I have been sitting here staring at my computer for the past for hours trying to figure out how to explain what happened in the 23-19 loss my beloved Oakland Raiders were dealt by the Tennessee Titans at O.co Stadium.
I would love to be able to point a finger and say “Elementary, my dear fellow fans. It was this!”, and fill in the “this” with just one thing that was the reason we lost. But that can’t be done.
I could say that it was that Sebastian Janikowski ‘s 2 missed field goals, and I know that’s where many will place the blame. After all, add 6 points to 19 and we have 25. Last time I did my math 25> 22 and the victory would be for the Raiders. I have heard/read that one of those “misses” actually appeared to be good for many. I have to wonder about the misses and his knuckle ball kick offs. Did he cramp? Nothing was mentioned. I will never know.
I could talk about how we lost tight end Mychel Rivera for the majority of the game at with more than half the second quarter left. This was one of those hitting defenseless receiver personal fouls. He was dazed, and I knew right then he had a concussion. No offense to Nick Kasa or Jeron Mastrud, but there was a chemistry beginning to develop between quarter back Matt McGloin and Rivera.
I could bring up that Matt McGloin threw an interception that led to a field goal for the Titans. Had there been no interception, we could have maybe put some points on the board. We won’t ever know. In his postgame presser, McGloin said it was a bad decision on his part. As long as I am talking about the young Mr. McGloin, it would be remiss of me to not mention the 6 passes defended, including a few that were batted at the line of scrimmage. How about when he ran for -1 yard? He threw a couple of passes that weren’t exactly on target.
That being said, there were a couple of dropped passes again. There were some players that allowed themselves to get pushed off their routes or they couldn’t shake coverage and give McGloin a target to hit.
There were penalties. On a 3rd and 4th down play Sio Moore was tagged for roughing the passer, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The pass had fallen incomplete, so that kept their drive alive. This drive ended with a field goal. Nick Roach was hit, and legitimately so, with a face mask penalty. Possession ended in a punt, but because of that 15 yards, we ended up on our 9 yard line, and that’s when McGloin made his bad decision. There were a couple of holding calls, too. One was by Stefan Wizniewski. We couldn’t recover and make up the yards, so we punted. The other, by Lucas Nix, helped stall a drive where we settled for a field goal.
Then there was the defense.
Did we use the dime package too much and didn’t get enough pressure on Fitzpatrick because of that? Did we not blitz enough? Did they tire out against the no huddle? Could it be they just can’t handle a no huddle offense? Did losing Mike Jenkins force our hand? All of the above are more than likely possibilities. What I do know is that in the first half, the Titans were only 3 of 9 on 3rd down conversion attempts. At game end those numbers had jumped to 10 and 18. This means they converted 7 out of 9 3rd down attempts in the 2nd half. They scored 2 touchdowns in the second half. They used more no huddle in the second half. They adjusted to our weaknesses, and going up against a no huddle offense is definitely a weakness.
Jacoby Ford and Rod Streater both fumbled the ball.
What is frustrating is that those 2 field goals were missed. When we were in the red zone, we didn’t get a touchdown. We only converted 3 of 10 3rd down attempts, while they converted 10 of 18 3rd down attempts. We ran only 55 offensive plays compared to their 73 offensive plays. They held on to the ball for over10 and half minutes longer than we did. They were flagged for 100 yards in penalties, and still had 70 more net yards than we did.
So while I sit here for hours and struggle to pinpoint why we lost, there is only one reason. They made the plays and we didn’t. I knew these 2 teams were pretty evenly matched going into the game. I believed that it would be a matter of mistakes that would decide the game. I was wrong. It came down to execution. They did it better. They played better. That’s all that happened. Pointing fingers just won’t work here, because we were just outplayed.
Coach Allen said as much, Matt McGloin said as much, and in speaking to Taiwan Jones post game, he said as much. They played better.
“This loss hurts because of that. I have to accept we were outplayed. I can look at a couple of plays that I think we should have been offensive pass interference flags and grit my teeth, knowing we still had opportunities and failed.”
Now we have a very short week to prepare for the Dallas Cowboys, and we will be going into that game without Mike Jenkins and Mychel Rivera. With the new concussion protocols, there is no way they will be cleared to play. I hope they take proper care of themselves.
That’s all I have.
Win, lose or tie, RAIDERS til I DIE!