December 15, 2017

They Bent, They Broke, They Sucked!

Week five for the Oakland Raiders had them back at home to face the Ravens.  After losses to the Redskins and Broncos, Jack Del Rio was hoping to get his team back on the right track against a team that had been struggling.  I thought it would be a tight game with the Raiders pulling out a win by maybe seven points.  Silly me.  What the hell was I thinking?  This game got off to a terrible start as Joe Flacco went deep on the first play and connected with speedy Mike Wallace for a 54-yard gain.  Guess who was “covering” Wallace?  It was the incomparable Sean Smith.  It’s become painfully obvious that Smith can’t cover anyone.  That was just the first of many blunders made throughout the game by the defense.

Most of the blame goes on the defense.  But not all of it.  Backup quarterback E.J. Manuel tossed a short pass to Jared Cook.  He caught the pass, looked to gain yardage and had the ball knocked from his hands.  It was picked up by Jimmy Smith and returned 47 yards for a touchdown.  The protection for Manuel was decent.  He was sacked three times and that seems about the norm for the once heralded offensive line.  Manuel completed 13 of 26 passes for 159 yards and one touchdown.  Despite being not nearly 100 percent, Michael Crabtree had himself a nice game with six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.  I guess it is time for the obligatory mention of how Amari Cooper was once again invisible.  He was targeted twice and caught one pass for eight yards.  When it comes to him, I am beyond words.  I simply do not understand why he’s not getting more passes thrown his way.

When it comes to a defensive scheme, it looked like something that was drawn up in the dirt in Ken Norton Junior’s backyard.  There was no blitzing.  No pressure on Flacco at all as he was hit a grand total of two times.  Even though Flacco has a good arm, he is not mobile at all.  Where were all the safety blitzes we saw against the Titans and Jets?  I guess this scheme is called “bend but don’t break.”  Well, they bent, they broke and they sucked!  Flacco completed 19 of 26 for 222 yards.  Wallace was the leading receiver with 133 yards on three receptions.  On one occasion, Flacco took the snap, fell down, quickly got to his feet and was sandwiched in between two Raiders.  But he managed to toss a wounded duck to the right sideline.  A pass like that usually has interception written all over it.  Instead, it was caught by Jeremy Maclin for a first down.  Maclin was just standing by himself with no defensive backs around him.  After five weeks, the Raiders still have yet to pick off a pass.

After Terrance West left the game with an injury, the Ravens turned the running duties over to Javorius Allen.  He had a good game with 73 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown.  All totaled, the Ravens rushed for 143 yards on 39 carries.  On the other hand, the Raiders rushed for a grand total of 108 yards on 25 carries.  Marshawn Lynch was the leading rusher with 43 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.

This game was a mess from the start.  The Raiders basically gave the Ravens 14 points before the crowd had time to get a drink and find their seats.  But there was what I would call a “small glimmer of hope.”  The defense stepped up their game early in the third quarter.  After Lynch scored from three yards out to make the score 24-17, all they had to do was stop the Ravens and give the ball back to the offense.  That sounds like a really good idea doesn’t it?  The defense had other ideas.  Flacco completed several short passes to keep the ball and the clock moving.  Then came the dagger.  On third and eight from the Baltimore 47, Flacco went deep down the middle for Wallace.  Why does the Raider defense freak out every time they get in a third and long situation?  It’s like a Chinese fire drill.  “Everybody back up! Back up!”  Screw that backing up crap.  Bring some pressure!  Apparently they didn’t back up far enough.  Wallace got behind two defenders and hauled it in for a gain of 27 yards.  The Ravens would add a field goal.  That put the Raiders down 27-17.

With a little under nine minutes to go in the game, the Raiders had a fourth and three at the Baltimore 44-yard line.  What’s the big deal?  It’s only three freaking yards.  My jaw dropped when Del Rio sent in the punt team.  That was it.  They basically just said “Baltimore, you’re better than us.  We don’t have Derek Carr today, so you can go ahead and try to add to your lead.”  That’s precisely what they did as they added another field goal and came away with a 30-17 win.

This loss was the third straight for the Raiders and their record is now 2 and 3.  Rumor is that Carr will return next week to face the Chargers.  That should give the offense a spark.  Hopefully the offensive line will provide ample protection.  But that’s not really what concerns me.  My concern lies with the defense.  They will be facing another immobile quarterback.  However, everyone knows that if Philip Rivers is given time to find a receiver, he’ll find him and it will go for a big gain.  If the Raiders use the same defensive scheme they did against the Ravens, their record will be 2 and 4.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

Sweet Relief: Bears Beat Raiders

Bears 22, Raiders 20 – A Smelly Life Preserver

Robbie Gould’s 49-yard kick was good, the fans went wild, and the Chicago Bears topped the Oakland Raiders 22-20 at Soldier Field on Sunday, a victory that might not save Chicago’s season but at least temporarily kept it from getting downright silly.

Speaking of silly, Gould’s strong kick through Chicago’s obdurate winds provided the winning margin for the Bears but the silliness actually was not over and the game wasn’t over either. On the ensuing kickoff the Raiders played a serious game of hot potato and it worked as Oakland’s series of laterals and scrambles helped them matriculate the ball well into Bears’ territory before one last lateral finally went awry and the Bears smothered it, time had expired, and thank God it was over.

Those crazy laterals on desperate kickoff returns are some of the funnest things you ever see on a football field and why don’t we see them more often? Even if the Raiders hadn’t eventually coughed up the ball on that final mad dash they wouldn’t have scored as they were eventually – perhaps inevitably – flagged for an illegal forward pass which nearly always happens on such returns.

Here’s an idea: Why not allow teams to have one forward pass per game on a kickoff return?  Because you can’t do that, that’s now how football is played, you stupid-face. But, again, why not? Why not make it a little more exciting, a little more fun, a little more rugby-like (I know, rugby does not allow forward passes but you know what we’re trying to convey here) with more constant flow and action, angles and adventure? Why not?

Back to the concrete world, though, and we accept that the Bears probably won this game because the Raiders, previously known as the “resurgent Raiders,” are likely more ordinary than exciting. Oakland actually has, statistically, just about the worst defense in the league and the Bears still only managed 22 points.

But that’s 22 more than Chicago scored last week and quarterback Jay Cutler’s return was a big reason. Number-6 made a lot of crisp passes; completing 28 of 43 for 281 yards and two scores, but also tossed up a few regrettable ones, including a late interception that almost cost Grandma her bingo money.

The Bears also won the time of possession, ran more plays, had more yards rushing and did not lose the turnover battle. Funny how all those things can lead to a long kick hanging in the wind and falling in your favor.

The Bears are now 1-3 and head to Kansas City to play the Chiefs who are also 1-3 and have dropped three straight. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! The Bears will soon be 2-3, and then at the .500 mark by Halloween. Look out, kids. Momma’s got her Midway Mojo and Daddy’s not wakin’ up soon. –TK

SLAM! CLICK! BOOM!!! on the Raiders’ 2014 Season

It’s been said that all good things must come to an end.  Well, on Sunday, December 28, a very bad thing came to an end.  That would be the 2014 season for the Oakland Raiders.  They went out without much of a fight as the Denver Broncos destroyed them by a score of 47-14.  It was the same old thing for the Raiders.  The best player on the field was punter Marquette King.  He punted NINE times for 418 yards and four of those punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.  Impressive.  At least the punter knows what he’s doing.  What totally baffles me is how an offense can look so bad.  How in the name of all that is moronic can you not figure out a way to move the ball?  Did you practice during the week?  Did you watch how the Bengals moved the ball against Denver?  They ran the ball right down their throats!  Oh well.  It’s over and it’s done.  Nothing can be done about it.

