Hey, the Raiders don’t need Darren McFadden to run wild to win

Sure, it was almost a loss, and the Texans didn’t have Andre Johnson. But that was still a gutty road victory for an emotional Raiders team in Houston. With their best player limited to just 51 yards on 16 carries, the offense still managed to score 25 points to edge the Texans. The game ball probably has to go to Sebastian Janikowski, who had three 50-plus-yard field goals in the victory. Al Davis’ craziest first-round pick honored Davis on Sunday, as he’s been doing all season.

It’s encouraging that the Raiders can win on the road against good teams despite struggles on offense. Oakland was giving up 5.9 yards per carry heading into this game, yet they stepped up and contained Arian Foster, holding the 2010 rushing leader to just 68 yards on 22 carries. They’ll battle the Chargers to the bitter end.

Philly’s season could be over next weekend

Sean Tomlinson will have a closer look at Michael Vick’s awful performance against the Bills, so I won’t spend too much time dumping on the Eagles. All I can say is that Vick isn’t getting the kind of protection required of a playoff-worthy team. Vick was only sacked once, losing zero yards in the process, but he was hit far too often in Buffalo. Look at his picks — he simply didn’t have enough time and space. It was especially tough Sunday with All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters out of the lineup. Two of Vick’s three interceptions came as a result of pressure that stemmed from his left side. And the Eagles are just making too many mental mistakes — the kinds of errors veteran squads shouldn’t commit. Vick’s horrible clock management at the end of the first half; the defense falling for an obvious fake snap count and ending the game on a neutral zone infraction. Both unacceptable.

That Philly-Buffalo game is so interesting because the league’s most surprisingly good team beat the league’s most surprisingly bad team. Buffalo moves to 4-1, proving that the 3-0 start wasn’t a fluke and that they could bear down after a flat loss to a mediocre team. Philadelphia drops to 1-4, proving once again that “winning” in the offseason rarely equates to winning during the regular season. Now the Eagles are in serious trouble. A loss to the division-leading Redskins in Washington next week would likely end the Eagles’ season in mid-October. Washington will be well-rested after its bye week, while the Eagles are banged up and tired.

Indianapolis becomes the “Suck for Luck” frontrunner 

Two minutes, 37 seconds left. Indy has a 4th-and-11 on the Kansas City 46-yard line, trailing by four points. And the Colts send out the punt unit. Look, I don’t think teams deliberately lose games, and I definitely do not believe players give less than 100 percent — it’s just not in an athlete’s blood, and it’s actually quite difficult to do successfully. But, would the Colts have punted it away in that scenario had they been 4-0 or 3-1? Just saying. Now, they ended up getting another shot because of a KC penalty, and they went for it on 4th-and-6, but it was still sort of an odd approach.

Okay, moving on from my crackpot conspiracy theory. All that matters, now, is that the Colts are 0-5 and facing a first-place schedule without Peyton Manning the rest of the way. Kansas City’s second straight win pretty much removes it from the Luck sweepstakes, and Minnesota also broke its goose egg Sunday with a win over Arizona. Indy now has the league’s worst record, with St. Louis and Miami also winless but only 0-4 due to byes. The Rams wouldn’t take Luck anyway, so things could get very interesting between the Colts and Dolphins.

Also of note: There were two ridiculous circus catches in the early games — one from Dwayne Bowe and one from Victor Cruz. Score Buzz has video of each grab. Let them know which one you preferred. Or let us know. Just cast a vote somewhere, dammit.

(Above screen grab via Mike Tunison)