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Notes, detailed analysis on Raiders week 2 loss vs Falcons

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Looking back at the game, here are my first set of thoughts on what we saw in the Week 2 Loss to Atlanta

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

In a close game, every play was important and every mistake, a killer. This game was no exception. Film review is going to be brutal and no one will be exempt. This game definitely had the look of a team that is still trying to come together.


  • Defense was not good in Week 1, but the offense and the Win helped cover it up. Exposed in Week 2
  • Falcons gameplan was excellent and had the young Raiders' defenders confused and outflanked often
  • Reminiscent of the same issues that showed up in Pre Season against Green Bay and Tennessee
  • Atlanta stalled drives seemed more like Falcons not executing rather than Raiders making plays.
  • Matt Ryan had only 8 incompletions
    • 26/34, 396 yards, 3 TDs, 1 int, 131.5 rating
    • On the bright side, held Matt Ryan to under 400 yards passing.
  • Julio Jones only targeted 5 times. Caught all 5 for 106 and 1 TD, most against Sean Smith
    • Jones' TD looked like a coverage mixup with Smith and Nelson.
    • Sean Smith 6'3" v Julio Jones 6'3" was a better physical (height) matchup, but Jones (even slowed up with a recovering ankle injury) is still fantastic
  • Target distribution :
    • WR : 19
    • TE : 13
    • RB : 12
  • Coverage busts often and at all levels. Linebackers, Safeties, CBs.
  • Seemed like lots of man-to-man coverage (need A22 to know for sure)
  • Falcons' TE trio of Tamme, Toilolo, Hooper combined for 10 rec, 180 yards, 1 TD
    • Not just on the QB boots or underneath throws. Also on downfield throws on normal dropbacks
  • Falcons' exposed the youth/inexperience/lack of cohesion on the defense by giving confusing reads to the defense.
    • Lots of movement
    • Often had OAK front 7 players moving the wrong way, stepping into poor leverage, or losing assignments
  • Falcons' game plan and execution was excellent :
    • Successfully execute the stretch play and force aggression to playside
    • Then execute designed cutback run on stretch play-look to take advantage of aggression
    • Then execute QB Boot on cutback/stretchplay-look to expose backside LB
  • Took both Khalil and Bruce out of the game by scheme
    • Falcons gameplan stressed the edge man (Mack or Bruce) and attacked him with Tight Ends and QB bootlegs, often leading to wide open plays.
    • Khalil and Bruce each made a handful of plays here and there but were not a major factor
    • This is likely the template that each opponent will use.
    • One one drive in the first half, in the course of 6 plays, Falcons ran the same QB Boot throw to the TE at Khalil Mack every other play. Resulted in 3 completions for 37 yards and a frazzled Khalil Mack.

  • Lots of misdirection, with TE and FBs running opposite ways in the backfield
  • Lots of cutback runs attacking backside DE.
    • Backside DE was often chasing the stretch play and left a huge backside gap
    • Or Backside DE was getting washed hard inside
  • Lots of successful runs at Denico, Stacy, Jihad.
  • Saw Darius Latham get blown off the line by right side of the Falcons line on a couple of plays.
  • 4th quarter, near End of Game, the key 3rd down was a coverage bust (looks like it was DJ Hayden who took the wrong man)

note : fixing routes image (h/t to dmfk13)
  • 2 big batted passes that were completions, 1 of which was a TD
  • QB Boot and then across-the-field throw. Twice. Once incomplete (bad throw) to a wide open receiver and then a huge completion.
  • Felt like the Defense game-planned for the wrong offense
    • Presumably Kyle Shannahan developed new game plan for the Raiders
    • Defense looked like it was unprepared
  • After Falcons' initial--and then on-going--success on run plays, Raiders' Defense looked like started trying to be too aggressive and after that was left chasing. Sometimes "trying too hard" can make things worse.
  • Seems like players were not playing "Scheme Sound", meaning they were getting out of their assignments
    • At least if the players are where they are supposed to be and doing what they are supposed to be doing, it gives the defense a chance.
    • Hard to assess some aspects when big play is just a result of missed assignment
  • Difficult to make too many adjustments on a newly formed defense (2nd year with several new players) because they have only practiced a few things.
    • Brand new adjustments and keys make young players play even slower as they think more
    • Growing Pains
  • Major takeaway is a "young" defense with young players that is still coming together.


  • Running attack was effective, 25 rushes for 155 yards, 6.2 avg, and 1 TD.
  • Running attack would have been even better if not for some penalties calling them back
  • DeAndre 6 carries for 46 yards, 7.7 avg
  • Latavius made some big plays and ran hard.
    • 8 carries, 57 yards, 7.1 avg.
    • Is this what having Fresh Legs will mean for Lats?

