The Jacksonville Jaguars made the long trip out to Oakland, California to take on the Oakland Raiders. The Jaguars were coming off a bye week and the Raiders were coming off a tough 23-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski blasted the ball through the end zone again and the Jaguars started at their 20.
As expected, the Jaguars started out the game on the ground with running back Maurice Jones Drew getting the ball. However, after his second carry, he left the game and did not return. He was replaced by running back Rashard Jennings. Neither team could do anything with the ball on their first few possessions. With nine minutes to go in the first quarter after a Jaguar punt, the Raiders got the ball at their 28. On third and six from the 32, quarter Carson Palmer went deep up the right side for wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. The play went for 59 yards and Heyward-Bey was pushed out of bounds at the Jaguar nine. They were unable to get the ball into the end zone and the drive stalled at the three-yard line. Janikowski easily made the 21-yard field goal and the Raiders led 3-0 with a little over six minutes to go in the first quarter.
Another touch-back meant another start at the 20 for the Jaguars. On third and six from the 24, quarterback Blaine Gabbert found Jennings across the middle for a gain of 13 and a first down at the 37. With the Raider pass rush being non existent once again, Gabbert had plenty of time on the next play to complete another pass. This time he found rookie wide receiver Cecil Shorts for a gain of 19 to put the Jaguars at the Raider 44. A short run by Jennings on first down was followed by a deep pass to the end zone. Seeing as the Raiders blew the coverage and had nobody near Shorts, he caught it for an easy 42-yard touchdown. Kicker Josh Scobee made the point after and the Jaguars led 7-3 with 3:15 to go in the first quarter.
After another punt by Shane Lechler, the Jaguars got the ball at their 11. Two consecutive offside penalties by the Raiders gave them a first down at the 21. Completions to Jennings and tight end Mercedes Lewis got them another first down at the 35. On second and seven from the 35, Gabbert was sacked by defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. However, the sack didn’t count because Kelly was? Can you guess? Offside? Yes! You guessed it! That’s three offside penalties in one drive! Stupendous! Still, Gabbert was brought down hard on the play and it was obvious he was hurting. The drive got as far as the 48 and the Jaguars had to punt. Rookie punter Bryan Anger punted the ball away and it was muffed by return man Phillip Adams. Linebacker Russell Allen pounced on it and the Jaguars had new life at the Raider 16. On second and goal from the five, Jennings ran straight up the middle of the Raider defense for a touchdown. Scobee made the extra point and the Jaguars now led 14-3 with 11:30 to go in the second quarter.
The Jaguars really started to bring the pressure and Palmer had little if any time to find a receiver. Not only that, running back Darren McFadden had absolutely nowhere to go. His longest gain of the day was 13 yards. With such an ineffective offense, the Raiders were forced to punt again. The Jaguars quickly punted the ball right back to the Raiders after a quick three and out. The Raiders had the ball for a grand total of two plays on this “drive” as Palmer did his best impression of Brett Favre. He stepped up into the collapsing pocket and as he was going down, he did a backhanded flip that was picked off by cornerback Derek Cox. So, there I sat again staring at the television in utter disbelief as the Jaguars took over at the Raider 36 with Chad Henne now playing quarterback. Gabbert left the game and would not return. A short run by Jennings and two incomplete passes led to a 50-yard field goal attempt by Scobee. The kick was good and the Jaguars now led 17-3 with six minutes to go in the first half.
It couldn’t get worse for the sloppy uninterested Raiders, could it? Yes it could. The Jaguars decided to rub some salt into the wounded Raiders and recovered an onside kick. But, this time the Raider defense was up to the challenge and stopped the Jaguars on fourth and one. The Raiders took over at their 46 with 4:30 remaining in the half. A nine-yard pass and a short run by McFadden netted a first down. A scramble by Palmer and another short run by McFadden got them another first down at the 31. A pass to tight end Brandon Myers and a run by fullback Owen Schmitt moved the ball to the 20 for yet another first down. From the 20, Palmer was sacked and the ball came out. The Jaguars recovered the loose ball. However, it was ruled that his arm was going forward and that kept the drive alive. They got as far as the 15 and had to settle for a field goal. The 33-yard attempt was good and the Jaguars now led 17-6 at halftime. As the Raiders walked off the field to a chorus of boos, there was no sense of urgency. No one was trotting to the locker room. They were literally trudging with their heads down as if to say “They kicked our ass. Can we go home now?”
