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The Morning After: Historically bad defense dooms Raiders against Atlanta

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Talk about a disappointment hangover, the Oakland Raiders still reign supreme when it comes to this type of irritating loss. This was one of those games where the Raiders were supposed to win, so of course they lost. They might be a better team than any we have seen them field over the past decade plus, but they still have a lot left to be desired.

There is the old cliche of "This was a learning experience", and technically that is true. The problem though is that they should have learned from these experiences over the past two years already, they sure have had enough of them. If the Raiders come in as a favorite, they usually perform like anything but the better team. We were hoping that oddity would be fixed, apparently it hasn't been.

The offense again played well. Well enough to win if the defense showed up even a little anyway. There inlies the problem though, the defense's lack of production doomed Oakland. That is still an understatement though, because this has been a historically bad start for the Raiders.

They have broken an NFL record that has stood for 65 years, and it's not the kind of record you want on the books for your team. The Raiders have given up 1,035 yards in their first two games of the season, breaking the record held by the 1951 Yanks. That's ridiculous, this defense was supposed to be close to elite and instead its been worst ever bad.

The goal line defense has been spectacular oddly enough but where is it the other 90 yards of the field? They are getting cut through like a warm knife through butter. There is no resistance until those last 10 yards and then all of a sudden they play like they can. They called it bend don't break defense but this is absurd.

It is easy to blame this on the cornerbacks (cough, cough, Sean Smith, cough, cough) but in reality it's actually on the front 7. There hasn't been nearly enough pressure coming from what should be a damn good defensive front. Instead, there has been little to none in terms of production from that unit. Until that changes of course the cornerbacks are going to be getting annihilated, they have to cover for far longer than they should.

That's not to let Sean Smith and the secondary completely off the hook but come on. Khalil Mack is one of the best defensive players in the NFL and he has been completely non-existent through the first two games. The Raiders need that fire to play well, and that fire has been completely distinguished so far.

Oh, and maybe cover BOTH tight ends? It seemed like the defense would overreact to one of the tight ends and let the other one get past them time and time again. Teams have keyed in for a long time that Oakland has trouble with tight ends, it's not a surprise that teams are starting to utilize two tight ends against them then.

Who knows what they have to do to fix that? Seriously, who knows? If you do please tell Ken Norton Jr. because he has no answer to this problem. If you see him in the grocery store and you know what the Raiders must do to fix their inability to cover tight ends, don't be afraid to go up there and tell him. Just remember, he is huge and his dad was a great boxer so stick and move afterwards.

All jokes aside, the offense has been good enough to win. Derek Carr can't do everything himself though. If this continues he will start making more and more mistakes, like going deep on 3rd down instead of throwing to the open guy in the flat for the shorter 1st down. He was 34 of 45 passing for 299 yards and 3 touchdowns yesterday so he was making the plays needed though.

When your QB is playing elite level like this and you still lose then there is something seriously wrong. It's pretty obvious what is wrong though, Matt Ryan had 26 completions for 396 yards! If you are not taking the QB down in the NFL then they are taking you down because the passers today are too good to let them sit in the pocket forever.

Jack Del Rio didn't help matters by going for it on 4th and 2 from midfield while down 6 though. The Raiders have one of the best punters, maybe even THE BEST PUNTER, in the league and instead of playing field advantage they run Jalen Richard right up the gut. I didn't agree with going for it there whatsoever, but I really hated seeing what play call they went with.

If you have to go for it in that situation, you better have options to make sure you get the yards. Instead of putting the ball in the franchise QB's hands they run the ball with a 5'8, 207lb rookie? That is just bad coaching, if you have to run at least run the 240lb Jamize Olawale! Don't run that ball at all though, spread the defense out and let Derek Carr get the first down.

Win by big balls, lose by big balls though and apparently that will be the Raiders of 2016. I like aggressive play calling so I am not too upset about actually going for it even if I personally hated the call. However, aggressive doesn't need to be stupid and running Jalen Richard up the gut on 4th and a long 2 is stupid.

In the end, it's important to remember that this is just Week 2 and the Raiders are 1-1 right now. We can't really say same old Raiders on this one when they only lost by one score either.  The old Raiders wouldn't have been anywhere close in a game like this. Now it's on to Nashville in Week 3 against a Titans' team that ran roughshod all over the Raiders in Week 3 of the preseason.

This is regular season football now though so it should be a whole different game than the preseason, we hope so at least. The Titans are a tough matchup for the Raiders because of having two very good running backs in DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry along with a running QB in Marcus Mariota. However, that might be a nice change of pace for Oakland considering the complete lack of pass defense they have displayed for these first two games.

It's going to take the defense actually showing up to win in Tennessee but it certainly should be a good game. If not then the real belly aching will start afterwards because the Raiders schedule is far too tough already even without losing winnable games like this loss against the Falcons or next week's game against the Titans.