Finger-pointing or accountability?


Finger-pointing or accountability?

In describing Buffalo's game-winning play Sunday, in which receiver David Nelson was so wide open in the middle of the end zone Ozzie, Harriet, Ricky and the mop-haired band Nelson could have joined the party, several Raiders players voiced their displeasure with how it went down.

Still, it was more along the lines of finger-pointing than throwing named teammates under a Silver & Black bus.

Said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly: "For a guy to score on the last play of the game wide open, c'mon, man. Do your job. That's what the man pays you for, do your job. If you got that guy, follow him to the bathroom."

Added cornerback Chris Johnson: "Basically, trying to do somebody elses job. Youve got to be on the same page. It was a blown coverage. (Bills quarterback Ryan) Fitzpatrick knew where he wanted to go, so it was an easy pitch and catch."

And this, from cornerback Stanford Routt: "I know you guys in the media, you all try to criticize or chastise a certain individual back there for getting beat on a play, but I dont think were lacking in confidence at all."

Then, the age-old conspiracy theories surfaced. That the refs decided to start throwing flags at the Raiders at the most inopportune times in the second half. Hey, it's not paranoia if they're out to get you, right?

Said Kelly: "Some reason, the refs started throwing the flags on any time we get a close, anything close on our side. I'm like, 'C'mon, man, you gotta let them play at some point. You're letting the other dude do the same thing on the other side and you ain't throwing no flag.' How many pass interference (penalties) we have? There was a lot of them. C'mon, man."

And when it appeared as though the replay officials were taking another look at the final play of the game, the Hail Mary pass that receiver Denarius Moore got his hands on, very few, if any Raiders actually thought the initial call of interception would be overturned in Oakland's favor and ruled a touchdown.

Said defensive tackle Richard Seymour: "We're the Raiders. Really? You think we're going to get that?"

Added receiver Chaz Schilens: "(The ref) didnt even know what to call, so obviously theres something more there than whatever they saw."

And another gem from Kelly: "Man, we the Raiders. We ain't going to get that call. I mean, (shoot), if we were probably the Patriots of the Bears or the Falcons or somebody, they probably would reverse it. But, they ain't going to reverse that call for us'cause we're the Raiders. We ain't going to get that call. You know we ain't fixing to get that call. It ain't going to happen."

Rookie coach Hue Jackson heard, read and saw it all. And he was not pleased. He said he addressed the blame game in a team meeting on Monday.

"I believe that is done," Jackson said. "There is no more frustration. There will be nothing addressed at a teammate anymore. Let me make that very clear. There will be no more addressing players, names, positions, any of that, as long as I'm the head coach here because here's the deal: all that crap about, well this guy, that guy, you've got to look in the mirror first as a football player. Last time I checked, I'm the head coach of this team, they're the players. Ain't nobody else going to be commenting on no other position. If they want to comment about themselves, they're more than welcome to, but we're done. That is over. Over. Those days are done."

Fair enough, but what about the conspiracy theory that, fact or fiction, has become legend in the Raiders locker room?

"Hear me clearly," Jackson said. "I've heard all of that. Listen, listen. That's over with. We're not dealing with that anymore. That's all crap in my opinion. Forget what the Raiders have done in the past and this official and that official and this, that and the other. We lost. Make more plays. Get them stopped on defense. Score on offense. Do what you need to do on special teams and win the game. Thats not what we did. So this has nothing to do with an official, has nothing to do with a call, has nothing to do with nothing. This has to do with a group of men finishing a football game that they had an opportunity to win, and they didn't do it. So it's like anybody else.

"You start looking for other things. Everybody self-checks everybody else's stuff before you check your own. So what we're going to do from here on in is check our own from here on in. We ain't going to get into the officiating game, we're not going to get into this guy, that guy, that position, that position. What we're going to do, this is coach Jackson's football team and this is the way he wants it done. We're going to work, and we're going to get better and when we become the team that we want to become, we won't be having these conversations."

So what do you think -- is there truth in what the Raiders players are saying? Or are they simply whining? Can they forget all about it, like Jackson says? Maybe there's a happy medium in there somewhere? What are your thoughts?

