For all the encouraging signs the Oakland Raiders found in a season-opening loss, there were almost as many discouraging ones in a Week 2 win.
From JaMarcus Russell's horrific inaccuracy to allowing 409 yards of total offense to a broken left leg that will sideline left guard Robert Gallery for at least a month, there wasn't a lot to celebrate following the 13-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Except for the result.
"Somehow, we found a way to win," coach Tom Cable said Monday. "We feel good about that, but we also recognize that you've got to keep this real. This doesn't make the season. This doesn't make anybody feel like we've arrived, or anything like that. We've got a heck of a lot of work to do."
After outplaying San Diego for much of the game before losing the opener 24-20, the Raiders managed to pull out the win in Kansas City despite being outplayed until the final drive. Two turnovers and nine penalties by the Chiefs kept the Raiders in the game and Russell shook off the worst day of his career to lead the game-winning drive.
Russell finished 7 for 24 for 109 yards, becoming the second quarterback in the past 14 seasons to throw at least 20 passes, complete less than 30 percent and still win a game.
In all, this marked the first time in the Raiders' 50-year history they've emerged with a victory after giving up more than 400 yards and gaining fewer than 200 themselves.
"The interesting thing is Week 1 we really put it out there, did a lot of good things and in the end found a way to not get it done and we lose that game," Cable said. "Week 2, we were very inconsistent on defense and very poor on offense, and find a way to win the game. There's no explanation for any of that. It's just a matter of when you get in the fourth quarter in this league and have a chance to win, you'd better take your opportunity. Yesterday we were fortunate to do that."
But that can't overshadow the questions about Russell two games into his third NFL season. He is just 19 for 54 in two games this season for a 35.2 completion percentage. He hasn't even been close on many of his passes, taking a big step back from the growth he showed late last season. Russell has been particularly horrid trying to get the ball to his wide receivers, completing just 7 of 33 attempts to his wideouts.
He has not been helped by having two rookie starters at receiver in Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy, but many of the problems are of Russell's own doing. He even struggled when he checked down to his running backs against the Chiefs, badly missing Darren McFadden on a couple of short passes that could have gone for big gains if he had been on target.
But for all of Russell's troubles, he threw a go-ahead 57-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-14 to Louis Murphy that gave the Raiders a 20-17 lead with 2:34 left in the opener and then went 4-for-7 for 67 yards on the final drive Sunday to set up Darren McFadden's 5-yard run with 1:07 left that gave the Raiders the 13-10 victory.
"That should give him great confidence because that's two weeks in a row he had a great 2-minute that put points on the board," said tight end Zach Miller, who had no catches. "He just needs to focus on what he did in that drive and just carry that through for the rest of the game."
The injury to Gallery could have the longest impact on the Raiders. Once considered a bust at tackle after being the No. 2 overall pick in 2004, Gallery has turned into Oakland's best offensive lineman since moving to guard in 2007.
He injured his leg in the second half and underwent surgery Monday. He is expected to miss four to six weeks. His injury could force changes at two positions. Center Chris Morris shifted to guard and backup Samson Satele replaced Morris at center to finish Sunday's game. Cable said he would also look at starting Khalif Barnes, Erik Pears or Paul McQuistan at guard.
"I don't think it's just as easy as plugging in a new left guard or a new center," Cable said. "You got to make sure that it all kind of jells together."