Now the off season starts.  There are so many questions to be answered.  Who will be the new head coach?  Word was it was going to be Jim Harbaugh.  Wrong.  He’s off to Michigan to try and turn that program around.  A lot of the veteran players are clamoring for Tony Sparano to stick around.  They seemed to play a lot harder for Sparano than they did for Dennis Allen.  Whether he sticks around is up to owner Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie to decide.

One thing to remember is that there are a lot of glaring holes at a lot of positions.  In my opinion, the main thing that needs to be addressed on the offensive side of the ball is a go to wide receiver.  Granted, Andre Holmes and James Jones are good, but they’re not in the elite category and I’ve seen games where they can’t get any separation at all.  A player that could help that situation out immediately is Amari Cooper from Alabama.  If he’s there with the fourth pick in the draft, it would be a wise decision to take him.

There are so many other positions that need to be addressed and unlike how it was when Al Davis was in charge, the Raiders have a lot of money to spend.  Of course, they had a lot of money to spend last year and not many of the players contributed.  For instance, Maurice Jones-Drew carried the ball 43 times for 96 yards and never found the end zone.  LaMarr Woodley had three solo tackles in five games before being put on injured-reserve.  McKenzie needs to stay away from players like that.  Jones-Drew and Woodley were  in the twilight of their careers and their best years were way behind them.  The big question is can he lure quality free agents away from other teams?  Not many players want to come to a team that has an 11-37 record over the last three years.

By the way, if you’re wondering about the title of this article, I can explain.  The first word is “SLAM.”  That means I’m taking the 13 ugly losses from 2014 and I am putting them in a locker and slamming it shut.  Next is the word “CLICK.”  That means I am putting a lock on the door.  The next word is “BOOM!”  I usually use that word when Janikowksi makes a long field goal.  Not this time.  See, while I was putting those losses into the locker, I also included some dynamite.  Now I am going to detonate it.  BOOM!  The 2014 season is gone.

IF the Raiders can have a draft like they did last year and IF they can sign some QUALITY free agents, they might have a decent 2015.  That also depends on who they hire as their next head coach.  I have no control over who the coach will be, but they need a new offensive coordinator.  I think I’ve made my opinion pretty clear about how I feel about Greg Olson.  That’s about all I can say about the Raiders at this time because once again, what will happen in Oakland is yet to be determined.  I’ll be back next Monday with playoff articles.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

Raiders 26, Bills 24

The week 16 match-up for the Oakland Raiders was a visit from the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills were coming off a big 21-13 win over the Green Bay Packers and the Raiders were coming off a horrible 31-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.  Despite having a pitiful 2-12 record, the fans of the Raider Nation were out in full force.  Kickoff specialist Jordan Gay sent the opening kickoff deep into the end zone and the Raiders started at their 20-yard line.  It looked like a repeat performance of last week as the Raiders had a quick three and out.

The Bills didn’t have a hard time moving the ball on their first possession of the game.  Quarterback Kyle Orton engineered a seven play, 60-yard drive that was capped off by a 42-yard touchdown to rookie wide receiver Sammie Watkins.  After another punt by the Raiders, the Bills took over at their 46-yard line.  A four-yard pass to running back C.J. Spiller, a short run by running back Boobie Dixon and an eight-yard pass to tight end Scott Chandler moved the Bills into Raider territory.  On third and nine from the Oakland 38, Orton looked for Chandler again and the pass was picked off by safety Charles Woodson at the 16-yard line.  That was the 60th interception for the future Hall of Famer.   But the Raiders couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and quickly punted again.  Punter Marquette King hit a nice 53-yard punt and the Bills took over at their 27-yard line.  The Bills followed suit and the Raiders got the ball back at their 36-yard line.  From the 36, Carr found wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins for a gain of 13.  Three plays later, Carr launched a bomb deep down the middle that was hauled in by Thompkins for a gain of 50 yards and a first down at the Buffalo four-yard line.  On second and goal from the three, Carr rolled to the right and found wide receiver James Jones all alone in the end zone for a Raider touchdown.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowksi made the point after and the score was tied 7-7 with 14:56 to go in the second quarter.

The Bills suffered a huge loss as defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was lost for the game with a knee injury.  With Dareus in the game, the Raiders were having a terrible time finding any room to run.  With him out of the game, the holes would start to open up.  After a Buffalo punt, the Raiders took over at their 42.  On second and 11, running back Latavius Murray ran up the left side for a gain of 15 yards.  That was followed by a nine-yard run by Murray.  Running back Darren McFadden came into the game and netted ten yards on two carries.  They would move the ball down to the Buffalo 27-yard line and the drive stalled there.  Janikowksi came on for a 45-yard field goal attempt and the kick was good.  The Raiders led 10-7 with eight minutes to go in the first half.

With 4:16 to go in the half, the Raiders got the ball back at their 41.  Completions to Murray and fullback Marcel Reece quickly moved them down to the Buffalo 24.  McFadden ran up the middle for six yards, but on third and four, Carr’s pass intended for Thompkins fell incomplete.  That meant it was time for Janikowksi to try another field goal.  His 36-yard attempt was good and the Raiders led 13-7 with 1:11 to go in the first half.

The Bills started at their 23 and Orton quickly got his team into Oakland territory with completions to running back Fred Jackson and Watkins.  Another completion to Watkins gave the Bills a first down at the 44.  The drive stalled at the 36 and Carpenter was called on for a 54-yard field goal attempt.  He split the uprights easily and the Raiders led 13-10 at halftime.

The Bills got the ball to start the second half and three plays netted negative six yards.  On third and six from the 24, Orton was sacked for a loss of ten by rookie linebacker Khalil Mack.  Punter Colton Schmidt blasted a 56-yard punt that was fielded by return man T.J. Carrie at the Oakland 30.  He returned it five yards and the Raiders set up shop at the 35-yard line.  Three carries by Murray quickly moved the Raiders down to the Buffalo 19.  But the next three plays netted minus one yard.  Janikowksi came on for another field goal attempt and his 38-yard attempt was good.  That put the Raiders up 16-10 with 10:18 to go in the third quarter.

The Bills continued to struggle on offense and punted again.  Schmidt sent the ball through the end zone and the Raiders started their next possession at their 20-yard line.  On third and ten, Carr hit Thompkins in stride on a crossing route that gained 11 yards.  Cornerback Stephon Gilmore was injured on that play and did not return.  A carry by McFadden gained 12 yards for another first down at the 43.  Another carry by Murray and a five-yard pass to tight end Mychal Rivera moved the ball into Buffalo territory.  From the Buffalo 47, Carr hooked up with wide receiver Andre Holmes for a gain of 12 yards.  Once again, the Raiders couldn’t find the end zone and the drive came to an end at the 31-yard line.  Janikowski made his 49-yard field goal attempt and the Raiders went up 19-10 with 2:36 to go in the third quarter.

The Bills started at their 17 and on second and eight from the 19, Orton found wide receiver Chris Hogan across the middle for a gain of 31 yards and a first down at the 50-yard line.  A defensive holding call on defensive end Justin Tuck gave them five more yards and a first down at the Oakland 45.  A short run by Jackson and a 19-yard pass to Watkins moved them down to the 26.  But a holding call moved them back ten yards.  Undeterred by the holding call, Orton completed a seven-yard pass to wide receiver Robert Woods.  That was followed by a pass down the middle to Chandler.  He rumbled down the field and dove into the end zone for a touchdown.  Carpenter made the point after and the Raiders now led 19-17 with 14:57 to go in the game.

