Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Week Ten

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Nov 15, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio reacts after no penalty was called against the Minnesota Vikings on a pass play in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 30-14. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Got Flat Outcoached

It was a big problem throughout the Dennis Allen era, but under Jack Del Rio, the Raiders haven’t found themselves in many situations where you can say they got outcoached. But that’s exactly what happened against Minnesota.

Vikings OC Norv Turner showed a creativity in his play calling that Bill Musgrave simply couldn’t match. Turner utilized the weapons that Minnesota has to terrific and devastating effect. With a number of different and creative plays, Turner had the Raiders’ defense right where he wanted them – back on their heels. And they seemed to stay there for the entirety of the game.

Oakland’s offensive play calling was vanilla, conservative, and didn’t make great use of their many, many weapons. Taiwan Jones didn’t get a single touch in the running game even though his speed and elusiveness – not to mention his pass catching ability out of the backfield – has made him a valuable weapon in Oakland’s offense. Roy Helu, who was supposed to be a big factor catching balls out of the backfield has been MIA for a while now.

While it’s true that there are a limited amount of touches to go around, and the Raiders need to utilize their primary weapons, as the Vikings showed, complimentary role players can have a big impact on a game when they’re used. Musgrave didn’t show the inclination to throw in some plays that would have forced to stop and think, to hesitate for that split second needed to break a big play. Oakland’s game plan on Sunday was blander than the food in England.

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Defensively speaking, DC Ken Norton Jr.’s squad just looked outmatched. He had no answers for the apparent wizardry of Turner and Minnesota got pretty much whatever it wanted all game long. Minnesota tallied a total of 385 yards of total offense on 59 plays for an average of almost seven yards per play – which sort of helps explain why the defense couldn’t get off the field and Minnesota was able to roll all over them.

It was a huge game with big implications for both teams. Vikings HC Mike Zimmer had his team fired up and ready to go. Del Rio simply didn’t. Oakland wasn’t able to match the fire and intensity Minnesota had from the opening snap. And as a result, the Raiders paid a big, big price.

If the Raiders are going to give themselves any chance of making the postseason, they’re going to need to treat each and every game from here on out as a playoff game. And their intensity is going to have to reflect that.