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Quick hits: Notes, analysis on Raiders defense in week 13 win over Bills

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Quick thoughts and insights on the defensive performance of the week 13 victory over Buffalo

A few thoughts on the defensive play against Buffalo in the Week 13 win.

Run Defense

  • It is rare to surrender 200+ yards rushing and still win the game (Buffalo rushed 30 for 212, 7.1 avg, 3 TDs)
  • In the first 3 quarters, the running game had the defensive front 7 confused and often one of the down linemen (Branden Jackson, Jihad Ward, Denico Autry, Dan Williams, Justin Ellis) or the 2 Interior LBs (Perry Riley, Malcolm Smith) would lose run lane integrity.
  • No one on the defense was prepared for LeSean McCoy's quickness and explosiveness. That's something you cannot simulate in practice.
  • When the Defense DID play the frontside well and stuff the playside gaps, they left cutback lanes and McCoy was great at finding them.
  • 4 rushes over 10 yards (12, 14, 29, 54)
  • In the first half, lots of line slanting, missed run fits, and a couple of alignment problems.
  • Really missed having Darius Latham and Stacy McGee, but some of the line calls and alignment may have allowed for big runs regardless of personnel
  • The misdirection plays (notably the Bills' version of the Counter Trey) were getting LBs and safeties to either false step or wait which allowed OL to gain leverage.

  • In the second half, almost no line slanting
  • instead playing straight up, filling gaps, surrounding McCoy.
  • Doing that and getting some good 1-on-1 wins resulted in much better run defense.

Underrated Moment

  • Defense should be duly credited for performance in 2nd half, but they also had a key moment in the first half
  • A very important defensive stand at the end of the first half got the ball back to Derek Carr with just enough time (30 seconds) for Carr, the offense, and Sebastian Janikowski to score 3 points to end the half down by only 1 point at 10-9
  • The Final 3 plays : Mack run stuff for -2 yards, LeSean McCoy run for 9 yards, Amerson pass breakup intended for Sammy Watkins.
  • Even though the 2nd half started rough (first two drives led to TDs), they had confidence that they COULD stop the Bills offense.

Second Half Defense

  • Tightened up after first 2 drives
  • Coach Jack Del Rio deciding NOT to chase 2 points in the 3rd quarter is partly due to faith in defense to get stops. While Raider fans were panicking, Coach was calm and leading the troops.
  • That faith was rewarded.
  • On final 3 offensive possessions (which resulted in 3 TDs), the defense provided them with a short field
  • Big credit to Denico Autry who started playing like a madman
  • A lot of Containment Rush against Tyrod Taylor (aka "Mush Rush"), like what KC used against Terrelle Pryor in 2013 when they sacked him 10 times.
    • At times it looks like defenders cannot get push, but in many cases, they are trying to maintain rush lane integrity
    • Lots of Spying with Bruce Irvin or Perry Riley
    • Even with Mush Rush and a spy, Taylor still was able to break contain and gain yards. Crazy athleticism
  • Taking away Taylor's first read and maintaining contain really made him less effective
    • Seemed like he was not at all comfortable going thru his read progression
    • Not comfortable sitting in the pocket
    • James Cowser's sack was a containment rush with no pressure, but Taylor got antsy and looked to break and ran into Cowser.
    • Combine with Taylor's intermediate/deep accuracy problems
    • Seems like later in the game, forced Taylor into more challenging reads and throws
  • Taylor had some opportunities
    • But need to make the throw on time and many times he was late on this read
    • or late his throw
    • Or he was just inaccurate
  • Sammy Watkins played much better than 3 rec / 38 yards.
    • Was open or getting open a few times but throws were late or off
  • Coverage again had some really nice moments where they played team defense.
    • Notable when Amerson fell off his coverage and broke on a throw to Sammy Watkins.
  • 4th Quarter Defense
    • Passing : 8 /16, 64 yards, 4 YPA, 1 int, 2 sacks, 1 fumble, 0 points
    • Rushing : 3 att 6 yards, 2.0 avg
  • When front 7 players started winning matchups, the run defense improved
    • Like Denico v Incognito

War of Attrition

  • "Next Man Up" is right. Really missed Stacy McGee and Darius Latham.
  • James Cowser had his first sack filling in for Shilique Calhoun.
    • It was a containment/coverage sack, but still counts
    • Also he did a nice job playing force on the edge a couple of times
  • TJ Carrie came up big and did a fantastic job playing slot coverage and some Safety when Karl Joseph went out
  • Nate Allen
    • Came in and filled in for Karl Joseph
    • Clutch interception on the Mack tip (Sean Smith probably drops that ball! heh )
    • Started to get a feel for helping support the run in the 2nd half


  • He's adding to his move repertoire
    • He's starting to master the art of handfighting

  • Mack's "Forced Interception" was a beautiful play on many fronts
    • Give credit to Marquette and Taiwan for the perfectly executed pin punt that set up the play in the endzone

  • The Closer
  • The Strip Sack
    • Showed Containment "Mush" rush and then exploded inside
    • Perry Riley was Spying on the play and closed hard on Taylor's scramble
    • Jihad Ward was containg middle scramble lane
    • Denico Autry and Malcolm Smith were occuping the RG and the C so Mack has the 1-on-1 with the RB chip only.
    • Nice play design
  • The First Half and the first two drives of the 2nd half were a major step backwards for this defense that had been improving. But they recovered and finished strong.
  • We need to see this carry over and get a strong full-game performance.