What a win for the Raiders today! I’ve been saying this for a few weeks; the Raiders can still win the division because all of the teams in the AFC West have serious deficiencies. Today was the first in a series of wins the Raiders absolutely must string together if they want to make a playoff run. It can be done, especially if the other teams in the division keep on collapsing.
There was a lot to like today, and a lot to point and laugh at. Let’s get down to business.
1) Marshawn Lynch
Lynch got 27 carries in this game, which is easily the highest number of attempts he’s had this season. He only averaged 2.8 yards per carry, but that number is skewed by the several negative yardage plays he had. When Lynch got going, he was hard to stop, and his pummeling of the Bronco defensive line opened the door for the other running backs on the Raiders roster. Oakland ran for 104 yards in the game, and Lynch also added another 44 receiving yards. Hopefully this shows the team that he can handle a more serious workload going forward.
2) Raider coaching staff
With the long-overdue firing of Ken Norton Jr., former Chargers DC John Pagano took over this week as Raiders defensive coordinator. The difference was truly night and day. With Norton, the Raiders were frequently out of position, lacking in intensity and unable to properly tackle. Today, the Raiders were in position to make plays. They swarmed to the ball like sharks to a bleeding seal. They tackled very well, and I saw maybe one missed tackle on the day. And they got their first interception! Pagano did have some issues in the fourth quarter, but the Broncos were slinging the ball with nothing to lose at that point and they still have talented receivers.
Todd Downing was similarly effective. The offense was efficient, and Downing didn’t go away from the running game even when the Broncos clearly knew what was coming. He went conservative in the latter part of the game, and it would have worked if Paxton Lynch hadn’t committed seppuku in the middle of the field.
All in all, the Raiders looked like a well-oiled machine today and there’s some optimism going forward.
3) Raider defensive line
If a team can control the line of scrimmage, their chances of winning drastically go up. The Broncos’ offensive line was no match for Khalil Mack and co. today, as they shut down the Broncos’ running game and pressured the quarterback all day long. Denver only rushed for 59 yards and Oakland recorded five sacks- four on Paxton Lynch. Our big uglies completely dominated the pathetic Denver line. Denico Autry was particularly effective, and no Denver lineman could handle him today.
4) Trevor Siemian
After watching the fourth quarter, one wonders why Trevor Siemian didn’t start this game. Paxton Lynch clearly wasn’t ready and Siemian might have given Denver a fighting chance. In a little over a quarter of action, he went 11/21 for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He was pretty awful earlier in the season, but maybe this game buys him some more playing time. Either way, the quarterback situation in Denver is extremely muddy, and they will likely be looking QB in the upcoming draft.
1) Aqib Talib
There really aren’t words in English to describe Aqib Talib. There is a word in German, dummkopf, so let’s go with that.
Talib once again decided, like three minutes into this game, to rip off Michael Crabtree’s gold necklace. Crabtree subsequently blocked him into the core of the Earth, and shockingly a fight broke out. Talib and Crabtree were both ejected, as was Gabe Jackson, whose knucklehead ass knocked over a poor referee who was minding his own business while Jackson tried desperately to find someone to punch.
Talib’s absence came while Chris Harris Jr. was also freshly off the field due to injury, so the Broncos had to play without their two best corners. Even without Crabtree, Oakland had a good day passing, with Derek Carr going for an efficient 253 yards and two scores in 18/24 passing. Talib, who is mostly famous for shooting himself, shot his entire team in the foot today.
2) Paxton Lynch
The only thing that could put a player above Lynch on the Bad list was something like what Talib did. But that shouldn’t make Lynch’s day any better. He looked completely lost, going 9/14 for 41 yards (yes, forty-one yards) in a little over a half of play, with one pick. He made none of the throws one would expect a first-rounder to make, especially one who was as dominant in college as Lynch was at Memphis. I don’t know what the Broncos coaches have done to Lynch, but it looks like they have ruined a guy with some talent. SAD!
Lynch was so bad it was a relief to Broncos fans when he hurt himself and then exited the game. Lynch proceeded to cry on the bench, which I’m sure nobody will ever bring up again. I don’t at all expect to see Lynch’s tears on C’Mon Man tomorrow night prior to Monday Night Football.
3) The Chiefs
The world truly was their oyster about a month and a half ago. They were 4-0 and had demolished the defending Super Bowl champs on national television. Kareem Hunt was basically Walter Payton, Alex Smith was Brett Favre and Tyreek Hill was a mixture of Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice and Jesus Christ.
And then Eric Berry got hurt.
Now, the Chefs suck, like they should. They have lost in consecutive weeks to the Giants and Bills, and in neither game did they look like they wanted to put up a fight. This team has no heart and without Berry it has no soul. Let’s just sit back and enjoy their descent into the mediocrity from whence they came.
4) The University of Tennessee
So earlier today the Volunteers announced they were hiring former Rutgers and Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano to be their new coach, replacing the fired Butch Jones. That was a bad idea.
You see, not only was Schiano a MAJOR dickbag during his time in Tampa Bay (friendly reminder that there was MRSA in the fucking locker rooms) and was the defensive coordinator for an Ohio State team that just allowed Iowa to score again, but he was also on staff at Penn State during the whole Jerry Sandusky business, and according to a certain deposition was aware of the wrongdoing.
So the good people of Tennessee protested today and now Schiano isn’t getting hired, and that’s all well and good, but Tennessee still doesn’t have a coach and also has a major PR black eye for a program that already employed Butch Jones for like four years and didn’t win a single SEC game this season. Apparently, the Brinks truck wasn’t enough for Jon Gruden to come to Knoxville, and one wonders who they could get at this point who would even be willing to deal with the shitshow that is Tennessee football. Perhaps a certain Tennessee alumnus can recommend a certain defensive coordinator that has recently found himself looking for employment.