The Oakland Raiders dropped their second straight game as they fell to woeful New York Giants on Sunday. It was an overly sloppy game for both units, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The two teams combined for seven sacks, five turnovers and two touchdowns from defense and special teams. The Giants eventually prevailed in the contest 24-20. Let’s take a look at the three key factors in the Raiders’ loss to the Giants.
1. Terrelle Pryor’s awful afternoon:
Pryor may have been limited by a knee injury, but he had one of his worst outings of the season on Sunday against the New York Giants. Pryor went 11-for-26 for 122 yards and an interception, which amounted to a quarterback rating of 40.9. Using ESPN’s QBR stat, Pryor had the fourth worst performance of the season with a QBR of 2.6.
Pryor’s poor performance has be a worrisome pattern that has developed over the last several weeks. Through his first five games of the season, Pryor looked like one of the most improved players in the entire league. Following his rough outing against the Chiefs, the regression that Pryor showed is absolutely shocking.
Pryor had a season-low 42.3 percent completion rate, which tells the story for his game. He was highly ineffective, as his throws floated and were off the mark all afternoon. His lack of accuracy stifled the Raiders’ offense through much of the day, but it also turned the tide of the game. His interception on a simple slant set up the Giants’ go-ahead touchdown.
Pryor also provided nothing in the running game, as he ran for a career-low 19 yards. Pryor made have been hampered by his knee injury, but the coaching staff indicated that Pryor had looked fine all week in practice. Pryor looked hesitant to take off and he was sacked four times by one of the league’s worst pass rushing units. He also had a fumble on the Raiders’ final drive, which allowed the Giants to close out the game.
Pryor is the cog that drives the Raiders’ offense and when he is unable to get going the offense sputters. When he cannot provide impact with his arms and legs, it leads to the anemic display that was showcased on Sunday.
2. The Raiders’ third-down inefficiencies:
Another major deficiency of the Raiders’ offense is their ability to stay on the field on third-down. The Raiders are 29th in the NFL with a third-down conversion percentage of 33.1 percent on the season. Against the Giants, the Raiders were a pathetic 2-for-12 on converting third downs on the day.
Eight of the 11 Raiders’ drives ended in a punt or a turnover. When the Raiders did have a scoring drive, they only had a single one that lasted more that four plays. Two of their three scoring drives were set up by turnovers by the Giants, which had the Raiders already in range to put points on the board.
Converting on third downs is vital to an offense and their ability to produce. Many of the top offenses in the league convert about 40 percent or more of their third downs. So, the Raiders’ 17 percent third down conversion rate was one of the key reasons why the offense flopped as badly as it did.
Getting rid of negative plays would go a long way in overcoming their troubles on third down. Sacks, penalties and plays that lose yardage have been a major problem for the Raiders and have set up many third and long situations that are difficult for the offense to pick up. Converting third downs would create a drastic difference in the Raiders’ offensive success and could turn the tide of the Raiders’ season.
3. Penalty troubles:
Now on to a topic of contention that ruffles the feathers of all the Raiders fans, the amount of penalties called against the Raiders. On the season, the Raiders ranked tied for sixth most in penalties against. On Sunday, the Raiders were called for eight penalties for 65 yards, while the Giants were called for a single penalty for five yards.
Six of the eight Raiders’ penalties were on the offensive side of the ball, which does not include the two more offensive penalties that were declined by the Giants. These penalties often come at the worst times, which led to stalled drives and punts.
Nearly all of the offensive penalties are false start or holding penalties along the offensive line. That could be a function of the poor offensive line play and shuffling depth chart due to injuries. The rotating roster does not allow the line to build chemistry, which can lead to confusion on line calls and blocking schemes. These two issues can lead to the increase in penalties called on the offensive line. As the line get healthy and they add more players for the long term, the penalties will drop on the offensive side of the ball.