The Battle of the Bay more resembled a massacre. The Raiders were on the losing end of a poor all-around team effort. San Francisco is not a good team. The Raiders are just that bad at this point. The team’s issues start at the top and the coaching staff bears most of the blame. But the players simply aren’t making plays either.
The following clips show how the Raider’s lack of scheme, poor coaching, and lack of playmakers contributed to an embarrassing loss last week on Thursday Night Football.
The 49ers come out to start their first drive in 21 Personnel (2 Backs, 1 TE). So the Raiders respond by fielding base personnel which is their standard 4-3 defense. The 49ers do a great job of creating mismatches here by aligning in an empty formation.
The widest receivers are actually a FB on the bottom of the screen and a RB at the top of the screen with Raiders cornerbacks in coverage. That means the defenders left to cover the slot WRs are the Linebackers. Raider LB Tahir Whitehead gets isolated on Marquis Goodwin who literally has world class speed, qualifying for the Olympics in track and field.
That’s the truest definition of a “mismatch” and Whitehead has no answer for the out route making for an easy throw and catch.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Raider’s attempted to keep the ball on the ground and establish a run game. The play above shows a standard zone play where the backside DE is left unblocked. The only problem here is the 49ers defender doesn’t honor the bootleg and makes the tackle. This is fine because that means the offense will run an actual bootleg to freeze the backside end and keep him honest right?
This makes the “out-schemed” list because the Raiders never took advantage of the aggressive backside pursuit from the 49ers defense. Derek Carr only attempted 1 pass from under center for the rest of the game and it wasn’t even a bootleg. Multiple times throughout the game the unblocked player made a play on the ball carrier from across the formation. In this case the offense left plays on the field and never capitalized on the defenses tendencies.
Nick Mullens had a great game in his first NFL start but don’t add him to your fantasy team just yet. A high school QB could make this TD pass in the play above.
Daryl Worley is in man coverage, we know this because he travels across the formation to line up over Pierre Garçon in the slot on the bottom of the screen. Man coverage means a defender has no run responsibility and simply needs to shadow the WR wherever he goes. In this case however Worley keys run and let’s Garçon run wide open for a score. Safeties Reggie Nelson and Marcus Gilchrist both completely bite on the play-action which is rare to see in the NFL. Likely one of these guys was wrong and should have been a deep defender to help out with Garçon.
In this case the play call was probably fine but the discipline from the defenders was abysmal. Discipline comes straight from the coaching staff and Guenther once again is not getting much out of his players.
Guenther being out-coached has become a theme in 2018. Guenther’s base zone call this season has been Cover 2. This means 2 deep safeties back pedal on the numbers and defend any vertical throws. Meanwhile the remaining 5 defenders in coverage cover underneath.
Guenther has used different types of Cover 2 this year included the famous Tampa 2 coverage where one of those linebackers has a deep zone to defend against plays like this one above. But the Raiders are clearly not playing Tampa 2 because the middle of the field is wide open. Notice Leon Hall over the slot at the bottom of the screen. He and the linebackers bite on the play-action (again) and are nowhere to be found when Nick Mullens drops back to find a receiver.
Also notice Gareon Conley at the very bottom of the screen. His responsibility in this coverage is to get a re-route on the WR by “catching” him at 5 yards and funneling him inside. Then he needs to either help in the flat or cushion the deep throw. But Conley not only fails to get physical with the WR, he also just keeps running backwards and covers some grass while the WRs break to the middle of the field. When players don’t execute coverage that’s not bad scheme that’s bad coaching.
Of course the failings on the team doesn’t completely fall on the coaches. Sometimes the players need to make plays. On this shotgun pass, Carr is unable to get enough time for his routes to develop downfield before he get body slammed by two defenders.
Left tackle Kolton Miller simply fails to anchor and gets driven back into his QB. Meanwhile Right guard Gabe Jackson is late to pick-up a routine T-E twist and is a bad position to pick up the DE stunting inside.
Sure you can point the fingers at the coaching staff but the offensive line can’t make these plays look so hard to execute. The 49ers weren’t getting much success from their pass rush prior to this game but they dominated the Raiders pass protection.
Once again the 49ers defense checks into an empty formation out of 21 Personnel. But unlike the first play the Raiders are in a cover 3 defense which means they have a single safety in the middle of the field.
Tahir Whitehead is in coverage on this throw, so you already know he gives up a catch. The linebacker continues to earn the praise of his coaches and Gruden even thinks he’s “one heck of a linebacker.” But the fact is Whitehead hasn’t made a single play all year against the pass and once again he’s beat for a catch.
But the worst part of this play is Erik Harris completely missing the tackle on the 49ers TE Greg Kittle. Paul Guenther has been on record saying “an NFL safety should make that play.” So by that token the only sure tackling NFL safety on the roster is Karl Joseph who gets the least reps out of the safety group.
The Raiders dropped the ball in every phase of the game. Offense, defense, and special teams were sub-par including Punter Johnny Townsend’s terrible outing including 2 punts of less than 25 yards.
The offensive line is playing at its worst in a long time. Injuries are part of the problem but its been well documented Tom Cable’s offensive line units have underperformed in every stop he’s had in the last 10 years.
There are an extreme absence of playmakers on the defense. Pass rush, pass coverage, run stopping has been all around atrocious and it doesn’t look like it will get better any time soon.