But, like every game, things can change in the second half. It didn’t seem that way after another three and out for the Raiders. Top that off with a 28-yard punt return by return man Micheal Spurlock and it looked like the Jaguars were going to put the Raiders away. Starting at the Raider 39, three consecutive runs by Jennings moved the ball to the 24. Once again, the Raider defense started applying pressure and the drive was halted at the 22. Scobee was called on again and his 40-yard attempt was good. That increased the lead to 20-6 with ten minutes to go in the third quarter.
Finally the Raiders went with what Carson Palmer does best. They brought out the no huddle offense. It’s about damn time! Starting from his own 15, Palmer went to work and found running back Mike Goodson for six yards. McFadden found a little daylight up the left side for a gain of eight and a first down. On second and seven from the 44, Palmer put one up for wide receiver Denarius Moore. The pass fell incomplete, but cornerback Rashean Mathis was flagged for pass interference. That ended up being a 33-yard penalty and a first down at the Jaguar 23. A couple of runs by McFadden set up a first down at the 11. On third and seven from the eight, Palmer found Moore across the middle and he dove into the end zone for a touchdown. Janikowski made the point after and the Jaguars new led 20-13 with six minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Jaguars took over at their 18 and on first down, Henne was promptly sacked for a loss of ten yards by rookie linebacker Miles Burris. The Raider defense really stepped up the pressure and forced a quick three and out. The Raiders got the ball at their 40, but could do little with it and punted it right back to the Jaguars. They followed suit and the Raiders once again had an opportunity to put together a drive to tie the game. That didn’t happen. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton sacked Palmer and the ball came loose again. It was recovered at the Raider 24 by C.J. Mosley and the Jaguars were in business again. However, the defense came up big again and on third and seven from the 21, defensive end Lamarr Houston sacked Henne for a loss of six yards. Scobee came on and nailed his 45-yard attempt and the Jaguars increased the lead to 23-13 with 12:30 to go in the game.
A holding penalty on the kickoff put the Raiders at their eight-yard line to start their next drive. On third and ten, Palmer found Myers for a short gain, but defensive end Andre Branch was flagged for roughing the passer. That was just the break the Raiders needed to keep their drive alive. From the 27, fullback Marcel Reece had a nice catch and run for a gain of 35 yards. On third and nine from the 37, Palmer found Myers for 17 and Reece again for 11 more. That gave them a first down at the Jaguar nine. A delay of game and holding penalty moved them back 15 yards to the 24. The drive died at the 13 and Janikowski made a 31-yard field goal to close the gap to 23-16 with just under seven minutes to go in the game.
The Jaguars had the ball for a grand total of 12 seconds on their next possession. Instead of trying to kill the clock, they attempted three pass plays. They all fell incomplete and they punted the ball away again. With 6:30 to go, the Raiders started out at their 42. Palmer was flattened on first down for a loss of eight by defensive end Jeremy Mincey. However, he recovered nicely on second down with a 17-yard pass to Moore. On third and one, Palmer took the situation into his own hands and ran up the middle for a gain of two and a first down. On third and six from the Jaguar 43, Palmer put one up the left side and Streater caught it for a gain of 18 and a first down at the 25. But three straight incomplete passes set up a fourth and ten. On fourth down, Palmer went looking for Heyward-Bey in the end zone. The ball fell incomplete, but cornerback Aaron Ross was flagged for pass interference. That made it first and goal at the one. On first down, McFadden went nowhere, but the Jaguars were flagged again for having 12 men on the field. So now it was first and goal from the one-inch line. Palmer took the snap and dove over the pile for a touchdown. Janikowski made the point after and the score was now knotted at 23.