Both teams punted on their next possessions.  With 8:13 remaining, the Raiders got the ball back at their 20.  On third and one from the 29, Carr took the snap and plowed straight ahead for a gain of two and a first down at the 31.  On second and ten, Murray ran up the left side for a nice 15-yard gain.  Not so fast, my friend.  The Raiders were flagged for holding and that moved them back to their 21.  That was followed by a short pass to Murray and he was thrown for a loss of two yards.  The Bills had the Raiders right where they wanted them.  It was third and 22 from the 19-yard line.  If they could stop the Raiders on this upcoming play, they would force a punt and likely get the ball back with good field position.  Carr took the snap, ran to his right and launched a deep bomb up the right side.  Holmes hauled it in for a gain of 51 yards and a first down at the Buffalo 30.  On second and six from the 26, McFadden ran up the left side for a gain of 25.  It looked like he might score, but he fell out of bounds at the one-yard line.  Two plays later, Carr tossed a short pass to the left that was caught for a touchdown by fullback Jamize Olawale.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders were up 26-17 with 2:51 to go in the game.

The Bills took over at their 20 and on first down, Orton was sacked by Tuck for a loss of 11 yards.  Two plays later, Orton felt the pressure, stepped up in the pocket and threw a pass intended for Hogan.  It was picked off by safety Brandian Ross and the Raiders got the ball back at the 26.  That play SHOULD have sealed a win for the Raiders.  All they needed was a first down and the game would be over.  Keep in mind that I am talking about the Raiders here.  They do things differently in Oakland.  What followed was three running plays that netted minus three yards and three timeouts called by the Bills.  Janikowksi came on again for a 48-yard attempt and it sailed wide left.  That gave the Bills the ball at their 38 with 1:55 to go in the game.  On second and 12 from the 36, it looked like Orton was going to be sacked again.  But he escaped the pressure and dumped off a short pass to Jackson.  As Jackson headed up-field, the Raiders forgot how to tackle and Jackson was finally pushed out of bounds at the Oakland 30-yard line.  Two plays later, Orton floated one up to the end zone and Woods hauled it in for a touchdown.  Carpenter made the point after and the Raiders now led 26-24 with 1:09 to go in the game.  That meant it was time for an onside kick.  Gay hit a high kick up the right side that was caught by Woodson.  That ended any hopes for the Bills to make it to the post season.  Carr took a knee and the game was over.  The Raiders won 26-24.

For the Bills, Kyle Orton completed 32 of 49 for 329 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.  Fred Jackson led the team in receptions with nine and receiving yards with 93.  The Bills found it very hard to move the ball on the ground as they ran for just 13 yards on 13 attempts.  Defensively, safety Da’Norris Stacy led the team in solo tackles with  nine.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr overcame a rough start and completed 17 of 34 for 214 yards and two touchdowns.  Kenbrell Thompkins led the team in receptions with five and receiving yards with 90.  When Marcell Dareus left the game, the Raiders ground attack improved greatly.  Latavius Murray led the way with 86 yards on 23 carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 140 yards on 36 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Miles Burris led the team in solo tackles with nine.

Up next for the Raiders is a trip to Denver to take on the Broncos.  That will conclude the 2014 season for the Raiders.  Lots of questions remain for this team.  Will they get Jim Harbaugh?  Will they keep Sparano?  Will they stay in Oakland?  All I can say to those questions is “I don’t know.”  It should be a very interesting off season.

Merry Christmas from the Raider Guy

Send In The Clowns

First of all, let me say that I really enjoyed watching the Raiders last week.  It was one of the rare times that I sat there and watched a Raider game from beginning to end.  To top it off, they really played well and came away with a 24-13 win over the 49ers.  When I was a kid, I was told not to live in the past and look ahead to the future.  Well, after that nice win, I thought the Raiders would go into Arrowhead Stadium and come away with yet another win.  I should be put in front of a firing squad for thinking so optimistically.

The game started out the way a lot of Raiders-Chiefs games start.  It was sort of a feeling out process.  With a little over six minutes to go, punter Marquette King nailed a 57-yard punt that was fielded at the Kansas City 19-yard line by rookie return man De’Anthony Thomas.  He proceeded to run up the left sideline for an 81-yard punt return.  That gave the Chiefs the lead and they never looked back.  Kicker Cairo Santos added a field goal with eight minutes to go in the second quarter and the Chiefs were up 10-0.

The Raiders managed to get on the board right before the end of the first half as Sebastian Janikowksi made a 53-yard field goal.  That made the score 10-3 at halftime.  It was good to see them score, but I was nothing but pissed off.  Prior to that drive, the Raiders had the ball for six other possessions and all of them ended with a punt.   Early in the third quarter, fortune smiled on the Raiders for a few seconds.  Tight end Travis Kelce caught a short pass and fumbled.  The ball was picked out of the air by defensive end C.J. Wilson.  He took it up the right side and it looked like he might make it to the end zone.  Seeing as the offense didn’t know how to score, maybe the defense could show them where the end zone was.  No such luck.  Wilson was dragged down at the Kansas City 15-yard line.  All the offense had to do was gain 15 yards and they could tie the game up.  FIFTEEN FREAKING YARDS!!!!  They ran three plays and gained exactly ZERO yards.  Janikowski made another field goal and the Raiders trailed 10-6.

That was the last time until late in the game that the Raiders would score any points.  What follows is what happened after that field goal…

Knile Davis scored on a 3-yard run.  Santos made the extra point

Travis Kelce caught a 20-yard pass from Alex Smith for a touchdown.  Santos made the extra point.

Knile Davis caught  a 70-yard pass from Alex Smith for a touchdown.  Santos made the extra point.

While the Chiefs were doing all that scoring, the Raiders were fumbling the ball away and punting the ball away.  That 70-yard touchdown by Davis made the score 31-6.  With 34 seconds to go in the game, the Raiders finally found end zone when Derek Carr completed a one-yard pass to James Jones in the end zone.  But it was far too little and far too late.  The Chiefs came away with an easy 31-13 win.  That win improved their record to 8-6 and kept their playoff hopes alive.  The Raiders fell to 2-12 and nobody looked like they gave a damn.

Now, I think I have an answer as to why the Raiders punted on their first six possessions of the game.  It was the play calling of offensive coordinator Greg Olson yet again.  Early in the game, Latavius Murray was running the ball very well and averaging five yards a carry.  If something is working, why do you change it?  This is a question that I ask nearly every game.  All of a sudden, they were calling pass plays and totally abandoned the running game.  The defense was playing relatively well in the first half, but they weren’t getting any help from the offense.  I sincerely do not understand what goes on in the mind of Greg Olson.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 27 of 56 for 222 yards and one touchdown.  James Jones led the team in receptions with eight and Andre Holmes had the most receiving yards with 70.  Latavius Murray led the way on the ground with 59 yards on 12 carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 78 yards on 17 carries.  That’s an average of 4.6 yards a carry.  If they would have kept pounding the ball, there may have been a different outcome.  But when you have a complete moron calling the plays, you aren’t going to win many games.  Defensively, Khalil Mack led the team in solo tackles with six.

For the Chiefs, Alex Smith completed 18 of 30 for 297 yards and two touchdowns.  Travis Kelce led the team in receptions with five and Knile Davis had the most receiving yards with 70.  On the ground, Jamaal Charles led the way with 52 yards on 12 carries.  As a team, the Chiefs had a total of 93 yards on 27 carries.  Defensively, the Chiefs were in Carr’s face all day and sacked him four times.  Defensive back Jamell Fleming led the team in solo tackles with eight.

