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Raiders week 11 Ballers & Busters vs Patriots: Part two

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The Busters list tells the story of just how badly Raiders’ were beaten by the Patriots in Mexico City

New England Patriots v Oakland Raiders Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images


Jack Del Rio

Here we were looking for positives that would suggest the Raiders could make a game of it. The bye week was the big one. You figured it gave them an extra week to prepare for the Patriots as well as making for a good time to either get healthy or sign someone to the beleaguered secondary and have time to get them ready. Then they came out and had one of the worst showings in Del Rio’s tenure.

Prior to the bye week the Raiders allowed Jay (freaking) Cutler to start his day going 16 for 16. In this game, Tom Brady started his day going 12 for 12. That’s the second most consecutive completions to start a game in Brady’s long, storied career. His longest streak you ask? Why, it was 16 for 16. What team was so bad to give up so many completions to start a game, you ask? Why it was Jack Del Rio’s 2007 Jaguars. It was the AFC Division Round of the playoffs. The Patriots beat Del Rio’s Jaguars 31-20 with Brady completing 26 of 28 passes for 262 yards and 3 TD’s.

So, yeah, all this talk before the season about the Raiders being the most likely team to take down the mighty Patriots were forgetting that Jack Del Rio’s style of defense is one that Tom Brady feasts upon. I mean, Jay Cutler feasted on it too, so what was anyone expecting?

As for the work the team did with trying to bolster the secondary, they finally sent Gareon Conley to IR only to replace his spot on the roster with defensive tackle Darius Latham coming off suspension, then had Latham inactive for the game. David Amerson didn’t play, the team still had just three actual cornerbacks, and Del Rio decided to put rookie safety Obi Melifonwu at corner in his second NFL game with just 7 snaps under his belt. Two of Brady’s first four passes went to Melifonwu’s assignment and later he was caught looking in the backfield and was burnt for a 64-yard touchdown to Brandin Cooks.

Monday Del Rio had a rather contentious interview on Bay Area radio station, 95.7 The Game in which he was pressed for answers and kept talking about how close the Raiders were to this being a completely different game. That’s just what OC Todd Downing said after the team had lost 4-straight games earlier this season.

Today Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr was axed – a move that should have at very least happened during the bye and should actually have happened after last season. The fall guy is now out. No excuses left for Del Rio.

Seth Roberts

The turning point of the game, to which Del Rio was also referring when he said how close the game was to being competitive, was Roberts’s fumble at the goal line. It was that drive near the end of the second quarter that reached the 15-yard-line. Carr threw a laser to Roberts who caught it and then was careless with the football. He held it out from his body and swung it around as if he were within inches of the goal line, but he was three yards away. The ball was punched out and what should have been a scoring drive, yielded nothing.

From there the Patriots took the ball against a deflated Raiders team and drove for a field goal to end the first half up 17-0. They got the ball back to begin the third quarter and drove for another touchdown and a 24-0 lead. Del Rio pointed to that fumble as a 17-point swing. In some ways it was.

Roberts also had a drop that killed the Raiders opening drive and a false start that killed their second drive.

Reggie Nelson

No one was more crucial in this game in my mind than Nelson. Not because I thought he would step up and make a positive impact, but because if he didn’t, the Raiders would have no shot. He did not. Not in the least. And the Raiders were destroyed because of it.

On the first drive he started a blitz after the snap from five yards off the line. He barely even reached the line of scrimmage before Brady had completed a pass to the open area he vacated. He gave up another short pass on the next series. The following series, he gave up another little pass of 52 yards. Once again, he was supposed to help out and somehow let the receiver get behind him. It was the first play of the drive and put the Patriots at the 28-yard-line. They would score their second touchdown a few plays later.

Their final possession yielded a field goal, in large part because the drive began with a 20-yard run in which Nelson was dragged for the last few yards. The Patriots added to their lead quickly in the third quarter because once again Nelson was wandering around in the field while Brandin Cooks was racing by Melifonwu for a 64-yard touchdown. It was such an easy touchdown, it makes you wonder why Brady didn’t just decide to do it every play.

Nelson would miss a tackle on a 10-yard run on the next series to set up a 51-yard field goal and a 27-0 Patriots lead. With the change in Defensive Coordinators, perhaps there will be some consideration for a change at free safety. But that may be too much to ask for at this juncture.

NaVorro Bowman, Cory James

Brady was having a field day underneath. Many times Bowman and James found themselves covering the likes of Danny Amendola, which isn’t exactly a fair match-up, but that’s just how it is.

It’s games like this it’s almost useless to point out what they did wrong because they simply didn’t make any difference making plays. So, let’s just focus on the big stuff.

Bowman gave up a 10-yard catch on third and 3 on the first drive. That drive ended with James getting turned around and losing his coverage on Dion Lewis for a 15-yard catch and run for a touchdown.

The second scoring drive, James gave up a 12-yard catch and Bowman gave up a 14-yard catch on 3rd and 11 that put the Patriots in first and goal at the 3-yard-line.

Both of them were blocked on the 20-yard run to start the final drive of the first half. And Bowman gave up the 10-yard catch that set up the 62-yard field goal in the thin Mexico City air. That’s enough, I think.

Vadal Alexander

Another start, another Buster day for Alexander. Right away, on the very first snap, Marshawn Lynch was racking up yards after contact, because Alexander got beat by his man and Marshawn had to stiff arm him to keep from getting stopped for a big loss.

He gave up 4 pressures in the game. One of those came on third and nine on the Raiders’ first series of the second quarter and resulted in Carr having to flee the pocket and launch a ball up to Amari Cooper who was called for offensive pass interference while trying to come back for it. And there went that series.

That series late in the second quarter, Alexander should get credit for a tackle. While trying to catch up and block for Jalen Richard, Alexander ended up knocking him to the ground instead. Who says offensive linemen don’t have stats! Alexander would give up a run stuff on Marshawn on his final carry of the game and would add two more pressures on the Raiders only scoring drive.

Johnny Holton

Twice this season Holton has been a Baller for one play. Now he is Buster basically for one play. On the Raiders’ second series of the game, Carr threw deep for him up the left side. He tracked the ball, but instead of reaching up to grab it, he let it come to him. The ball doinked off his shoulder pad and was intercepted. Later in the game, he got frustrated with how his defender was bodying up on him and lost his mind, going after him and taking a swing at him literally right in front of the official. Really, really not smart. He was lucky not to be ejected.

See the Ballers