Derek Carr and company traveled to another country this weekend only to be served a thorough butt whooping with a side of Fish and Chips. Quite frankly, Raider’s fans abroad deserved a much more spirited competition than what the Raiders put on the field in Wembley Stadium.
The Raiders defense flashed moments of solid pass coverage and rallying to the football. But ultimately mental errors or maybe just getting caught staring at the dazzling Russell Wilson led to their demise.
But the offensive line with so many injuries hurts this Raiders team the most. Carr was getting knocked around consistently and the rushing attack was virtually non-existent. What was the biggest strength on this team has now become its biggest weakness. Here’s a few plays to highlight the Raider’s struggles.
Mental Lapses on Defense
The Raiders line up in that classic (but so far ineffective) double A blitz package. On this play DE Arden key is suppose to drop with the TE and force Russell Wilson to throw it over him. But the defense get’s caught in the middle of an audible and Wilson is able to take advantage of their mistake.
Either Key didn’t get the call in time or the audible confused him for a split second. It serves to highlight how hard it is for a rookie defender to play at a high level in the NFL when there are so many checks and the quarterbacks are so good.
This play should have been a negative for the Seahawks but Wilson works his usual magic and turns it into a touchdown. Daryl Worley is in coverage at the top of the screen. He sees a broken play and when Wilson pumps right, Worley’s eyes leave his man. Wilson buys time and sees a wide open WR in the end-zone for a textbook throw and catch.
Worley just can’t lose his man in this situation. Most defenses will train their defenders that when the QB breaks the pocket, coverage turns into man. This is to prevent plays like this from happening, especially when a QB can scramble and still make throws downfield.
Derrick Johnson’s only impact on this play is to trip directly under Arden Key’s feet allowing the TE to dump Key on his head. Add in a missed 1 on 1 tackle from Melvin and a poor safety fill from Gilchrist and you’ve got a textbook example of poor run defense. Shout out to Leon Hall at Nickel CB who is the only guy doing his job here.
Arden Key actually had a solid game, getting his first NFL sack and notching some well timed pressures on Russell Wilson to end drives. But against the run the whole defense struggled and it seemed like every drive had a long run like this that allowed Seattle to eat up the clock.
Porous offensive line
Yes the defense didn’t play great, but they had absolutely no help from the offense. There are a lot of people fans can blame here. Gruden for calling an ineffective scheme. Carr for checking down and always losing the football. But really, when the offensive line is playing this poorly, it’s hard for anything else to work.
That offensive line is riddled with injuries. Donald Penn on injured reserve means two rookie tackles starting and Kelechi Osemele nursing a knee injury means Jon Feliciano starts at left guard. The same unit that filled in during last week’s loss continued to struggle against the Seahawks.
Carr frequently stood in the face of a collapsing pocket and was hit and hurried all game. This had a serious affect on the passing game forcing Carr to check down basically all game save for one poorly thrown deep shot to Martavis Bryant. On this Carr fumble it’s actually Kolton Miller’s head that knocks the ball out of Carr’s hand.
The TV broadcast made an in game compilation of Carr’s hits and pressure because it was getting so out of hand. Carr was knocked around enough to warrant leaving the game briefly for what looked like an upper arm or shoulder injury. If this line can’t protect Carr better than Sunday going forward, no way will Carr be able to make it through another 10 games.
The offensive lines struggles didn’t stop protecting the passer. They couldn’t get much traction going on the ground. Many of Marshawn Lynch’s runs looked like this, getting contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage.
- The offense has been stalled by a completely useless run game. It’s about 90% zone runs (correct me if I’m wrong) with the occasional draw or sweep as a change up.
- Rookie tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker have a steep learning curve ahead of them. They both need to get a lot better now and not next season. Miller has a knee injury that he’s been playing through but it looks like his ability to anchor is compromised and he’s been driven back into Carr several times over the last two games.
- Gruden’s passing game requires routes to develop downfield. So far Carr has shown he doesn’t have the patience to wait around behind this offensive line. Carr is about to set NFL records for check-downs and throws behind the line of scrimmage.
- Guenther’s scheme has too many moving parts for all these new faces to execute. Drive after drive are extended because a player is out of position or in the wrong coverage.
- Tackling on defense has been poor. Only a few teams are tackling well in the NFL, the Raiders aren’t one of them.