The Raiders were coming off a week one win in which they felt pretty good about themselves. They managed to stay stride for stride with the Cowboys' first team and come out a winner in the end. And despite a couple turnovers, the quarterbacks showed some good things. Things weren't quite as rosy in this one.
The Saints' offense torched the Raiders early and their defense sacked Matt Flynn five times. Things got interesting just before halftime and through the third quarter, including the Raiders forcing three-straight turnovers, but the Raiders would eventually fall to a dominant Saints squad in New Orleans.
Let's break down the individual performances both good, bad, and indifferent.
This second-year man played most of the game rotating in at defensive tackle early. He had a somewhat quiet first half going against the first defense, but came on like gangbusters in the second half with the second team. The first series of the second half was all him. He had the tackle on the kickoff return, a sack on the first play, and a pressure resulting in an incompletion on third down to force a three and out. He helped to end the next Saints' drive as well when he recovered a fumble to give the Raiders the ball. A bit later in the third quarter, he had another kick return tackle. He finished tied for second on the team in combined tackles (5) as well as the two return tackles.
He had a run stuff for no gain on the first drive. The first drive of the second quarter began with Roach tackling the running back for short yardage and ended with a blitz up the middle to force an incompletion on third down. He then helped to end the next drive with a tackle for loss to set up a third and long the Saints wouldn't convert. They would settle for field goals on those final two drives before the Raiders came back to score their first touchdown just before halftime.
He didn't get a shot with the defense until the second half. And on his very first play, he got into the backfield to chase down Seneca Wallace and assist Jack Crawford get the sack. Later in that third quarter, with the Saints at first down from their own 20-yard line, he got back there again. This time the sack was his and he also forced the fumble which was recovered in the end zone by Ryan Robinson for a defensive touchdown.
Last week Pro Football Focus said Adams didn't give up a catch. I saw at least one instance in which he did give up a catch which is still very good. This week I saw no instances in which he gave up a catch. So, I guess by PFF's count, that's no catches given up in two games for the man they dubbed a "secret superstar" for his work in limited duties last season. In addition to no catches given up, he had a tackle on special teams and ended the Saints' final drive of the first half by holding tight coverage to force an incompletion on third down. With the possible loss of Tracy Porter to a groin injury, Adams fine play will be needed once again as it was last season.
The Raiders switched off putting duties evenly in this game. Kluwe, King, Kluwe, King, etc. King won the battle in this game by averaging a staggering 57.3 yards per punt. Kluwe's 49.3 is respectable but 57.3 is Baller territory. Kind had 3 punts in this game. That makes four punts this preseason without a mistake and most of them either going long or high or both.
Brandian Ross - On one drive in the third quarter he had a tackle for a loss of six yards, and forced a fumble recovered by the Raiders. That's enough to get a positive mention here.
Denarius Moore - Had the lone touchdown for the Raiders when Matt Flynn put a perfect pass over the top from 18 yards out and Moore got behind his man to cradle it in for the score. He also had an 11-yard catch a few plays before to help set up the touchdown catch.
Brice Butler - Led the team in receiving for the second week in a row. This time he had three catches on four targets for 38 yards. Most of that came on a 24-yard grab on third and 15 to keep the Raiders touchdown drive alive.
David Ausberry - On the Raiders' first third down play of the game, Matt Flynn saw Ausberry had his man turned around so he threw it to his big tight end. Ausberry made a spectacular grab with one hand over the top of the defender to pull it in for a 24-yard gain. He later had a six-yard catch in which he came down awkwardly on his shoulder and had to leave the game. It looked as if it could be serious. We should know more later today.
Ryan Robinson - After showing flashes of some pass rush abilities in the preseason opener last week, Robinson showed some skills in this game as well. He recovered a David Bass forced fumble for a touchdown and later teamed up to stuff the Saints on a 4th and one play at the goal line.
He had the only touchdown drive of the game for the Raiders. It was a fantastic drive that featured a 24-yard strike to Brice Butler on third and 15 and ended with a beauty of a pass from 18 yards out to Denarius Moore for the touchdown. He completed passes to five different receivers on the drive which went 82 yards on 11 plays. And to think it began with a sack from a free rusher who went unblocked.
The problem was, outside of that drive, the rest of the first half was not looking good. Granted he was sacked five times, many of which fall on the paltry offensive line. But, there were a couple of those sacks that could have been prevented had Flynn called out an audible to pick up the free rusher. Flynn had a full half with which to work and he didn't make any big mistakes but he did have quite a few little mistakes that helped contribute to the offense stumbling most of the first half before he could put together that drive at the end.
He was second on the team in combined tackles and even had an interception off a tipped pass. However, there were a great many times he was out of position or late arriving to a play. He gave up a 16-yard catch on third and 14 in the third quarter and gave up a 15-yard catch with a missed tackle on third and six in the fourth quarter. He is still a good addition to this team and a capable backup. You just don't want to have to rely on him as the starter.