I watched my beloved Oakland Raiders fall 34-14 to the dreaded (dare I say hated?) Denver Broncos, in not just their last home game, but the last game of the season.
I wish we competed more, and had played better, but I really did not expect a win. Why? The Broncos were 12-3 going into the game. We had 4 wins. Peyton Manning had already broken the single season touchdown record. Granted one of those from last week was juggled OOB and had oh, Matt McGloin or Terrelle Pryor thrown the pass it wouldn’t have been a TD, before or after review. Plus the NFL allegedly admitted one of the TDs wasn’t a TD. Regardless, he would have gotten it this week. I’ll accept it if only because he only broke the season record for passing yards against us (maybe, if the NFL counted right, and now they aren’t sure), and points scored in a season. As that points scored knocks out Tom Brady and the rest of the 2007 New England *Patriots, (yes that asterisk is intentional), I am glad to have been the victim. Besides, we are looking at prolific offense, and one we helped out by fumbling away the ball on our own 21 yard line.
But let’s take a quick look at Denver’s record. The fewest points they scored was 20 points in a loss to the San Diego Chargers a couple of weeks back. In their other 2 losses, they scored a low 31 and a high of 33 points. They scored 51 points against the Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans in wins. They scored 52 points against the Baltimore Ravens.
Between Manning and back up QB Brock Osweiler they only missed 7 out of 41 pass attempts.
My beloved Raiders defense struggled. The secondary has been a weakness when it comes to the passing game. As pressuring the QB has been hit or miss by our defensive linemen, that puts all the more pressure on the secondary. (Although Lamarr Houston did get a 9 yards sack on Manning.) Let’s face it, if a QB has 5 + seconds to throw, whether man or zone, someone is bound to get open. Now when the starting corners are Chimdi Chekwa and Phillip Adams, with assistance from Tracy Porter that is trouble to begin with. At least two of those guys mentioned would not have a starting job on any other team. When the starting defensive line up shows us in a 4-2-5, starting out in nickel? That shows we were afraid of the passing game. Add that Manning can run a no huddle offense like nobody’s business and we have double trouble.
Now while many teams have been able to score on the Denver defense, we know that this had no shot of being an offensive shoot out. Terrelle Pryor has had limited offensive success. His overall QB record is 3-7. He threw for 7 tds and had 11 interceptions. Yesterday he had more than twice as many incomplete passes as did the 2 opposing quarterbacks combined. The most points put up touchdown wise by Pryor in a single game is 12 points, not including the point points after touchdowns. So if that is what he was averaging, that is exactly what we got against the Broncos. I could not really expect more points. For the record, Rod Streater and another rookie tight, Nick Kasa, were on the receiving end of Pryor’s touch down throws. It was Kasa’s first td reception.
I was not shocked by the turnover on the snap. There have been issues with that all season long. Stefen Wisniewski has had issues. I am wondering if while he is looking to make his offensive stance he isn’t quite squared up when the QB calls for the ball.
I was not surprised by the missed field goal. Again, that has been an issue all season long.
I was not surprised by the points put up against our defense with Manning and his no huddle offense.
I am wondering what the fans expected when I heard them booing.
Manning will be in the Hall of Fame.
This isn’t to say that the Raiders don’t have talent on this roster.
Take a look at the guys with the majority of receptions, Denarius Moore has been on an active roster for 3 seasons. Andre Holmes wasn’t placed on an active roster until December of 2011, and had limited time in 2012 while he was with Dallas. This is by far his most productive year. Rod Streater is only in his second season. Rookie tight end Mychal Rivera, is obviously a rookie. Not who we intended to see so much play time, but he’s earned it.
We have to keep in consideration we played musical QBS and had a mish mash, patchwork offensive line for quite a bit of the season.
But this wasn’t an offense to strike fear into anyone. Our QBs had limited experience. While one had time to study film, his throwing mechanics were not the best, he had trouble going through his reads, and had a tendency to run after his first read was covered. The other is walk on, undrafted rookie. His height, or lack thereof could be considered an issue. While they both have their strong points and have had their successes, at the current time, it isn’t like opposing teams were facing a Manning-esque qb.
But let’s face it, generally speaking when there is an 8:58 difference in time of possession, usually the team that doesn’t have the TOP will be on the losing end. This game fit in that category. We also converted only 5 of 13 3rd down conversion attempts. Of the passes Pryor did complete, he was averaging less than 5 yards a throw.
Defensively, the top 3 players in tackles were in our secondary. Our leading lineman was Lamarr Houston , with 7 solo tackles to go with his sack. Charles Woodson seemed to be making a case to re-sign with us, as he led the team with 10 tackles, 1 assist. a sack, a qb hit, and 2 tackles for a loss. This shows me they kept playing , all game long. Like Coach Dennis Allen said in his presser, these guys are flying around on the field.
I am happy to say we didn’t quit. While the defense couldn’t stop Manning, on 5 true possessions in the second half, the Broncos were forced to punt 4 times. We blocked one of them. They scored only 3 points in the entire 2nd half, and not for lack of trying.
So, like I said, I am not surprised we lost, but at least it was a football game, and their defense had to play all 60 minutes. We could have gotten goose egged and we didn’t. A win would have been great, but only possible had Manning sat the entire game. He is just that damned good.
That’s all I have for now.
Win, lose, or tie, RAIDERS til I DIE!