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Raider Defense Does It Without the Attention


Without much fanfare, the Raiders have quietly become a defensive force.

After a last-second loss to San Diego on Sept. 25, the Raiders have not allowed more than two offensive touchdowns in a game and the streak was extended Sunday in a 24-19 victory over New Orleans.

The Raiders held the Saints' offense scoreless for 56 minutes until Jim Everett passed for two late touchdowns. New Orleans' first score came on a 42-yard fumble return by Tyrone Hughes in the third quarter.

"I think they are very, very, very talented football team," New Orleans Coach Jim Mora said. "They are real tough to run on and they make plays in the secondary."

Terry McDaniel has been one of the league's best cornerbacks for the last several years, but only this season has he begun to be recognized as such, thanks to seven interceptions--including one Sunday against Everett.

But there are other Raiders who are having solid seasons, including safety Eddie Anderson, linebacker Winston Moss and linemen Chester McGlockton, Jerry Ball, Nolan Harrison and Anthony Smith.

This was never more evident than against the Saints.

Against New Orleans, Moss had a solid all-around game with three tackles, good pass defense and a key 11-yard sack of Everett in the second quarter.

McGlockton, who Coach Art Shell predicts will be a perennial Pro Bowl player, had three big hits on Saint running back Mario Bates, a near interception and several pressures on Everett.

Harrison who moved to defensive end after the fourth game of the season, is having his best season in his four years as a pro. He constantly was in the Saint backfield, sacking Everett twice for minus-19 yards and had five tackles over all.

Ball, who signed as a free agent during the off-season, has displayed an uncanny knack for guessing the snap count. Ball used his quickness to force Everett into two incompletions on third downs.

So after shutting down several of the leagues' best offenses over the last two months, including New England, Miami, Atlanta and New Orleans, do the Raiders think that their defense is underrated?

"You can't get too carried way with that," McDaniel said. "We have to play each game hard. Every week should be like a playoff game and we should approach each like that."

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