HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Darren McFadden dives into the end zone on his 64-yard touchdown run on his first carry. After rushing for just 54 yards in the first two games, McFadden ran for 113.

Raiders notes: McFadden finally breaks a long gainer

Published: Monday, Sep. 24, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 - 12:09 am

OAKLAND – Members of the Raiders' offense had been saying it was only a matter of time before Darren McFadden broke out for a big run.

When McFadden exploded for 64 yards and a touchdown on his first carry Sunday in the Raiders' 34-31 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, center Stefen Wisniewski said, it was largely thanks to quarterback Carson Palmer.

"That touchdown run, (the Steelers) showed blitz on the left, so Carson says, hey, let's run it right," Wisniewski said. "We run it right, we seal off the blitz on the left, and it's six points."

Palmer appeared to get under center and give a hard snap count that drew movement from the Steelers' defensive line. He said the audible fell under the no-huddle series the Raiders had prepared for during the week with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.

"(Knapp) had coached us up on what to get to versus certain fronts, certain coverages, certain pressures," Palmer said. "We got them in the right pressure that coach Knapp had talked about all week … the offensive line obviously opened up a nice hole, but Darren did the rest."

It was the second-longest run of McFadden's career. After rushing for just 54 yards in the Raiders' first two games, McFadden gained 113 yards and passed Bo Jackson for 13th all-time on the franchise career rushing list (2,794).

Hagan steps in – Wide receiver Derek Hagan caught three passes for 30 yards, but the final two were among the Raiders' most important.

Hagan had receptions of nine and 17 yards on the drive that set up the game-winning field goal, with the latter moving the Raiders to the Steelers' 26-yard line.

Hagan played much of the final drive after Darrius Heyward-Bey suffered a concussion early in the final quarter and had to be carted off the field. Heyward-Bey was knocked unconscious on the field, the Raiders announced, and taken to a local hospital.

"He's a guy that we picked up late, so he's done a nice job of understanding and learning the offense," coach Dennis Allen said of Hagan.

Myers makes big catches – Raiders tight end Brandon Myers has emerged through three games as Palmer's most reliable target. Myers caught four passes for 55 yards and now leads the Raiders with 206 receiving yards for the season on 15 catches.

"He's been critical for us in the passing game," Allen said.

Myers stretched for a crucial 15-yard catch on the game-winning drive with the Raiders facing third and 10 from their own 25. He was hit hard by Steelers safety Ryan Mundy, and Allen said after the game that Myers also suffered a concussion.

Et cetera – With both the Raiders' season-opening starting cornerbacks injured, veteran safety Michael Huff made his first career start at corner. The Steelers had some success throwing to Huff's side with short, quick passes. But Allen said he thought Huff "held up pretty decent out there on the edge."

• Tight end Richard Gordon's one-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was the first of his career.

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Read more articles by Matt Kawahara



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