Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over The Cincinnati Bengals

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Jan 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; General view of a penalty flag in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t Shoot Themselves In The Foot

Professional football is a tough enough game that repeatedly shooting yourself in the foot with unnecessary, stupid penalties will kill you every time.

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  • Though the opening game against the St. Louis Rams was pretty clean penalty-wise (two flags for 22 yards), the Raiders took some serious steps backwards the following week against the Vikings when they collected 13 yellow flags for 106 total yards. Against the Cardinals the following week, the Raiders drew nine flags for 70 yards, and against the Seahawks in the preseason finale, the were flagged eight times for 57 yards.

    So, if you’re scoring at home, in just four preseason games, Oakland was hit with 32 flags for a total of 255 yards. That’s a whole lot of flags and a whole lot of yardage to give up.

    Field position can be critical throughout a game. A badly timed penalty can take you from a very makeable third and two to a third and twelve situation – or worse. Poor penalties taken at the wrong time can extend an opponents drive – which could lead to a score – they can move you out of field goal range, can take you out of the red zone, and can kill of a drive faster than a Patriots’ locker room attendant can deflate a football.

    The Raiders simply cannot afford to either give back hard earned field position chunks at a time, or breathe new life into an opposing offense’s drive by taking a bad penalty.

    Penalties have been a hallmark of Raider football for seemingly time out of mind. Once upon a time, the team could overcome them. This team has not yet proven that they can do the same. Until they do, the Raiders absolutely, positively must clean up the penalties and play more clean games like they did against the Rams in the preseason’s first week.

    Next: Must Learn to Punch It In