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Raiders week 1 Ballers & Busters part two

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Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Now to relive that expletive show the Raiders put on the field Sunday. I already plucked out the Ballers from the mix (yes, there were those). Don't pay too much attention to who makes the very top of the list. Sure, the Top Buster deserves his spot, but the next few Busters could easily be 1a, 1b, 1c, etc. There is plenty of blame to go around.


Ray Ray Armstrong

The cries for Sio Moore got louder and stronger as this game went along. The fact that he was essentially chosen to replace Sio in the linebacker corps was surprising before. Now, after one game, the shock factor was turned up.

The first big play by the Bengals was a 10-yard run on third and one on their first drive of the day. That was Ray Ray's play to make. The fans were crying about him being held, but he really wasn't. Not really. Del Rio pointed out on Monday what I pointed out immediately - they won't throw a flag on that ‘hold'. They just won't. If they did, the field would be littered with yellow hankies after every single play. Truth is, Ray Ray was out of position. He didn't set the edge as he was supposed to and the running back went right by him unimpeded. Then the Bengals went on to score their first touchdown. Oh, and Ray Ray missed the tackle on the touchdown run too.

In the second quarter, the Bengals were able to add a field goal thanks to Ray Ray and Larry Asante letting Tyler Eifert get between them in zone coverage for a 31-yard pickup. The next Bengals drive, Ray Ray was late getting over on a 2-yard touchdown run and a 17-0 lead. The following drive was made possible by Ray Ray being easily cleared out the way on a 13-yard run and being out of position on the next play for a 14-yard catch. They scored a touchdown a few plays later to go up 24-0 at halftime.

That's enough.

DJ Hayden

We kinda knew this day was coming. He was crispy from the preseason and now had to face a playoff offense with AJ Green on it. Right off the top, he gave up 7 catches on 9 targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. And those weren't all AJ Green.

Let's go with the lowlights. In the second quarter he gave up a 30-yard catch to Green to put the Bengals at the 11-yard-line. Then in third and 3, he held AJ in the endzone to put the Bengals in first and goal at the 2-yard line. They punched it in on the next play to go up 17-0.

Oh, that first Bengals scoring drive of the second half. Hayden was called for holding on Green on the first play. Two plays later he gave up an 8-yard first down catch to Green. Then he was covering tight end Tyler Eifert and didn't turn to face the quarterback so Eifert caught the 8-yard touchdown right over Hayden's back. That put them up 30-0.

That's enough

Austin Howard, Rodney Hudson, J'Marcus Webb

In that order. Howard was terrible enough to get this spot all his own, but Hudson and Webb were also pretty bad in their own rite.

Hudson got it started off. With the Raiders down 7-0 late in the first quarter, he gave up a run stuff, was called for a false start on third and one, and after a big 24-yard catch and run by Amari Cooper, took 15 yards off of it by running down field and clearing off the pile after the whistle. You expect smarter play from the team's center. That nonsense ensured the Raiders wouldn't get any points on the drive.

Next drive Austin Howard took the reins. On the second play, Howard's man beat him inside and he reached out to hold him by the neck of his shoulder pads. Easy holding call. Problem was it was unnecessary as Jamize Olawale had taken off around the left side for 60 yards. That was the play on which Amari Cooper was assaulted by Pac Man Jones at which point Howard went down to defend him and was called for unnecessary roughness. I don't fault him for the roughing, but the holding negated the run from the start, regardless of how the extracurricular stuff played out. Two plays later he missed his block to give up a run stuff for one yard.

The next series, Howard gave up a sack and a six yard loss. The first possession to start the second half, Howard and Webb failed to block one guy who went right between them in a classic "I thought you had him" moment. The rusher pressured Matt McGloin who then threw a long interception.

Later in the third quarter, Webb and Hudson had a similar confused moment to give up a sack on McGloin, who fumbled on the play to give the Bengals the ball at their 18-yard line. They converted a field goal to go up 33-0. And just for good measure, Howard got beat to give up a big hit on McGloin later in the fourth quarter.

The ‘right' side of the Raiders line takes on another meaning for opposing pass rushers.

Jack Del Rio, Bill Musgrave, Ken Norton Jr

What an ill-prepared group this team was today. It was like Déjà vu hearing Del Rio talk about how great the practices were all week only to see it all come crumbling down on game day. Yet, oddly, the one preseason touchdown by the first team offense apparently didn't raise any alarms.