Well, only two games to go.  Up next for the Raiders is a home game against the Buffalo Bills.  The Bills are coming off a solid 21-13 win over the Packers.  In that game, they pressured Aaron Rodgers and picked him off twice.  However, the Packers had success running the ball.  They totaled 158 yards rushing and averaged 6.3 yards a carry.  Are you reading this, Olson?  Are you going to watch the film and see how the Packers successfully ran the ball against the Bills?  Or are you going to have your rookie quarterback throw 50 times against a very aggressive pass rush?  I think I already know the answer to that question.  Take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

Bay Area Battle: Raiders Win 24-13

Up next for the Oakland Raiders was a home game against the San Francisco 49ers.  The 49ers were coming off a bad 19-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and the Raiders were coming off a horrible 52-0 loss to the St. Louis Rams.  After that game, I didn’t have much hope for the Raiders winning another game.  I figured a 1-15 record was imminent.  Well, that’s why they play the games, right?

The Raiders won the toss and deferred to the second half.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski sent the opening kickoff through the end zone and the 49ers started at their 20.  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took to the air on the first play of the game and his pass intended for wide receiver Michael Crabtree was picked off by safety Brandian Ross at the Oakland 49-yard line.  Now, I have always been a believer in making the other team immediately pay for their mistakes.  If I were the offensive coordinator, I’d call a deep bomb on first down.  John Madden loved to do that.  But, that’s not how it is in Oakland nowadays.  Greg Olson did his usual play call on first down and running back Darren McFadden ran up the middle for one freaking yard.  That was followed by an 11-yard scramble by quarterback Derek Carr and that netted a first down at the San Francisco 39-yard line.  From the 39, Carr completed an 11-yard pass to fullback Marcel Reece.  They wouldn’t get any farther than that due to a stupid personal foul penalty on guard Austin Howard.  On fourth and 21 from the 39-yard line, they decided to bring in the Polish cannon for a 57-yard field goal attempt.  He nailed it and the Raiders went up 3-0 with 11:46 to go in the first quarter.

Both teams punted on their next possessions.  With six minutes to go in the first quarter, the 49ers got the ball back at their 40-yard line.  On first down, Kaepernick found tight end Vernon Davis across the middle for a gain of 23 yards and a first down at the Oakland 37.  Two carries by running back Frank Gore moved them down to the 21.  Two completions to wide receiver Anquan Boldin and a short carry by rookie running back Carlos Hyde netted another first down at the eight-yard line.  From the eight, Kaepernick tossed a short pass to fullback Bruce Miller and he snuck into the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.  Kicker Phil Dawson made the point after and the 49ers led 7-3 with 1:54 remaining in the first quarter.

The Raiders took over at their 26.  A six-yard completion to Reece and two carries by running back Latavius Murray quickly moved them to mid-field.  Some more running by Murray and Reece and a 20-yard completion to wide receiver Vincent Brown netted a first down at the San Francisco 28-yard line.  Another short run by Murray and a 19-yard pass to tight end Mychal Rivera moved the ball to the seven-yard line.  Three plays later, Carr rolled out to the left and dumped off a short pass that was caught by left tackle Donald Penn.  He bounced off a big hit and fell into the end zone for a Raider touchdown.  Then he jumped into the stands and had a little party with the rowdy members of the Black Hole.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 10-7 with 10:45 to go in the first half.

The 49ers started at their 30 and immediately received some help from the zebras.  Back to back defensive pass interference penalties on the Raiders moved them quickly down to the Oakland 42-yard line.  They would get as far as the 36 and the drive stalled there.  Dawson came on for a 54-yard field goal attempt.  The kick was good, but there was another flag thrown.  The 49ers were flagged for holding and that nullified the field goal.  They were forced to punt.  As a matter of fact, there was a lot of punting going on until the 49ers started their next drive from their nine-yard line.  Passes to Davis and Boldin and a 17-yard scramble by Kaepernick had them moving in the right direction.  That was followed by a 20-yard pas to Boldin and some more scrambling by Kaepernick.  With time running out in the first half, Dawson was brought into the game again for a 52-yard attempt.  The kick was good and the score was knotted at 10 at halftime.

The Raiders gained a grand total of six yards on their first possession of the second half and punter Marquette King got off a nice 55-yard punt that was fielded by return man Bruce Ellington at the San Francisco 31-yard line.  Ellington returned it to the Oakland 46 and the 49ers had good field position.  Three carries by Gore and two completions to Crabtree moved the ball down to the nine-yard line.  Gore was stopped for a loss of one on first down.  On second down, Kaepernick looked for Boldin and the pass was incomplete.  That brought up third down.  Kaepernick had time and completed a short pass to Hyde.  It looked like he might make it to the end zone, but he was pushed out of bounds at the two-yard line by cornerback D.J. Hayden.  Dawson came on again and his 20-yard kick was good and the 49ers led 13-10 with 8:34 to go in the third quarter.

The Raiders took over at their 20 and after the usual short carry by McFadden, Carr found wide receiver Andre Holmes on the right side for a gain of 16 yards.  That was followed by a 12-yard pass to Reece.  A defensive holding penalty gave them five more yards and a first down at the San Francisco 45-yard line.  From the 45, Carr ran to his left and with pressure coming at him, he fired a pass down the middle that was caught by Rivera for a gain of 27 yards and a first down at the 18.  McFadden got a few more yards on first down.  That was followed by a short pass to Reece.  He was stopped short of the first down marker and that set up a third and one from the nine.  I thought they would definitely try another run up the middle.  To my surprise, the Raiders came out of the huddle with an empty backfield and five receivers.  Carr took the snap, fired a pass to the left side for Reece and he took it into the end zone for a touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 17-13 with four minutes to go in the third quarter.

The 49ers punted on their next possession and the Raiders took over at their 20.  This drive got off to a good start as Carr completed a 22-yard pass to Holmes.  I was truly shocked not to see McFadden run up the middle on first down.  That was followed by a short run by Murray.  A delay of game penalty moved them back five yards and on second and 13 from the 49, Carr completed a six-yard pass to Reece.  That’s when Carr went deep again and hooked up with Rivera for 27 yards and a first down at the San Francisco 29-yard line.  Two more carries by Murray and completions to Rivera and Reece moved the ball down to the three-yard line.  Three plays later, Carr found Rivera again in the left corner of the end zone for his third touchdown pass of the day.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 24-13 with 10:39 to go in the game.

Down by two scores, I thought the 49ers would go to their no huddle offense.  That didn’t happen.  They started at their 20 and methodically moved down the field with completions to Crabtree and tight end Garrett Celek.  On third and eight from the Oakland 25, the Raiders brought the pressure and Kaepernick was sacked by defensive tackle Antonio Smith for a loss of four yards.  Dawson came on for a 47-yard field goal and this time, it was no good.  That was huge for the Raiders and they remained up by 11 points with five minutes to go in the game.  All they needed to do was get a couple of first downs and the game would be over.  Well, on third and three from the 44, Carr rolled to the right side and I guess you could say he took a knee.  He fell to the ground for a loss on nine yards.  I thought that was very peculiar.  Then I remembered that Greg Olson is the offensive coordinator and it didn’t seem so peculiar.  King punted and the 49ers took over at their 23-yard line.

Things didn’t get off to a very good start for the 49ers as Kaepernick was sacked for a loss of five by linebacker Khalil Mack.  That was followed by an incomplete pass to Crabtree.  On third and long, Kaepernick looked for Davis and the pass was picked off by safety Charles Woodson.  The 49ers used up their time-outs and ended up getting the ball back with 28 seconds remaining.  On the final play of the game, Kaepernick was sacked once again by Mack.  And that’s that.  The Raiders won the Bay Area Battle by a score of 24-13.  That loss really hurt the 49ers chances of getting to the playoffs.  Although the Raiders were eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago, they held their heads up high as they walked off the field knowing they won the Bay Area Battle.

