The well behaved have received their Baller nods. Now the naughty Busters will get the proverbial coal. To return to the beginning of this article, click here.
What a sad state this offense is in. It couldn't find the endzone with Carson Palmer last week and was even worse this week without him. Never in my life have I been able to more easily predict what the next play would be. And if I can do it from my seat, the guys who are paid to know what's coming certainly know. The Raiders' first series ended with a pitch to Darren McFadden that the defense had read perfectly. The second series ended with a screen play which again the defense had smelled a mile away and stopped for a loss on third and two. He called the same play early in the third quarter and the result was exactly the same. It came right after the Raiders got the ball in scoring position on the Chekwa forced fumble and a few plays later, the Raiders had backed up out of field goal range and had to punt.
To cap it all off, the Raiders last chance to score ended when the Raiders went for yet another predictable screen. This time the rusher tipped the ball at the line to turn the ball over on downs. The Raiders had just one decent drive in this game and as usual it ended with a field goal. The offense was given two gifts with field position off turnovers and could get just three points out of both. The Raiders have now gone two full games without a touchdown. Their last touchdown in a win came over a half season ago in week 8 against the Chiefs.
We saw what the Raiders had in a backup quarterback in this game and it isn't pretty. He came in on the second to last play of the first quarter and in two plays, the Raiders had to punt. His next drive was fantastic. He went 6-7 for 53 yards and drove the Raiders to the Carolina 3 yard line. But the Raiders were held out of the endone and settled for a field goal. It must have taken about that long for the Panthers' coaching staff to have the Leinart scouting report printed up because it went downhill quickly for him after that.
The next drive started near the end of the second quarter with decent field position off a missed field goal. It was a break for the Raiders and at very least, a punt to push them back out of field goal range would probably have been enough. But Leinart made the worst mistake possible - he threw an interception. It came after two off target throws so the Raiders hadn't moved an inch before handing the ball back to the Panthers. They got the ball at the Raiders 29-yard line and scored a touchdown in four plays. That mistake cost the Raiders dearly.
Here is how the remaining drives ended throw for a loss, throw for a loss, late throw defended, scramble backward with no pressure and throw out of bounds, and tipped screen pass. He finished with just 115 yards on 32 passes, 50% completions and a QB rating of 45.7. I will now say for the first time, it is time to give Terrelle Pryor a chance to see what he can do.
After the game, Dennis Allen said there were no lanes opening up for the backs to run through. This may be true but McFadden was not helping his cause. He has this bad habit of bouncing his runs outside. Sometimes the key in a the zone blocking scheme is the find the crease inside or allow the holes to develop. His instinct was to take it outside every time and the results was back to averaging under two yards per carry. There were many times in which he didn't follow his block either; choosing to either go with the default bounce outside, dance around until he was tackled, or run right into the tackler. Other times he would run backward trying to make something happen and end up losing yardage instead of taking whatever little yardage he could. He had 17 carries for a total of 33 yards against a run defense that was below average prior to last week. Mike Goodson didn't have a great day either but as usual he still had more yards per carry (3.0) with far fewer opportunities.