Here's the first quarter and into the second to complete the Raider's initial scoring drive. A lot of attention on the offense shows in the execution of plays here, and we use a lot of fake reverses and motions to help the plays work against coverages and looks effectively most of the time. Defense, even though mostly stout in the first half, already showing it's susceptible to big plays, overpursuit, and an overall lack of discipline. At this point, I believe we're a couple of guys away from being an all star defense, and that the existing personnel sans Nnamdi Asomugha especially won't be good enough to get it done most games and will have to rely on luck to win the tough ones.
I see the division up in the air because KC is damaged, Denver needs to grow, but SD is flat out better than us this year and we'll have to be better to even beat them once this year. I don't see anyone on our defense able to cover Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, and Antonio Gates. We'd have a hard time with any two of these guys.
Hit the jump to get personnel grouping, play by play, and how it went for the first, and into the second.
Nick Miller lets the first kick go for the touchback.
Raiders start from the 20 yard line, 21 personnel as usual, from left up front: Jared Veldheer, Stefen Wisniewski, Samson Satele, Cooper Carlisle , Khalif Barnes. Brandon Myers lines up TE left side and motions right before the snap. Darren McFadden deep, Marcel Reece strong side I formation, Chaz Schilens and Denarius Moore wide. JC play action fake to Darren with a nice pocket, but it collapses and he throws it away in the grasp of defenders.
2nd down and 10. Single back set, 12 personnel, Gordon weakside Myers lined up strong side, as are both wide receivers this time, JC fakes to Darren again and hits Derek Hagan on the right side almost picked off by CB Leodis McKelvin but nice job fighting for it by Hagan to keep it away and maintain possession for no gain.
3rd and 10. 11 personnel, single back, three wide receiver set with Chaz Schilens, Moore, and Hagan. Screen pass right side to McFadden picks up 9, but just short of the first down.
Lechler punts; fielded at the 11 yard line returned 16 yards to the 26 but a flag brings it back 10 yards to start at the 16. (illegal block in the back receiving team)
Buffalo 1st and 10 at 16. Fitzpatrick under center, three wide receiver set with the big TE Chandler motions from the weak side to a FB position in front of Fred Jackson deep.
Buffalo starts 11 personnel, Fred Jackson the lone back, Chandler the TE for Buffalo, and three wide receivers, left slot. Raiders are in a six defensive back dime coverage set. Defensive line wins point of attack on the handoff to Fred Jackson left and is met at the line of scrimmage by Tyvon Branch before he gets another yard where Rolando McClain converges.
2nd and 9 18 yard line, Bills empty backfield 1TE, 4 wide receiver spread formation. We look like we're nickel 4-2-5 with Quentin Groves and Rolando McClain the backers, Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson corners, Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff safeties. A quick rush forces a hurried incomplete pass to the seams on the right side in Routt's vicinity.
3rd and 9, Bills in same formation, with three wideouts bunched right, one on the left. Ryan Fitzpatrick looks for Roscoe Parrish on the quick slant in, who can't hold on; it falls incomplete. Punt.
Nick Miller recovers the kick at about the 26 and gains about five.
1st and 10 from the 32 yard line. Raiders 12 personnel, single back, both wide receivers line up left side, and the handoff to McFadden barely gets back to the line.
2nd and 10 from 32. Single back set, but Reece is lining up wide, and motioning in as a decoy TE and breaks downfield at the snap. Jason Campbell drops back and fakes the handoff to McFadden and drops deep to set up the screen pass. McFadden sprints similar to the play on the first drive on third down, only he gets closer to ten here. Darren had to leap Carlisle on the ground.
Jason Campbell from 21 personnel keeps it on the Qb sneak for the first.
1st and 10, 42. 11 personnel, three wide receiver set, Denarius Moore in the slot left. Campbell attempts the comeback to Derek Hagan in the flats and it's sniffed out by CB Drayton Florence on the 3 step drop and Campbell's telltale marathon delivery and almost picked again. Incomplete.
2nd and 10, 42. 21 personnel, Myers right side, Reece shallow weakside backfield w/ McFadden deep. Handoff to Darren gets back to the line. Might just be the camera angle but it looks like he had an open lane cutting around the line instead of through, but who knows.
3rd and 9, 43. 20 personnel, Pro formation, 3 WR set, McFadden deep strong side, Moore weak side slot. Campbell drops back deep under immediate pressure throwing to Hagan crossing right to left under coverage incomplete.
It's 1st and 10, Buffalo comes out in what looks like 11 personnel, and single back, but the big TE Chandler moves into the FB position behind Fitpatrick, who's under center, before the snap. The handoff is to Fred Jackson who starts left and cuts back right. All four men on the front line open up a nice hole and Rolando steps in to pursue the ball carrier. We're again in the big nickel 4-2-5, caught looking pass it seems with this personnel, and Wimbley is lined up at DE, McClain the sole true linebacker. Chandler picks up McClain immediately, and the rest of the line wins their battles creating a monster hole for Jackson to scamper 34 yards. Tyvon Branch runs him out of bounds, and you can see the moment he knows he overpursued along with McClain and everyone on defense beyond the front four, because they were all chasing at the end of the play.
1st and 10 at the 49. Buffalo again in single back spread, we're in the nickel with five defensive backs. This time the handoff to Jackson off tackle right runs into the pile and Quentin Groves for a loss of a yard.