Broncos buck Osweiler with rude welcome back in Denver

Broncos buck Osweiler with rude welcome back in Denver


DENVER -- The Denver Broncos ruined Brock Osweiler's homecoming Monday night, incessantly hurrying, hitting and harassing their former teammate in a 27-9 win over his Houston Texans.

Coach Gary Kubiak returned to the sideline following his second health scare in three years, and he had to like what he saw as the Broncos (5-2) snapped a two-game skid in sending the overwhelmed Texans home at 4-3.

C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker energized Denver's sputtering ground game, both running for a touchdown. Anderson gained 107 yards on 16 carries and Booker had 83 on 17 hand-offs.

But the big story was Trevor Siemian, Peyton Manning's surprise successor, outplaying Osweiler, who was groomed to be Denver's next QB but instead bolted to Houston in free agency.

Osweiler left for bigger numbers in Texas - both in his bank account and his stat sheet - but he spent this night quickly getting rid of the ball, constantly overthrowing DeAndre Hopkins in double coverage and otherwise running for his life from Von Miller & Co.

Although he avoided sacks, Osweiler was just 22 for 41 for 131 yards with no TDs and no interceptions. Siemian was 14 of 25 for 157 yards, a TD and no interceptions.

Osweiler's fumble at his own 25-yard line was scooped up by Chris Harris Jr. on the first play of the fourth quarter. That led to Brandon McManus' chip-shot field goal that made it 24-9 and snuffed out Houston's hopes of a comeback.

Anderson scored on a 7-yard run and Siemian hit Demaryius Thomas from 4 yards out as the Broncos took a 14-6 halftime lead.

Osweiler took a couple of big shots from safeties Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward in the first quarter but the Texans led 6-0 on a pair of 43-yard field goals by Nick Novak.

Novak's 29-yarder made it 14-9, but Stewart punched the ball from running back Alfred Blue's grasp and linebacker Todd Davis plucked it out of the air. That led to Booker's 1-yard TD run.

Kubiak missed Denver's last game when doctors ordered him to take a week off after he was transported via ambulance to the hospital following Denver's last home game, on Oct. 9, with a complex migraine condition, which can mimic a stroke. Kubiak had a mini-stroke in 2013 while coaching the Texans.

Like Osweiler, this was his first game against his former team.

STREAK BREAKER: Denver's dazzling defense is a real dawdler , having allowed scores on five of six opening drives coming into the game. That didn't stop them from deferring when they won the toss. The Texans went three and out on their first two possessions, the first time all season the Broncos hadn't allowed points on their first two defensive series.

OH NO, OKUNG: Broncos left tackle Russell Okung cleared concussion protocol to make the start. But he was rusty a week after his pair of penalties resulted in a nullified touchdown and a safety in a 21-13 loss at San Diego. This time, he was whistled for a pair of holds that negated a nifty first-down run by Booker and a 28-yard grab by Thomas.

INJURIES: Texans right tackle Derek Newton was carted off the field with what looked like serious injuries to both knees in the first half. He crumpled to the grass while blocking Miller. Newton was dropping back to pass block midway through the first quarter when his left knee buckled first and then his right knee gave way. For Denver, linebackers Brandon Marshall (leg) and Dekoda Watson (head) left in the second half.

RING OF FAME: The Broncos honored former safety John Lynch, linebacker Simon Fletcher and kicker Jason Elam by inducting them into their Ring of Fame during halftime ceremonies. Lynch, who played in Denver from 2004-07 after 11 seasons in Tampa Bay, will be inducted into the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor next month.

Four-time Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster announces retirement from NFL

Four-time Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster announces retirement from NFL

MIAMI  -- Four-time Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster has announced his retirement midway through an injury-plagued season with the Miami Dolphins.

Foster, 30, tried to come back from a torn Achilles tendon, but was slowed this season by groin and hamstring injuries. He disclosed his decision Monday on the website Uninterrupted, and the Dolphins confirmed it.

The retirement is effective immediately.

Foster signed a $1.5 million, one-year contract with the Dolphins in July after seven years with the Houston Texans. He holds the Texans' franchise record with 6,472 yards rushing.

This season he rushed for 55 yards in 22 carries. His playing time was curtailed with the emergence of Jay Ajayi, who tied an NFL record by surpassing 200 yards rushing each of the past two weeks.