The second preseason game is under the Raiders' collective belts. In this one, many of the starters on both sides of the ball played the entire first half so we were given a bigger sample of what they can and can't do. Then the second half offered another look at the depth and hopefuls trying to earn a place on the roster. In some ways, it makes this the most interesting of the preseason games.
It was also the Raiders first home game of 2014 which gave Raiders fans their first up close and personal look at the team as currently assembled.
That team had an up and down day. The first team started slow on both sides of the ball to fall to a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter. The offense showing some life late in the first half to score ten points. The backups upstaged them once again by surging back to win it in the final seconds and pull out the 27-26 victory.
McMoxie does it again. Sure, it was against Lions second and third teamers - a fact bitter Terrelle Pryor fans are quick to point out - but he was also working WITH second and third teamers. Regardless, players can only come in and perform with what they have and try to outplay their competition. Those details can't be used against McGloin or anyone else in this game in the second half. McGloin wasn't supposed to get a lot of reps in this game (story of his life), but Derek Carr went down with a rib injury and a "concussion" and McGloin's day began without warning. He was given two drives to bring the Raiders back, and he almost didn't even need that.
Usually when a quarterback enters the game ‘cold' they don't take to the air on their first play. Not this time. McGloin went up top immediately on his first snap for a 29-yard connection to Andre Holmes on his back shoulder. After a couple runs for another first down, McGloin hooked up with tight end Scott Simonson on a seam route for 24 yards. It should have been a touchdown but Simonson was nailed with a plain-as-day helmet-to-helmet hit from Lions safety DeJon Gomes. Simonson suffered a concussion on the play and the ball popped out in the process. And yet there was no flag on the field. The Lions ‘recovered' the ‘fumble' for a touchback. Last week McGloin also threw a would-be touchdown pass on his first drive -- that time to Jake Murphy who had it bounce right off his hands incomplete.
After a three and out by the Lions offense, McGloin would have another chance to win it for the Raiders with 2:32 left in the game. He then did just what he did last week and drove the Raiders for a late touchdown -- this time to win it. He did it despite starting in 1st and 20 due to a holding penalty on Kevin Boothe and then Andre Holmes dropping two of his passes along the way. On the drive he had completions of 11 yards, 9 yards, 13 yards, and 9 yards and finished it off with a 21-yard connection with Brice Butler for the game-winning touchdown.
Here is an interesting detail worth noting: Matt McGloin has played in five series this preseason. All five have been scoring drives - 44-yard field goal by Kevin Goessling blocked, dropped TD pass to Murphy, 10-yard scramble for TD late (which would have been the game winner had Murphy not dropped the TD pass on the previous drive), 24-yard would-be TD to Simonson (with no-call blow to the head), 21-yard TD pass to Butler. In the preseason where the performance outweighs the score, those would-be scores count - five drives, five scores, four touchdowns. Baller.
The Raiders first team offensive line struggled with some blitz packages the Lions were sending, but mostly it was the interior line that was getting crossed up. Penn not only didn't give up a pressure, but he was mowing down defenders in run blocking as well. His first big play came as a defender. After the Matt Schaub interception he showed some surprising mobility when he chased down safety James Ihedigbo on his return to push him out of bounds at the 36-yard line. It very well may have been a touchdown saving tackle. On the first play of the second quarter, he had a pancake block on the oncoming rusher to allow Schaub to hook up with Marcel Reece for a 10-yard first down catch. Later on that same drive he went on a stunt to open a hole for Maurice Jones-Drew to pick up 8 yards to the Lions 6-yard line. He opened another hole on the next play for Darren McFadden to pick up first and goal at the 2-yard line. Two plays later, the Raiders scored their first touchdown. On the following drive, Penn opened a hole for Latavius Murray to pick up 8 yards and set up a Janikowski 27-yard field goal to pull to 10-13. That was his last play of the game.