  • Lots of checkdown passes
    • 11 targets to TEs
    • 10 targest to RBs but only 1 to DeAndre Washington and 1 to Jalen Richard
    • The passes seemed mostly to the outside in the flat. Few (none?) into the middle of the field
  • Derek Carr definitely looked downfield for some plays, but couldn't find anything (other than the Crabtree Pass Interference play)
    • Seems like Falcons coverage was sinking on Cooper and Crabtree, forcing underneath throws and then rallying up for the tackles. This reminiscent of Denver's defensive approach
    • A22 study needed, may show the Falcons' using outside bracket coverage.
    • Would think that intermediate middle would be have been a target with Walford, Roberts, and the RBs
  • Carr was rushing often, particularly when throwing short.
    • His timing was off and he was hurrying his throws, often off his back foot or while falling backwards. Not a function of pressure, b/c often throws came before any pressure was imminent
    • His internal clock was running faster than everyone else's. In dancer terms, we may say, "He needs to slow down; count the tempo."
    • This is not unusual for Derek and may be a product of his youthful exuberance and the first Home game may have had him overly excited
  • Falcons' defenders were aggressively filling
    • Attacking the pulling linemen on run plays and hitting them deep in the backfield.
    • Stacking up inside gaps
    • Seems like they may have had the Raiders' run game well-scouted.
    • Raiders runners were effective at bouncing
  • I don't think Gabe's holding call on Jalen's big run was actually a hold, but at full speed it LOOKED like a hold b/c Gabe got his arms extended like that
  • Olawale not very effective lead blocking. Missed a couple of needed blocks.
    • But again he showed hard running for key 3rd-and-1 conversion
  • Walford key drop at the end of the first half could have helped give Janikowski a better FG attempt rather than 58 yards from the dirt.
  • Another big goalline throw to Crabtree, this time on 4th down. When in doubt, throw it Crabtee
  • Then on 4th quarter 4th-and-2, interesting to hand it off to Jalen Richard up the middle.
    • Seth Roberts, normally a fighter, gets a stiff hand to the face by CB #34 Brian Poole and then eases up before the end of the play. Poole makes the tackle.
  • Falcons' LB #45 Deion Jones was all over the place.
  • Desmond Trufant was impressive. Very physical with Amari and very quick, agile, and explosive. Hat Tip to him for sure.
  • Amari Cooper's levitation reception was a highlight play, but lost in that was that Cooper misjudged the ball or something to jump early in the first place

  • Field position in the first half : 1 TD
    • OAK 6
    • OAK 36
    • OAK 9
    • OAK 2
    • OAK 25
  • Field position in second half : 3 TDs
    • OAK 19
    • OAK 20
    • OAK 25
    • OAK 25
    • OAK 25
    • OAK 20

Special Teams

Supposed to be a strength of this team and Week 2 had two major mistakes on the same drive.

  • Taiwan, I love you, but you make it so hard sometimes!
  • Taiwan Jones muffing a kickoff in the endzone and giving the Raiders a start at the 2 yardline
  • 7 plays later, with 1:53 remaining in the first half, Marquette King punts to the Atlanta 9 and Eric Weems returns thru the coverage unit 73 yards to the OAK 18, leading to Field Goal.
  • Hard to blame Janikowski for missing the 58 yard FG off the dirt, but would have been really nice to have


  • 2 Huge Challenges
    • 12 men on the field for Marquette King's Punt got the ball back and resulted in a TD drive
    • Spot of Amari's 3rd down reception challenged and gave the Raiders a 1st down.
  • 4 Touchdown drives,
  • 9 penalties for 58 yards
  • None may have been more costly than Amari Cooper's "Illegal Touching" penalty that negated a TD. To get a better understanding of what happened on that play and the penalty, I break it down here.
  • In Week 1, the Offense was able to overcome penalties and keep drives alive. This week, those penalties were drive killers
  • To my biased, naked eye it seems like a few more penalties could rightfully have been called on the Falcons. I don't know that it makes a difference (defense was so porous), but it is frustrating to see some calls against the Raiders (like the Gabe Jackson holding) when an egregious one doesn't get called :

Summing It Up

It was not a great day.

The defense was in panic mode nearly from the opening kickoff and Kyle Shannahan was one-step ahead of Ken Norton Jr's defense on nearly every play.

The offense showed flashes of inspired play, but struggled for consistency. With the defense unable to make any stops even on long fields, offense was forced into 4th down calls. Unlike Week 1, Derek and the offense did not have one last chance to win it at the end.

This was an important game, though. It exposed major flaws in how the defense is playing at all facets and now the correction and teaching comes into play. Coach Del Rio and Coach Norton as well as the position coaches are going to clean up what happened. It's important because now it can be addressed and teams like Kansas City and particularly Denver (Kubiak's offense has many of these same principles) will potentially pose similar challenges.

I have faith that the team will continue to grow and come together. I think around midseason and the latter half, this defense is going to look a lot better.

Panic or Don't Panic?

In mathematics and computer science, there's something called "Optimal Halting Theory". It is concerned with the best approach to the problem of making a choice from options that are presented one at a time, the most famous example is "The Secretary Problem".

According to Optimal Halting Theory, the best approach is to use the first 37% of choices as a baselining period and then to make the selection only after that. In applying that to NFL games, we should consider the first 6 games as the baselining period and take that time to realize that we are still figuring out what kind of team the Raiders are.

After that, let's panic, riot, or celebrate.

Yokozuna Banzai Butt Drop

We need to laugh because if we don't, we will cry. So here's Big Dan to the rescue.

Someone caption this GFY :