Even though the 24 hour rule applies for both wins and losses the emotional hangover from the New England loss has lingered. The play on the field has been making it difficult to stay positive this year. While at this stage, the win over the struggling Broncos doesn't cure all the ills, it certainly helps take the edge off.
- While Michael Crabtree went ballistic and was thrown out, he showed fire and attitude. He held himself back after the first incident last season and faced a great deal of negativity for that. This time he fought back and not backing down has to be how the team looks at the Broncos.
- The Raiders became a run first team for seemingly the first time this year and Derek Carr's passing performance benefited from it, going 18/24, 253 yards, 2 TD’s, and 0 Ints for a 136.3 passer rating.
- Marshawn Lynch had some simply ridiculously powerful runs this game but there were also several times when the Denver defense was keying on him and making nice stops at or behind the line of scrimmage. 26 carries, though. That’s big time.
- Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington were giving nice change of pace runs and it seemed in the 2nd quarter that the Denver defense was not getting a good key on those runs. In particular, that counter run with Richard was very nice. I think the timing with how quick Jalen/DeAndre get to the line of scrimmage may have been a problem.
- A couple of games ago, offensive coordinator Todd Downing started really using the jet sweep action (when the WR comes into motion as if running an end-around play) and it's been helping to get a little movement on defenses and opening up a few holes. This game, they gave the ball on a little touch/shovel pass (which was partially negated by a Johnny Holton hold)
- Derek Carr underthrew Johnny Holton again. This time, Holton was able to time the ball and jumped up to get it and avoid a possible back-shoulderpad tip-up like happened last week. That's what happens when you beat the defenders by 5+ yards, I guess!
- That was a bad bad throw by Derek Carr when Amari took the headshot. It was high and towards the single safety in the middle of the field, leading Amari directly into the hit. Amari ducked and took that hit to the back of the head; if he had kept his head up, he would have take the shot into the crown or into the face. Just a terrible place to be for Amari.
- I'm curious as to why Cordarrelle Patterson gets so few looks. Is it design or is Patterson ineffective running complete route trees? When he does get the ball, he seems to do something with it. With Crabtree and Cooper were out it seems like Patterson would be a primary receiver, IF he can run those X/Z routes effectively.
- So many penalties were putting the offense in difficult positions. Hard to stay on track when put into 1st-and-15 or 1st-and-20 situations. Hard to stay run-first in those cases.
- While the Raiders were running it all game, they couldn't quite impose their will on the Denver defense and make them wilt in the 4th. In fact the opposite happened. They had 6 rushes for 11 yards (1.8 avg) in the final quarter.
- There are still criticisms for Coach TD, but play designs and game plan on this day seemed very good. There were a few plays that were well designed but the execution failed. Part of that is there were 3 backups (Feliciano, Holton, Patterson) starting; some of them in slightly new positions (eg., Patterson as the Z receiver).
- I’ve felt that this offense has been a “finesse” offense and gotten away from its smashmouth roots. I also feel that you can’t just decide to be smashmouth and flip it on when you want; that it has to be cultivated and made a point of focus. I’m hoping this game provides some impetus to working towards that.
- How important was Bowman's interception in retrospect?
- The Defense had some breakdowns and mistakes but Paxton Lynch could not take advantage. Several wide open receivers and misfires.
- Run defense held Denver to 17 rushes for 59 yards, but 29 of those came from QB scrambles. Otherwise they had 13 rushes for 30 yards (2.3 avg). Run defense did look solid and it helped that (outside of the 4th quarter), the defense was not on the field for extended minutes.
- Paxton Lynch got spooked quickly and easily which helped give the rushers additional time.
- Sean Smith looked pretty solid, likely because the match-up vs Demaryius Thomas is favorable (big on big). One thing that's interesting (over the past 2 games) is seeing how, if Smith is trailing by a step, his length gives him a chance to break up an over-the-top pass. In other words his ‘Pass Breakup Radius’ is very large. It doesn't help when he's 2-3 yards away, but last couple of games, Smith has been more effective than before.
- Dexter McDonald has really struggled. Seems like he is terrified of being beaten deep and even then sometimes he still gets beaten deep. Paxton Lynch had a big play there on the first drive but overthrew it.
- Nicholas Morrow and Cory James could be very interesting players going forward. In particular, I'm very curious about Morrow growing into a fulltime LB. He's been reading screens very well and he has those safety-type movement skills.
- Seems like Pagano used a lot more different fronts than Ken Norton did. Hard to fully evaluate effectiveness (ie., Paxton Lynch factor), but it is interesting and something to keep an eye on.
- In the last few games, as the CB injuries piled on, Ken Norton Jr seemed to get more passive, ie., fewer pressure packages/blitzes and more zone. This game it seemed (at least earlier in the game) that Pagano was more aggressive and calling for press man and sending more rushers. I'd have to study a little more to see if that's really true, but that was my first impression.
- Did Trevor Siemian come in and just light up a bad defense in the 4th quarter or did Pagano call for softer, prevent-ish defenses to force longer drives and eat up time?
This game was marred by a melee, a severe head injury to Amari Cooper, and a late game meltdown that undercut all the positives that came out of this week. But the team played fairly well and showed some things to build on.
They face the Giants next week — another team that is struggling — offering another chance for the team to gain confidence.