For the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick completed 18 of 33 for 174 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.  Michael Crabtree led the team in receptions with nine and receiving yards with 56.  Frank Gore was the leading rusher as he had 63 yards on 12 carries.  As a team, the 49ers rushed for 97 yards on 18 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Chris Borland led the team in solo tackles with 12.

For the Raiders, rookie Derek Carr had himself a great day and looked like a veteran out there.  He completed 22 of 28 for 254 yards and three touchdowns.  Mychal Rivera and Marcel Reece tied for the lead in receptions with seven apiece.  Rivera had the most receiving yards with 109 and a touchdown.  Like most running backs, Latavius Murray found it difficult to run on the 49ers defense.  He finished the game with 76 yards on 23 carries.  16 of those yards came on one carry.  For the most part, the defense looked very good as they sacked Kaepernick five times and picked him off twice.  Charles Woodson and T.J. Carrie tied for the lead in solo tackles with seven.

After that horrid loss to the Rams, head coach Tony Sparano said the Raiders would “bounce back.”  I had sincere doubts about that and said “Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Sparano.”  Well, I liked the action I saw against the 49ers.  Apparently the players did too.  Near the conclusion of the game, Sparano was given a Gatorade bath.  They held the 49ers to 248 total yards and looked damn good.  Up next is a trip to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.  Which Raider team will show up?  Will it be the one that played so well against the 49ers?  Or will it be the clowns that played in the game against the Rams two weeks ago?  I wish I knew.  Take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

 

 

Only 4 Games To Go!

Normally when I write these articles, I do an introduction of who is playing who and what they did the week before.  Then, the paragraphs that follow usually have something to do with how a drive ended.  Was there a field goal?  A touchdown?  Maybe there was a turnover.  Well, there was a lot of scoring in this game.  Below you will see a list of all the scoring plays.

1st quarter

Tre Mason caught a 35-yard pass from Shaun Hill for a touchdown.  Greg Zuerlein made the point after.

Hill scored on a two-yard run.  Zuerlein made the point after.

Tavon Austin scored on an 18-yard run. Zuerlein made the point after.

2nd quarter

Mason scored on an 89-yard run.  Zuerlein made the point after.

Cory Harkey caught a four-yard pass for a touchdown.  Zuerlein made the point after.

Zuerlein kicked a 38-yard field goal.

4th quarter

Mason scored on an eight-yard run.  Zuerlein made the point after.

Trumaine Johnson scored on a 43-yard interception return.  Zuerlein made the point after.

Those are all the scoring plays for the Rams.  Now, what about all the scoring plays for the Raiders?  Well, I’d like to talk about that.  But I can’t.  That’s because they didn’t score a single point.  They played so badly that they made a team with a four and seven record look like future Super Bowl champions.  After a good win in the previous week against the Chiefs, the Raiders came out looking flat, uninterested and stupid.  So, what’s your excuse this time?  You don’t like domes?  You can’t win in the central time zone?  What really is disturbing is that these “Raiders” got paid to play that badly.  Must be nice.

There’s some interesting stats from this game.  The Raiders had the ball for nearly 37 minutes and ran 75 plays.  The Rams had the ball for 23 minutes and ran only 49 plays.  Despite having the ball for such a short amount of time, they out-gained the Raiders in total yards 348-244.  The Rams averaged 7.1 yards per play while the Raiders averaged 3.3 yards.  The biggest stat of all is turnovers.  The Rams didn’t turn the ball over and the Raiders turned the ball over five times.

It was the same old garbage.  Offensive coordinator Greg Olson was his usual idiotic self and did his usual horrible play calling.  How many times are we going to see McFadden run up the middle for a gain of two?  Head coach Tony Sparano looked like he’d rather be in Miami.  After the game, he said the team would “bounce back.”  Yeah.  Sure they will.  Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Sparano.  A few weeks ago, I mentioned Derek Carr having a “deer in headlights” expression in his eyes.  Well, this time, his eyes were even wider.  He was running for his life and was sacked several times.  Matt Schaub replaced him and didn’t fare any better.  It was truly a horrible game to witness.  Up next is a home game against the San Francisco 49ers.  They got beat up pretty badly on Thanksgiving by the Seattle Seahawks and they really need a win to stay in the playoff hunt.  If the Raiders play as badly as they did against the Rams, the 49ers will have no trouble getting a win.  Until then, take it easy.

The Fed Up Raider Guy

Just Win In The Rain, Baby!

Up next for the Raiders was a Thursday night home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Chiefs were coming off a big 24-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks and the Raiders were coming off a tough 13-6 loss to the San Diego Chargers.  As the rain poured down, kicker Sebastian Janikowksi sent the opening kickoff into the end zone and the Chiefs started at their 20-yard line.

Aside from a five-yard carry by running back Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs went nowhere and punted the ball away.  Punter Dustin Colquitt hit a huge 69-yard punt that was downed at the Oakland 15-yard line.  The Raiders managed to get one first down before punting the ball right back to the Chiefs.  The Raider defense played well on this possession and forced another three and out.  This time, Colquitt didn’t get all of it and the ball was downed at the Oakland 40-yard line.  This drive got off to a nice start as quarterback Derek Carr connected with wide receiver Vincent Brown for a gain of 19 and a first down at the Kansas City 41.  That was followed by a short carry by running back Darren McFadden and an 11-yard completion to wide receiver James Jones.  From the 27, running back Latavius Murray got in on the action and took it up the middle for a gain of six.  Two plays later, Carr found wide receiver Brice Butler and that play was good for a first down at the 11-yard line.  Murray finished the drive as he ran untouched up the left side for a touchdown.  It was the first rushing touchdown the Chiefs have allowed all year.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 7-0.

As the rain continued, both offenses had trouble moving the ball.  With 12:40 to go in the second quarter, the Raiders took over at their ten-yard line.  This “drive” would last only about 12 seconds.  That’s because Murray ran up the middle, cut to his left and saw nothing but green grass in front of him.  He took it to the end zone for a 90-yard touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 14-0 with 12:28 to go in the first half.

The Chiefs took over at their 20 and got off to a good start with nine-yard carries by running back De’Anthony Thomas and Charles.  On second and ten from the 37, quarterback Alex Smith connected with tight end Anthony Fasano for a gain of 11 and a first down at the 48.  They would get as far as the Oakland 44 and they were forced to punt from there.  Back to receive the punt was wide receiver Denarius Moore.  All of a sudden, I got a bad feeling.  Something was about to happen that Raider fans wouldn’t like.  The punt was high and Moore got under it, but the ball went right through his arms and was pounced on by linebacker Frank Zombo.  That gave the Chiefs excellent field position at the Oakland 11-yard line.  I can’t repeat all the obscenities I screamed at the television after that play.  That was the last we would be seeing of Mr. Moore.  The good news is the Raider defense was up to the task of stopping the Chiefs.  Charles ran up the middle for a gain of six on first down.  Smith looked for Charles on second down, but the pass was incomplete.  That set up a very big third and four from the five-yard line.  Smith had plenty of time to find a receiver and fired a pass to Thomas.  He was hit hard at the two-yard line by safety Brandian Ross and the pass fell incomplete.  Kicker Cairo Santos came on and his 24-yard field goal attempt was good.  The Raiders led 14-3 with 7:19 to go in the first half.

Murray returned the kickoff to the 25, but a holding call moved the Raiders back to the 15.  On third and three from the 22, Murray got another carry and it was good for a first down.  However, he was a victim of a helmet to helmet hit by safety Kurt Coleman.  The ball came loose and was recovered by the Raiders.  Murray would leave the game with a possible concussion and would not return.  That was bad news for the Raiders and the drive was halted at the 39 as McFadden came up just short of the first down marker on third and three.  King punted and the Chiefs still couldn’t get their offense going.  The first half ended with the Raiders leading 14-3.

