The first half of this game saw the Raiders look simply terrible. Much of their ineptitude was on offense. Then something changed in the second half. That change was the Raiders returning to the offense in which they have had success all season-the no-huddle.
They won their only game in week three over the Steelers due to Carson Palmer's ability to run the no-huddle efficiently. Then last week, they were able to move the ball and hang with the only undefeated team in the NFL right to the last second thanks in part to the no-huddle offense.
This success makes it that much more strange that they would not get back to it until the second half against the Jaguars. Carson Palmer explains what the no-huddle offense does for this team:
"We tired them out a little bit, especially in their secondary," said Palmer. "They went down a corner and really had three corners left so got them tired, kept things off balance and it was a great halftime adjustment by coach Knapp."
The question is, why did it take a halftime adjustment to get back to the offense they knew had worked so well in previous games?
"That's been something that we've had in our offense for a while now," said Dennis Allen. "We're not going to be just a no-huddle offense and use it exclusively but it will be something that we're going to use from time to time to maybe help us get in a little bit more rhythm or give us more of a spark. I felt like it did that today."
The spark it gives the offense is undeniable. Although, while Palmer is quick to defer credit to his much maligned offensive coordinator, the real credit goes to Palmer.
Said Allen; "There's communication between him and Greg Knapp. But at the end of the day Carson makes the final decisions on what plays we'll run based off the game plan and what we feel like we can do to exploit their defensive structure."
There has been much made of Greg Knapp's playcalling abilities and the mere fact that the offense goes from stagnant and hopeless to efficient and formidable simply by putting the onus on Palmer to call the plays will only raise greater concerns with Knapp.
The difference in stats was night and day from first half to second half. Palmer had completed just 7 passes for 106 yards and an interception in the first half. In the second half he nearly doubled his passing yards and added two touchdowns. Darren McFadden was averaging 1.3 yards per carry in the first half with just 10 yards rushing. In the second half, he averaged 3.9 yards per carry-three times as much.
McFadden's best game of the season was in week three against the Steelers in which he ran for 113 yards on the ground. That game was the first time we saw Palmer run the no-huddle for a good portion of the time. He had his best passing effort (353 yards) last week against the Falcons.
I am not sure how much more evidence is needed. And while I am not going to suggest Knapp needs to go, it is fairly obvious Dennis Allen needs to ensure the offensive playcalling is deferred to Palmer more often and the no-huddle is utilized with greater frequency in much the same way Tom Brady or Peyton Manning is handed more of the control of the offense as a "coach on the field".
It's simply the difference between an NFL offense and a shameful display.