An all-time franchise record for points allowed tied at 55, a 35-point deficit loss, 3 touchdowns and 1 field goal conceded in just two quarters… The Oakland Raiders defense certainly didn’t have anything close to a good game last Sunday, but the offense wasn’t much better either. Let’s see what the Silver&Black Attack brough to the table against the Ravens in more detail.
With the game getting out of hand early as the Ravens scored 27 points in the first half alone, the Raiders offense once again relied heavily in Carson Palmer to make something happen and get the Silver&Black back in the game. It didn’t go that way this time. The offense was only able to score 10 points after the half, while the defense conceded four touchdowns to give Baltimore a 35-point lead. Palmer attempted 45 passes, connecting with 29 of them for a good 65% completion rate, for 368 yards. His two TDs were nice throws, the first one counting with a great effort after the catch by Darrius Heyward-Bey, and the second being a beautiful lead pass to Denarius Moore into the endzone over the defenders. ”CP3″, however, wasn’t on point for the whole game, missing a few throws he is capable of making. His overthrow of Brandon Myers who was inside the endzone is worth of mention, since it happened on a 3rd&goal and forced the Raiders to settle for a field goal. Myers did commit pass interference on the play, which would nullify the score, but if Palmer had made the easy throw, the Raiders would have had another shot of making the TD. Instead, Palmer missed Myers from just a few yards out, not to mention that the QB probably could’ve just ran for the score as he had nobody, except Myers, in from of him. Palmer also had issues with pass being deflected by the defense line throughout the whole contest, with at least 5 failed passes because of that. One of those ended up being intercepted by DE Paul Kruger, on what was supposed to be an easy throw by QB on a screen pass. Palmer failed to adjust to the hands-up style of playing by the opposing DL and it cost the offense a few opportunities of moving the chains. The QB was also guilty of a costly an exchange fumble with center Stefen Wisniewski, which caused a turnover on downs.
QB Grade: C
The Raiders, missing Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson (both with high ankle sprains), relied on Marcel Reece to carry the load out of the backfield, as the versatile fullback ran for 48 yards on 13 carries (3.7 YPC). But with the contest getting out of hand early, Oakland was forced to abandon the running game and air it out. Reece also contributed with a team-high 7 catches for 56 yards (on 9 targets). Interesting to see that undrafted rookie Jeremy Stewart, one day after being activated from the practice squad, received 7 carries and Taiwan Jones, only 2. Their YPC was almost the same (3.1 by Stewart and 3.0 for Jones), but that goes out to show how little confidence the coaching staff has on Jones, who has been barely used as a running back this season. His “fumbling issues” are being way overrated by the Raiders, as Taiwan has just one in 19 regular season carries. He also could do a better job in terms of pass protection, but it’s hard to see those problems being so relevant that Jones must play behind even an undrafted rookie fresh of the practice squad with zero NFL experience. This is a guy who averaged 7.3 yards per carry as a rookie in limited time (16 carries) and certainly deserves a higher number of fair opportunities.
RBs Grade: C
All five WRs in the roster recorded catches, with Denarius Moore (4 for 90 yards, 1 TD, on 8 targets) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (5 for 82 yards, 1 TD, on 8 targets) leading the pack. DHB’s score was a thing of beauty, as the WR shook off a tackle by Ed Reed right after the catch and showcased his great burst and yards-after-catch ability to get the TD. But once again there were drop issues by this unit. Two easy ones by Moore and Heyward-Bey, one by each, came on 3rd down situations and forced the punt since they would have been enough for the first down. Derek Hagan also dropped a pass in a leaping attempt in the endzone. It wasn’t a gimme, but Palmer put the ball on his hands and Hagan had a good chance of securing the catch and scoring the touchdown.
