Raiders defense gets trampled by Buffalo

The Raiders went into Buffalo on a bit of a high after winning their season opener for the first time in eight years. The Bills came in on a high after trouncing the Chiefs 41-7 in their opener. Something had to give. As it turned out, it was the Raiders’ defense.

It started out looking like the Raiders were going to walk away with the win. The game was nearly one-sided in favor of the Raiders, and they went into halftime up 21-3. The defense had given up a few big plays but with the help of a Stanford Routt interception and a blocked field goal by Tyvon Branch, they were able to keep the Bills at just one field goal.

Bills running back Fred Jackson had 44 yards, 34 of which came on one play, and Bills newfound star quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, was held to 102 yards passing and an interception.

Meanwhile, the Raiders offense was tearing through the Bills defense. With a heavy dose of Darren McFadden and a couple of clutch long catches by rookie Denarius Moore, the Raiders put three touchdowns on the board.

Then came the second half.

The Bills came out of the locker room on a tear of their own. They scored 21 unanswered points thanks to a poised Fitzpatrick and a steady dose of their star back, Fred Jackson. And of course, thanks to a fumble by Darren McFadden to keep stop the Raiders’ drive and give the Bills a short field with which to work.

The lead the Raiders took a half to build up was gone in one quarter. The Bills were able to drive the ball down the field with relative ease and took advantage of the turnover to go from being down 21-3 to taking the lead 24-21.  

The Raiders offense re-awoke to begin the first quarter. This time it was a of couple Derek Hagan catches, one for 25 yards, and a tricky double reverse to Denarius Moore that put the Raiders in the red zone. Then a short pass to McFadden put the Raiders back in the lead, 28-24.

That lead was gone by the time the Raiders offense got the ball back. The defense seemed powerless to stop the Bills. Or simply unwilling. They gave up yards in chunks. Catches of 15, 12, and 18 put the Bills in first and goal at the 8 yard line. Then a Chris Johnson holding penalty would give them the first down, and the Bills scored on a touchdown pass two plays later.

The next drive was highlighted by a spectacular 50 yard catch by Denarius Moore. He leapt in the air in double coverage and somehow was able to come down with the catch in the endzone. It was the highlight of the game and one of the best catches by any Raider receiver I have seen in quite some time. If there is one downside to it, however, it was that the Raiders left the Bills with too much time on the clock.

The Bills would take over at the twenty after Sebastian Janikowski’s usual touchback. Then, as they had done throughout the second half, the Bills had their way with the Raiders’ defense. In the end, it wasn’t without struggle though, as the Bills were forced to convert on a 4th and three. But convert it they did. Then Chris Johnson had his hands on an interception in the endzone only to have it slapped out by the receiver and fall incomplete. If that interception had stood, it would have ended the game. Instead, the Bills stayed alive and effectively ended the game on a wide open touchdown catch by tight end David Nelson.

All in all, the Bills had five drives in the second half and they scored a touchdown on every single one of those drives.

The Bills kept the Raiders scoreless in the third quarter on the forced fumble and a three and out.

In the fourth quarter, neither defense was able to stop the other team’s offense. The Raiders began the quarter down 24-21 and with each team scoring seemingly at will, that would be the Bills margin of victory. It came down to opportunities. The Bills had three chances and the Raiders had two. The Bills scored three touchdowns to the Raiders’ two. Game over. Bills win 38-35.

After posting five sacks in week one, the Raiders are held without a single sack. After holding the Broncos to 38 total yards on the ground, the Raiders gave up 217 yards to the Bills, including 117 by Fred Jackson. Jason Campbell more than tripled his passing totals (105 to 323), while Darren McFadden’s rushing numbers were cut in half (150 to 72) though his total yards from scrimmage was nearly identical (156 to 153). The passing numbers by the opposing quarterback were pretty similar to last week with the notable exception of Fitzpatrick throwing for three touchdowns to Orton’s one.

There doesn’t appear to be any issues for the Raiders offensively. Even with their “top three” receivers out, as well as their new star tight end Kevin Boss, they still scored five touchdowns. But as confident as the offense looked on Sunday, the defense is considerably more worrisome.

The Raiders were able to squeak by the lowly Broncos last week, but this loss to the Bills could signal far more problems ahead for this defense. Those defensive issues are across the board. Too many gaping holes in the line for rushers and too many open receivers.

The Raiders will face the Jets in their home opener next week, followed by the Patriots, who must be licking their chops at the prospect of facing this defense. It will only get worse from here.

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Box Score

Oakland Raiders (1-1-0)

 

 

Passing

CP/AT

YDS

TD

INT

J. Campbell

23/33

323

2

1

Rushing

ATT

YDS

TD

LG

D. McFadden

20

72

1

14

D. Moore

1

25

0

25

M. Bush

4

23

1

22

T. Jones

1

4

0

4

M. Reece

1

4

0

4

J. Campbell

3

3

1

2

Receiving

REC

YDS

TD

LG

D. Moore

5

146

1

50T

D. McFadden

7

71

1

16

D. Hagan

5

61

0

25

M. Reece

3

20

0

12

B. Myers

2

16

0

8

C. Schilens

1

9

0

9

Fumbles

FUM

LOST

REC

YDS

D. McFadden

1

1

0

0

Kicking

FG

LG

XP

PTS

S. Janikowski

0/0

0

5/5

5

Punting

NO

AVG

I20

LG

S. Lechler

3

46.3

1

58

Kickoff Returns

NO

AVG

TD

LG

N. Miller

4

15

0

18

Punt Returns

NO

AVG

TD

LG

N. Miller

2

9

0

12

Defense

T-A

SCK

INT

FF

R. McClain

7-3

0.0

0

0

T. Branch

6-2

0.0

0

0

M. Giordano

4-3

0.0

0

0

M. Huff

4-2

0.0

0

0

C. Johnson

4-2

0.0

0

0

Q. Groves

3-1

0.0

0

0

S. Routt

3-0

0.0

1

0

M. Shaughnessy

3-1

0.0

0

0

J. Boyd

2-2

0.0

0

0

J. Henderson

2-0

0.0

0

0

R. Seymour

2-1

0.0

0

0

K. Wimbley

2-1

0.0

0

0

C. Chekwa

1-0

0.0

0

0

L. Houston

1-2

0.0

0

0

T. Kelly

1-2

0.0

0

0

Buffalo Bills

Passing

CP/AT

YDS

TD

INT

R. Fitzpatrick

28/46

264

3

1

Rushing

ATT

YDS

TD

LG

F. Jackson

15

117

2

43T

C. Spiller

4

63

0

26

R. Fitzpatrick

3

23

0

13

B. Smith

3

14

0

11

Receiving

REC

YDS

TD

LG

St. Johnson

8

96

1

19

D. Nelson

10

83

1

15

D. Jones

4

24

0

9

F. Jackson

2

23

0

12

S. Chandler

2

16

1

10

R. Parrish

1

16

0

16

C. Spiller

1

6

0

6

About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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