Dennis Allen wanted to try and mix things up and utilize the athletic abilities of Jacoby in this game. So he put him in at punt returner in place of Phillip Adams. Big mistake. He fumbled his first return of the day and it was luckily pounced on by Taiwan Jones who knocked it out of bounds. Otherwise the Steelers would have gotten the ball back at the Raiders' 48-yard line. In the second quarter, he tried to slide under the punt instead of staying away from it as he should have done. He was bailed out again by a Steelers player getting a finger on the ball to keep it from being a live ball. From the looks of it, he would have muffed that punt even without the defender there. Third time is the shit sandwich for Jacoby because he would fumble again in the fourth quarter. This time, the Steelers recovered at the Raiders' 11-yard line and in three plays, they scored a touchdown. He was target just that one time in the game and it was a catch of negative three yards and the fumble. He might see the ball a bit less from here on out.
He was targeted three times with zero catches. The first pass thrown to him was on the Raiders' second possession on third and two - he dropped it. Then just before half time, he had a ball bounce off his hands where it was then intercepted. It was only a missed 36-yard field goal that kept the Steelers from scoring before heading into halftime with more points on the board. Between him and Ford, the Raiders are getting nothing from any of their wide receivers outside of Denarius Moore and Rod Streater.
The Raiders interior offensive line. None of them were getting any push in this game. Most of the time when McFadden, Reece, or Jennings got yards it was on the outside. Sure, a great many of the run plays in the second half were predictable but they couldn't manage to muster up even one first down rushing the ball. There was only one total in the second half and it was an 18-yard pass play. While having Wisniewski back helps solidify the line, he clearly was not back to his usual self. Once he shakes off the rust, the line will still have issues along the interior. Nix has been the weak link on the line all season long. Brisiel played extremely well early on but now is about the time the wear and tear of the NFL season begins to show up in his performance.
Dennis Allen, Greg Olson
Olson is the play caller but Allen calls the shots as head coach. He saw how well the defense was playing and the Raiders lead of 21-3 and at half time the plan became to play it safe. That meant runs and safe, short passes. Allen claims execution was the problem. Sure, but the way they were playing they were expecting the offense to have perfect execution as well as not turn the ball over at all. Having faith in the defense is one thing but this showed a lack of faith in the offense.
I lost count of how many ineffective runs straight up the middle there were in the second half. Time and time again, Darren Mcfadden up the middle for little or no gain or a loss. Even the best defenses will wear down if they are back on the field after a three and out several times in a row. The defense was gassed to start out the second half because of a near ten minute drive by the Steelers. How were they rewarded? Two runs for one yard and an incompletion on third and long. Back on the field, boys.
Even in their conservative plan, the Raiders still turned the ball over. Allen pointed to that as one of the reasons the Steelers were able to get back into it. Turnovers happen. You can't set up a game plan that only works if everything goes perfectly because it never does. The Raiders went from cruising at half time to getting lucky and escaping by the seat of their pants. Allen preaches killer instinct and finishing games. If somehow there were big plays left on the field, then that speaks to half time adjustments. That being the Steelers made the right ones to stop the Raiders offense. Either way, it doesn't look good for the second half game plan.