Tom Cable had plenty to say at halftime Sunday with his Raiders and the lowly Denver Broncos tied at 17. The coach lit into his team with a fiery speech that players cited as a motivating factor in their outscoring the Broncos 22-6 after intermission en route to a 39-23 victory at the half-empty, rain-drenched Oakland Coliseum.
"We got chewed out at halftime," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. "Cabes came in and cussed out everybody on the team and kind of got our attention. "... He was just like, 'Man, don't give nobody no hope. Let's not come in here after the game and talk about we missed this chance, we didn't take advantage of our opportunity.' He wanted us to go out there in the second half and step on their necks."
The Raiders did just that, breaking another tie -- this time 20-20 -- in the third quarter and cruising to a victory that kept alive their ever-dimming playoff hopes.
The Raiders' situation is simple. They have to win their remaining games against the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday and the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 2. They also need the Chiefs to lose to the Tennessee Titans next Sunday, and the San Diego Chargers to lose at least one of their final two games, against the Cincinnati Bengals and Broncos.
Given that, the Raiders would finish 9-7 and win the AFC West by virtue of a tiebreaker.
Oakland will know if it has a shot before taking the field against the Colts, as the Chiefs-Titans contest should be
There is no way for the Raiders (7-7) to earn one of the two AFC wild-card playoff berths because 10 wins is the minimum it's going to take for those spots.
Cable said he impressed upon his players at halftime the need to play better than they did in the first half, when they had two passes intercepted, fumbled once, allowed a 40-yard touchdown run on a third-and-24 play, gave up a 33-yard scoring pass despite double coverage and had a TD negated by a penalty.
"There's no reason to be calm or rational at that point," the Raiders coach said. "That's just not us. That's not who we've become or what we're trying to get to. And, ultimately, if we can get some help and have a chance at this thing at the end, we've got to be better than that."
Once again, Darren McFadden spearheaded the Raiders' offense with 119 yards rushing and 39 yards receiving. Overall, the Raiders rushed for 264 yards.
"The rushing game always helps," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "It's like the best friend of a quarterback when you're in this league, because the defense will give you so many different looks.
"If you're able to run the ball, it creates some one-on-one matchups (in the passing game), it helps the play-action game. That's how we took our main strides in the second half, because we went to play-action because of the way we were running the ball."
Campbell was 8 of 12 for 180 yards and one touchdown in the second half against a Broncos defense geared toward stopping the run.
"The difference in the game was we were able to throw the ball and get some nice plays out of it," Cable said. "Jason did a nice job of that."
The Raiders no doubt are sad to see the last of the Broncos this season. On Sunday, the Raiders rolled up 502 yards against a Denver defense that they roasted for 508 yards and 59 points in their first meeting Oct. 24.
Oakland certainly is kicking itself for losing close games against the Arizona Cardinals, 49ers, Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars.
"You don't know that it's going to be a big deal for you down the way, but those bit us," cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said.
The Raiders are 5-0 in divisional games but 2-7 outside the AFC West. It's conceivable they could go undefeated in divisional play and still not win the AFC West, something that hasn't happened since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. The 29 other teams that went undefeated in such games won their division.
"We just got to learn how to learn to win outside the division," Campbell said.
Until that happens, Kelly said, the Raiders aren't going to take the next step that could land them in the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.
"It doesn't mean anything if we are at home, watching Kansas City in the playoffs," Kelly said of being 5-0. "It's something nice to say but, at the end of the day, it doesn't mean anything. You don't even get a T-shirt."
Indianapolis (8-6) at Raiders (7-7),
1:05 p.m., CBS
Darren McFadden surpasses 1,000 yards rushing. Page 6
Go online to view a photo slideshow from the Raiders victory.