He continues to earn his playing time and then some. While those ahead of him on the depth chart (ie Holmes, Little) are dropping passes, Butler is making plays. He led the Raiders in receiving with four catches for 74 yards along with the game-winning touchdown. Derek Carr looked to him late in the third quarter on third and ten for a 30-yard completion into Lions territory. Two plays later, the Raiders scored the touchdown. Carr looked to Butler again on the next drive. With the Raiders in 2nd and 21, he connected with Butler for 17 yards to set up a Janikowski 36-yard field goal. Then Butler caught two passes from McGloin on the game-winning drive. He caught a short pass from McGloin on third and ten and pushed through two defenders to pick up nine yards. The Raiders went for it on fourth and one and McGloin picked it up on a QB sneak. Then, of course, his final reception was the 21-yard touchdown catch from McGloin for the win.
This was to be the game Carr got the most snaps of any of the Raiders quarterbacks. And in the end, he did have the most snaps (31). He entered in the second quarter and worked with the rest of the first team offense. His first pass, he overthrew a wide open Brian Leonhardt, but after that he calmed down. Two plays later he rolled right on a bootleg and hit James Jones for a 16-yard gain to put the Raiders in scoring position which led to the Janikowski 27-yard field goal to pull within three points at 10-13. After a three and out to start the third quarter, he led the Raiders down the field for a touchdown. That drive featured a 30-yard connection with Brice Butler, a 38-yard pass to a wide open Greg Little, and finished off with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jake Murphy. It was Carr's first touchdown pass as a Raider. After a big return by TJ Carrie on the following drive, he put the Raiders in easy field goal range with a pass to Butler for 17 yards. On the following drive, he was hit hard and had to leave the game with a rib injury and "concussion" per Dennis Allen.
Maiava showed in this game why the Raiders continue to hang in there with him through injuries. Because when he is healthy, he is a very good linebacker. He is also a very smart middle linebacker. He fights through blocks well and is a solid tackler. Maiava came into the game in the second half with the rest of the second team and on the second play, he had a run stuff for no gain. He made the tackle on the next play as well. On the drive to start the fourth quarter he had another run stuff for a short gain. Later in the same drive, he stayed with a run play that was strung out to the left and popped the runner for a loss on the play. Then with the Lions in third and goal at the seven yard line, he ended the drive with a hard hit on the tight end to knock the ball out as soon as it got there. The Lions would settle for the field goal, keeping the Raiders within a score to win it. After the helmet-to-helmet-hit-that-wasn't, he came back out and helped make quick work on the Lions offense. He had the run stuff on the first play for a short gain and was part of a mob of Raiders defenders to stop them for a short gain on the next play. The Lions went three and out to set up the Raiders offense with just enough time for the game-winning touchdown drive. Maiava led the team with 5 combined tackles (3 solo).
One of the few bright spots in the Raiders secondary was the play of Carlos Rogers. On the Lions' second drive, he made an open field tackle on Reggie Bush (no small feat) on a catch in the flat to stop it for a one-yard gain. Two plays later he had a tackle on a zero route to stop his man in the open field for two yards. On the following drive, he made the tackle on a screen pass on 3rd and 13 to stop it for a one yard game. He began the next series with a pass defended. Matt Stafford was picking the Raiders secondary apart but Rogers gave up just one catch for five yards. His four tackles resulted in just four total yards.
Darren McFadden, Kory Sheets - They tied for the team lead with 27 rushing yards each. The difference was Sheets did it in five carries, McFadden did it in eight. Then again, two of those McFadden carries were at the goal line, the second for a touchdown.
The hands to the face penalties in this game were getting out of... hand. The Raiders had a total of four and two of those were Barnes. He also gave up a tackle for loss when his man pushed him into the Raiders backfield to disrupt a stunt play which freed up a defender who stopped Maurice Jones-Drew for a three-yard loss. There was one other time a Lions blitz had Barnes and Wisniewski crossed up as to who had whom but that was more a product of the Raiders not having practiced for those blitz packages and being caught off... guard. Outside of those negatives, Barnes was road grading. He paved the way for McFadden on a six-yard run on the first series. In the second quarter, on the Raiders second scoring drive, Barnes blocked for McFadden on an 8-yard run and a 5-yard run and then for Latavius Murray on an 8-yard run. They were also using Barnes as the tackle eligible in jumbo packages due to the team being thin at tight end.