The Uglier: Oakland Really Can’t Stop The Run
It’s been a problem all season long and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better. If anything, it appears to be getting worse. And that’s Oakland’s inability to stop the run.
For the season, the Raiders rank thirtieth in the league in run defense. Given some of their performances, that they don’t rank at the very bottom is somewhat of a pleasant surprise. But they’re still bad. Really, really bad.
For the year, the Raiders have given up 793 rushing yards in six games. That’s an average of 132 yards per contest. Only Miami and San Francisco are worse against the run – which is not the sort of company you want to be keeping.
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Against Kansas City, the Raiders were gashed for 183 yards – and three touchdowns – on the ground. Spencer Ware did most of the damage, rushing for 131 yards on 24 carries – a robust average of 5.5 yards per carry. Jamaal Charles and Charcandrick West chipped in modest yardage, but the Chiefs really didn’t need much from either of them. The Raiders had no answer for Ware.
Many people point to the absence of Mario Edwards Jr. as the primary reason Oakland can’t stop the run. Not having him on the line certainly doesn’t help. But the problem goes well beyond just one player. When there are as many failures stopping the run at every level of the defense, whether the opposition is running to the left, right, or straight ahead, the problem is far bigger than one guy.
To advance in the playoffs, you need a stout run defense. The Raiders don’t have anything close to that at this point. And it’s becoming not just repetitive to say, but a quickly growing concern.