The Raiders lost, again, this time a 37-6 drubbing at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Manning and the offense marched down the field on their first possession of the game and got into the endzone on 22 yard laser-rocket to TE Joel Dreesen. They took the lead with 10:32 left in the first quarter and were never threatened in a game that saw the Raiders outmatched in all three phases of the game.
Head coach Dennis Allen and his coaching staff deserve the largest amount of the blame. The team came out flat and uninspired. The game plans on both sides of the ball were ineffective and uninspired. Plus, Allen, who had previously shown a killer spirit against Pittsburgh – going for it on 4th and short, an unexpected onsides kick – punted on 4th & short 3 times in the first half, giving the ball back to a fiery hot Manning who marched the Broncos down the field time and again.
The score was close when the game went into halftime, still, with the Broncos up only 10-6. However that was due, in large part, to some lucky breaks on the Raiders part. First, the Broncos decided to try a fake FG pass from the kicker, Prater, to Zane Beatles but Beatles fell down on the play and the pass fell incomplete. That gave the Raiders good field position and kept the Broncos from scoring, something the Raiders had been unable to do on their own.
Later in the first half the team gave up a huge play on a bubble screen that went undefended but caught a huge break when the receiver fumbled the ball without being touched as he tried to move the ball from one arm to the other. The receiver was anticipating being hit by Tyvon Branch, who had good hustle on the play.
Without those two big turnovers by Denver, both of which were essentially self-inflicted, the score would have been much higher against the Raiders.
Despite the Raiders’ close score at half clearly not being due to the team really competing well, Dennis Allen seemed dogged in his refusal to try to win the game. I would have been happy with any kind of trick play or at least going for it on 4th down at any time in the game. The Raiders only went for the 4th down conversion twice in the game and one of those times was the Raiders last play of the game, a 4th down try that failed.
Also looking overmatched was offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. I have defended Knapp to this point not because I believe in him but because I think that judging a new coordinator after only one or two games is ridiculous. However, the season is now a quarter over and I cannot defend him after this game.
The Raiders offense showed some progress last week against the Steelers only to take two steps backward this week.
The team was unable to run, with McFadden regressing back to a 2.6 yard per carry average, again. Palmer targeted Moore eight times but was only able to complete half of them. Marcel Reece was also targeted 8 times and really looked dominant after the first quarter but Denver adjusted well to covering him and Knapp, Palmer & the rest of the offense couldn’t seem to accommodate likewise.
Brandon Myers, the team’s leading receiver so far this season was only targeted two times, coming down with one. Myers has been a good weapon for the team so not targeting him more was a bad decision, I think.
I’d rail more against DC Jason Tarver but Peyton is one of the best QBs ever and there are many a proven defensive coordinators with better personnel that have fallen to him. Suffice to say that Tarver and the defense had no answer to Manning who came out after half time and scored 3 TD’s in the 3rd quarter to put the game so far out of reach that they barely had to try in the 4th quarter.
Tarver is a big proponent of putting pressure on the quarterback but the Raiders were unable to get any pressure on Manning. Manning was not sacked at all and barely had pressure on most plays. He was hit maybe 3 times in the game, only.
The Raiders defense was so bad that it the Denver offense did not punt at all in the entire game.
Special teams was a mixed bag. Taiwan Jones was a standout as a gunner. He was involved in 4 tackles on the Denver punt returner that I counted and two of those were him getting to the returner before anyone else and being able to make the tackle by himself in the open-field. It was a very impressive display by the second year RB.
On the negative side, the Raiders had another punt blocked again due to poor line blocking on special teams.
In all, this was an entire team loss with each squad contributing to the blow out. I put the blame squarely on head coach Dennis Allen for this one, accordingly. It is his job to get the players in a position to play and he and his staff failed to do so.
It’s not the end of the world – playoffs were always a longshot and the team can technically still make playoffs this year. However, with each loss it seems less and less likely and the team now limps into their bye week and must prepare to play against a red-hot Atlanta team in week 6.
During the bye week, the Raiders – both coaches and players –need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and decide how they want this season to end. They have the talent on the team to compete but have been blown out in 3 of their 4 games. If they do not decide to change this, fans can start looking forward to a high 1st round draft pick, again, this year.
For more Raiders news & analysis, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews