Despite a 21-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Oakland Raiders showed it has developed what it has been lacking for the past few seasons – the ability to rush the passer.
Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver’s squad sacked Andrew Luck four times and recorded five tackles for loss of yards.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t make one crucial stop on defense which allowed Luck to scramble and run for the game-winning touchdown.
“Overall, defensively I was pleased,” said head coach Dennis Allen when he spoke to the media after the loss via csnbayarea.com. “But in the critical situations, that’s when we have to execute and make plays. Unfortunately [the Colts] made more of them.”
Raiders linebacker Nick Roach emerged as the team’s leading tackler with nine.
Three of the Raiders’ top-five tacklers: cornerback Tracy Porter, safety Tyvon Branch and defensive end Lamarr Houston each recorded a sack of their own.
The Raiders’ defense will have to put up another dogged performance to ensure a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In addition to putting pressure on Luck, the Raiders defense contained Colts running back Vick Ballard to just 63 yards rushing and without a touchdown.
They must be just as effective against Jaguars’ running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Although Jones-Drew only rushed for 45 yards on 15 carries against AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders should not play carelessly against the three-time Pro Bowler.
ESPN reported Jaguars backup Chad Henne will start on Sunday after starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert suffered from a cut on the back of his throwing hand.
Surely, this will encourage Tarver to call blitz even more.
Until either Henne proves he can counter the pass rush or Jones-Drew can run effectively during the game, Oakland’s defense could potentially have a field day against a Jacksonville team that couldn’t score any offensive points against Kansas City last week.
However, the Raiders cannot be lax.
After its gutsy performance against the Colts, the Raiders proved to the rest of the league that there is no such thing as an easy opponent in the NFL no matter the rankings.
They must be sure to remember that when they play Jacksonville on Sunday.