December 16, 2017

Just Lose, Baby!

The Oakland Raiders headed east once again to Cincinnati, Ohio to take on the Cincinnati Bengals.  The Raiders were coming off a 38-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints and the Bengals were coming off a 28-6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Bengals won the toss and deferred to the second half.

Starting at their 22, former Bengal quarterback Carson Palmer led his team onto the field to a chorus of boos.  That didn’t seem to bother him too much.  What really seemed to bother him was being sacked twice on the five plays they ran on that “drive.”  Lechler punted the ball away and return man Adam Jones returned it 18 yards to the Bengal 42.  A six-yard pass to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and a three-yard run by running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis set up a third and one from the Raider 49.  Remember the no middle defense that the Raiders installed against the Ravens?  Well, this time they inserted the bowling pin defense.  They imagined Green-Ellis was a bowling ball and when he ran up the middle, all the Raiders fell down and let him run into the clear.  He was dragged down at the one-yard line by safety Matt Giordano.  Two plays later, he scored from the one.  Kicker Mike Nugent made the point after and the Bengals led 7-0 with nine minutes to go in the first quarter.

Three more plays by the Raiders netted them a grand total of five yards and they punted again.  The Bengals started at their 12 and on third and six from the 16, quarterback Andy Dalton found wide receiver AJ Green for a gain of 44 yards and a first down at the Raider 40.  Short completions to Sanu and another run by Green-Ellis got the Bengals another first down at the 29.  A holding call moved them back ten yards, but that was just a minor distraction for Dalton who faced little pressure from the Raider defense.  On first and 20, he found tight end Orson Charles for a gain of ten.  Next, he found tight end Jermaine Gresham for 27 yards to set up a first and goal at the two.  Then he tossed a pass into the corner of the end zone to Sanu for a touchdown.  Nugent made the point after and the Bengals led 14-0 with three minutes to go in the first quarter.  The look of defeat was already in the eyes of the Raiders.

The teams traded punts on the next few possessions and the Bengals started their next drive at their 11.  The Bengals dinked and dunked their way down the field with some more good running by Green-Ellis and completions to Gresham.  On third and three from the Raider 42, Green-Ellis ran up the left side for a gain of four and a first down.  Running back Cedric Peerman was inserted into the game and on second and eight from the 36, he ran up the right side for a gain of 31.  On third and goal from the five, Dalton found Sanu wide open in the end zone for yet another Bengal touchdown.  Nugent made the extra point and the Bengals now led 21-0 with seven and a half minutes to go in the first half.

The hapless Raiders started at their 19 and actually moved the ball into Bengal territory on the strength of some good running and receiving by running back Marcel Reece.  He seems to be the only bright spot for this team nowadays.  But on fourth and one, Reece didn’t get the opportunity to convert the first down.  Instead, fullback Owen Schmitt “ran” up the middle and was promptly knocked backwards for a loss of one.  Hey, at least they got the ball into Bengal territory.  Let us all rejoice in this moment of pure joy and happiness.

The Bengals took over and moved the ball down to the Raider 30.  The drive stalled and Nugent missed his 48-yard field goal attempt.  The Raiders had a little time left to possibly put some points on the board.  But as fate would have it, Palmer was picked off by safety Chris Crocker and it was now the Bengals who had a chance to add some more points.  They did just that as Nugent made a 55-yard field goal to end the first half.  The Bengals moved the ball at will and the Raiders had no answer for them.  I was so irate while trying to watch this game that I couldn’t even sit down.  Granted, the Bengals are a GOOD team.  There’s no doubt about that.  But the Raiders made the Bengal offense look like the 1991 Redskins and they made the Bengal defense look like the 1985 Bears.  This was truly a horrible display of football.

The second half started and to my surprise, the Raider defense came with some pressure.  They forced a three and out and the offense took over at midfield.  The anemic offense managed to move the ball to the 37.  That’s where kicker Sebastian Janikowksi blasted a 55-yard field goal through the uprights.  That made it 24-3 with ten and a half minutes to go in the third quarter.  The Raider defense forced another three and out and gave the offense another opportunity to score.  Three plays got them three yards and they punted yet again.  The Bengals took over at their 15 and on second and nine from the 16, Dalton was sacked by linebacker Philip Wheeler for a loss of eight.  A pass to Green on third long fell incomplete and the Raider defense did their job again.

Starting at their own 48, the Raiders finally put together a drive.  Reece ran up the left side for 12 yards.  A false start by right tackle Khalif Barnes moved them back five yards, but Reece ran up the left side for a 15-yard gain and a first down at the Bengal 30.  They’re approaching the red zone!  This is so exciting!  Running back Jeremy Stewart got a carry up the right side for a gain of eight.  Reece got two yards on the next play for a first down at the 20.  The Raiders were now officially in the red zone with a little over three minutes to go in the third quarter.  See?  Miracles do happen sometimes!  But it gets better.  From the 20, Palmer saw the blitz coming and tossed the ball down the middle of the field where it was caught by wide receiver Denarius Moore for a 20-yard touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders now trailed 24-10 with two and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Bengals started from their 20 and on third and five from the 25, Dalton was sacked again.  This time it was defensive end Matt Shaughnessy who got the sack.  The Bengals punted and the Raiders had good field position at their 44.  With momentum on their side, they had a good opportunity to make it a close game.  Not so fast, my friend.  On second and four from midfield, safety Reggie Nelson sacked Palmer and knocked the ball loose.  It was recovered by linebacker Rey Maualuga.  That was a crushing blow to the Raiders and the Bengals took over at the Raider 46.  On second and four from the 40, Green-Ellis got loose again and made it down to the one-yard line.  However, the defense held them to no gain on three straight attempts and the Bengals settled for a 20-yard field goal.  That made it 27-10 with 12 and a half minutes to go in the game.

Starting at the 20 and down by three scores, the Raiders had no time to waste.  Two good runs by Reece  and a 26-yard pass to Stewart moved the ball to the Bengal 39.  A 12-yard pass to Reece got them to the 27.  That’s when a bogus clipping penalty on guard Mike Brisiel moved them back 15 yards and really knocked the wind out of their sails.  They were forced to punt and with just under nine minutes to go in the game, the Bengals took over at their 16.

This is when the drama started.  On third and six from the 20, Dalton found Sanu on the left side.  As he turned to head up-field, cornerback Joselio Hanson knocked the ball loose and tipped it to keep it from going out of bounds.  Safety Tyvon Branch picked it up and ran it in for an apparent touchdown.  But due to an “inadvertent whistle,” the play was blown dead.  The replay clearly showed that a whistle did blow while Hanson was trying to keep the ball in bounds.  I’m not sure why the idiot zebra blew his whistle, but he did.  When that happens, that means the ball is dead and the play is over.  That also meant the Raiders didn’t get a touchdown and the play cannot be challenged.  The Bengals now had the option to replay the down.  They did just that and a false start was called on right tackle Andre Smith.

Apparently defensive end Lamarr Houston didn’t hear the whistle and took Dalton down to the ground.  This did not sit well with left tackle Andrew Whitworth and he went after Houston.  A huge brawl broke out and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly of the Raiders and defensive tackle Geno Atkins of the Bengals came off the bench to join in the fun.  This lasted for several minutes and brought back fond memories of a forgotten sport known as “hockey.”  After it got cleaned up, Whitworth, Houston and Kelly were all ejected from the game.  Why wasn’t Atkins?  He came off the bench too.  Whatever.  After the mess got cleaned up, it was third and 11 at the 15.  Dalton looked for Green and found him for a gain of 48 yards and a first down at the Raider 37.  Five straight runs by Peerman gave them a first down at the 11.  On third and six from the seven, Gresham caught a pass on the left side and made it into the end zone for the score.  Nugent made the point after and the Bengals won 34-10.

For the Raiders, Carson Palmer completed 19 of 34 for 146 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one lost fumble.  Marcel Reece led the team in rushing with 74 yards on 15 carries.  As a team, the Raiders netted  99 yards on 23 carries.  Reece also had 29 yards receiving.  Jeremy Stewart was the leader in receiving yards with 37 on six receptions.  Defensively, rookie linebacker Miles Burris led the Raiders with seven solo tackles.

For the Bengals, Andy Dalton completed 16 of 30 for 210 yards and three touchdowns.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the team with 129 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown.  All totaled, the Bengals rushed for 221 yards on 34 carries.  AJ Green led all receivers with 111 yards on three receptions.  Rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict led the defense with four solo tackles.  The Bengal defense pressured Palmer throughout the game and he was sacked four times.

The loss dropped the Raiders to three and eight and the Bengals improved to six and five.  Well, what else is there to say about this dreadful loss to the Bengals?  One bright spot is the defense made some nice adjustments at halftime, but the offense looked terrible throughout the game.  Despite their improved play in the second half, the defense still gave up some big plays in key situations.  The Raiders have three home games in a row coming up and next on the schedule is the Cleveland Browns.  They are coming off a big win over the Steelers and will be looking for another win.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they do get another win in Oakland.  Until next week, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

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