With 3:30 to go, the Jaguars got things rolling quickly with a pass to Jennings for a gain of 26. Henne then found shorts for 17 more yards. But, Shorts was flagged for offensive pass interference. That took the wind out of their sails and they were forced to punt. The Raiders had one more chance to win the game in regulation. Starting at their 13 with no timeouts, Palmer called a draw play to McFadden for five yards. Another draw netted 13 more for a first down at the 31. With 11 seconds to go, Palmer found Streater on the left sideline and he made a nice leaping catch for a gain of 23 yards and went out of bounds to stop the clock. With six seconds to go, head coach Dennis Allen called on the Polish Cannon to try a 64-yard field goal to win the game. The snap was good, the hold was good, the kick was straight, but it fell about four yards short. Ross caught the ball and ran it out of the end zone. He was brought down at the 32. That meant we would be going to overtime. Janikowski looked genuinely pissed off that he missed that long kick. The Jaguars won the toss and elected to receive.
On first down from the 19, Jennings was stopped for no gain. On second down, our good friend defensive tackle Richard Seymour beat his man and sacked Henne for a loss of ten. That made it third and 20 from the nine-yard line. I am sure my neighbors heard me yelling “Don’t go to the prevent defense! Attack! Attack!” Henne completed a pass to Shorts for a gain of eight and he was brought down from behind by a hustling Lamarr Houston. Not only was he brought down, Houston forced a fumble and the ball was recovered by cornerback Joselio Hanson at the Jaguar 21. Palmer took a knee in the center of the field to set up the game winning field goal attempt. The Polish Cannon was true this time and his 40-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights. The Raiders came from 14 down to get a 26-23 win. The win improved their record to 2-4 and the Jaguars fell to 1-5.
For the Jaguars, Gabbert had a good start as he completed eight of 12 for 110 yards and one touchdown. His replacement, Chad Henne didn’t fare as well. He completed nine of 20 for 71 yards. He was also sacked three times. Rashard Jennings led the Jaguars with 44 yards rushing on 21 carries and one touchdown. He also led in receptions with seven for 58 yards. As a team, the Jaguars rushed for just 54 yards on 26 carries. Cecil Shorts led the Jaguars in receiving yards with 78 and a touchdown. Defensively, linebacker Paul Posluszny was all over the field and led the Jaguars in solo tackles with seven. He also had one tackle for a loss, two passes defensed and three hits on Palmer. Although Palmer was sacked only twice, he was pressured throughout the game.
For the Raiders, Carson Palmer completed 26 of 46 for 298 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one fumble. Darren McFadden led the Raiders with 53 yards on 19 carries. As a team, the Raiders rushed for a paltry sum of 69 yards on 26 carries. Darrius Heyward-Bey led the team with 85 yards receiving. Brandon Myers had the most receptions with seven for 44 yards. Defensively, Lamarr Houston led the team with five solo tackles, a sack, two tackles for a loss and a key forced fumble.
When the dust settles, all that matters is getting a win. This was about as ugly as it gets. I was thoroughly disgusted at halftime and had thoughts about not watching the second half. Would the outcome be different if Jones Drew and Gabbert hadn’t left the game? No doubt. Gabbert was off to a good start and he was picking the Raiders apart. But, injuries are a part of the game. So you can sit there and say “If Gabbert and Jones Drew played the whole game, they would have won with no problem.” Well, they didn’t and their backups didn’t get the job done. Throw in some stupid penalties in key situations and that’s a recipe for a loss.
Still, the Raiders have got to get that offensive line fixed up. The zone blocking scheme still isn’t working and McFadden looks like a horse trapped inside a stable. On a couple of occasions, he was pounding the ground in frustration after being thrown for a loss or only gaining a couple of yards. The protection for Palmer also has to improve. He has got to be feeling some pain today as he was hit countless times.
On a positive note, I was very impressed by the defense. They only allowed ten first downs and held the Jaguars to just 209 total yards. Another key stat is the Jaguars converted only one of 15 third down conversions. The Raiders brought some good pressure when it mattered most and did a good job of shutting down the running game. Up next for the Raiders is a trip to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. Just like the Jaguars, the Chiefs are coming off a bye week and they’ll be ready. Until then, take it easy.
The Raider Guy