A few thoughts on the defensive play against Carolina in the Week 12 win.
1st half stats
- 95 total yards allowed (77 rushing, 18 passing)
- 3/12 (25%) passing, 18 yards, 0 TD, 1 Int, 4.9 passer rating
- 7 points allowed
- 7 points scored (technically 6)
The Run Defense has been VERY GOOD the last 2-3 games but has given up 1 or 2 big runs which negate all the good plays.
- 24 rushes, 82 yards 3.4 avg
- + 1 rush for 47 yards
- = 25 rushes for 129 yards, 5.2 avg
- The run defense is not "porous", but it is not as consistent as it needs to be.
- Right now, opposing offenses have to work to run the ball and there are many drives that are having trouble because they are not able to run it.
- The 47-yarder was when Greg Olsen pushed Karl Joseph backwards and tripped Cory James. Watch the Olsen/Joseph match-up and Cory James :
- Against 13 and 22 Personnel groups (1 WR groups), Raiders' Run D has struggled and most of the big runs have come against that
- On 3 runs in 13/22 Personnel, Carolina gained total of 12 yards (4 ypc)
- In 13 Personnel (including extra OT), Raiders used 4-4-3, taking out DJ Hayden and bringing in Justin Ellis
- This is a bit of relief that the defense is finally adjusting to the gaps created against those groups
3rd Quarter defense was brutal, but not as worrisome as score indicates
- 2 short fields lead to rushing TDs
- 30 yard after Carr fumble
- 28 yard after Carr interception
- TJ Carrie blows coverage. He flips his hips outside because does not realize the coverage has no help inside and sets Ginn free for 88 yard TD
- Sean Smith did great job challenging and disrupting the 44 yard TD pass to Kelvin Benjamin, but great pass by Cam Newton and great bobble-catch by Benjamin.
BUT followed it up with excellent 4th quarter defense
- 25 points given up on drives that started in the 3rd quarter
- 10 plays, 50 yards, 0 points on 2 drives that started in the 4th quarter
- Helped substantially by the offense possessing the ball for over 9 min in the 4th quarter
- Great pass rushers will work to set up the blockers over the course of the game and at crucial times, they bring out the best moves.
- Khalil Mack did exactly that at the end
- He reportedly told rookie CB Antonio Hamilton--who was filling in for injured DJ Hayden at the end--that "I only need 3 seconds"
- Here's the sack with a Timer :
Pressure on Cam Newton
- Lots of blitzing was getting Cam to hurry
- Lots of pressure even with 4 man rush
- Early hits on Cam in 1st quarter (Dan Williams, Stacy McGee) seemed to affect Cam
Mack deserves all the credit for his Pick 6
- Marquette's pin punt at the 9 yard line set the stage for the Panthers' conservative play calling
- It's a great example of what Coach Jack Del Rio calls "Complementary Football."
Stifled Greg Olsen
- 5 targets, 4 rec, 45 yards, 0 TDs.
- Defense was clearly coached to find and pay attention to him (and he still found himself open sometimes)
- Karl Joseph and Malcolm Smith were doing great work on him. Sometimes DJ Hayden found himself matched up as well.
- There were also help defenders nearby especially underneath
- 2 huge drops
- The 2-point conversion, when he hits the ground the ball dislodges
- 3rd-and-10 on the final drive, right before Mack's sack
- LBs got depth (though would have liked Cory James to get a little more depth and bit of width) and forced Cam Newton to make a perfect throw. Newton put it just a little bit too high.
- If he catches it, Karl Joseph was coming to try to dislodge it. Would have been an epic collision, I think.
TJ Carrie was clearly confused several times and struggled
- Would really have liked to see if Amerson/Smith/Hayden could have locked down the passing game.
- Had 2 tough penalties but otherwise had a great game
- Both penalties by playing very physical with TE-size receivers, Devin Funchess (6'5", 235 lbs) and Greg Olsen (6'5", 255 lbs)
- I love the No Fear attitude and that he won't back down against big WRs
- The next step in his evolution is to ease up on the grabbing just a little bit.
- Is really growing comfortable playing with his back to the ball, now. Reading the WR and either turning to look for the ball or playing the receiver's hands
- Did a great job of covering Ted Ginn.
- Can run with him deep
- Can change direction better than Ginn can underneath
- Should have had a Pick 6 if Ginn doesn't trip him up.
Sean Smith had very good game except for that TD rec surrendered
- Should have had an easy interception, but showed why he's regarded as having poor hands (even by CB standards)
- Even on the Kelvin Benjamin TD, Smith did good job of challenging the play
- Autry's been playing increasingly strong interior run defense in the past 3-4 games.
- But, he was unable to anchor some times, including on one of the TD runs
- It may be better to sub him out in goalline/short yardage situations.
- Denico's PAT block was perhaps the play of the game
- It caused Carolina to attempt two 2 Point Conversions which both failed. Those points changed the way the game unfolded
- Made a fantastic swim move to draw a holding penalty on the penultimate drive
Bruce Irvin had another great game
- He just keeps getting better
Perry Riley was missed
- Cory James did play solid at times, but hesitated often and missed a few tackles
Karl Joseph v Greg Olsen
- Did a great job in coverage
- Even his Pass Interference penalty was a good job of being physical
- Played on the Line of scrimmage several times
- Was too easily handled by Olsen on run plays, including the big 47 yarder
Was the proverbial War of Attrition. Injuries on both sides helped dictate the play
This defense is resilient
- They have the proverbial "Short Memory"
- Credit to Ken Norton Jr and bringing that attitude from Seattle
- No matter what's happened earlier or before, they come out to finish
- 4th Quarter final drive reminiscent of Baltimore game when defense closed it out with DJ Hayden and Reggie Nelson breaking up the final pass
It's very hard to be a dominant defense
- This defense is growing and at this point, the goal is to challenge every play and make the opposition work and execute at a Plus-level to convert.
- Against Carolina, the defense played a very good game
- But had a few lapses which were costly
- This defense is very close to be very good. But little lapses, little mistakes that lead to explosive gains are still a problem.
- Partly to blame is new lineup.
- To begin this season, there were 6 new starters.
- Now, there are new players rotating into the starting rotation due to injuries.
- The experience will help, but it's tough to sit through now
- Take heart in the 4th quarter defense