Monday, after getting a chance to look at the film, Jack Del Rio changed his tune a bit from what he said following Thursday’s loss to the Chiefs. At that time, when asked about whether the Raiders should have run the ball on third and one late in the fourth quarter, he said he didn’t want to focus on that one play.
Myself and others insisted that the game was lost on that one play. Not only that, but it was lost due to the Raiders going away from the run several times, and passing 42 times to 30 runs, despite it being the only part of the offense that was functioning properly.
By Monday, Del Rio had come to the same conclusion.
“Really for us, I felt like I would have like to see us play a little more big boy ball in that game with the weather, the fact that [Derek Carr] was having an off night,” said Del Rio. “We have that big line, I would have liked to see us hand that ball off a few more times behind that line.”
Del Rio also addressed the specific third and one play at the end which was called for Carr to throw it toward the end zone for Andre Holmes guarded by Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters, instead of using Latavius Murray to pick up the first down inside the 15-yard-line.
“We had three third-and-1’s during the game,” Del Rio continued. “The first two, we ran it and got it and yeah, it would’ve made a lot of sense to run right there. As we look at it as a staff we’re going, ‘Geez, what the heck?’ In fact, during that moment, we had previously taken a timeout. Not one I really wanted to take because you know end of the game, you’re trying to hang onto your timeouts. So when that call came across the airwave, I actually started to make my way down there and call it. Then we would’ve been down to one. I let the play ride and thought we’d be able to get it on the next snap if we didn’t get it. It’s one of those things. When you play the game, you get these opportunities and you look back 20/20, looking back always. At the end of the day that was one as a staff we say, ‘We really would have like to hand that ball off.’”
Yeah, hindsight was not really necessary for that one. Though, to be fair, if they could have picked it up on fourth down with a run, all would be forgiven. That chance was thwarted by an Austin Howard false start to take them out of short yardage and into 4th and 6 for the game.
“You have to go with your gut,” Del Rio said on opting not to take a timeout. “I went with it trying to keep both options alive figuring that worst case we’d go on fourth and get it. Then we went a delayed cadence and just really missed an opportunity. That was one of several… There were several throughout the game. You just don’t know which one is going to be the one.”
It certainly was. Making that one play would have kept the game alive and could have made up for all the other missed opportunities, including scoring no touchdowns off of three turnovers deep in Chiefs’ territory. But in the end Bill Musgrave outsmarted himself.