It was the second preseason game for the Raiders and they were in Minnesota to face the Vikings -- a game they would lose 20-12. The Ballers have been noted (click here to read this article from the beginning). Now for the...
After getting abused on the daily in training camp practices, Hayden carried over that momentum to the game field. It looked as if the Raiders had stopped the Vikings in a three and out on their first series when Ricky Lumpkin pressured Teddy Bridgewater resulting in Nate Allen defending his pass attempt. But, wait, there was a penalty. It was Hayden being called for illegal hands to the face. And the drive continued. In fact, on the next play, Hayden gave up a 14-yard catch.
The following drive Hayden's woes continued with him giving up an 11-yard catch on fourth and six which put the Vikings in field goal range at the 24 yard line. Luckily Blair Walsh forgot how to kick and missed the chip shot 35-yard field goal.
Things went from worse to worst on the next drive. With the Raiders up 6-0, the Vikings drove down the field to tie the game. Bridgewater knew right where he was going with the touchdown pass too -- whomever was being guarded by Hayden. He hit Charles Johnson in the back of the end zone. Hayden was able to recover to get in tight coverage, but he didn't turn around to contest the pass, so it really didn't matter.
Latavius Murray had a short day in this one to give Trent Richardson a chance to show what he could do. It wasn't much. The first time he touched the ball, he shouldn't have. He was the up back on the return team with Taiwan Jones as the return man, but Richardson decided he would just field it instead, right in front of Taiwan. This also meant TRich had one less blocker with Taiwan behind him when he fielded it. Not surprisiingly, he didn't make it back to the 20-yard-line, stopped at the 18.
Having blockers didn't seem to help Richardson anyway. On his first carry on offense, he simply ran into the back of his own blocker for a one yard gain. Being a blocker also proved problematic. On the very next play, he didn't block his man properly, allowing him to jump up and tip the Derek Carr pass at the line. The drive ended on the next play with a three and out. And it made for three-straight stops caused by Richardson mistakes.
The next drive featured a three-yard run by Richardson and the Raiders again went three-and-out. The drive to follow featured a run for a loss of five followed by a run for 7 yards, for a net of two yards. His final run was the first play of third quarter. He tried to bounce the run outside and was tackled for a loss of one. He finished with 5 yards on 5 carries. Yes, that's 1.0 yard per carry.
Things started well for Ponder. His first pass went to Seth Roberts for a couple yards on a crossing pattern and Roberts took it 39 yards to the 9-yard-line. Ponder then scrambled for 3 yards, threw for the tight end in the flat who lost 2 of those yards, and then threw a bit wide of Kenbrell Thompkins at the pylon and the Raiders settled for a field goal.
Ponder's next drive begant the third quarter and it again started well with Ponder rolling left and hitting Brice Butler for a 13-yard gain. But like the previous drive, it didn't end well. Ponder was nearly intercepted when he telegraphed a pass into the flat and the linebacker got in front of it only to drop it. He then threw for Thompkins at the line on third and 10 and he could pick up just 7 yards. Then when they went for it on fourth and three, Ponder had open field in front of him to pick it up but instead stopped and tried to find a receiver and was sacked to turn the ball over on downs.
He would get the ball back fairly quickly thanks to the defense forcing a turnover. After converting one first down, he threw incomplete to a covered Thompkins and on his final play of the game, he couldn't find an open receiver and (wisely) threw the ball away this time to preserve the field goal.
For the third time this preseason, the Raiders failed to convert their 2-point attempt. Their one opportunity in this game, Latavius Murray ran up the middle, but Hudson couldn't hold his block and gave up the stuff. On his final drive of the game, he helped to end it early when he had a false start which is rather rare for a center considering he is the one snapping the ball. Not the discipline Jack Del Rio was looking for after just two team penalties in the preseason opener.
Ponder was replaced by Matt McGloin in the third quarter. And thanks to Gabe Holmes, his first drive lasted one play. Holmes couldn't block the edge rusher on the left side and he flew in to hit McGloin as he threw and the ball was considerably short of its intended target and was intercepted. Just before that play, Holmes missed a tackle on coverage teams and it was returned to the Vikings' 46-yard-line.
After a fantastic game in the preseason opener, he couldn't get anything going in this one. After the first interception, which, as I said, wasn't really his fault, he came back out for the next drive with not great results. He had three passes on the drive and they were the three final plays. He overthrew Seth Roberts incomplete, threw a one-yard pass to Kris Durham, and on third and 19 threw a pass for 7 yards (his longest completion). He had just one more pass on the day and it was caught by Michael Dyer for a loss on third and 15. He finished 5 of 7 for 20 yards and didn't make it past the 50-yard-line on the day.
He gave up three catches in the game and all of them came on the Vikings touchdown scoring drive to end the first half. The first catch went for 7 yards, the second on went for 15 yards on third and 10 to put the Vikings in first and goal at the 5-yard line. Then he gave up the touchdown catch on the next play for the go-ahead score and the Vikings led the rest of the day.
The much maligned former top pick (third round) is now trying to find his niche as the team's backup center. His day started well, with a couple of run blocks. But after that, things didn't go so well. Just like Hudson before him, Bergstrom had a false start and the Raiders couldn't recover from the lost yards. A bit later, he gave up a run stuff at the line and a few plays after that was called for holding. Again, the Raiders couldn't recover from the lost yards and the drive ended a couple plays later.
Did you notice that McGee played 30 snaps in this game? It was easy to miss considering he didn't do much. The only tackle he made was with help from Ben Heeney and it was four yards downfield. He also didn't stand his ground on the Vikings' one-yard touchdown run.
Not a good last impression for Mitch Bell. On the team's final drive of the day he was called for holding and on the next play missed his block to give up a sack.