The Morning After: Raiders at Cowboys

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
For awhile in the early goings of this game for the Oakland Raiders it was a lot of fun. Just like so many games this season the Raiders were able to jump out to a big lead only to waste it by the time the clock expired. When the team was up 21-7 in the second quarter things were feeling mighty fine.

Then it all came crashing down as the Cowboys scored 24 points before the Raiders finally tacked on a late field goal to finish out the game. There is something extremely demoralizing about giving up a touchdown right before halftime, it just seems to turn things around so often. When it happened in this game for the Cowboys there was an ill will that crept in immediately after and it made the end result of this game not much of a surprise.

While QB Matt McGloin is still showing some very promising traits, his interception in the end-zone in the 4th quarter was a moment that deserved questioning. The choice of receiver to throw that fade route to was about as bad as they come, you just can not throw the ball to the shortest receiver on the team with an All-Pro corner like Brandon Carr covering him.

Instead of tying the game or at least finally ending a severe scoring drought with a field goal on that drive the bad decision by the rookie doomed the last remaining hope for the Raiders. It was a hard throw to watch and it was very reminiscent to Terrelle Pryor's game costing interception against the Indianapolis Colts in the opening game to the season. Just the same as in that case, you simply can not allow a turnover in that circumstance.

Andre Holmes was one heck of a star in this game even if it didn't result in a W. We saw glimpses of what he could do in the preseason but his 4 game suspension and depth ahead of him had left him little used this season. That all changed yesterday and now the Raiders are obligated to game plan him into next week's game against the Jets.

Holmes played like a legitimate number 1 receiver in this game making play after play with his big frame. It was great watching a player in the Silver and Black understand how to use his body appropriately to make plays. A lot of speculation for the Raiders has them picking a WR in the first round of next season's draft but if Andre plays like this the rest of the year that projection would definitely change.

What that projection for next year's draft would likely change to is another pass rusher along the line of scrimmage. This game showed the need of a pass rusher at DE opposite Lamarr Houston more than any other game because this was the first time all season where Houston was completely and utterly shut down.

The Raiders need to find another player that can get pressure without needing it to be while blitzing. They can not go into next year without that addition, it was highlighted to the point where it must be past denial. When the Raiders were not blitzing they were not getting anywhere and it handicapped them at the worst possible moments. When the team needs as many guys in coverage as they can get they are absolutely doomed because the QB simply has way too much time to throw.

How about that tackling in this game! Have you seen worse all year? The term “Wrap Up” was completely obliterated for this one, they seemed to forget entirely that wrapping up is an important part of tackling. There were so many times where players were right there to make plays but just did not get their arms out there at all. It left wide open lanes for Cowboy players to simply glide right past should be tacklers.

There was one play in particular that really stood out, it was a third down play and two Raiders had Jason Witten dead to rights. Both players went to the same exact spot to try and tackle him and all Witten had to do was run forward because the spot the players chose was not the correct one. The play resulted in the 1st down easy. Besides the two players missing completely, that same play also featured CB Mike Jenkins attempting a shoulder tackle and nearly getting his head taken off when he whiffed.

Since the Raiders are basically out of the playoff race entirely now after just two weeks ago having a chance to control their own destiny, the rest of the season has to be about deciding who to keep and who not to. That will apply to the coaching staff as well, Dennis Allen needs to stop these 2nd half collapses if he ever wants to fully win over the Raider Nation. With how competitive the team has been this season the chances of him sticking around are very good, but there is plenty of reasons for unrest with his coaching.

With the season all but officially down the drain it really comes to a point of how much pride does this team have left. They have one of the hardest schedules in the league over their last four games and there is a very good chance that they could lose out. They will need to still show their competitive spirits as the role of party pooper for the rest of the season, if they get embarrassed then Dennis Allen's status with the team could be in jeopardy. Right now it looks like he will be the coach next year but that could still change.

The funny thing is losing out the rest of the way might be the best thing for the team because of a higher draft pick but it is something that many of us will never, ever be OK with. It doesn't matter if the draft stock would be better, we want to see the Raiders win games.

It wont be an easy task with the Jets, Chiefs, Broncos and Chargers to finish out the season but if they can put some wins together it could help give them more momentum heading into next season. If not they will end up with a top 10 pick for sure and it even could end up a top 5 pick after all.

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