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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tosses the ball to running back Reggie Bush (25) in the second half against the Oakland Raiders in an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008.
NEW ORLEANS _ AS happens on occasion when a kid tries to make a go of it for the first time without training wheels, JaMarcus Russell took his lumps Sunday.

To make matters worse, it happened at the scene of his greatest triumph, while Drew Brees rode circles around an overmatched Raiders defense.

A 34-3 win by the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome furthered the notion that the Raiders are out of their league when confronted with a team with a well-coached, sophisticated passing offense, as Brees sliced the Raiders up with even more precision than Denver's Jay Cutler in Week 1.

It also illustrated that Russell is still in his infancy as a quarterback and in no way ready to carry an offense on his broad shoulders, whether the head coach is Lane Kiffin or Tom Cable.

To Brees and Cutler, offense is second-nature and third and fourth reads, looking in sequence at available options and picking the best one.

Brees completed 26 of 30 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns. He had four incomplete passes _ a miscommunication with running back Reggie Bush which wasn't close, a wheel route to Bush in the end zone which Jon Alston could have been called for pass interference, a pass he deliberately threw away near midfield, and a pass at the goal line that was broken up by DeAngelo Hall.

Other than that, it was a numbing procession of completed passes, many of them short, plus a few intermediate and deep shots thrown in for good measure, a game which brought to mind Rich Gannon's 34-for-38 wizardry against the Denver Broncos in 2002.


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Nine different receivers caught passes.

``This is probably one of the most unselfish teams I've ever seen,'' Hall said. ``It don't matter who makes the plays, but they get made. My hat goes off to them. Great game plan, they executed it, kept us off-balance. They looked good.''

The last time Russell played in New Orleans, he passed for 332 yards, two touchdowns and was MVP of the Sugar Bowl in a 41-14 win over Notre Dame. He had a superior supporting cast to Brady Quinn across the board, and it showed as Quinn was 15-for-35 for 148 yards.

This time, Brees that had all the built-in advantages. Russell never completed more than two passes in succession and was a Quinn-like 13-for-35 for 159 yards. He had one pass intercepted, and it could have been six if Saints defensive backs had managed to hold onto the ball.

Both of Russell's turnovers, a pass directly to cornerback Jason David and a lost fumble when he was sacked by Bobby McCray, led to Brees touchdown passes shortly afterward.

``He's got a good team, he did a good job with his offense, but I have my own team to worry about,'' Russell said. ``When I'm not on the field, I'm talking with my coaches about the next plays to go out there and execute. It's not really what Drew Brees is doing. Our focus is on this team.''

The Raiders upheld their seemingly weekly tradition of faltering in the red zone, getting to the New Orleans 6 on their first drive after a short-field drive courtesy of a 35-yard punt return by Johnnie Lee Higgins.

Sebastian Janikowski ended up kicking a 24-yard field goal.

It's as close as the Raiders would get to the end zone all day against a team which has been torched by Washington's Campbell, Cutler and last week gave up big plays to Minnesota journeyman Gus Frerotte.

As promised, the Raiders tried to mix it up a little more, giving Russell additional pass plays on downs where they've normally been running. Curry got involved for the first time all season early on, catching three passes for 32 yards.

Other than that, it was more of the same from the wide receivers. Johnnie Higgins got 35 yards on a catch-and-run on a shallow cross, Ashley Lelie had a single catch for 11 yards, Javon Walker had one catch for seven yards, and Chaz Schilens one for nine yards.

On a fourth-down play late in the game, Schilens broke into the clear on fourth-down from the 36-yard line and Russell badly overthrew him.

For the most part, the protection was good. Both sacks came in the second half and on most of his passes Russell had ample time to throw.

Although Russell arrived with the reputation of being able to throw every kind of pass, that skill has yet to show itself. He missed by a lot, missed by a little, and mostly, just missed.

Cable, in his first post-game briefing, said some balls should have been caught, others could have been thrown better and said, ``there was some improvement there. I know it sounds crazy, but there was certainly some improvement for the number of times we threw the football.''

Different postgame strokes for different folks. Somewhere, Kiffin was watching and saying to himself, ``It reminded us of who we are.'' He may have even called Russell to remind him.

With two weeks to prepare, you'd like to think the passing game would have inched toward the 21st century.

The high-tech passing game is a ways off, instead resembling a rusty water pump.

``(Coach Cable) said when he was young, he worked with his dad on a farm,'' Russell said. ``The water wouldn't come out right when you wanted it to, so you've just got to keep pumping.''

Contact Jerry McDonald at jmcdonald@bayareanewsgroup.com.