Let’s just tag this as a game of miscues and mistakes, and move on. The Oakland Raiders were outplayed outmanned, and out scored in several categories. On the score board, it was 37-21, a lopsided victory for the Denver Broncos.
In theory, it was a predicted win for the Broncos. Yet, in reality, it was a early season check up for the Raiders.
Peyton Manning threw for 372 yards, and had a career night, completing 32 out of 37 passes. He also had no interceptions on the night. As a matter of fact, Manning has not thrown an interception all season. Manning’s 12 TD passes are an NFL record for the opening three games, breaking Tom Brady’s mark of 11 in 2011.
Eight different receivers were able to latch on to the ball for the Broncos. The skilled Denver receiver Eric Decker grabbed eight passes from Manning for 133 yards on the night and one touchdown. Demaryius Thomas had 10 catches for 94 yards.
Contrary to some beliefs that the secondary had played particularly well in the two previous games, the. Swiss cheese factor held true for the Raiders on Monday night.They allowed too many holes in the coverage, and too much cushion the secondary. They didn’t challenge the receivers for the Broncos, giving Manning and company the rhythm and timing to be successful. Playing cautious will get you beat in the NFL.
Combination routs confused the secondary, as double moves were almost impossible to cover. Linebackers on wide outs is always a bad thing. It is almost impossible to cover talented receivers with out pressure on the QB. Lamarr Houston had the lone sack on the night. Houston added constant pressure on Manning as did defensive end Jason Hunter. Three times out of 37 attempts, the Raiders were able to put a hand on Manning.
You can’t put your defense on the field all night. You have to establish some ball control. The Broncos ran 72 plays, and recorded 31 first downs. That was a no-huddle offense, not a hurry-up offense. At Mile High, you can expect players to play with conditioning, but in reality it, does not happen. Depleted oxygen was evident.
Looking at this game as a early season evaluation, there are defiantly items that can be fixed, replaced or repaired. The personnel is going to remain the same. Second-year defensive coordinator Jason Tarver may have to look at getting more pressure from the defensive corners. Jamming the receiver before he get off the line interrupts the timing between the QB and the receiver.
The Raiders need to perform stunts with the front seven to confuse the blocking schemes of the offensive line. Pressure needs to be applied to force the QB into bad decisions or to force a non-mobile QB into moving out of the pocket. For the defense, 2.5 seconds is what the QB should get in the pocket before pressure is applied. Manning had relatively all night to slice and dice the cheese, picking the Raider secondary apart.
The Raiders’ offense was bland. The offensive line is going to struggle — we know that going into to every game. They showed amazing progress at times, and just as quickly displayed comical errors. The Broncos brought more pressure than the Raiders could pick up. There were times that the backs picked up their chip block and added to the success of the protection.
Terrelle Pryor (19-for-28 for 281 yards) showed improvement and better decision making. After watching last night’s game, he was looking for the pass maybe a little too much instead of using his feet to move the ball. Pryor was sacked three times, while being harassed most of the game. The Broncos pressured Pryor all night, rushing him or putting pressure on him six more times.
A highlight for the offense was Pryor hitting Denarius Moore in the middle of the field, as Broncos defensive backs Duke Ihenacho,and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie whiffed on the tackle. Moore went 73 yards to cut Oakland’s deficit to 17-7 in the second quarter. Pryor left the game late with a reported concussion.
With a passing game, you have to have a running game — one sets up the other. The Raiders run game was stopped cold in the Rocky Mountain state. Darren McFadden was a name on a roster Monday night — 12 carries for nine yards. Not the kind of stats that make your stock go up and want a franchise to resign you.
Granted, last week, McFadden did well rushing against the Jaguars — the Jaguars, I remind you. He is currently ranked 16th in the NFL with 186 total rushing yards. McFadden averages 62 yards per game has scored one TD, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. For the passing game to improve, the down hill running game has to improve.
Marcel Reece was a beacon of light catching the ball, collecting yardage after the catch (YAC). He looks to be on the way to a successful and productive season.
Another positive position for the Raiders was Marquette King, the punter for the Raiders that has almost made fans forget about Shane Lechler. King leads the NFL in punting average at 50.7 yards.
The game goes down as a loss. Yet, the Raiders can take this loss and turn it in to something positive for the remaining part of the season. Blocking can fixed, holes can be filled, and games can be won.