A couple weeks ago, the Raiders glaring weakness was the secondary. Last week, that weakness came to a head with the 17 catch, 284-yard performance from Steelers receiver Antonio Brown.
Also in that Steelers game, DeAngelo Williams ran for 170 yards. But that was by far the biggest performance all season against the then second ranked Raiders run defense. Afterward, their run defense dropped to 4th in the league and was thought to be a strength. We can't say that after today.
Unlike previous teams the Raiders faced this season, the Vikings ran the ball to win. They gave the ball to Adrian Peterson 26 times compared to 22 passes from Teddy Bridgewater. And Peterson was able to gouge the Raiders for 203 yards and a touchdown, leaving the Raiders at a loss for how to fix the issue.
"Every week we come in, we emphasize something that we need to work on," said Charles Woodson. "This week was the passing game and we did well passing, but we allowed them to run all over us for 200-plus yards or whatever it was. You put your finger over one leak and something else pops up, so we've got to find a way to eliminate more than just one phase of the game."
On Peterson's 26th and final run, he shot through the line and took off for and 80-yard touchdown run over a lot of wide open field. After the game, Peterson described what he saw.
"It was daylight," Peterson said of the run. "We walked out and we were in the huddle, and we had two opportunities previously. I think the previous one we got three points, and one of them got blocked. So we knew that this was it. It's in our hands; let's not put it back in the defenses' hands. Not that they couldn't get it done, but as an offense we want to finish it. And the guys up front did a great job of blocking and opening it up for me. I was able to take it through the C-gap, made one guy miss. Well, I didn't make him miss, he kind of went for the legs and bounced off, and there was nothing but green after that."
That run sealed the win for the Vikings and in the process put Peterson at 203 yards on the day. Even without the big run, the Raiders were giving up 4.92 yards per carry to Peterson. And it seemed to just get worse as the game went along.
"You have to be sharp the whole game with him," said Malcolm Smith. "Obviously, he made us pay. We just have to be sharper, more detailed and just finish better. Obviously, that's been kind of our downfall."
The defensive mantra for this season has been ‘bend but don't break'. Lately they've been breaking plenty. Coming into this week, they were giving up 411.5 yards per game which was third from last in the league. They gave up 403 today with a season worst 263 yards of that coming on the ground.
It's becoming apparent this Raiders defense is simply not talented enough across the board to fix one issue without leaving another area vulnerable.