The most questionable decision in this game was going for it on fourth and one from their own 45-yard-line down 10-0 in the second quarter. They didn't pick it up and the Bengals got the ball in Raiders territory and drove for another touchdown to take a 17-0 lead. Terrible decision even if it had worked. Too much risk and too early to be that desperate.

The offense had a lot of issues, but again, the one that stands out is eerily reminiscent of last season's game plan. A lot of short passes, and not a lot of runs. The Raiders offense was 48-15 ratio in drop backs to designed runs. That's more than 3-1 pass to run ratio. The offense attempted just two passes to receivers 20 yards down field, and just three past 10 yards. Many of those short passes came on third downs well short of the marker.

As if the Déjà vu wasn't already stomache turning, there were several instances in this game in which the Raiders put one less defender outside than there were Bengals receivers. This happened at least three times in the game. I say at least because the Bengals capitalized on it three times.

The first time was on their first drive in which the Raiders had one corner on two receivers. The result was a 12-yard catch and run. The second was on their next scoring drive in which the Bengals split offensive tackle Andre Whitworth out right along with two receivers. The Raiders countered with two corners. Whitworth blocked a corner, a receiver blocked the other, and Mohammed Sanu went for 28 yards. The third time was later on the same drive. This time it was the Raiders putting two corners on two receivers and a tight end. It resulted in a 6-yard gain to set up a short field goal and a 10-0 lead.

And what's the deal with having Charles Woodson out there on the final meaningless play of the game only to have him suffer a dislocated shoulder? I realize Woodson probably wanted to be out there, but there was absolutely no reason for him to be there. The Bengals had already picked up the first down they needed so they could run out the clock. There's never been a more meaningless play for a guy to suffer such an injury.

Curtis Lofton, Malcolm Smith

Just for the sake of brevity I'm putting these two together. Lofton is the team's middle linebacker and yet had just two tackles in the game. Smith had 7 combined tackles, but tied for the team lead in missed tackles (3). Again, let's stick to the lowlights.

On the very first Bengals drive Lofton was blocked on a 5-yard run, a 6-yard run, and a 3-yard run inside the ten. Smith was out of position on a 10-yard catch. Both Lofton and Smith were blocked on an 11-yard run on the next drive. The first drive of the second quarter, Lofton gave up a 10-yard first down catch.

Smith gave up an 18-yard catch to start the Bengals' final touchdown drive of the first half and a 24-0 lead. In the third quarter, both were blocked on a 28-yard run that set the Bengals up at the 10-yard-line. They scored a touchdown two plays later to go up 30-0.

Now all three of the Raiders starting linebackers are here.

Derek Carr

This performance didn't belong in any quarterback's second season in the league. At least not one that is supposed to be the unquestioned starter. His first pass was high and behind Amari Cooper incomplete. Then he threw for three yards on third and 7 to end with a three-and-out to start the game.

Next series started with a drop by Cooper, followed by Carr throwing wildly wide and high on a comeback route. After throwing his longest through-the-air pass of the day, dug out by Michael Crabtree for 10 yards, he was called for a Delay of game, and ended it on a dump pass short of the marker on third and 14.

His next short drive ended with an overthrown pass intended for Crabtree. The following drive, on third and 9, he scrambled to try and pick up the first down only to injure his throwing hand trying to lay a stiff arm and fumble the ball out of bounds short of the sticks. That led to the poor decision to go for it on 4th and one at their own 45 which they didn't pick up.

Matt McGloin

He took over for Carr in this game. The only thing he did through his first two quarters of work was throw a long interception right to the safety, and fumble at his own 18-yard line to set the Bengals up for a field goal and a 33-0 lead. He then added two touchdown passes late in the game (slow clap).

Neiko Thorpe

He was targeted three times in this game and gave up three catches. One of those was a touchdown to Tyler Eifert. Another was a 30-yard pickup by AJ Green on third and 7.

Marquette King

He shanked his first punt for 39 yards to give the Bengals great field position to start the game. They took that short field and drove for a touchdown. His second punt traveled just 32 yards to the Bengals 31-yard-line. Later he kicked a touchback for a net 28-yard punt. His final net yardage was 36.2 on six punts.

See the Ballers