Miami Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano (80) runs in for a touchdown as Oakland Raiders middle linebacker Rolando McClain (55) looks on
He was tasked with being Reggie Bush's personal spy in this game and he failed miserably. Bush had 172 yards on the ground, averaging 6.6 yards per carry with two touchdowns. On the first play of the day, McClain was already missing his gaps and gave up an 11-yard run. Then on three consecutive runs (13, 10, 5) he was either blocked or out of position. The Dolphins would drive in and score to begin the game.
He played pretty well there for a while and it appeared he may vindicate himself. But come the fourth quarter, he looked like he had simply given up. He was late getting over as Bush took the outside and ran for a 65 yard touchdown. The next Dolphin touchdown was a catch he gave up to tight end Tony Fasano in which he missed the subsequent tackle and Fasano easily ran the final ten yards into the end zone. Then on the Dolphins' final touchdown drive, he gave up a catch and started jogging as it went for 25 yards. He is an Alabama boy, the heat and humidity is not supposed to bother him so hard to say that was the issue.
He is supposed to be the most solid of all the Raiders' offensive linemen. He just came from the zone scheme in Houston, the same one that Greg Knapp brought with him from there. Instead, he is kinda showing why the Texans didn't fight very hard to keep him. Things started out well for him. He came out left on a stunt to lay a nice block to help spring Mike Goodson for his big run. But after that, it was all bad for Brisiel. The Raiders went almost the rest of the first half without a score. And he was eaten up on each series. First it was giving up a run stuff, next series he gave up a QB pressure followed by pressure on McFadden that resulted in another short gain. Next drive ended when he gave up a pressure on Palmer to force an incompletion. He was mistake free for the final possession of the first half and not coincidentally they were able to drive for a field goal. In the second half he gave up another run stuff and a tipped ball at the line for an incompletion.
Lee started the game but he was so bad, he was replaced by Hanson. Hanson was no better. On the Dolphins opening drive, Lee gave up two catches for a total of 36 yards (15, 21). Those were the biggest plays on the drive which ended in a touchdown. On the next drive, Hanson gave up an 11-yard catch on third and nine to keep the drive alive. Next drive, Lee was blocked on a 9-yard run and then gave up a 9-yard catch.
After halftime, it was on Hanson's shoulders. And he did disappoint. The Dolphins would score on four plays; all of which involved Hanson. It started with him giving up a 12-yard catch. Next play he had a tackle on a 3-yard run (that's actually good), then he gave up a 6-yard catch and the finish it off, he missed a tackle on Reggie Bush (along with three other guys) as he ran 23 yards for a touchdown. He would finish by giving up two more catches totaling 30 yards, one of which set up the Dolphins fourth touchdown.
This offense was once the strongest part of this team. It was one of the best in football last season with much of the same personnel. Some of the fault in this falls on Knapp. It has to. It is hard to tell sometimes just how much of this issue is scheme and play calling, and how much is player performance. I am sure he thinks the scheme and play calling is fine. Otherwise he wouldn't be doing it. But it is not fine. Darren McFadden averaging two yards per carry over the first two games is not fine.
I would be the first to tell you Hue Jackson had to be fired. But I would be remised if I didn't note how much better the Raiders' offense functioned under his tutelage. He played to his players strengths-McFadden chief among them. There is not a lot Knapp can do about whether McFadden is a good fit for the zone blocking scheme. But with a proven weapon on this team, he needs to figure something out. Oh, and this team having just two touchdowns in two weeks is pretty unacceptable as well.
Speaking of Run DMC. Well, the "run" part of that has not really belonged of late. He has averaged just 2 yards per carry over the first two games of this season. The first game, he made up for it in the receiving game and accounting for most of the Raiders offense. This week, the only way he wasn't invisible was the down marker changing after one of his runs-and his 2 catches for 19 yards didn't make him any more visible. The blame can't always fall on the linemen. Sometimes, it is the back's fault. Several times, McFadden didn't live up to the "one cut and go" style that the zone blocking scheme demands. Other times, he just didn't trust the hole to develop. Either way, he would dance around or bounce out side which was what he did early in his career when the Raiders were running the zbs. He also had two on-target drops. One on third down to end a drive and the other that would have been a touchdown and the Raiders settled for a field goal.
One of those examples of stats not telling the story. See, Palmer had 373 yards passing in this game with one touchdown and one interception. Seems like a pretty good game until you look deeper. Right off the top, he completed only 50% of his passes. He had to pass the ball 48 times to get that 373 yards. The one touchdown pass was nearly a handoff. It was a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage which Mike Goodson took 64 yards for touchdown with the help of some nice downfield blocking. Another 53 yards of passing came in garbage time on the Raiders final possession which ended with an interception. So you look at it again, and it's not quite as glamorous. It was the missed scoring opportunities that have him as a Buster.
To finish out the first half, in first and goal at the seven, he waited too long to let go of a pass to a wide open McFadden which fell incomplete. The next play he overthrew DHB in the back of the end zone. This situation has been a common occurrence in this young season.
Last week, Palmer had a string of bad passes in the second half to stall drives. He was back at it this week. First series ended when he threw a four-yard pass to Myers on a third and ten. Next series ended when he threw wide and incomplete to Denarius Moore who, had it been on target, looked like he had nothing but open field in front of him. Another huge missed opportunity. He started the next drive with a long incompletion, then ended the next series when he threw too high for David Ausberry. The next series ended with him thrown behind DHB in the end zone and the Raiders settled for yet another field goal.
He tied for the lead in tackles, which is common for him. But it was the one tackle he didn't make that lands him here. He failed to cut off the sideline from Reggie Bush who raced 65 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders were only down four points before that. It was late in the third quarter and that score turned out to be the back breaker.
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