- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ALAMEDA, CALIF. (AP) - Darren McFadden’s first game against the Kansas City Chiefs was a bittersweet moment for the Raiders’ young running back.

McFadden set a franchise rookie record with 164 yards and a touchdown, leading Oakland to a 23-8 win on Sept. 14. But he also sustained the first of two turf toe injuries that ultimately sidelined him for three games and left him in a walking boot for more than two months.

McFadden is healthier than he’s been since that big day against the Chiefs. He had two touchdowns during Oakland’s 31-10 victory over Denver last week and is expected to shoulder more of the offensive load in the Raiders’ rematch against Kansas City on Sunday.

“I’m more than ready for it,” McFadden said Wednesday. “Missing three games was hard, having to sit there and watch, but now I’m back out there and looking forward to playing them again.”

Interim coach Tom Cable doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that the Raiders have played two of their best games of the season since McFadden’s return. After getting blown out in three straight losses to Baltimore, Atlanta and Carolina while McFadden sat out, Oakland played Miami close before losing 17-15, then upset the Broncos in Denver last week to end a four-game losing streak.

Justin Fargas led the Raiders with 107 yards rushing but McFadden made it into the end zone twice, the first rushing touchdowns by an Oakland running back since McFadden scored against the Chiefs back in September.

“He can still run fast, he can still catch the ball out of the backfield,” Kansas City coach Herm Edwards said. “He’s dangerous. All of those running backs they have are dangerous.”

Cable, who took over the play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Greg Knapp two weeks ago, likes the domino effect McFadden’s presence has on the rest of Oakland’s offense.

With the Broncos focusing more attention on the Raiders’ running game, quarterback JaMarcus Russell quietly produced one of the most efficient days in franchise history when he completed 10 of 11 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. Russell’s 90.9 completion percentage tied Ken Stabler for the second-best mark by a Raiders quarterback and was just shy of Stabler’s team record of 91.7 percent.

“(Defenses) have to account for him and you really saw that last week,” Cable said of McFadden. “People had to go match up to him and they were late getting matched up a couple of times. It’s just his ability, his explosiveness. In a sense (he’s) a true play-maker.”

That includes lining the rookie running back up at wide receiver and at quarterback, something he did frequently in college at Arkansas. Since coming to the NFL, however, McFadden hasn’t had many chances due to the lingering toe injuries that kept him on the sideline for most of the past two months.

“We can continue to expand now that he’s healthy,” Cable said. “He really kind of cut it loose last week like we talked about during the week and certainly in the game. We’ll get him more opportunities for sure.”

Notes:@ TE Zach Miller (groin) was limited in practice but is expected to play against the Chiefs. … C Jake Grove did not practice and will likely sit out his third straight game.

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