Todd Downing, Jack Del Rio
Once again, the Raiders weren’t prepared for what they were going to face in Denver. The offense is predictable and basic. For all the talk in the offseason about Downing letting the players ‘be themselves’ they don’t look like themselves at all.
The first play of the game, the Raiders handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch despite an 8-man box ready for that play. A three-and-out ensued. So did two more. The Raiders didn’t have a single first down in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, they got their first first down. They got two, in fact. But third down issues continued. This time they would move into scoring range. But gambling Jack decided to pass up the points and instead to go for it on 4th and one. If it paid off, it was a great decision. The worse decision was trying to single block Derek Wolfe with Clive Walford. It resulted in a stuff for no gain and a turnover on downs.
Gamblin’ Jack wasn’t done. And while going for it on 4th and 1 in scoring range was questionable, his next decision was unquestionably terrible. In fourth and 11 from their own 33-yard-line, Marquette King came out to punt. Naturally. Who in their right mind would do anything else? Jack Del Rio would. He called for the fake and King tried to run it instead and was stopped for a 3-yard loss. Del Rio was insanely lucky after that when his defense made the stop and Broncos’ kicker Brandon McManus missed a chip shot 29-yard field goal off the left upright.
Back to the offense, which converted just 2 of 12 third downs in the game and scored just 10 points for the second game in a row.
His first third down attempt he called an audible to DeAndre Washington which the Broncos were clearly wise to. Despite a triple team on Washington out of the backfield, Carr passed his way without even looking elsewhere. Had he looked even straight in front him, he’d have noticed Amari Cooper wide open over the middle.
The next drive on 2nd and 21, he didn’t even bother to search for a longer pass, opting to quickly throw short for Cordarrelle Patterson for 5 yards. Not surprisingly it was another three-and-out.
A big return by Patterson gave the Raiders the ball in Broncos’ territory at the 44. Carr through into coverage for Marshawn Lynch on first down, and threw incomplete behind Cooper on third down. Three. And. Out.
He would convert his first third down in two weeks on a screen pass to Jalen Richard that went for 20 yards. And his 64-yard bomb to Johnny Holton came on the next play. It appeared at that moment he may have found his groove again. He did not.
His first pass of the second half should have been a big gainer. Jared Cook got a step on his defender deep, but Carr threw the ball behind him and it fell incomplete. The next play, in third and 14 he threw a one-yard pass to Cooper. What could have been a long touchdown pass ended up being another three and out. Followed by another three-and-out ending with Carr getting sacked.
As we have learned this season already, Carr’s sacks seem to come in twos. The next time he took the field, he was instantly sacked again. This one was his fault. He held onto the ball way too long and then bounced around like a pinball until he went down. As he was going to the ground, his back met up with Adam Gotsis’s knee, and Carr was knocked out of the game with what a fracture in his back. He will now be sideline for 2-6 weeks.
What has happened to good ol’ Route 66? The man who once paved the way for many rushing yards has been getting eaten up on the block. Domata Peko and Derek Wolfe were stealing his damn lunch money in this game.
To begin the Raiders’ second series, Jackson was driven into the hole where Lynch was to run, causing him to try to find room elsewhere. He didn’t and was stuffed for a short gain. Later in the quarter, Jackson couldn’t hold his block for another run stuff, and he ended the first half by giving up a run stuff for no gain on third and 3 while being called for holding. The hold was declined.
Lest you should think his issues were just in the run game, in the third quarter, with the Raiders in third and 10, Jackson gave up a sack to Derek Wolfe for an 8-yard loss. He would get beaten to the hole by Peko again later for another run stuff. The only play he made all day was getting downfield on the 20-yard screen to Richard. The rest of the day, he was a liability.
He was simply trying too hard. There’s no other explanation. He would routinely turn down gaps that would have yielded a few yards, looking to find a better option. And against this defense, there weren’t better options to be had.
Lynch’s first run of the game, he danced around laterally to find two yards when he could have had more had he found his gap early and drove through it. This was a common theme, so I won’t go through all of them.
Then came the 4th and one. Clive Walford did lose his block, but had Marshawn pushed forward, driving behind his blockers, he had a wall that would have been enough to get the yard necessary. He got greedy and tried for the hole instead and got tripped up for no gain.
He would finish with just 12 yards on 9 carries (1.3 yards per carry). No question, the Broncos were doing work stopping the run in this game. They came in as the best run stopping team in the league and bettered their already impressive stats Sunday. But Lynch could have made his and the Raiders’ life a lot easier had he just took the yards he had when they were there.
Jared Cook, Clive Walford
Cook couldn’t catch and Walford couldn’t block. Twice Walford was blown up for a run stuff. One was the stop on Lynch on 4th and one and the other was a tackle for loss. He didn’t have even a target in the game and has just one catch for positive yards this season. Very disappointing for this once highly thought of third round pick.
Cook did catch three passes. It was the two he dropped that were the problem. Both were in the end zone. They came within two plays of each other. The first was a tough catch, I’ll grant that. He had to track it over his shoulder in the right side of the end zone and he couldn’t handle it. The second was a perfectly placed pass from Manuel right in his hands, but he saw the safety coming and took his eyes off the ball bracing for the hit and it went right through his hands.
Cook makes that catch and the Raiders pull within two points which means their final drive would have needed only to reach field goal range for the win. Which it did. That drop was essentially the game.
Speaking of drops...Coop had another in this game. He now had 7 on the season, extending his league lead in that dubious distinction. He had two catches in the game, one went for 1 yard. He still saw 8 targets, though. The last one, he needed to come back and fight for the ball, but was beaten on the high point by safety Justin Simmons for the interception to end the game.
After he was stopped for a loss on his run off the fake punt, he got up and threw the ball at the back of the defender and was flagged for it. The punts are great and all, but the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties have got to stop. Josh Dubow of the Associated Press noted this week that King has 4 such penalties over the past two years. The rest of the punters in the NFL are tied with zero. He’s 28 years old. His head coach shouldn’t still be talking about him having maturity issues.