WRs Grade: C
Brandon Myers continues to build on his solid season with a 5-catch, 57 yards performance, being targeted 7 times by Palmer. Unfortunately, he missed a few snaps with a concussion and will have to be medically cleared this week in order to practice and ultimately play against the Saints. However, the all-around tight end could still improve in terms of his blocking performance, where he was guilty of one QB hurry. David Ausberry made a great catch next to the sideline right on the Raiders first offensive drive, to avoid a 3&out, but wasn’t rewarded with more opportunities for the rest of the game. He caught another pass, his only other target of the game, but had nowhere to goal in a failed screen pass call. Richard Gordon was used basically on special teams where he recorded 2 tackles.
TEs Grade: C
The OL did a better job in the running game in comparison to the weak performances they had been putting on for the whole season. Against Baltimore, the RBs often had good gaps to work with but unfortunately, with the Raiders falling behind early and badly, there weren’t too many rush attempts until garbage time. Regarding the pass protection, it lacked consistency and discipline throughout the whole game. The OL conceded 3 sacks: one by Jared Veldheer, one due to confusion between Willie Smith and Mike Brisiel and another one on Brisiel, when the left guard stepped on Palmer’s foot, tripped the QB to the ground and ruined a 4th down play which the Raiders had a good shot of converting with Marcel Reece slipping wide open to the right. Brisiel had a very poor performance overall. In addition to the two sacks, the former Houston Texan was also guilty of 2 hurries (one of them together with Tony Bergstrom), 1 false start and 2 holding penalties. Stefen Wisniewski also committed a holding. Willie Smith continued to struggle with 3 hurries and was even replaced in the fourth quarter by the rookie Bergstrom, who had a pretty decent performance considering it was his NFL debut. As far as the right tackle position goes, it looks like starter Khalif Barnes will return to the lineup next week against the Saints, after being sidelined since week 2 with a groin injury.
OL Grade: D
Greg Knapp’s offense continued to show redzone difficulties, having three trips inside the Ravens’ 20 yard line, which only resulted in 6 points, due to two field goals and 1 turnover (exchange fumble by Palmer). Even if we consider the defensive meltdown in the second and third quarters, where they conceded an whopping 38 points on their way to tie the franchise all-time recorded for points allowed with 55, the Raiders saw themselves trailling through the whole game and the Raiders’ offense was never able to match the Ravens’. There were at least a handful of three-and-outs. Also, Knapp continues to call pass plays supposed to be caught behind of the first down line on 3rd down situations, which lead to a punt due to an immediate tackle by the defense. That happened 3 times last Sunday. Also, the coaching staff keeps holding interesting playmakers such as David Ausberry and Taiwan Jones on the sidelines, not giving them a fair opportunity to develop their game. The fact that the Raiders chose Stewart over Jones is an absolute head-scratcher. At least this time the OL did a decent job in the running game, which ended up being meaningless with the way the scoreboard exploded for the opposing team.
Coaching Grade: D
Similar to what happened against the Buccaneers, the Raiders defense (this time sharing part of the blame with the special teams) let the opposing team score at will and conceded one big play after another. But the offense wasn’t able to get back in the game this time, settling for just 20 points versus the 55 scored by Baltimore. The Raiders would like to see a way better performance by the defense so the offense doesn’t have to attempt a comeback every week, not only because that’s not the way to play the game, but also because the Raiders don’t have that kind of offensive firepower. Against the Ravens, the slow start by the offense, who went scoreless in the first quarter, set the tone for the rest of game, with the Raiders trailing and trying to make something happen. The two turnovers, missed opportunities and bad redzone execution led to one of the ugliest losses in recent franchise history, and that’s saying a lot. Aside from a few glimpses of what this unit is capable of doing, which were basically the two long TDs (55 and 30 yarders), there wasn’t much to build on. With the New Orleans Saints coming to town in just a few days, the Raiders offense must step up and prepare for a shootout against Drew Brees and company. They will face a less imposing defense, but will also have to match a more explosive offense in order to get the victory.
Overall Offense Grade: D
The Raiders will host the Saints on November 18th at 1:05 P.M. (PDT).