In my entire life as a Raiders fan, including all the season finales during The Suck Years here, I cannot recall a more meaningless, useless game. Our game against Jacksonville last year seems like a duel for control of Earth's natural resources and the survival of mankind in comparison.
Latavius Murray, somewhat surprisingly, did not pass the final step in the concussion protocol and will be inactive today. That disappointed me for about two seconds, until I remembered a good part of me wanted to sit him until next week anyway. That two seconds wasn't as much lag time as it was the natural reaction to hearing Darren McFadden will probably be getting double-digit touches again. I am also not a big fan of Marcel Reece carrying the ball. If you were not already aware that he is a converted WR, his upright running style gives it away pretty quick.
Murray was undoubtedly the star of the win over the Chiefs. In three carries he gave us more excitement than anybody has in the last three years, aside from perhaps the fool's gold that was Terrelle Pryor. Murray showed that with a much-improved defense and Derek Carr at the controls, we really may be just one playmaker away from being a competitive football team. A stud WR would probably be a better weapon- as exciting as he was, it was also somewhat demoralizing knowing that a handoff to Nap Kaufman 80 yards from our opponents' goal line was just as likely to result in a TD as a drop-back in the red zone.
Murray's display also crossed "running back" off it's position near the top of our list of off-season needs. Taking a RB in the first two rounds of the 2015 draft was an idea gaining momentum in the various blogs, which in this day and age isn't a plan of attack as much as it is a concession that you're desperate. I don't necessarily agree with how much RBs are devalued in the NFL right now. The 2014 Raiders have done a great job of illustrating that you can't just throw anybody into the backfield and expect success. But with all the needs the team still has, spending a high draft pick on a RB would have stung.
During Thanksgiving my brother tried to give me shit about placing so much faith in Murray so soon. You give me the scouting report on that eleven year-old Japanese hockey phenom there junior. Me and my noted eye for scouting will handle the football. Every single thing I've read about Murray since the Chiefs game has been all "damn," no "hmmm." Some people were already insisting there are only a large handful of backs to have his power/size/speed combination- not currently, but in the entire history of the league. I'm not going to take it that far, but I ain't mad to hear it...
To replace Murray on the roster, the Raiders brought up George Atkinson III from the practice squad, which is pretty cool. Atkinson seemed to be regarded less and less as an NFL prospect every year of his Notre Dame career after being a high school hot shot (off the top of my head, I believe he went to NorCal powerhouse De La Salle). The scouting report on him is that he's got good straight-line speed, and that's about it. He doesn't appear to have much potential as anything other than a kick returner/special teams guy in the NFL. Therefore, it would be absolutely awesome to see him get a few carries and make McFadden and MJD look like shit.
It's pretty cool that Atkinson got the call when we're going up against one of Howie Long's kids too. It's always a little less tense playing against a non-Niners NFC West team. There is that inherent silver lining to a loss. But with the Santa Clara Scumbags coming to town next week, I just want this game to be over with, sans injuries, fucking yesterday. We got a window to slam shut, board up, and piss on.