Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Week Nine

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Nov 8, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown (84) and running back Taiwan Jones (22) pursue a fumble by Brown on a punt return in the fourth quarter in a NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ball Security – Or Lack Thereof

The Raiders had done a fantastic job over the last few weeks of taking care of the football. They had not turned the ball over once in the last two games. Not once. That changed in dramatic fashion on Sunday though.

Against the Steelers, the Raiders turned the ball over a whopping four times. And it could have been worse than that.

There was the Carr interception in the endzone, which was bad enough. But the Raiders fumbled the ball a total of five times on the day and lost three of them. And while not a turnover, the Oakland receivers had a real hard time holding on to the ball as well, dropping half a dozen passes.

As a team, the Raiders had very, very hard time holding on to the football against Pittsburgh. And it cost them dearly.

It was Taiwan Jones‘ fumble of kickoff – just after the Steelers had scored to go up 28-21 in the fourth quarter – that put the Steelers inside the five yard line. Pittsburgh quickly capitalized on it with Roethlisberger tossing a short touchdown pass to rookie Jesse James to go up 35-21.

It’s a scenario we’ve seen play out numerous times this season – Latavius Murray’s fumble(s) against the Bears, Derek Carr’s interception that was brought back for the game winning score against the Broncos, and now the numerous turnovers that absolutely killed the Raiders against the Steelers.

To give themselves a chance to win, the Raiders – aside from tightening up their defense in a huge way – need to secure the ball a hell of a lot better than they did against the Steelers. As good as their offense is, they can’t afford to put themselves in big holes by coughing up the football.

Next: Getting It Done Up Front