It wasn’t pretty, but at the end of the day the Oakland Raiders got the job done. After a terrible first half, the Silver & Black Attack turned the tide after halftime and, counting with a great overall effort by the defense, were able to take the game to overtime and get the victory with a field goal by Sebastian Janikowski. Let’s take a closer look at the offense’s performance against the Jaguars.
On what’s being a constant the whole season, the Raiders had in Carson Palmer their best chance of moving the chains. “CP3″ had an ok game in terms of statistics, completing 57% of his 46 pass attempts for 298 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. But it was his operation of the no-huddle offense that stood out. The Raiders were stuck with just 6 points until midway through the 3rd quarter, when Palmer started to turn things around with the no-huddle, putting the offense in better position to move more efficiently and quicker. The result was the first TD of the game for Oakland, a 8 yard pass to Denarius Moore. To have a QB who can operate this kind of offense with success is a luxury that not every team in this league has. The Raiders kept shooting themselves in the foot throughout the first half, turning the ball over and missing opportunities to make plays. That included the play in which Palmer tried to do too much, tossing the ball up on his way down, completely off balance, resulting in the interception. It was a very poor decision by the QB, but he got it together and led the Raiders to overtime with accurate passes and good decisions. Palmer had another turnover in the contest when he fumbled the ball after getting hit by a defender and Jared Veldheer in a sack from the blindside. But he also avoided two giveaways, when he recovered the exchange fumble with Stefen Wisniewski and, most importantly, when he was able to take a big hit while keeping his hand on the ball, so it could go forward with possession, which translates to an incomplete pass and not a fumble. Palmer could also have done a better job spotting blitzes and he also had a delay of game on him late in the contest, in a drive that ended with a field goal despite a goal line opportunity. But, overall, Palmer’s ability to operate the no huddle and deliver the football was what made the difference in the game and, ultimately, gave the Raiders better chances of coming out on top.
QB Grade: B
It was more of the same for Darren McFadden, unfortunately. The RB was held to just 53 rushing yards, for a poor 2.8 yards per carry average. The main reason for that is still the lack of opportunities to make plays, as the OL had another bad performance in the running game. McFadden missed about a handful of chances to make a splash, when the OL had actually created a good gap for him to run, but, overall, it was not enough. For the most part, “DMC” had little to work with. Mike Goodson didn’t receive any carries after a good showing against the Falcons, but did a good job in kick returns. Marcel Reece finished the game with 4 catches for 58 yards and was being well used by the offense, but was forced to miss some time with an injury. He also was responsible for a sack in a playaction play. Owen Schmitt was flagged for a costly holding that brought the Raiders back to the Jaguars’ 24 yard line after being able to get in a 1st&goal situation, ending that drive with a FG instead of a TD.
RBs Grade: C
Darrius Heyward-Bey led the unit in targets with 7, catching 4 of those for 85 yards. That included a big play early in the contest, counting with a great route ran by DHB. He was only a man away of getting to the endzone. He also had a relative easy drop in the game. Denarius Moore also had 4 receptions, for 36 yards, including his TD when he showed his nack for the endzone and talent for making plays happen, stretching his body just enough to get the score. But he did have a questionable decision when, late in the contest, decided to run directly out of bounds instead of getting the sure first down. Surely, stopping the clock is crucial late in the game on those situations, but the Raiders ended up being forced to punt after not getting enough yards on the ensuing third down. Rod Streater was quiet for the most part of contest, but came up big in crunch time. His two catches were amazing ones, displaying his great hands and also athletic ability. The WRs left Palmer with no options a few times due to no separation downfield, forcing dumpoffs or incompletions, but for the most part they were consistent.
WRs Grade: B
Brandon Myers did his usual job of being the reliable target in the middle of the field, catching 7 out of his 10 targets for 44 yards. But he struggled in the blocking plays and could certainly perform better on that part of his game. David Ausberry was used mostly on special teams and did not receive a single target.
TEs Grade: C
It was a rough day for the OL, as they were not able to stablish a new line of scrimmage for the running game often. This unit took a step back from their last showings, that were not good regarding this aspect, but at least they put the RB in position to make plays a few times or being one block away from a home run, which did not happen last Sunday. The pass protection lacked consistency and had problems picking up blitzes the whole day. Palmer was under pressure every time the Jaguars brought more than the usual number of pass rushers, and that resulted in turnovers and bad plays. On the fumble play by Palmer, Cooper Carlisle and Jared Veldheer got completely confused with each other and the result was their men harrassing the QB and getting the takeaway. Thankfully, the OL did a good enough job in pass protection to allow the Raiders to move the chains through the air, but the result could’ve been different against a more dangerous defense. Mike Brisiel was flagged for a false start.
OL Grade: C
The Raiders still use the zone-blocking scheme a lot, but offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is trying to incorporate a few power blocking plays here and there, which is a positive for a unit that is struggling a lot with the transition. The “ZBS” will still be the priority, though. The playcalling went better as the game went on, but the offense was only able to get things going when the team decided to use the no-huddle. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Carson Palmer was calling the plays by himself, as we must remember that the QB is able to communicate with his playcaller via headsets. So we cannot affirm that the turnaround point for the Raiders offense last Sunday as when Greg Knapp stepped away from the duty and was replaced by Palmer calling from the field because that’s not necessarily true, in no way, shape or form. Surely, the playcalling is not the same when the no-huddle is executed, and the QB may very well take a few more responsibilities, but coach Knapp could still communicate with Palmer throughout those drives. What was really happening there, if Palmer was calling plays by himself or following Knapp’s orders, is very hard for people outside the coaching staff to know for sure. Head coach Dennis Allen decided to go for a 4th&10 late in the game and the gutsy call paid dividends, as Darrius Heyward-Bey drawed pass interference in the endzone. Also worth mentioning the two QB sneak calls, which succeeded for a first down and a touchdown. With the running game struggling, it’s a good idea to use Palmer’s big frame to just go straigh forward and get that missing yard.
Coaching Grade: C
After almost throwing a must-win game away with a awful first half, the Raiders offense was able to improve, put points on the board and, couting with a great performance by the defense, take the contest to overtime. Despite being down 20 to 6 at one point, the Raiders were able to outscore the Jaguars by 17 to 6 in the second half and get the tie. Oakland was 6 out of 17 in third down completions and struggled in the redzone, getting two TDs in five trips. The Raider Nation is still waiting to see the running game working consistently so we can get Darren McFadden back at his full capacity. Until then, the Silver & Black will continue to rely on Carson Palmer, so the quarterback protection must step up, specially against more imposing teams down the road.
Overall Offensive Grade: C
The Raiders will now face the Chiefs in Kansas City on October 28th at 1:05 P.M. (PDT).