Raiders dominated by Henne, Dolphins 33-17


Raiders dominated by Henne, Dolphins 33-17


OAKLAND (AP) Chad Henne had quite the roller-coaster month, going from Miami starting quarterback to getting benched then injured and then back as starter.He finished the up-and-down month on quite a high.Henne made a triumphant return to the lineup to throw for 307 yards and two scores and Dan Carpenter kicked four field goals to help the Miami Dolphins beat the Oakland Raiders 33-17 Sunday."I knew my day would come again," Henne said. "The biggest thing is just staying confident in myself. I know I can get it done out there, I know I can get some wins out there. So, for me, it's just staying confident, fixing mistakes and just keep on improving as a quarterback."Davone Bess had 111 yards receiving in his first game as a pro in his hometown, and Ricky Williams ran for 95 yards and a score for the Dolphins (6-5), who won for the fifth time in six road games to keep their playoff hopes alive.The Raiders (5-6) returned home following a 35-3 beating in Pittsburgh and put together another dud. Fan favorite Bruce Gradkowski got the nod ahead of Jason Campbell at quarterback, but threw two interceptions and led Oakland to just one offensive touchdown.Rookie Jacoby Ford was the entire Raiders offense, returning the opening kickoff 101 yards for a score and catching a 44-yard TD pass from Gradkowski in the second quarter. But the Dolphins held Oakland to 16 yards rushing, including 2 on eight carries for Darren McFadden."We've played some great quarters, and we've played some great halves, but we haven't put a game together on defense," linebacker Channing Crowder said. "We played a complete game."Miami also had an offensive turnaround, gaining 471 yards and holding the ball for 41:38 a week after being held to 187. But with Henne at the helm, it was a different story.Henne lost his job to Chad Pennington earlier this month, then was sidelined by an injured left knee after Pennington's return to the lineup was cut short by a shoulder injury. But after Tyler Thigpen struggled in a 16-0 loss to Chicago last week, the Dolphins went back to Henne against the Raiders.The improvement was evident from the start. Henne led Miami to scores on the first two possessions as the Dolphins' offense clicked all day."I want somebody to go out there and make me wrong," coach Tony Sparano said. "That's good. I have no problem with that. But Chad was really positive, and he knew all along here, that as we got on in this thing, that we we're going to be counting on him."Henne had success going against Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who still looks hampered by a sprained right ankle, and rookie Walter McFadden, who got his most extensive action with Chris Johnson out with a groin injury.McFadden looked especially bad on the first drive of the second half when he went for an interception on an out route to Marlon Moore. Moore caught it and cruised for a 57-yard score that game Miami a 20-14 lead. Henne kept targeting McFadden after that for big plays."That's something we definitely scouted and wanted to exploit early and fast," Bess said. "They gave up some big plays to us and we took advantage of it."Carpenter added a 44-yard field goal, but Miami missed a chance to break the game open after a 47-yard punt return by Bess when Carpenter missed a 47-yard field goal.Gradkowski threw an interception to Chris Clemons in the end zone on an underthrown pass to Ford. Ford then beat his former Clemson teammate Clemons for a 52-yard catch that set up a 30-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski. That cut Miami's lead to 23-17 early in the fourth quarter.Carpenter added a 25-yard field goal and Williams iced it with a 45-yard TD run with 3:12 remaining.The Raiders did nothing between Ford's two first-half touchdowns. Gradkowski threw an interception to Yeremiah Bell and Marcel Reece lost a fumble.Gradkowski completed 17 of 32 passes for 252 yards and reinjured his shoulder on his final throw of the game so Oakland will likely go back to Campbell next week at San Diego."There was some good stuff and some inconsistency," Cable said of Gradkowski's play. "Again when you only have the ball a handful of times you don't get a real chance to go out and get some rhythm."Henne, who threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Cobbs in the first quarter, drove the Dolphins downfield late in the half to lead to Carpenter's second field goal, a 23-yarder with 4 seconds left that made it 14-13.Notes: Henne has six career 300-yard passing games, second to Dan Marino's 63 in Miami history. ... The Dolphins have scored on their opening drive a league-best eight times this season. ... Ford's kickoff return was the third longest in Raiders history.