Both teams punted on their first possessions of the second half.  At the 9:44 mark, the Raiders got the ball back at the Kansas City 49-yard line.  A short completion to McFadden and a six-yard carry by McFadden set up a third and one at the 40.  I was expecting to see a running play, but the Raiders came out with an empty backfield and Carr completed a two-yard pass to Jones for a first down at the 38.  On third and seven from the 22, Carr went deep up the right sideline for wide receiver Andre Holmes.  It was incomplete, but there was a flag on the play and early indications were it was defensive pass interference.  No such luck.  It was ruled that Holmes “voluntarily” ran out of bounds and therefore there was no penalty.  That meant it was time for Janikowski to try a 40-yard field goal.  It wasn’t the best kick I’ve ever seen him make, but he snuck it inside the left upright and it was good.  With 5:05 to go in the third quarter, the Raiders led 17-3.

Return man Knile Davis returned the kickoff to the 40 and the Chiefs had good field position to start their next drive.  Passes to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, tight end Travis Kelce and Thomas quickly moved the Chiefs to the Oakland 28-yard line.  On second and six from the 24, Charles ran for ten yards, but the ball was knocked loose.  Linebacker Khalil Mack was in prime position to recover the ball, but he couldn’t corral it and Thomas recovered it at the 14.  While all this was going on, a flag was thrown and the Chiefs were penalized for an illegal block above the waist.  That moved them back to the 30 and Smith found Kelce for a gain of 11.  That made it third and one from the 19.  The Raiders were expecting Charles to get another carry and brought some heavy pressure up the middle.  The only problem with that is that Charles didn’t have the ball.  Standing all by himself with no one around him was Fasano.  Smith saw him and he completed a very easy 19-yard touchdown pass.  Santos made the point after and the Chiefs trailed 17-10 with 1:52 to go in the third quarter.

Aside from a nice 37-yard pass to Holmes, the Raiders didn’t have much success on their next drive and were forced to punt again.  The Chiefs took over at their 35 and marched right down the field.  What the hell happened to the Raider defense?  There was no pressure on Smith, receivers were wide open and there were missed tackles all over the field.  Unfortunately, that’s something that’s been happening to the Raiders for a long time.  A 27-yard pass to Kelce moved the Chiefs to the Oakland 38.  Despite being flagged for two holding penalties, the Chiefs were able to find the end zone.  On second and 16 from the 30, Smith found Charles open in the middle of the field and Charles did the rest as he avoided several defenders on his way to the end zone.  Santos made the point after and just like that, the score was knotted at 17 with 12:20 to go in the game.

The Raiders gained three yards on their next possession and punted.  Return man Frankie Hammond fielded the punt at the Kansas City 35 and returned it to the Oakland 37.  That gave the Chiefs excellent field position.  On first down, Smith found wide receiver Albert Wilson wide open for a gain of 23 yards and a first down at the 14.  A short scramble by Smith and a five yard pass set up a crucial third and three.  The Raiders brought the pressure and the pass fell incomplete.  Still, the Chiefs could take the lead if Santos made the 25-yard field goal attempt.  The kick was good and the Chiefs led 20-17 with nine minutes to go in the game.

When the Raiders took over at their 20, there was no sign of McFadden or Jones-Drew.  Fullback Marcel Reece was the one who would be doing the dirty work.  Reece carried the ball three times and caught an eight-yard pass to quickly move the ball to the 48.  After that, Carr was sacked for a loss of two by defensive end Justin Houston.  On second and 12, Carr completed an 11-yard pass to Butler to move the Raiders into Kansas City territory.  Once again, the Raiders were in another third and one situation.  I thought Reece would be the man to go to again.  Wrong.  It was a pass intended for tight end Mychal Rivera that was almost intercepted.  So, it was now fourth and one.  Who will it be this time?  Reece?  McFadden?  Marcus Allen?  Bo Jackson?  None of the above.  Carr took it himself and got just enough for a first down at the 42.  Reece got another carry and grinded out four tough yards.  Carr went deep for Holmes on the next play.  He was open, but the ball was poorly thrown and again, it was almost intercepted.  That made it third and six.  Carr stood tall in the pocket and connected with Rivera across the middle for a gain of eight and a first down at the 30.

From the 30, Carr went deep for Jones and the pass was incomplete.  Like always, offensive coordinator Greg Olson called for a running play on second down after an incompletion on first down. The Chiefs were well aware of this and Reece was stuffed for a short gain.  From the 29, Carr threw to Holmes on the right sideline.  There was lots of contact while the ball was in the air and safety Ron Parker was flagged for defensive pass interference.  That gave the Raiders new life and a first down at the 20.  Two carries by Reece netted nine yards and Carr ran up the middle for two yards and a first down at the nine.  From the nine, Carr had all the time he needed to find a receiver and he found Jones in the end zone for a Raider touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 24-20 with 1:42 to go in the game.

Janikowski sent the kickoff nine yards deep into the end zone, but Thomas ran it out and I sincerely believe if safety Larry Asante hadn’t been in perfect position, Thomas would have had himself a 109-yard kick return.  Thomas was pushed out of bounds at the Kansas City 39-yard line.  The Chiefs had no timeouts and 61 yards to go to get themselves a win.  From the 39, Smith was pressured by Mack.  Despite having a firm grasp on Smith’s jersey, Mack was unable to bring him down and Smith got off a pass down the middle to Bowe.  It bounced before it got there and was ruled incomplete.  That was followed by a seven-yard pass to Wilson.  An illegal formation penalty was called on the Chiefs and Raider head coach Tony Sparano declined it.  That made it fourth and three from the 46.

One more stop and the game would be won by the Raiders.  It would be their first win of the year.  Surely they could get a stop here, right?  Wrong.  Smith looked for Bowe and the pass was incomplete.  But, there were several flags on the play.  Safety Charles Woodson and cornerback DJ Hayden were flagged for defensive holding.  Not only that, defensive end Benson Mayowa was flagged for hands to the face.  The penalty on Mayowa was enforced and the Chiefs had a first down at the Oakland 49.  From the 49, Charles ran for a gain of four yards.  That was followed by an incomplete pass intended for Kelce.  Now, it was third and six from the 45.  The Raiders brought the pressure and Smith was sacked by linebacker Sio Moore.  I guess they thought that was fourth down, because several Raiders were way behind the line of scrimmage celebrating.  That caused me to go off.  I screamed “THAT WAS ONLY THIRD DOWN!  WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GUYS DOING?  GET BACK TO THE LINE!!!!”  See, this is why you have to have veteran leadership on your team.  Defensive end Justin Tuck alertly called timeout and the Raiders were spared an offside penalty.  So, it was now fourth and 13 from the Kansas City 48-yard line.  Smith took the snap, felt little pressure and threw a pass to the left side intended for Hammond.  It was incomplete and that sealed the deal.  The Raiders finally got a win!  Dating back to last year, they had lost 16 consecutive games.  That’s the equivalent of an entire season.  It wasn’t pretty.  As a matter of fact, it was downright ugly at times.  But that doesn’t matter.  All that matters is the final score.  Raiders 24 Chiefs 20.

