 44 with 2:14 remaining.
David Akers missed a pair of field goals for the Eagles, a 43-yarder wide left in the first quarter and a 47-yarder wide right in the third quarter that proved crucial down the stretch.
McNabb finished 22 for 46 for 269 yards. He struggled without left tackle Jason Peters, who left in the first quarter with an injured left knee.
"I'm embarrassed by the way we came out here and played. We're a much better football team," McNabb said.
Richard Seymour and Trevor Scott each had a pair of sacks for Oakland as the Eagles ran the ball just 14 times against a defense missing star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha for much of the game with an eye injury.
"I'm sure they watched the Giants game and thought we were sorry," Scott said. "But all week coach Cable talked about persevering and forget the past and move forward so we can get to where we want to go."
JaMarcus Russell iced the game with a 12-yard pass to Gary Russell on third-and-10. He ran out the clock after that to the delight of the fans, who began the game by booing their quarterback.
Russell completed 17 of 28 passes for 224 yards, with two interceptions and the touchdown to Miller that was the longest pass play in 25 years for the Raiders.
Russell found Miller open over the middle on a pass 16 yards downfield. Miller then ran up the sideline and got sprung by a devastating block by Murphy that flattened Quintin Mikell. As Miller got close to the end zone, he slowed up to give Murphy time to catch up and block Ellis Hobbs to help complete the 86-yard catch and run.
"I came over to him and was like, 'Man, that's the best two blocks I've ever seen from a wide receiver,'" Miller said. "I have to buy him something now. He deserves it." Game notes
Miller had six catches for 139 yards. ... The last Oakland pass play that long was a 92-yarder from Marc Wilson to Marcus Allen on Oct. 7, 1984, against Seattle. ... Philadelphia DE Victor Abiamiri (knee) and LB Omar Gaither (foot) will have MRIs on Monday. ... Vick had one carry for minus-4 yards and was on the field for one incomplete pass by McNabb. LINK