Shut the front door! What happened last Sunday has the Raider nation stunned. Not like a police tazer, but a cattle prod dialed up to holy crap! We watched a team get steamed roll, and still had a chance to tie or go ahead late in the game. Get the ball to the 45 yard line, and Janikowski has a shot at three. Tie ball game, we go to overtime, zip the ball sideline to sideline, run it a few times a then bring on Janikowski for a game winning encore kick, and bing-bada boom, Raiders win.
Sorry, that didn’t happen!
What did happen is the Readers Digest version of what has been going on all year. Poor performance by a franchise that is not playing to its potential. Offensively and defensively, the Raiders have not lived up the hype or expectations of its fans.
Yes, running back Darren McFadden sidelined with a high ankle injury. That nothing new, he’s been sideline all year with the zone offense. The numbers for McFadden reflect the frustration with the Raiders running game – 3.3 yards rushing from an offense that was run first, pass last. I will give Greg Knapp props for making some changes and working to get to into a power game. Sorry, to little too late.
Carson Palmer. What a beast- 414 yards, four TD’s, wait for it. Wait for it— Three dark painful unnecessary interceptions. Yes, three, one gratuitous interception is O.K. in the first or second quarter. A second – O.K. it happens, but not three. The third is on the game tying drive in the fourth quarter and ends up a 10-point swing for Tampa. Game, set, match.
Three of the top five tacklers on the Raiders’ defense were defensive backs. When that happens, things are not going well for the front seven.Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin should have charged admission and made the Raiders pay to watch his rushing display. The rookie from Boise State had 251 yards with four TD’s. (That’s the type of game the Black and Silver fans have been expecting from run DMC)
The good thing is that game is over, put it away, learn from it and move on. The Raiders can only get better. Two games out of first in the division. Chargers are stumbling, the Chiefs are collapsing. Carolina, Cleveland going through mid-season crisis. Without Ray Lewis’s leadership, the Ravens have showed some kinks in their amour. New Orleans and Denver are both beatable.
For the Raiders to run the table turnovers on offense must be eliminated. Ball security has to be a priority. The run has to be established, get a fullback in front of McFadden, and rock and roll. The Raiders average a poultry 77.3 yards per game rushing, ranking the Raiders 31st in the NFL.
Defensively the Raiders have to come up with a scheme to stop the run. Against Miami and now Tampa Bay, the Raiders have given up 423 yards in just those two games. Something went wrong, really wrong from beating KC, Jacksonville and getting with three of Atlanta. Make it right this week.
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”~ Napolean Hill