For the Chiefs, Alex Smith completed 20 of 36 for 234 yards and two touchdown passes.  Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles tied for the lead in receptions with four and Kelce had the most receiving yards with 67.  The last time Charles visited Oakland, he decimated the Raiders with five touchdowns.  In this game, he was the leading rusher with 80 yards on 19 carries and only one touchdown.  As a team, the Chiefs rushed for 96 yards on 24 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Josh Mauga and safety Ron Parker tied for the lead in solo tackles with six apiece.  The Chiefs had their opportunities in this game as there were several dropped passes by their defensive backs.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 18 of 35 for 174 yards and one touchdown pass.  Andre Holmes and James Jones tied for the lead in receptions with five and Holmes had the most receiving yards with 55.  The ground game got a huge boost from Latavius Murray.  Despite having only four carries and leaving the game early, he had 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns.  My question is why did the coaching staff wait until week 11 to give him some carries?  Marcel Reece also did an admirable job running the ball with 37 yards on eight carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 179 yards on 30 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Miles Burris and safety Larry Asante tied for the lead in solo tackles with eight apiece.  Charles Woodson had himself a solid game with seven solo tackles and a sack.  He became the first player in NFL history to record 50 interceptions and 20 sacks.

This was a very special night in Oakland and even the torrential rain couldn’t screw it up.   Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy received his ring and there were several Hall of Famers at the game.  Maybe having so many great players back in Oakland got the Raiders fired up.  Like I said, it wasn’t pretty, but they got the win.  I can’t count how many times the great Raider teams of the past had wins in this exact same fashion.  I know it’s only one win, but the last thing I wanted to see was an 0-16 season.  Up next is a trip to St. Louis to take on the Rams.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

 

Different Week, Same Result

The tenth game of the year for the Oakland Raiders was a trip down south to San Diego to take on the Chargers.  The Raiders were coming off a horrid 41-17 loss to the Denver Broncos and the Chargers were coming off their bye week.  The Raiders got the ball first and started at their own 22.  They wouldn’t have the ball very long because quarterback Derek Carr and center Stefen Wisniewski weren’t on the same page.  The ball came loose on the first snap of the game and was recovered by linebacker Donald Butler at the 22.  Two plays later, quarterback Philip Rivers found wide receiver Malcolm Floyd in the end zone for a touchdown.  Kicker Nick Novak made the point after and the Chargers led 7-0 with 14:07 to go in the first quarter.

After each team punted on their next possession, the Raiders took over at their 30-yard line.  The drive started out like it always does.  Running back Darren McFadden ran up the middle for two yards.  On third and eight, Carr completed a nine-yard pass to wide receiver Andre Holmes for a first down at the 41.  That was followed by a nice catch and run by tight end Mychal Rivera for a gain of 33 yards and a first down at the San Diego 26.  See what happens when you stretch the field?  You actually gain some yardage and get in position to score.  You might even score a touchdown!  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  Well, that didn’t happen.  The next three plays consisted of a short completion to Rivera, a run up the middle by fullback Marcel Reece for no gain and a shovel pass to McFadden.  The shovel pass play was set up nicely with lots of blockers in front of McFadden.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t paying attention and he dropped the ball.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski came into the game and his 42-yard field goal attempt was good.  The Chargers led 7-3 with 7:27 to go in the first quarter.

Then the punting began.  Punters Marquette King and Mike Scifres both had good workouts in this game.  Each of them punted nine times for a grand total of 826 yards.  That’s pretty impressive, but if you like a game with a lot of offense, this one wasn’t for you.  At the 9:39 mark of the second quarter, the Chargers took over at their 43-yard line.  On second and nine from the 44, Rivers found tight end Antonio Gates for a gain of 12 and a first down at the Oakland 44.  That was followed by a 13-yard completion to wide receiver Eddie Royal and three straight carries by running back Ryan Mathews moved the Chargers into the red zone.  But the drive was halted at the five and Novak was brought into the game for a 23-yard attempt.  The kick was good and the Chargers led 10-3 with 4:12 to go in the first half.

On their next possession, the Raiders moved from their 20 to their 44.  That’s where they had a fourth and one situation.  They had a third and one situation on the play before and naturally offensive coordinator Greg Olson called for McFadden to run up the middle.  He was stuffed for no gain and that’s what caused the Raiders to be in this predicament.  What could they do?  Run McFadden up the middle again?  Maybe catch the aggressive Charger defense off guard and go deep?  While the debate was going on, I’m sitting in my living room yelling “Go for it!  You’re 0 and nine!  You have nothing to lose!”  Of course they didn’t listen to me and they punted again.  The Chargers took over at their 30 with 1:48 to go in the half and completions to Floyd, Gates and wide receiver Keenan Allen moved them down to the Oakland 30-yard line.  With two seconds on the clock, Novak was brought in for a 48-yard attempt.  It was long enough, but sailed wide left.  At halftime, the score remained 10-3.

After another punt by King, the Chargers got the ball back at their 33.  A five-yard carry by Mathews was followed by a neutral zone infraction on the Raiders.  That’s a five-yard penalty and it gave the Chargers a first down.  From the 43, Mathews ran up the right side for 20 yards and was finally dragged down at the Oakland 37.  They didn’t get much further after that and the Raiders dodged a bullet when a holding penalty brought back a deep completion to Floyd.  Novak came on for another field goal attempt and his 52-yard kick was good.  That put the Chargers up 13-3 with 7:19 to go in the third quarter.  For most teams, that wouldn’t be a big deal.  But when your offense is as bad as the Raiders, a ten-point lead is insurmountable.

Then the punt-fest began.  Neither offense could get going and after many close calls throughout the year, Raider rookie linebacker Khalil Mack finally got his first sack.  Hopefully there are many more to come.  Then, a very strange thing happened with around three minutes to go in the third quarter.  There was a loud popping sound coming from the Raider’s sideline.  I couldn’t figure out what it was at first, but then I realized it was the offensive coaches pulling their heads out of their asses.  They finally put running back Latavius Murray in the game!  Murray responded with two carries off left tackle.  His first carry was good for 14 yards and the next one was for 23 yards.  He almost got loose for a long touchdown on the second one, but was dragged down at the San Diego 49-yard line.  Then they took him out of the game and put McFadden in.  Why?  Because idiocy knows no boundaries.  The next three plays gained five yards and they punted yet again.  The ball was downed at the one-yard line.

More punting followed until the 6:15 mark of the fourth quarter.  The Raiders took over at their 45 and went to the no huddle offense.  Completions to Rivera and wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins quickly moved them down to the San Diego 15-yard line.  From the 15, Carr completed a seven-yard pass to Murray.  That was followed by a short carry by Murray.  On third down, Carr looked for wide receiver James Jones in the end zone.  The pass was poorly thrown and fell incomplete.  Janikowksi came in and his 25-yard field goal attempt was good.  With four minutes to go in the game, the Chargers led 13-6.

Basically, all the Chargers had to do was get a couple of first downs and the game would be over.  They started at their 20 and Rivers competed a 13-yard pass to Allen.  That was followed by an eight-yard run by Mathews.  On second and two, Mathews was stopped for a loss of one yard.  That made it third and three from the 40.  The Raiders brought some good pressure, but Rivers was able to get off a pass intended for Gates.  Safety Charles Woodson was in perfect position to pick off the ball and it was tipped in the air.  Somehow, Gates came up with the ball and it was good for a gain of 15 yards.  That was the dagger for the Raiders.  They did manage to get the ball back with 1:05 to go in the game and on fourth and nine from the 13, Carr connected with Jones for a gain of 28 and a first down at the 41.  Then, Carr spiked the ball to stop the clock with 11 seconds to go.  From the 41, Carr went deep up the right side and the pass fell incomplete.  It looked like there was still two seconds on the clock when the ball hit the ground.  But the zebras said the game was over and that’s how it ended.  Final score:  Chargers 13 Raiders 6.  The loss dropped the Raiders to 0-10 and the Chargers improved to 6-4.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 16 of 34 for 172 yards.  As the game progressed, he started getting the “deer in headlights” look in his eyes.  He was rushing his throws and didn’t look comfortable.   Mychal Rivera led the team in receptions with three and Kenbrell Thompkins had the most receiving yards with 47.  Latavius Murray gave the running game a spark and he led the team in rushing with 43 yards on four carries.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 71 yards on 19 carries.  Defensively, safety Charles Woodson led the team in solo tackles with 11.  Overall, the defense played very well.  Although they only had two sacks, they did a good job of pressuring Rivers.  The longest play the Chargers had was 22 yards.  That was the touchdown pass on the third play of the game.

