Raiders inability to finish drives vs Jaguars a major concern

Brian Bahr

If a moral victory is when a team plays well in a loss, what do you call the underwhelming performance by the Raiders against the Jaguars Sunday?

If the saying "A win is a win" is true then why is it the Raiders seem to have more to celebrate about how they lost to the Colts in week one to how they beat the Jaguars in week two? Mainly because they scored two touchdowns against a good team in Indianapolis and could muster up just one touchdown this week against arguably the worst team in the NFL.

In Dennis Allen's post game press conference, he didn't have the demeanor of a winning coach. His tone was that of some relief with a lot of frustration. He led out as if he needed to make sure everyone knew first of all that he was happy with the win. Usually a given, but not in this case. His opening statement ended with that tone.

"There's a lot of things we have to get cleaned up," said Allen. "Overall I thought it was sloppy and not up to the standards that we want. There's a lot of things that we have to continue to work on and get better at and improve on. With that being said I'm excited about the fact that we won the football  game and we'll go in and make the corrections tomorrow."

The Raiders got out to a fast start. They scored on their first possession and it looked like they were on their way to a possible route much like the Chiefs had over the Jaguars last week. But soon it dwindled into a series of punts and field goal tries with drive after drive falling short of paydirt.

The Jaguars already had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL before they lost their starting cornerback, Dwayne Gratz to injury. There is no excuse not to take advantage of that. And while Darren McFadden had his best game in quite some time -- running for 129 yards -- everything else on offense was falling well short of acceptable.

"Well, we've got to convert third downs," said Allen. "Again, I thought third down, it wasn't good enough. Offensively we've got to be able to convert third downs to keep drives alive to keep the chains moving. Obviously red zone offensively we've got to be able to score touchdowns when we get an opportunity to get down there. I believe we were down there five times in the game today and we were only able to get one touchdown out of that. We've got to be better there in the red zone."

The Jaguars watched some tape of last week's game in which Terrelle Pryor put up 112 yards rushing on the Colts and they were focusing on stopping that part of his game. He still managed to run for 50 yards on the ground but it wasn't breaking the game open.

After Pryor went 1 for 7 last week on long passes, the Jaguars were forcing him to beat them with his arm. He didn't beat them with his arm. He threw for 126 yards and no touchdowns. Instead the Raiders had four field goals and one missed field goal.

"Obviously you've gotta love field goals but I I don't like them," said Terrelle Pryor. "I don't like field goals, but you know definitely it helps you win the game, but you guys understand where I'm coming from. If we would have scored touchdowns that's our goal. But hey, we've got a great kicker."

It was the play of the defense that kept the Raiders ahead in this game and eventually earned them the 19-9 victory. The Jaguars had a field goal in the second quarter and a late touchdown with a failed 2-point conversion for their scores. Outside of that, the Raiders shut them down all day, including five sacks.

The lack of offense from the Jaguars lent to the Raiders not being overly aggressive on offense and risking turning the ball over. But that was not the plan and against most teams, that won't fly.

"Listen, when you're playing good defense, taking the points is always, that's what you need to do. You need to take the points, but it was frustrating that we weren't able to get touchdowns," said Allen. "That's what our goal is to be every week is to get down there, when we get down there we've got to score touchdowns. That was disappointing, but obviously our defense was playing well, so to take the three points in those situations and keep the game at least to a two-score game was I thought key to winning that game."

In the end, the Raiders came out with a win. Things would have been much, MUCH worse for them had they actually lost to the Jaguars. After all, it wasn't long ago the entire NFL world was writing off the Raiders as unquestionably the worst team in the NFL. The mere fact that they were supposed to outclass the Jaguars offers some solace. But without a resounding victory, the separation in class may not be wide enough to matter much.

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