Injury report: Murray rebounds well after return to Raiders practice

Injury report: Murray rebounds well after return to Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Latavius Murray will spend this practice week testing himself to see if he can play after a debilitating bout of turf toe sidelined him the last two games.

He returned to action on a limited basis for Wednesday’s practice, and needed to respond and rebound well to continue his quest back to the playing field.

Early returns have been positive.

"I think he got a handful of plays out there (on Wednesday)," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said before Thursday’s practice. "I think he’s looking to get better each and every day and hopefully it’s good enough by the time the next game arrives."

Murray practiced a second straight day on Thursday, strengthening his case to play against the Jaguars. That’s extremely likely, barring a setback.

That would certainly strengthen a Raiders running game that has slumped the past few weeks.

“Latavius has his own skill set,” Musgrave said. “Had some explosive runs for us last year. We’ll look forward to getting him back at some point. Hopefully it’s this week.”

Right tackle Menelik Watson practiced for a second straight day and seems in line to re-claim his starting spot against Jacksonville.

Special teams player Brynden Trawick and offensive lineman Vadal Alexander remain out.

It’s possible that Perry Riley will start at middle linebacker over rookie Cory James on Sunday.

Check back for complete participation reports for the Raiders and Jaguars.

Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

Norton: Raiders 'have the right people,' scheme; execution lacking

ALAMEDA – Ken Norton Jr.’s defense hasn’t been good all season. It’s only been a hindrance twice in six weeks, allowing the Raiders to brush it under the rug while compiling a 4-2 record.

The Raiders were exposed in Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving many to wonder whether this defense has fatal flaws.

The team’s defensive coordinator believes these problems can be fixed without a radical reconstruction.

Norton trusts his scheme. He believes in his personnel. He has faith there are better times ahead.

“It depends on what you believe in,” Norton said before Thursday’s practice. “If you believe in the players, you believe in the coaches and believe in yourself…

“Obviously you’d like the stats to be better. But we are 4-2, in a good place record-wise. The stats need to be better. We need to continue to understand who we are, what we are and get better at what we’re doing.”

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”

Coaches have cited eye violations (a.k.a misreads) as communication issues reasons why the Raiders give up chunk yards. Their 6.9 yards per play allowed is the league’s worst.

Edge rusher and team captain Khalil Mack said opponents are challenged the Raiders defensive discipline. Misdirection, bootlegs, wacky formations and the like have given the Raiders fits, and will continue to do so until they repair what’s broken.

“It’s all about discipline,” Norton said. “It’s all about angles. It’s all about leverage and tackling and the fundamentals of the game and getting down to the nitty gritty of playing smart and sharp. It’s the ultimate team game. …Everybody’s connected to a successful play. That play has to be successful consistently over a period of 70 plays. Everybody’s watching every single play, so you need consistency and have guys playing together. It will pick up.”

Communication is the latest buzz word attached to defensive miscues. Norton said it’s been corrected, just not consistently enough.

“It’s been fixed, but it will come up some times, at the worst times,” Norton said. “We are continually practicing. There are 16 games, and you need to be obsessed with improvement, and we are. Guys care a lot. They show up early and stay late. The communication, the playmaking, the coaching, all of it will continue to improve.

“Everybody wants to talk about communication but it’s guys consistently playing well over a duration of a game. You have to be sharp.”

The Raiders have used different coverage schemes at times this season and made two lineup changes – it’s also possible Perry Riley starts at middle linebacker this week – to no avail.

“You see things going wrong with missed tackles or balls going over our head, the little things and details need to get taken care of,” Norton said. “There aren’t a lot of differences between us and the good defenses, but they make a lot of plays they’re supposed to make.

“We have the right people. It’s just a matter of getting it done on game day.”