What Darren McFadden and the Oakland Raiders did to the Denver Broncos on Sunday was a revelation. Perhaps all the pent-up frustration that has been building ever since Rich Gannon’s 5 INTs in that painful Super Bowl loss finally came to a boil as Tom Cable engineered a 59-14 massacre.
McFadden’s career day was highlighted by all the nuances of his game that Raider Nation has been dying to see since he was drafted two years ago. There is much more to the dynamic runner from Arkansas than his 40-yard dash at the combine. McFadden has a rare combo of size, speed, power and elusiveness that could make him a fantasy stud for years to come.
Certainly his health concerns will always be the elephant in the room. But McFadden’s game has elevated out of the realms of potential and into actual NFL highlight reels this season.
The numbers speak for themselves: 165 yards rushing on just 16 carries including a 57-yard house call, 31 yards receiving with a 19-yard TD reception, 4 total touchdowns and a lot of wounded Donkey pride littered across the Mile High Field.
With performances like this it will be impossible for the Raiders and McFadden to sneak up on anybody from here out. But that hardly matters. Game planning for McFadden could be an impossible task if Hue Jackson continues to mix-up formations and personnel packages while so masterfully disguising his plays as he did on Sunday.
Perhaps the best example of Jackson’s play design combined with McFadden’s dynamic skill set occurred on his 19-yard TD reception in the second quarter.
With Jason Campbell in the shotgun, McFadden lines up in the slot and then motions into the backfield. Upon the snap, Run-DMC feigns blocking for a couple of seconds before slipping out for a screen pass. Robert Gallery pancakes a Donkey and then McFadden does the rest as he shows his elusive footwork by hurdling one defender then demonstrates a nose for the endzone by trucking a DB and extending for six. No need for big celebrations either, he’s been here before and will certainly be back again. Just a simple flip of the ball and a pat on the back then its back to work.