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Raiders week one Ballers & Busters vs Saints: Part two

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Busters

Sean Smith

When your number one corner gets benched in the third quarter, you know you’ve got problems. His first quarter seemed fine. But as soon as the second quarter began, his day turned into a nightmare.

The second play of the second quarter, Wilie Snead got behind him for a 49-yard catch and run. It set the Saints up in first and goal at the 9-yard-line and they scored their first touchdown a few plays later.

The next drive, it was rookie Mike Thomas victimizing Smith. First it was for 11 yards and later 25 yards. That put the Saints that the 15-yard-line and the scored their second touchdown on the next play.

Come the third quarter, the Raiders had the Saints backed up to their own 2-yard-line off a punt. One play is all it took. Brandin Cooks scorched Smith and Drew Brees hit him in stride for a 98-yard touchdown. That was the end of Smith’s day. He was replaced by DJ Hayden after that and the Raiders set forth trying to claw back into the game, down 14.

Malcolm Smith

There were several times in this game it seemed like Drew Brees would survey the defense and wherever Malcolm Smith was lined up, he would send the play there. Smith missed a tackle on a run on the Saints first drive that went for 12 yards. A few plays later, he was put on wide receiver Willie Snead, Brees saw the mismatch and it resulted in a 16-yard catch.

The Saints next drive resulted in a touchdown. Smith was blocked to give up a three-yard run on third and one and finished it off by leaving Snead open in the middle for a touchdown catch from one yard out.

Their next drive he was out of position on a 9-yard run as the Saints would drive for a touchdown.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Saints would moving into scoring position in part due to Smith being called for pass interference resulting in a 23-yard pickup. The next play he gave up a 6-yard catch to the tight end. This drive would result in a short field goal. The next one was a touchdown and it was to Smith’s assignment on a 2-yard catch out left.

Ken Norton Jr

I respect Drew Brees as much as the next guy. I know what he can do. I also know how smart he is. If he sees a mismatch, he will exploit it. All too often those mismatches happened. Usually it was putting a linebacker on a wide receiver. Some of those mismatches were what resulted in Willie Snead putting up a career high 172 yards on 9 catches. It also helped Brees post 423 yards – his sixth highest passing yards total as a Saint -- and 4 touchdowns.

TJ Carrie

Entering the game as the slot corner with the benching of Sean Smith, Carrie played just 20 defensive snaps. But he made plenty of mistakes in that time. His very first play of the game, he gave up a 9-yard catch. That same drive, on third and four, he gave up an 11-yard catch.

With the score tied at 27-27, the Saints went about reclaiming the lead. They were able to do so because of a big 44-yard play in which Carrie didn’t stay with Snead (there’s that man again) and allowing him to find a soft spot in the zone to pick up 43 yards. Then Carrie slowed and gave up on the play, leaving it to Hayden and Reggie Nelson to make the tackle. Hayden knocked the ball out to force a fumble and that’s when Carrie decided to start running again, but by then it was too late. Saints WR Michael Thomas was closer to it and he scooped it up, taking it 10 more yards where Carrie finally caught up to him at the 2-yard-line. The Saints scored on one play.

For his final act, Carrie gave up a 13-yard catch that set the Saints up for their 61-yard field goal attempt at the end of the game, which luckily barely missed wide left.

Gabe Jackson

That Raiders drive to win the game was not without a high degree of difficulty. On two instance, Jackson gave up a pressure on Carr to force him to escape it to make a play. Luckily Carr was able to get away and complete a 12-yard pass on one and scramble for five yards on the other. But that’s certainly not what you hope for. Earlier in the game, he also gave up a run stuff for no gain on DeAndre Washington.

Betweener

Bill Musgrave

Jack Del Rio credits him for his play calling and game plan which helped the team pull out the win late. And he deserves a lot of credit for making the best of the offensive line situation. But what happened in the first half?

For some reason Musgrave had it in his head that Taiwan Jones was the key to beating the Saints defense. He called Jones’ number on the second play of the game and it resulted in Jones being stopped in the backfield for a five-yard loss.

Early in the second quarter, he went back to Jones on a pitch. This one was even worse. Half the Saints defense had it sniffed out and it resulted in an 8-yard loss. Even with the loss, the Raiders pulled to third and one. So, of course, Musgrave calls for a bootleg, Carr couldn’t find anyone open and throws the ball away.

Let’s also not forget that the final drive which Musgrave gets a lot of credit, was pulled out of the grave twice by defensive pass interference penalties. The Raiders should move the ball on the worst defense in the league.

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