Ken Norton Jr
Plainly put, the Vikings outcoached the Raiders. It was pretty much across the board but the defense was the most egregious. After the Raiders had stopped the Vikings for short gains on the first two plays, they lined up in third and three and the Raiders allowed Bridgewater to scramble easily through the middle of the line for five yards. A few plays into the drive, Ray Ray Armstrong was lining up as a rush outside linebacker twice and both times the Vikings took advantage of it with a 6-yard run followed immediately by a 14-yard end around to the 13-yard line. Two plays later the dreaded tight end was wide (freaking) open for an 11-yard touchdown.
The next Vikings' scoring drive began with a 22-yard catch thanks to DJ Hayden lining up ten yards off his man. The Vikings audibled into twins right and the Raiders did just what they wanted them to do. The outside man cut underneath on the screen and went 22 yards with it. If that sounds familiar, it's because the Steelers did the same thing to the Raiders last week with similar success.
Then, of course, there was the nail in the coffin 80-yard Adrian Peterson run in which nearly the entire defense bit left only to have Peterson make one cut and have nothing but open field in front of him for the score. This defense is completely confused right now and it isn't getting any better.
I hate to do this to a guy who just got back into the lineup after spending eight games on IR, but this is right where he belongs. The first play of the second quarter, he was blocked on a 10-yard end around. Two plays later he missed a tackle on a 7-yard run. Two plays after that he was again blocked on a 7-yard bubble screen. It was a rough drive for Allen resulting in a field goal and a 13-0 Vikings lead.
The next scoring drive the Vikings had happened early in the fourth quarter. That drive started with Allen giving up a catch and missing the tackle for a 37-yard pickup. It resulted in another field goal and a two-score lead at 23-14. Then on the Peterson run, Allen was one of the only defenders who even had a shot at him and he whiffed on the tackle attempt and AP flew by him.
Brad Seely, Sebastian Janikowski, Lorenzo Alexander, Taiwan Jones, Neiko Thorpe
What do all of these people have in common? They share responsibility for the biggest, back-breaking play of the game - a 93-yard kickoff return touchdown. Seely dialed up a head-scratcher squib kick, Janikowski screwed it up and it skipped right to return man Cordarrelle Patterson, and the other three all had opportunities to make the stop on the return and didn't.
The Raiders had come back from down 13-0 to take the lead 14-13. Had they been able to carry that lead into the half, things may have gone quite different. But seeing the lead you fought to claim lost in eight seconds is completely deflating. From there the Vikings slowly increased the lead and with a two-score deficit late, the Raiders turned the ball over.
The largest yardage gained on the Vikings' first drive for a touchdown came on a DJ Hayden pass interference penalty for 32 yards. The biggest gain on their second scoring drive came on a 22-yard bubble screen thanks to a Hayden cushion and missed tackle. Hayden gave up a 9-yard catch to begin the Vikings final drive of the first half which ended with a missed field goal. A TJ Carrie punt return was stopped for two yards due to Hayden being burnt by his blocking assignment. He then gave up a 7-yard catch on the Vikings' next scoring drive and they added a field goal.
Typically one of the best run stopping edge defenders in the NFL, Mack was not on his game in this one. The first Vikings touchdown was to a wide open tight end. On that play, Mack was lost in space. He handed a receiver off to Lofton in the middle and then was covering nothing but open field. When that happens, usually someone is left open. In this case it was the tight end to easily scored. The next Vikings scoring drive saw Mack fail to seal the edge to give up a 17-yard run to set up the Vikings for a field goal and a 10-0 lead. Then late in the fourth, with the Vikings already up 23-14, Peterson faked inside, which had Mack commit to the inside only to have AP cut to the outside right though Mack's position and was gone for 80 yards.
He gave up a run stuff for no gain, a sack, and a hit on Carr that ultimately resulted in a hard hit sack which essentially killed their drive at the end of the third quarter. That's enough.
His first catch came at the end of the first half and it went for a loss. The next play he dropped the pass. And he was thrown the ball again on the next play for three yards and fumbled it. He luckily recovered it. Later he gave up a run stuff. Rivera led the team with six catches for 46 yards with 38 yards of that coming on the garbage time drive.
His first carry of the game, he simply ran into the back of his own lineman for one yard. He didn't have a run more than 3 yards until the very end of the first quarter. The first play of the second quarter, he didn't follow his blocks and was stopped for a 2-yard gain. That drive was promising for a while but ended when on third and 10, Murray caught a pass and instead of going for the open field on the outside, he turning inside and was tackle short of the first down.