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Raiders week 9 Ballers & Busters: Part two

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The second part of the week 9 recounting of the Raiders player performances in the loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

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If you're just joining us, head over to check out the first part where I detail the Ballers from this game.
Busters

Derek Carr

Easily his worst game of the season, after being named a Buster last week against the Browns. Usually it means defenses are figuring out his tendencies and exploiting them. That was certainly the case in this game.

On the first drive, which is the scripted drive, he looked pretty good for the most part. He converted a couple third downs and got the team into scoring position. But even then, you could see the paint starting to peel. He missed a free rusher on the right side just as he had last week against the Browns. He had to rush the throw and it fell incomplete. He was able to make it up on third and 8 with a 16-yard connection with Mychal Rivera. He had already gone to Rivera to convert the previous third down. And on the next third down, they knew where he was going with the ball. It didn't help that he locked onto Rivera and despite him being double covered, tried to fit it into him anyway. They settled for a 48-yard field goal.

The first play of the next drive, it was back to Rivera. He knew where he wanted to go with the ball based on the coverage and aired it out down the sideline incomplete. Then, ironically, on third down, he opted to throw it to a covered Andre Holmes while missing a wide open Rivera in the middle of the field.

The next two drives ended with Carr throwing an interception. The first one, he went for Rivera again, but Rivera hadn't turned yet and the ball sailed over his head where linebacker Bruce Irvin tipped it to himself and returned it for the touchdown.

On the next possession, Carr was again sure of where he was going with the pass before the snap, and again threw for a covered Andre Holmes. This time it was Richard Sherman in coverage. Sherman knew what was coming. Carr has been testing top corners all season, and his favorite way to do that is to throw to his back shoulder. Sherman read it, turned, and picked it. Then he returned it to the 18-yard-line to set up a field goal. In a span of three passes, Carr spotted the Seahawks 10 points.

The next time he got the ball, Carr again threw incomplete into double coverage intended for Marcel Reece despite a wide open Brian Leonhardt. On the next play, he was sacked and fumbled it. Luckily the Raiders recovered or it would have been three-straight turnovers for Carr.

The following drive ended when he threw too high to a covered Kenbrell Thompkins. The Raiders would head into halftime down 24-3.

Carr's first pass of the second half was thrown into the ground at the feet of his offensive line because he thought he heard a whistle, stopping the play. Probably a good habit to just finish the play, just in case. Then with the help of a big punt return, and a 23-yard screen dump to McFadden, he was finally able to put the ball in the endzone on a fantastic catch by Rivera in the back of the endzone.

With the Raiders still down ten points to start the fourth quarter, they needed to act fast. With their first play, Carr held the ball too long, missing both Marcel Reece and Maurice Jones-Drew open off the line and he was hit for an incompletion. The series ended in a three and out. The Seahawks answered with another field goal and a 13-point lead. The Raiders answered with a four play series and a punt.

Carr got the ball again down 30-17 with 4:14 on the clock and went on a long drive to score a touchdown. But it was too little, too late and the game ended with a 30-24 loss. Carr finished 24 of 41 for 194 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions with a passer rating of 66.5.

Menelik Watson, Austin Howard

That right side of the Raiders offensive line has been brutal. This game may have been their worst. Or maybe it was just their most recent. Either way, it was bad. Watson gave up two pressures that resulted in tackles for loss on the opening drive alone. A couple series later, Howard gave up a run stuff for no gain. Then on the next possession, Watson gave up a run stuff for no gain, and two plays later gave up a sack to end the series on four plays. On the Raiders' first drive of the third quarter, Howard completely whiffed on his block to give up a tackle for loss of two. Then he did it again for another loss of two to begin the fourth quarter. The next sereis, Watson gave up a run stuff for a short gain. Then it was Howard's turn again on the next drive, giving up a hit on Carr. The Raiders ran the ball up the middle or to right guard eight times for a total of 14 yards. That's 1.8 yards per carry. And ten of those yards came on one run. Five of those runs went for one yard or less (-1, 1, 0, 0, -2).

Greg Olson, Tony Sparano

Last week against the Browns, there were clear examples of playcalling gone wrong to make Olson an easy choice for Top Buster. This week the offense looked so terrible in so many ways through most of the game, it actually made my job much harder. Sure, you can say simply that the offense is such a bumbling mess that some of the blame must fall on the offensive coordinator. But, I didn't want to take the easy route. I guess because I'm a glutton for punishement.

So, let's look at the run game which was the worst in a season of monumentally bad running by the Raiders. It's also the reason why Sparano gets lumped in here because the play of the line is his wheelhouse and they have been atrocious.

The Raiders only had 15 designed runs in this game that resulted in a total of 28 yards. They also had five runs that went for a loss. Ten of their runs were up the middle with just one of those runs gaining more than four yards with a combined total of ten yards. Ten runs, ten yards. And one of those runs went for, wait for it, TEN YARDS. Which means on the other nine runs up the middle, they gained a total of ZERO yards. Yet, the playcalls continued to be to jam the run right up the gut.

That being said, there wasn't a single run play called on third down. Not one. On 15 third down opportunities. It didn't matter if it was short or long, it was a pass. That's what we call predictability. Not surprisingly, the Raiders converted just five third downs the whole game. Two of those were on the final drive which came too late to pull out the win.

A few more screen passes, bootlegs, and designed quarterback runs would probably help as well. The Seahawks were crowding the line and playing with 8 men in the box quite a bit because they were not being stretched out.

Pat Sims

Sims played 30 snaps (37%) in this game. Though you might not have known it. If you watched that touchdown run by Lynch in the first quarter closely, you can see him getting blocked onto the ground, opening a gaping hole. Also if you watched the Seahawks second offensive touchdown, you can also see him getting blocked on the run as well. Then on the Seahawks final drive of the game, he was blocked to allow a 17-yard run. So, he was out there. You just had to know where to look.

D.J. Hayden

This was so close to being a great comeback game for Hayden. But he just kept shooting himself in the foot (careful with that foot). He started things off by being called for pass interference on the Seahawks' first drive. It was a long ball down the right sideline and Hayden had good coverage, he just reached out and held down the receivers' arms at the last instant. It was the biggest 'play' on the drive that set the 'hawks up at the 6-yard line and they scored the touchdown two plays later.

Hayden gave up a 20-yard catch in the second quarter. On the next drive he had a coverage incompletion and then a hard tackle on a 4-yard catch. Unfortunately, after his hit on the catch, he stood over the receiver and taunted him. It turned what would have been a 3rd and 16 into a 1st and 10. The Seahawks then drove for a touchdown.

He began the third quarter by jumping a route for a pass defended, but he dropped what should have been a pick six. On the next drive, he missed a tackle on a 7-yard run and on the next play, gave up a 5-yard catch for the first down. His final act looked to be a sure interception right in his bread basket on a bad pass from Russell Wilson. But Hayden dropped it.

Return to the Ballers

And stay tuned as I will have my Midseason Ballers & Busters coming out tomorrow.