Smashmouth and Blather can only get you so far in the NFL, just ask Mike Singletary and now Tom Cable. If you team does not execute a two minute drill properly, play well on Special Teams, run precise routes and make the proper coaching decisions you have no place being in the Playoffs. Unfortunately, all of these were on display today as Jason Campbell and Darren McFadden did their best to try and overcome the folly that can become Oakland Raider football.
The game came to a close with the Raiders at the Jacksonville 40 yard line and not even taking a shot at the end zone. Jason Campbell was pressured and threw the ball to Jacoby Ford on the left hashmarks with no timeouts left. Good teams try and get that ball into the end zone for a 10% chance of tying the game. Unfortunately, this "Nuance" is lost on this team.
Special teams did the Raiders no favors today as Jacoby Ford fumbled a ball that set up a touchdown and then Oakland allowed a 65 yard return with a 1:40 left in a tie ball game. Most teams that recognize "Nuances" will squib the ball down and avoid a big return. Not the Raiders, they kicked it away and paid the price.
Unfortunately some drives were killed by a receiver falling down or not being able to live up to their billings as receivers. This went for the entire unit. Ford dropped a first down catch, Murphy dropped one and then fell down on a route that would have produced a first down and Darius Heyward-Bey let a bomb slip right through his fingers on the final drive that would have set up a 1st and 10 from the Jacksonville 30 with over a minute to play.
Then there were the coaching decisions that were absolutely "Dunderhead-ish". The first of which was challenging a questionable call as your second challenge. Cable chose to challenge whether or not the Jacksonville runner was out of bounds on a "Devlish" 70 yard run. he lost the challenge, as he should have, and then was not able to challenge a touchdown where it appeared that the Jacksonville receiver was not in bounds. Then there was the call to go for it on 4th and 3 from the 30 yard line with the fresh off of the bench back-up qb, Kyle Boller, instead of letting the highest paid kicker in the NFL, with the longest leg attempt a kick from inside the 50 yard line. There was also the acceptance of a penalty that made it 2nd and 18 instead of 3rd and 10 from the Oakland 49 for Jacksonville. I know that some coaches have a list that let's them know when to accept penalties and not. I didn't need a list to tell me that you limit the ability for the Jags to make plays by limiting the downs. The next play went for a TD.
These are the "Nuances" that will haunt this team until they play more disciplined and actually get a head coach that is a good game manager. Until then, the two minute offense, game management and when to use a challenge will remain a nuisance to the silver and black.