Oakland Raiders: Bye Week Notes And Observations

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November 9, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54), defensive end Derek Wolfe (95), defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94), and cornerback Chris Harris (25) chase after an Oakland Raiders fumble during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 41-17. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Protect the Ball!

Turnovers will kill a team and doom their chances quicker than anything. Over the first three weeks of the season the Raiders turned the ball over four times – twice against Cincinnati in the season opening debacle, and once each against the Ravens and the Browns. They also had two takeaways against the Ravens and the Browns – winning the turnover battle in those games.

Against the Bears, the defense had three takeaways, but the offense turned it over twice and in particularly bad position. The Bears were able to convert one of the two turnovers into a field goal, but it was enough as their winning margin was two points.

The Raiders gave Denver three turnovers and managed to take away two, but Derek Carr‘s pick-six to Chris Harris proved to be the decisive edge in the game as Denver walked away with a 16-10 win.

All of that to say, the Raiders must do a better job of protecting the football. A much, much better job. Through five games, they’ve turned it over nine times. Nine. The defense has managed nine takeaways to keep them at even, but averaging nearly two turnovers a game is like sticking your finger in a light socket – it’s going to hurt you and hurt you bad.

As we’ve seen in Oakland’s last two games – perhaps not so coincidentally, both losses.

They are even in the turnover/takeaway column at this point. But if the Raiders are going to make a run this year, they will need to do a better job of protecting the ball while still getting some valuable takeaways.

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