Well we are 0-1, and so is half of the NFL.
Heading into this game, we all had pretty high-ish expectations, but at the same time realistically believing that we'll get around 9 wins this season. Who knows, it could happen still. I'm an optimistic person. BUt first, lets take a look at what happened today.
What this game showed us is that we still have a lot of work to go through. one of the main positives of the day is the defense, who despite all of the offensive and special teams woes, they were keeping us in the game. Our LB core looks real good, but outside of that remains to be seen.
With Shaugnessy back, we expected more pressure. In the beginning we were getting that, but as the game went on, the pressure was slowly being diminished. Kelly performed up and down, his only downs being two costly penalties on back to back 3rd and shorts.
In the secondary it was up and down. At times, WRs were getting wide open. Other times Rivers throws a perfect freakin' ball in decent coverage. And there were times were our pass defense did pretty well. On occasions we saw Rivers having to throw the ball away, and for the most part we were playing solid bend but don't break defense, only giving up field goals (and one TD). So overall, a promising day for the defense.
Though the lack of much offensive output probably had a hand in the defense getting tired, thus they were generating less of a rush. But I digress.
Offensively we were doing fine. Mcfadden is still a beast, but there were some negatives here. Let me first go into Knapp because he ties in to what I am about to say.
Knapp was alright. In the beginning he looked to be generating some good playcalling, calling up screens, pitch plays, inside and outside running plays, and pretty decent passing plays where Palmer looked to be connecting with his guys. Though I must say, later in the game, it was looking less than stellar. Maybe it had to do with the offense loosing morale, or it could have something to do with that San Diego knew how our gameplan was.
Virtually the majority of our positive plays in the first half came from Mcfadden. And you know what? That continued on into the 2nd half, and San Diego front seven focuses heavily on McFadden. Which is not a very good thing. He should involve plays designed for DHB, Streater, Hagan, Reece, and even the TEs (which looked more apparent later in the 4th), and he did not. I hope he and DA talk about this.
Though Knapp was alright at best today, I am hard-pressed to see him as the sole reason why we lost. I want you to all let go of the Knapp hate for a moment, and read what I have to say.
There were more blunders on the offense, and special teams. As I said, talking about Knapp gets me to tie into this.
The first pass to Streater, on a very promising first drive by the Raiders, ended up as a fumble. The result? San Diego 3 points.
Another bone-headed execution came on Taiwan Jones. If he caught that ball, he would have had at least 5-10 yards to get. Instead, when McFadden tossed him the ball, TJ let it bounce off his helmet for a fumble, and lost 20 yards or so. And this was during another promising drive, good play calling and execution. Then when we went to punt the ball, Condo gets hurt too. Result of the Chargers next drive? To be fair they started at the San Diego 10 yard line, but the result was a TD. I could only imagine how it would have gone if he did not fumble it. Ah well.
So those are the two main offensive blunders I wanted to name. But it doesn't stop there.
Special teams play after Condo getting injured? Terrible. Worst I ever seen. We gave up 10 points off of drives after two bone-headed plays, how about these blunders here?
1st was a botched snap by Geothal. Result on San Diego next drive? Field goal. 13 points off of drives off stupid mistakes.
2nd one? Blocked. They get another field goal the next drive. 16 points.
3rd one? Botched snap again, chargers get another field goal. 19 points. And discounting the 90 yard drive, that is still 4 freakin' field goals. 12 FREAKIN' Points.
This is not me trying to excuse Knapp for the playcalling later in this game. I'm only saying that with these mistakes, there could have been totally different outcomes. We could have prevented at least 2 field goals. Even gain some more points out of it.
Knapp was part of the reason why we lost, but not the sole reason. It's clear DA will be riding his team's ass real hard, and you can bet they'll remember.
On a positive note, we did finally get a TD too. But garbage time. Meh.
So what does this prove again? That we have much to work on. We are still in rebuilding after all, and right now half of the league is 0-1 with us. Who's to say thing might turn out for the best next game? We never know, and a win is all we need right now. We fix up our execution, and get a another LS, and I think we'll see a better team on the field next week.
One game is never the end all be all for an entire season. Disappointing first game, but its not how you begin a season, but its how you finish it (look at the Donks last season after all). We can still contend in the division, and we can still get a decent record. Even if we don't, we'll draft some stud, and our young team will have another year of experience under their belt.
All we can do is root for the, and hope for the best. Go Raiders!