The AC/DC Highlights for 2015 were spectacular and has the entire Nation excited and looking forward to next year. Perhaps even more exciting are the plays that were left on the field.
Derek Carr is in his 2nd year and Amari is in his first, the duo is going to grow old together in the Silver and Black, but in this first year together, they were suffering many growing pains. Little communcation problems, or sync issues. Timing wasn't quite right or they don't quite yet realize how fast / strong the other is.
At other times, it's just a finger tip here or a throwing lane there, a hurried snap, a protection mistake. Little correctable mistakes that the team needs to make. As this team grows together, the offense is going to grow ever more dangerous and ever more consistent.
10a. Shallow Crosser
Q2, 3-2-OAK 20 (13:30) D.Carr pass incomplete short left to A.Cooper
Amari's ability in the short game is a touch surprising. He's a relatively big receiver at 6'1", but he's able to make catch and run plays in the underneath area that normally befits smaller receivers in the Tavon Austin-mold. One great play design is the shallow crosser that creates natural picks and frees him up. Once Amari gets the ball, his combination of burst, change of direction, balance, and strength make him tough to bring down.
On 3rd and short, Amari and Crabtree will run the shallow cross. Amari gets safety coverage and is open just as the two receivers cross, but the ball comes out late and behind Amari. Once the timing of the play is broken, the defender has a chance to close and the pass is now a difficult one.
Get the ball out on time and it's an easy first down and if Amari can burst enough to elude the first tackler, he has a chance for a nice big gain.
10b. Speed Out on 4th-and-Short
Q2, 4-2-TEN 36 (13:35) (Shotgun) D.Carr FUMBLES (Aborted) at TEN 41, and recovers at TEN 44. D.Carr pass incomplete deep right to A.Cooper.
There's a trend in the NFL of increased 4th down attempts. Head Coaches are growing a little bit more aggressive and there's a chance for a good play on a 4th down to really change a game.
Against Tennessee, the Raiders had the perfect play set up to convert 4th-and-2 but a botched shotgun snap destroys the play.
Amari lines up in the backfield and then motions to the right. On the snap, he runs a speed out behind Andre Holmes' slant. A pick play that creates as easy a 4th-down throw as you could ask for.
With Rodney Hudson out, it's Tony Bergstrom at center. The snap is just a touch low, Derek is just a touch too excited and the ball hits the ground and the timing of the play is gone.
Just get the snap fixed and AC/DC connects and the offense has another good shot for a score.
9. Missed TD Throw
Q2, 1-10-MIN 12 (6:41) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass incomplete short left to A.Cooper
AC/DC has been potent for much of the year, but against Minnesota when the team so deperately needed a great play, there was a misfire.
Amari runs a great route, has the CB on his heels, and breaks wide open on the post.
The ball comes out on time, but it is high and away.
The AC/DC connection was right there for the taking, but either the throw gets away from Derek or he misread the coverage.
It worked out in the end; two plays later, DC connected with Clive Walford for the TD.
8. Pump and Miss
Q4, 3-5-CLV 38 (2:38) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass incomplete short left to A.Cooper
Communication between WR and QB is tremendously important. It's also something that takes time and effort to establish. This play is an example of that.
There's 1-on-1 press coverage on the outside. Amari's out and up combined iwth Derek's pump fake gets the corner back jumping the underneath and leaving Amari wide open on the sideline.
Inexplicably, the ball goes well out of bounds so instead of a converted third down and a chance to run out the clock, it's a punt situation.
With Amari's skill underneath, this pump and go -type play has a chance to yield some big plays, but the two players need to get in sync for it to work.
7. Tipped Slant
Q3, 1-10-OAK 47 (2:53) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass incomplete short left to A.Cooper (C.Mosley)
There are so many plays that just go unnoticed over the course of the year, little plays that on review show the big play potential on the offense, but just a finger tip here or there changes everything, including public perception.
This was a great one against Baltimore.
Amari runs a post route against the Ravens' zone defense. His route is phenomenal; he sells the deep fade which gets the deep safety to break to the sideline, so when Amari breaks to the post, the deep middle is open.
If Amari gets the ball on time (and catches it), he has a good chance to split the defense and maybe go all the way.
Here's a still image :
Unfortunately, LB CJ Mosely gets a fingertip on the ball and breaks up the play. Ouch!
AC/DC nearly struck again and Derek knew it.
6. Underthrow on the Sideline Fade
Q4, 3-7-OAK 23 (12:50) (Shotgun) D.Carr pass incomplete deep left to A.Cooper (J.Smith).
The Week 2 Baltimore game was already punctuated by Amari's big TD catch, but he was so close to another one.
Amari once again beats the press coverage and gets a step behind the defender. As Amari is starting to pull away, Derek makes the throw, but he leaves the ball just short and lets the Raven make a nice play on the ball.
This was in their 2nd game together and the timing and sync was not quite there. As the year wore on, Carr got a better feel for how fast Amari is and how far to throw the ball.