Sean Smith, Reggie Nelson
The Raiders defense gave up five scores in this game. Four of them were courtesy of one or both of these two gentlemen.
On the first play of the game, Mike Wallace ran right by Sean Smith up the left sideline and Flacco threw it to him for a 52-yard bomb. Mostly that was on Smith for letting himself get burnt, but Reggie Nelson needs to get over there and offer help and the best he could do was get over and keep it from going for a touchdown. Four plays later they scored a touchdown anyway.
Later in the first half, with the Raiders down 21-10, it happened again. This time right up the middle of the field and somehow Nelson was actually trailing on the play along with Smith. It resulted in a 41-yard completion and led to a field goal.
The Raiders were able to pull to within a touchdown in the third. All they needed was a stop and we’d have a ball game. They didn’t get that stop. The big play was Dexter McDonald giving up a catch on third down. But two plays later, Nelson had a chance to turn everything around. Flacco passed for the tight end over the middle and it sailed high, but Nelson was already going for the tackle and missed a golden opportunity to give the Raiders their first interception of the season. He ran right under it. The next play Nelson was too late to stop a long catch and then missed the tackle for a 27-yard gain that set up another field goal and another 2-score lead for the Ravens.
With the score now 27-17 late in the fourth, the only chance the Raiders would have, however slim, was to make a stop quickly and get the ball back with enough time for two possessions. Two plays in, the Ravens were in third and 4 and Sean Smith gave up an 8-yard catch to keep the drive alive. They would keep driving, taking time off the clock, and added another field goal to put the game out of reach.
Last week he had two chances at a game-winning touchdown late and had both go through his hands. The second chance was a flat out drop on a perfect pass. This week on the third play of the game for the offense, he was hit as he attempted to switch the ball into his outside hand and fumbled it. It was picked up by Ravens’ cornerback Jimmy Smith and returned 47 yards for the touchdown. And the Raiders worked from behind the 8-ball the rest of the day, never recovering.
He had some decent catches in the game, but he also had a drop in the game and a missed block on a run stuff.
I detailed how little Manuel looked Amari Cooper’s way in this game despite saying this week that he was going to get him the ball to try to get Coop’s confidence back. His first pass Coop’s way was a high pass he just couldn’t quite get ahold of. It was on third and 12 and the Raiders – already down two touchdowns -- would settle for a field goal.
The Ravens answered with another touchdown drive. And Manuel first pass was nearly intercepted at the line. He saved it though, with a 17-yard pass on third and 4 and the 41-yard touchdown to Michael Crabtree.
The following series ended when Manuel didn’t ensure he had protection on a double safety blitz and he was sacked. The same would happen later on, resulting in two of the Ravens’ three sacks in the game.
His next play was the first of the third quarter. Amari Cooper put a move on his man and was almost instantly wide open for what should have been a 75-yard touchdown. But Manuel didn’t even look that way, opting for a pass into the flat to Seth Roberts who was well covered and the ball was knocked down incomplete.
Later in the third, Manuel would once again miss a wide open Cooper. This time it was right in front of his face, but it was clear no matter what happened on the play, Manuel had made up his mind he was going to Crabtree up the left sideline. Well, Crabtree was triple covered and what could have been another huge pick up for Cooper was wasted. To Manuel’s credit, that drive did go for a touchdown ultimately, including a couple nice improvisational moments by Manuel.
In the final minutes, the last gasp attempts by the offense yield two straight batted passes at the line and Manuel getting Seth Roberts destroyed on a long pass attempt. Manuel would finish with just 13 completions on 26 attempts (50%) for 159 yards and a TD.
Whatever impact this third round rookie was making this preseason and early in the season has dried up. Sunday he was either thrown around like a ragdoll or out of position.
With the Ravens set up at the Oakland 19-yard line, they ran the ball through Vanderdoes’s position and he was blocked way out of his spot to allow a 13-yard run which put the Ravens in first and goal from the 6-yard line. They got in the end zone two plays later.
Two plays into the next series, Vanderdoes was destroyed again, getting tossed into a backward summersault as the run went for 25 yards to set the Ravens up in Oakland territory. They would eventually score their third touchdown to go up 21-3 early in the 2nd quarter.
On the Ravens’ final two scoring drives, Vanderdoes was out of his gap on a 9-yard run which set up first and goal, and shoved out of his gap on a 5-yard run. He finished with just one tackle in the game and got no pressure on the quarterback.
Jack Del Rio
That drive shouldn’t have ended two plays later. The Raiders were in 4th and 3 at the Baltimore 44-yard-line down 10 points with under 9 minutes remaining. That’s four-down territory if I ever saw it. But Del Rio opted to punt, saying later that it was up to the defense to get the Raiders the ball back. They didn’t. Wrong gamble, Jack.
Just four play action passes in the game. The ones I saw worked like a charm. And yet still just four of them. Just 11 all season thus far. WHHYYYYY???