Sunday, the Raiders were once again toothless in the run game. But according to Tony Sparano, this time was different. And not in a good way. His answer to the issue? "Block better." Something certainly easier said than done.
"We've got to block better at the point of attack," Sparano explained. "Bottom line is yesterday [the Seahawks] just beat us at the point of attack, so got to give them credit. They beat us at the point of attack, a hard thing for me to say, but they did. You're watching the game, you'll see it on the film. The green jerseys were, they were in our backfield and that means you're losing, you're not winning the battle at the point of attack. They did a good job of attempting to single us up in some situations where we knew that was, that wasn't an issue, we had planned for that during the week, but they got off faster than we got off in some of those scenarios."
For most of us watching the Raiders on their 0-8 skid, we're thinking this is nothing new. Though Sparano insisted this is "The first time that I could say that this season."
Sparano further explained why this time is not like the previous seven games which from the outside appeared to have a similar level of futility.
"this game we had five minus runs," said Sparano. "...up to last week, we were in the top two in the League in minus plays, best, as a team. That's one area that we've done a great job in, but in this game, there were five minus runs in this game."
In case you're curious, those tackles for loss were given up by several culprits along he Raiders offensive line. Two on the first drive from a combination of Donald Penn, Menelik Watson, and Gabe Jackson. Austin Howard gave up two others later in the game and the other one was just a mishmash free-for-all.
There were also plenty of other tackles for no gain or run stuffs for a minimal gain. Some were the Raiders line beaten at the point of attack and others looked to be just poor technique or poor scheme.
Sparano did also say that this began last week against the Browns, but the 71 total rushing yards last week actually looks respectible compared to the pathetic 37 total yards they had on the ground this week.
Darren McFadden carried the ball 13 times for 20 yards for an average of 1.5 yards per carry. And Maurice Jones-Drew actually averaged negative one yard per carry on two carries.
Beaten at the point of attack is an understatement for that output.