Where do we start? Perhaps the injury list, or maybe the trade wire? The front office, head coach, players, trainers, OC, DC — someone has to be accountable for what happened in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Someone, somehow has to stop what has been going on, and be accountable.
The Oakland Raiders defense played remarkable on the day. They raised the bar, and played very well. The Chief offense gained 111 yards on the day on 27 rushes. The Raiders recorded three sacks and four tackles for a loss. Add in nine hits that rattled QB Alex Smith, and that, my friends, is a step up for the Raider defense.
Continuing with the defense – the rattled Alex Smith was not pinpoint accurate against the Raiders as he had been in the five previous games. Smith was 14-of-31 for 128 yards. The Raider secondary caused some chaos for the new signal caller of the Chiefs.
Some notable individual performances:
Nick Roach was a one-man gang, making plays from sideline to sideline. He tallied eight solo tackles with one sack on the day.
Charles Woodson came up big on a fumble recovery set up by D.J. Hayden.
Sio Moore put a hit on Smith that resulted in a sack. Moore looks to become a solid player for the Raiders as he contributes to the cause more and more each week.
Secondary play was better than average and encouraging for the future. Tracy Porter, Woodson, and Hayden have all showed sparks and a light of improvement. The Raider secondary looked to communicate and play together for most of the game, which may have been the first time this year.
Marquette King has made Raiders fans forget about — what was the punter name the Raiders had last year? Eight punts on the day and a 51.8-yard average. His home run on the day was a 64-yard punt that flipped the field on the Chiefs.
Darren McFadden manned up and played, and looked to get stronger in the running game as the day moved on. Missing 24 games in six years is unheard of. A healthy McFadden has a tremendous upside and can take pressure off of the young Pryor.
Denarius Moore had an excellent day, catching five passes for 82 yards, including a sprint into the end zone. Moore is becoming consistent; last week against the Chargers, he grabbed five passes for 84 yards.
Injuries for the Raiders have taken their toll. The offensive line may not have been the same for any game or preseason scrimmage this year. To get any consistency in offensive line play, the line has to practice together and work with each other in order to gel as one cohesive unit. With the Raiders injuries this season, one would think introductions are in order at the end of every practice and every quarter of each game.
Sunday, the Raiders had already lost Steve Wisniewski at center. Andre Gurode was starting his second game at center, and went down with a knee injury at halftime. Mike Brisiel took over at center, and the domino effect resulted — LT Kalif Barnes, LG Lucas Nix, C RG Lamar Mady, and RT Matt McCants.
Pryor was sacked 10 times on the day. You can point a finger at both the offensive line and Pryor. Both set up the formula for failure.
The second team doesn’t practice much during the week. They might get 10 reps, and the rest belong the first team. Yet, when the Raiders have to shuffle the entire unit, they can’t run the same plays as they did with the A teamers; three step drops, sprint outs, and bootlegs. Quick passes to get the ball out of Pryor’s hand fast, and relieve pressure on the QB by not expecting the o-line to hold those blocks for three second or more. Heck, even run McFadden — what a novel idea.
Fourth down and 48. When have you ever heard that in an NFL game? Eight delay of game penalties — who does that? Pryor was dazed and confused; while watching the game, he sat by himself, didn’t look at defensive alignment photos, and didn’t encourage his team. Communication became pouting, putting became attitude, and it was over. The things he has been doing well at he failed at this week.
Was there not a backup that could have stepped in for a series or two to get Pryor back on track? Oh yes, but he was traded. This is the NFL, a team need two qualities quarterbacks that the Raiders had Pryor and Matt Flynn. One goes down, the other steps in. The coaches worked with Pryor for how many years, and Flynn is a castoff after six months? Lesson learned. Turn the page!
Yes, quarterbacks get too much praise when things go well, and too much of the blame when things goes wrong. Pryor couldn’t shake his errors, and move on to the next play. He started off playing inside of himself – 7-of-9 for 100 yards passing. He had 60 yards rushing on the day. But as the game went on, he tried to do too much, playing outside of his scope and ability, throwing two interceptions that should never have been thrown that eventually sealed the game for the Chefs.
The Raiders lost the game; the Chiefs didn’t win it. Errors and bad decision gave the Chiefs the victory.
The Raiders coaching staff will have to do some soul searching. The half time adjustments did not fit the personnel nor the skill set of the players involved.
The Raiders can play back into the light. One day at a time, one game at a time.
Just win baby!