Just when the Raiders could take the band-aids off from last weeks loss to Tampa-Bay, they take the field at M&T Stadium the home of the Baltimore Ravens. They get spun, slammed, and driven into the ground. Band-aids for everyone, the bleeding hasn’t stopped.
Going into the game, the Silver and Black where prepared to go without a running game, as McFadden and Goodson are sidelined with injuries. Many have said the Raiders have been without a running game all year as they rank 31st in the NFL with just 77.3 yards per game. No improvement made in raising the bar in that category. 72 yards gained on the ground in four quarters vs the Ravens defense. Still waiting for that change.
Now maybe you can look at not re-signing Michael Bush as a bad thing?
Carson Palmer was not bad, but not good. What made Palmer lacking was his pass-to touchdown ratio: 1 for 23. The Raiders ran 75 plays on Sunday, 46 of those plays were passes, 24 were runs. You would believe a NFL franchise would be 60/40 pass to run or closer, the Raiders were off balance: three passes to one run attempted on the day.
Palmer did throw his gratuitous one interception on the day. Palmer and his receivers gobbled up a lot of yardage between the goal lines. Palmer threw for an amazing 368 yards on the day. He collected two TD’s in the air, and one fumble on the ground. With no running game to speak of, Palmer will have to pick up the scoring with an aerial touchdown display every game if the Raiders expect future victories.
Defensively, the Raiders held the powerful rushing attack of Ray Rice and company to 78 yards on the day. Unfortunately three of the 28 rushing attempts were for touchdowns. The longest run from scrimmage was 12 yards.
The skirmishes in the pit are where victories are secured; the game is won or lost. Today with ZERO sacks, minimal pressure on Joe Flacco the battle was lost up front, and that allowed Flacco to strike at will in the Raider secondary. Three aerial touchdowns thrown by the Ravens quarterback, two receptions of 47 yards, and another for 40 yards gave the Ravens the momentum they needed to overcome the Silver and Black.
One of the most discouraging factors of Sunday’s game was how the Raiders lost control and faded backwards. 10 penalties for 105 yards, a complete break down in discipline.
Special teams are still special for the Raiders. It is the one bright spot that has been consistent all season.
The destiny of the Raiders cannot be changed, but they can be challenged. Until the offense makes changes, and the defense remembers itself, the challenges will continue to come each Sunday and get bigger and bigger each week. The pressure of not winning will weigh heavily on each player and wear on the coaching staff.
One step at a time, and right now they have to be baby steps. Find something positive and hold on to it. The Raiders can only get better!
Next up the New Orleans Saints, just WIN baby!
“To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.” -T.F. Hodge