OAKLAND -- Yeah, you could say the Raiders' much-maligned (and deservedly so) defense showed up Sunday against Jacksonville.Especially in the second half and overtime of Oakland's 26-23 victory.Consider: the Raiders limited the Jaguars to 54 yards of offense after halftime, and held them to 0-for-8 on third-down conversions in that same timeframe, while getting all three of their sacks."I smelled blood," said cornerback Joselio Hanson, "and we jumped on them."More to the point, Hanson jumped on the ball in overtime when defensive end Lamarr Houston stripped it from Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts III on the third play of overtime."Oh, man, there's linemen down there, there's tight ends, trying to rip it out," Hanson said of the ball. "I was holding it like it was my baby."On the play, the Jaguars were facing a 3rd and 20 from their own 9-yard line when Chad Henne hit Shorts coming across the middle from the left. Houston reached up and ripped the ball out. Call it another "hustle play" for the D-lineman, who ran nearly the length of the field in Denver last month to recover a fumble by Denver's Demaryius Thomas.The Raiders had the ball on the Jacksonville 21-yard line and two plays later, Sebastian Janikowski's 40-yard field goal ended it.But what about that hustle play by Houston again?"Yes, it's guys closing to the ball," Houston said. "The wide receiver wasn't paying attention to me and I was just running like I was coached, and I ended up making a great play."A week earlier, Hanson had the Raiders' first interception of the year in Atlanta."That's film study," Hanson said. "That's just having the will to make a play on that one. The fumble recovery today was running to the ball. We preach that. All 11 people running to the ball. The guy got stripped and I happened to be there and jumped on it."That's how he got that strip. We try to preach that here and be able to do that every game. I think we'll be a real good defense if we continue."The Jaguars lost their star running back after two plays as Maurice Jones-Drew went down with an ankle injury. And quarterback Blaine Gabbert was gone after being hurt when Tommy Kelly drove him into the ground on a sack that was called back by Kelly being offsides in the second quarter.So yeah, you would hope the Raiders defense would step up, right?"We matched up closer on our coverage and let the front four get after them with pressure," said free safety-turned cornerback Michael Huff. "As long as we buy our front four a little bit of time they will get after him. We just played closer in coverage."If we play Raider football for a whole game, we see how good we can be, how well we can play. The main thing is being consistent from start to finish. If we play our game we can be top 10."Beating the one-win Jaguars should be a good enough start, though.
Talk about a dominant 'D' after halftime
October 22, 2012, 4:23 am