For the Chargers, Philip Rivers completed 22 of 34 for 193 and one touchdown.  Keenan Allen led the team in receptions with eight and receiving yards with 63.  On the ground, Ryan Mathews led the way with 70 yards on 16 carries.  As a team, the Chargers rushed for 120 yards on 32 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Kavell Conner led the team in solo tackles with six and a sack.

Up next for the Raiders is a Thursday night game in Oakland against the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Chiefs are looking pretty solid this year and are coming off a big 24-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks.  What I hope to see from the Raiders is a lot more of  Murray and a lot less of McFadden and Jones-Drew.  The Chiefs are very good against the pass, but they are ranked 25th against the run.  I’d love to see Murray get a minimum of 20 carries.  But I doubt that will happen.  Know why?  Because it would make sense.  And when it comes to installing offensive game plans, the Raiders make no sense.  Only six games to go.  Take it easy.

The Delusional Raider Guy

 

Only 7 Games To Go!

The ninth game for the winless Oakland Raiders had the defending AFC champion Denver Broncos paying a visit to Oakland.  The Broncos were coming off a bad 43-21 loss to the New England Patriots and the Raiders fought hard, but left Seattle with a 30-24 loss.  The Broncos got the ball first and started at their 20.  On the second play of the game, quarterback Peyton Manning was picked off by cornerback D.J. Hayden.  The Raiders took over at the Denver 49-yard line.  Guess what the amazing Greg Olson called for the Raiders to do on first down?  You got it.  They gave the ball to running back Darren McFadden.  Anyone care to guess where he ran?  Was it off tackle?  Was it a pitch to the strong side?  No! It was right up the middle just like it always is and McFadden got a whopping three yards.  But on second down, quarterback Derek Carr found wide receiver James Jones for a gain of ten yards and a first down at the 36-yard line.  Two plays later, Carr found wide receiver Brice Butler for a gain of seven and another first down at the 25.  They didn’t get much farther than that and kicker Sebastian Janikowksi was brought into the game.  His 41-yard field goal attempt was good and the Raiders led 3-0 with 9:35 to go in the first quarter.

The Broncos took over at their 25 and runs by running back Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson got them rolling.  That was followed by long completions to wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.  The completion to Thomas moved them all the way to the Oakland 17-yard line.  A nine-yard completion to Anderson and a four-yard run by Anderson moved them to the four.  But a false start penalty moved them back five yards and they got as far as the two-yard line.  Instead of going for it, Denver head coach John Fox opted for a field goal.  Kicker Brandon McManus had no problem making his 20-yard attempt and the score was tied at three with four minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Raiders went three and out on their next possession and held on to the ball for a grand total of one minute and 40 seconds.  That’s not how to beat the Broncos.  The way to beat the Broncos is to keep Manning on the sideline.  He can’t do any damage from there.  I guess the Raiders didn’t get the memo.  The Broncos took over at their 35 and Manning broke out the no huddle offense.  Completions to wide receivers Wes Welker, D. Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas moved them quickly down to the Oakland 36-yard line.  That was followed by a pass interference penalty on cornerback Tarell Brown.  That moved the Broncos even further into Oakland territory.  But the drive was halted at the ten-yard line.  McManus came on for another field goal attempt and his 28-yard attempt was good.  That put the Broncos up 6-3 with 14:22 to go in the second quarter.

As usual, the Raiders punted after three unimaginative plays.  The Broncos got the ball back at their 32-yard line and that was followed by an interception by defensive end Justin Tuck.  He returned it to the 12 and gave the Raiders excellent field position.  Surely the Raiders could go a measly 12 yards and take the lead, right?  Maybe?  Is it really possible that they could be leading the defending AFC champions in the second quarter?  The answer to that is a resounding yes!  Three plays later, Carr found Butler in the end zone for a Raider touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 10-6 with 11:19 to go in the second quarter.

I am a firm believer in momentum.  If a team has momentum, they can do things that will make them play well and get them a win.  Well, the Raiders were at home and they had the lead against one of their biggest rivals.  That was all about to change.  With 3:30 to go in the second quarter, cornerback Bradley Roby intercepted a pass intended for tight end Mychal Rivera and gave the Broncos the ball at their own 47-yard line.  On third and eight from the 49, Manning felt pressure from his right side and dumped a short pass of to Anderson.  The defense read the play and there were several defenders in position to stop Anderson from getting a first down.  Unfortunately, every player in a black uniform missed the opportunity to stop Anderson and he found the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown.  That was truly some of the worst “tackling” I have ever seen.  McManus made the point after and the Broncos led 13-10 with 2:44 to go in the second quarter.  It got worse after that.  After the Raiders punted once again, the Broncos scored again.  This time it was a 32-yard pass to Sanders with 28 seconds remaining.  McManus made the point after and the Broncos led 20-10 at halftime.  Remember what I said about momentum?  Well, the Broncos had it and didn’t let it go.  They came out of the locker room and proceeded to kick the crap out of the Raiders.  Manning threw three more touchdown passes and the Broncos won 41-17.  The lone touchdown for the Raiders came on a 18-yard touchdown pass to Rivera with 48 seconds to go in the game.

For the Broncos, Peyton Manning completed 31 of 44 for 340 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.  Demaryius Thomas led the team in receptions with 11 and receiving yards with 108.  The ground game was running on all cylinders too.  C.J. Anderson led the team in rushing with 90 yards on 13 carries.  As a team, the Broncos rushed for a total of 118 yards on 27 carries.  Anderson also had 73 yards on four catches.  Defensively, linebacker Brandon Marshall led the team in solo tackles with 11.

For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 30 of 47 for 192 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.  30 completions is pretty good.  But averaging four yards a completion is horrible.  James Jones led the team in receptions with eight and Mychal Rivera had the most receiving yards with 64 and a touchdown.  Eight catches is an impressive statistic.  But Jones only had 20 yards.  That means he averaged 2.5 yards per reception.  What the hell kind of offense is this?  Jones is a legitimate deep threat and he’s putting up those horrible numbers?  Speaking of horrible numbers, check out the ground game for the Raiders.  They had 30 yards on 15 carries.  Not only are they last in the league in rushing, but it’s not even close.  They are DEAD LAST in the league.  During training camp, former head coach Dennis Allen said the offense was “built to run.”  Really?  Built to run?  Are you sure about that?  This team “runs” like a snail trying to cross the street in a blizzard.  Oh, do you want to know who led the team in solo tackles?  That would be safety Larry Asante with eight.

This was total and complete domination by the Broncos.  They out-gained the Raiders in total yardage 471-222.  They had 25 first downs and the Raiders had only 10.  The only statistic the Raiders won was penalties.  They were only flagged four times for 37 yards and the Broncos were flagged 12 times for 95 yards.  See?  I managed to find a bright spot among all the doom and darkness of another horrible loss.  I think I’m going to give myself a gold star for such an amazing accomplishment.  Up next is a road trip to San Diego.  The Chargers are coming off a bye week.  But two weeks ago, they went down to Miami and the Dolphins shut them out 37-0.  They’ll be looking to take their frustrations out on the Raiders.  As for me, I’m going to wash the car before the cold weather gets here.  Take it easy.

The Suicidal Raider Guy