After much was made ado about the Oakland Raiders defense and how Jason Tarver’s unit, bird flipping or not, was able to shut down opposing teams, keep the Raiders in games, and the surprise of the season, Nike Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles unsheathed their machetes and hacked away those notions in one afternoon.
Now, this defense is much improved from last year, recruiting guys who want to play for the Silver and Black, guys whose names are not found on the marquee, guys eager to make a reputation for themselves. However, letting Nick Foles look like Peyton Manning on titanium crack en route to a career, Madden like day of 7 touchdowns, 404 yards passing, and a spotless 158.3 quarterback rating is inexcusable. With every puncturing pass, the Raiders defense was exposed mightily, and none more than DJ Hayden.
Pinning the loss on one individual is not what I am doing here. The Raiders were resoundingly slaughtered today at the O.Co on all fronts, collectively losing 49-20 and seemingly unprepared for an Eagles team that was struggling in a struggling NFC East. However for Hayden, the Raiders 12th overall pick in the 2013 draft, had a nightmarish day, being dominated and incinerated by former Cal Bear DeSean Jackson and Kenny Chesney devotee, Riley Cooper.
With the Eagles scoring touchdowns in bunches, three in the second quarter alone, Nick Foles immediately left the Raiders dead to rights. Hayden, who played on an island for the majority of the contest, I mean massacre, had some slim opportunities to make plays, but unfortunately faltered. The Eagles scored their third touchdown on a 63-yard lob down the middle to Riley Cooper. Hayden, who just saw Cooper score on the previous drive with a 17 yard touchdown, was level with the wide receiver, right on Cooper’s number before stumbling at the most inopportune time; when the ball hit Cooper’s palms. He scampered away to the end zone and soon enough many Raiders fans, myself included, would scamper for a stiff drink. But before you could tell your bartender, “Pine Sol please,” Foles kept going back to Hayden, back to the Raiders defense, and marched on toward his historic day. The Eagles scored four touchdowns on their first four possessions, two of which were back to back Hayden blowups.
Hayden continued to get picked apart, despite lining him up against different receivers, such as Jackson. In what has been a battle for Hayden this year his cushion amid coverage remains inviting. Jackson’s 59 yard reception in the third quarter, setting up Philadelphia’s final touchdown, comes to mind rather bitterly.
Hayden, like much of the Oakland defense, have shown moments of brilliance, moments that make the Raider Nation standup and yell proudly and so boisterously, you would think confetti is ready explode from their esophaguses. But in simple terms, what we saw earlier today, what ultimately belonged on HBO and not broadcast television, was a brutal and violent, reality check. This team is inconsistent, far from a wild card fantasy, and harvests many glaring follies, not limited to Hayden’s inexperience.
The Oakland Raiders will look to dust themselves off and play on the road against a New York Giants team that started the season 0-6. The Giants, who have won their last two and will be well rested having been on a bye, could equal the Raiders win total should the same demoralizing Oakland outfit step onto the cold, New Jersey, tarmac next week.
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