2nd and 11 at the 48. Empty backfield is essentially 01, or 02 personnel with two TEs, but Buffalo now in a four wide receiver spread set with Fred Jackson and speedy former teammate of Jacoby Ford C.J. Spiller wide; technically, the two backs are wideouts on this play. Fitzpatrick hits Spiller slanting in for about six, where he is tackled by Michael Huff, one of five defensive backs two of whom were lined up on the line with CBs man to man on the wideouts.
3rd and 5 from the 46 yard line. Spread again, nickel for Raiders with defensive backs up on the line. The quick slant to Don Nelson nets the first down and some change.
1st and 10 39 yard line. An illegal crack back block moves Buffalo back 15 yards. The trip was clear on tape, but one that had no effect on the play.
1st and 25, 46. Single back, three wide receiver set. Raiders with five or six defensive backs on the field again in the likely passing situations and for the spread. Michael Huff blitzes at the snap, and Fitzgerald hurries the throw to the right side where Stanford Routt is covering Stevie Johnson who falls running the route. Incomplete.
2nd and 25. Spiller and Jackson again receivers in the empty backfield, four wide set. Fitzpatrick hits Donald Jones on a shallow crossing route for a couple.
3rd and 23 48 yard line. Buffalo in a pro form with Brad Smith behind Fitpatrick on the strong side. Smith fades back to the right backfield and Fitzpatrick hits him. Smith looks downfield to throw, but keeps it unable to find a few open guys, and he's chased down for a loss of six, to force the punt from the 42 yard line.
Nick Miller fields it at the 17 yard line for a twelve yard return to about the 30.
1st and 10 at the 29, Raiders 21 personnel in the I formation, Derek Hagan and Chaz Schilens are lined up on the weak side, but Schilens motions right to shadow Myers right side, and then back to the weak side TE. The handoff to McFadden off tackle left gains 14 and out of bounds to the 42.
1st and 10. Raiders are 11 personnel single back with Taiwan Jones on the field as an add'l receiver wide right. He comes around for the handoff after Campbell fakes the give to McFadden and picks up four around the left side, tackled by Leodis McKelvin.
2nd and 6, 21 personnel, Denarius Moore and Schilens the receivers lined up right side. It's a pitch to McFadden to the right side that picks up five.
3rd and 1, 48 yard line in Buffalo territory. 11 personnel single back set, Denarius Moore, Derek Hagan, and Chaz Schilens the wide receivers. Michael Bush motions up to weak side TE before the snap, JC on the QB keeper for what looks like the first.
It's short. Hue calls for the chain gang, and it's less than a foot but still short.
l4th and inches. 21 personnel, flanker right lined up tight on the TE, Hagan one on one left side, backs in the I formation. McFadden on the slash left side for the first and a couple yards.
So far this drive 5 rushes 0 passes. 21 personnel, Derek Hagan left, Denarius Moore right. JC seven step drop looks for Moore double covered, but Denarius doesn't get there. Solomon Wilcots notes that Moore hesitates after the double move holds McKelvin on the right side and that if he doesn't this one might be a big one for a TD.
2nd and 10, 21 personnel, Myers weak side TE, Schilens wide receiver opposite. The give to McFadden with receivers coming across for the fake reverse gets about six yards off left tackle.
3rd and 3 27 yard line. The 1st quarter comes to a close.
11 personnel, single back, three wide receiver set. Schilens left, Hagan right, Moore slot right. Campbell on a timing route right side finds Moore in the seam who makes a nice catch extending for the ball down to the 16 yard line for a 20 yard gain. Wilcots notes he thought the ball would be intercepted, overthrown and ill-timed, but Moore pulls a Jacoby Ford taking the ball away from Leodis McKelvin and turns it into a catch. Nice job, Denarius.
1st and 10, 16 yard line. 11 personnel, single back, three wideout set again, this time Moore's in the left side slot. Quick pass to McFadden finding room between the tackles on the left side for about four.
2nd and 6, 12 yard line. 21 personnel, two wideouts bunched left side opposite Myers. Moore comes in motion and veers out for the fake reverse, JC fakes the handoff to him and gives to McFadden off tackle left side for maybe two.
3rd and 3, 10 yard line. 21 personnel, backs in the offset strong side I formation, both wideouts lined up strong side, with Moore in the slot and Shilens wide. Chaz motions before the snap to set up for a criss-cross pattern to fall in behind Moore who goes for the corner of the end zone. JC finds Schilens for the first and a couple down to the 2.
1st and goal, 2 yard line. Technically 21 personnel, with Michael Bush the deep back and Richard Gordon playing FB in the I. Brandon Myers lined up weakside TE, motions across to the right side. The handoff to Mike Bush on the FB lead left side gets back to the line of scrimmage fro nothing.
2nd and goal, 2. 21 personnel, Reece the FB in the I motions out wide before the snap to the left side. Play action to Bush up the middle nets JC some time but Jairus Byrd jams Myers at the line and JC throws it away.
3rd and goal, 2. Jumbo goal line personnel brings Bruce Campbell in as an additional lineman, 'tackle eligible' TE. Technically a 22 personnel set here, with Gordon at FB and Bush deep, Myers weak side TE motions right before the snap. Neutral zone infraction on Buffalo half the distance to the goal, still third down.
3rd and goal on the 1, Jumbo again. Mike Bush smash up the middle between the tackles, would've gotten there from three out.
That's all for now. I'll resume from there about a quarter at a time, hopefully getting into some of the NE/SD game that followed as time allows before I depart for Oakland tentatively wee hours Sunday morn.
More opportunities in the first half than I'd remembered watching the first time, and also some opportunities on defense to figure out what Buffalo was doing, since it looks as though they didn't do much differently in the second half, but maybe executed a little better.