Let's get right into this one, that was a bullshit holding call that cost the Raiders the chance to tie the Patriots on an apparent touchdown run by Darren McFadden. Was it holding? For like half a second, not nearly enough time or effect on the play to call it considering 99% of that was excellent blocking by Gabe.
They simply do not call that play, at that time, against almost any other team. In fact, that amount of holding could be called on just about every single play of every single game. It was absolutely nothing and the worst part happened after DMC was already in the endzone.
The question I have is would they have called that holding call against the Patriots if the positions were reversed and the answer is unequivocally no. With that being the case, why on earth call it on the team that has struggled the most in the NFL to be relevant over the past decade?! Because, it's the Raiders.
Still, it shouldn't have mattered as much as it did. Denarius Moore should have made the catch on the following play and instead his dropped pass got picked off. There is no excuse to drop that ball, at that time, in traffic. That was the epitome of what it has been like as a Raider fan through the dark days, even when close the ball is almost always dropped.
That wasn't even the only dumb mistake that Denarius made in the game either. The other mistake on Denarius' part came on a 2nd down play towards the end of the half. Denarius caught a short pass and ran out of bounds just short of the 1st down marker.
Why it was dumb was that the corner wasn't cut off and Denarius could have turned it upfield to get the first down but lazily went out instead. That drive ended up being a 3 and out and the Patriots would add a field goal as the half expired. That drive could have been big for the Raiders to get something going before the half ended, but a lazy effort ended it before it even got started.
The worst part of the whole damn game though came after the game was already over. It was the announcement of losing both Rod Streater and Tyvon Branch to serious foot injuries. Seriously? Our best, or at least most liked, wide receiver and our starting SS that we only just got back this year after being out most of last season? That is just cruel. Needless to say, but I wish a speedy recovery to both players on their long road back from their broken bones.
Enough with the bad though, let's talk about the good. We have been harping on the coaching quite a bit (with good reason to) but they did very well in this game. If we are going to point out the bad with them then it is prudent to point out when they do well. This game they had the team in multiple chances to win or at least tie the game, it just didn't work out.
It is still a loss so unfortunately it didn't do as much for his status as a win would have, but it was still great to see the team stand up and respond to the negative attention from the previous two games. It is important that the team still responds in that way, the coaching staff needs that type of proof that they haven't lost the team.
The defensive effort was especially great. Tom Brady was beat up throughout the game, though only sacked twice. Still, he was hurried and hit several other times and it clearly was effecting his output. Considering the defensively poor performances of the previous two games it was especially uplifting to see them put up such a good effort.
If the Raiders defense can put on performances like that on a regular basis from now on then that will really help Derek Carr's development. He needs as much time with the ball in his hands as possible and as much support from the defense as possible. It is a lot easier to perform well in a close game than it is in a blow out where the QB feels like they have to do everything.
Something else that was really unexpected and pleasant was Derek Carr's performance against pass rushes. He was using his pocket presence better than he has all season and he was able to perform against the rush much better because of that.
He is athletic enough to get to the corners and throw from awkward positions, but he is not experienced enough to truly use those skills to his advantage in the NFL yet. He needs to be able to stand tall in the pocket, like he did yesterday, and concentrate on keeping as much protection as he can get. Only having 2 sacks so far this season shows that he is concentrating on avoiding them which is a plus for a young rookie QB.
Another positive was his willingness to attack anywhere, including the best defender on the field. No matter how good a player is, you should still attack them at times. At least, you shouldn't be afraid to and he wasn't afraid of Darrelle Revis at all. Our own Levi Damien expounded on the impressive performance that Carr had against Revis based off of information from Pro Football Focus and statistician Josh Dubow, click on the Must Reads link to his article on it!
Really, it has been very nice watching Derek Carr play this year in general. He has gotten better through all three games and these snaps are really doing well for his development. The more we watch him play the more excited it is becoming in that the Raiders might have FINALLY hit on a QB that they drafted.
It was a lot more fun to watch this game at least. I came into it hoping they would be competitive and they were. It was still infuriating watching them lose it at the end in the way they did though. Moral victories are still losses after all.
What it did do is rejuvenate my hope for a good game in London though. That is what I really want to see.
The Raiders have a large following of UK fans and they deserve that type of loyalty to be rewarded. Going into the Patriots game I felt like there was little chance of a solid performance in London but leaving it I feel like there is a real chance for a good show for the Londonites.
Let's all hope so anyway, because an embarrassing loss on that grand of a stage would be one of the worst losses in franchise history. They have been given a chance to promote the league worldwide, being embarrassed in that circumstance would be completely unacceptable.
London here we come, hopefully it will be the solid team and not the Arena League caliber one!