Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Week Nine

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Nov 8, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) runs the ball against Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden (25) during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

One Bad Turn Deserves Another

A week after the Raiders absolutely destroyed the New York Jets and their top ranked run defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers returned the favor by humiliating Oakland’s second ranked run defense. And what makes it even worse is that the Steelers did it without Le’Veon Bell – one of the league’s best backs.

With Bell out, the Steelers turned to veteran DeAngelo Williams to fill the void. It’s doubtful that the Steelers counted on the impact Williams would have on the game. With a short and intermediate range passing game as effective as theirs, the Steelers likely thought that Williams would give the Raiders something to think about and have to defend against.

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But instead of just being a nice complementary piece to that short passing game, Williams dominated the game from start to finish, leaving Oakland’s run defense in tattered ruins.

For the game, Williams ran the ball 27 times for an astonishing 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Raiders had only been giving up 82 yards on the ground per game to that point. And yet Williams carved them up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Poor tackling led to a lot of Williams’ yards, there is no doubt. He’s too big and strong to take down with a simple arm tackle, and he was able to run right through those. But it was a very disturbing performance from one of the league’s best in that department.

The run defense had been the strength of Oakland’s defense and Williams blew them up like it was nothing. It’s something the Raiders are going to have to spend this week correcting. They are going to need to get this ship righted and they need to do it quickly with Adrian Peterson looming.

Next: A Tarnished Silver Lining