Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
The Ballers are done and we move on to the all-important Busters. Those who one can point the finger as the primary reason for this critical loss.
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As many of you should know by now, Rolando McClain has been designated the Raiders run stopping linebacker. He is no longer an every down middle linebacker for this team and for good reason. And in this game, he failed in epic fashion at his one job. Not all of Doug Martin's yards are on McClain. Not all three of his big touchdown runs are on McClain either. But enough of them are.
Things actually looked pretty good for McClain and the Raiders' defense in the first half. Outside of his being out of position on an 11-yard QB scramble, he was pretty solid. Then the second half came an all Hell broke loose. That is if by "all Hell" you mean Doug Martin.
A few plays into the Bucs first drive, Martin broke off a 45-yard touchdown run. The man who had the best -- and perhaps ONLY-- shot at stopping him was McClain. He was in the hole to make the play. But he somehow didn't have a clue who had the ball. He literally stood there in open space while Martin simply ran right by him. I can just hear Mark Schlereth lampooning it on "Off the Mark."
Two drives later, Martin upped the ante and broke off a 67-yard touchdown run. Again, McClain was there to make the play and could not. He took on the fullback but should have been able to shed the block instead of engaging fully which allowed Martin to again run right by him. It left just cornerback Pat Lee to try and tackle him and Martin took advantage of the mismatch. Martin had one more big run of 70 yards but McClain can't be faulted for that one. He did, however, surrender the final 8-yard run by Martin which put the Bucs in position at the one yard line and end the Raiders comeback hopes. McClain did all this while playing just 58% of the snaps.
These two should have dominated in this game. Both caught a break as the Buccaneers were without their two starting guards. Seymour especially considering they just recently lost All Pro left guard Carl Nicks. That didn't matter though. They were still completely swallowed up by the Bucs fill-ins. Kelly had just one solo tackle and one assist and Seymour had... wait for it... ZERO tackles. The only stat Seymour recorded was recovering the Buccaneers' fumbled snap.
On the Bucs second drive, Kelly was called for roughing the passer when he made contact with the quarterback's head on a rush. On the next drive, Seymour gave up a 13-yard run and the Bucs scored a touchdown on the next play.
In the third quarter Kelly gave up a 6 yard run although it didn't matter much a few plays later as Martin ran 45 yards for the touchdown. Seymour and Kelly weren't on the field for the first big run but the 70-yarder a few drives later went right between them. Kelly made a good effort to shed his blocks and get to Martin but it was Seymour who blew it. He went to the ground off a cut block attempt by an offensive lineman and Martin was gone before he could recover.
Even with their lack of plays in the run game, they were also getting little to no pressure on the quarterback. They were completely neutralized by the patchwork Bucs offensive line.
Coming into this game there was much talk about the familiarity between Huff and Vincent Jackson. Huff mentioned several times that Jackson was one of those receivers who can make plays even when he is covered. Jackson proved Huff right while Huff proved he wasn't up to the task of that whole "covering" part of the equation.
Huff was burnt by Jackson for the Buccaneers' first touchdown of the game from 20 yards out. He then gave up another 22 yard catch near the end of the first half to allow the Bucs to get in field goal range. Lucky for him and the Raiders, their kicker doesn't have much of a leg and missed the 54-yard attempt short.
In the third quarter, Huff gambled trying to go for an interception, whiffed on it and gave up a 37-yard catch. Then he finished it off by giving up a 4-yard touchdown catch. Josh Freeman had two TD passes on the day and Huff gave up both of them.
If it weren't for a few good plays he made in the first half he might be higher on this list. Everything he built early in this game was soon torn down. It began with the Bucs final drive of the first half with him giving up two catches to help them move quickly into field goal range for an attempt at tying the game. It continued in the third quarter.
On the first drive, he missed a tackle on a ten yard run, was out of position on a 12-yard catch, and then was blocked out of the play on Doug Martin's first big touchdown run of 45 yards. On the third big TD run that went for 70 yards, he was out of position again and Martin was gone. Then when the Raiders were desperate for a stop at the end of the game, he gave up a 13-yard run on first down. Two plays later, they scored the game clinching touchdown.
The weakest link on an overall weak Raiders offensive line. He is just terrible. In the second quarter alone, he gave up a drive ending sack, was called for holding despite also giving up pressure on Palmer and the holding penalty negated a touchdown pass from Palmer to Derek Hagan, and then gave up another sack which resulted in a three and out. That is negative 26 yards, three killed drives and a touchdown taken off the board.
Things seems to be deteriorating between he and Palmer of late. They still hook up for some good connections but in the past couple of games there have been some odd miscommunications. On the second play of the game, Moore ran the wrong route which resulted in an incompletion and a three and out. But his routes are only part of it. He is also dropping passes which had been completely out of character for him. He dropped two on target pass in this game-one in which he also ran a bad route. On two of the three Palmer interceptions, there are questions as to whether Moore ran the wrong route as well. That includes the big interception on what could have been the Raiders game-tying or even game-winning drive. He went right and Palmer threw left. With the previous poorly/incorrectly ran routes, it looks very suspect. Palmer commented on their miscommunications after the game so there is something there and it shows there is a big hole in Moore's game which he needs to get corrected.
He made two big mistakes in this game and they were on the two longest runs of the day by Martin. On the 67-yard run, Lee was in position to stop him for a short gain but Martin made one cut and shook him easily and was gone. On the 70-yard run, he chased down Martin and could have made the tackle but opted to try and chop the ball out of his arm. In the process of his failed strip, he dove and took out the only other players who had a shot at tackling Martin before he scored. Trying to jar the ball free from a guy tabbed "The Muscle Hamster" is stupid enough. But giving up a sure tackle AND taking out two of your own players is colossally moronic.
He was called for holding early in the game but he makes this list for one play. It was the one that essentially killed the Raiders hopes of a comeback. With the Raiders looking to drive to at very least tie the game, Brisiel gave up a rush on Palmer on the second play which had a player in his face as he threw. The result was a rainbow pass right to a defender for an interception. And those hopes were squashed very quickly. Brisiel "sucked" the air right out of the coliseum which had been going bonkers up to that point as Palmer had led a valiant comeback attempt.