Honestly I don’t think in all my years of doing this series I have ever witnessed a worse game by a Raiders offensive lineman than Kolton Miller had on Sunday. He was an unmitigated distaster in every facet of his game. Every couple series, I would just sit back in amazement at just how much of a nightmare game this was for him. But I digress. Let’s get to specifics.
The very first play, Miller was brushed off by his defender forcing Doug Martin to break a tackle at the line. A few plays later Richard wouldn’t be able to elude that tackle and was stopped for a loss.
The next possession was stopped when on three consecutive plays because Miller blew his assignment. On first down he gave up a hit on Carr for an incompletion. Second down it was another run stuff at the line. And finally, on third and nine, he was completely posterized by Sam Hubbard who slapped down his hand and was on Derek Carr so fast, Carr had no idea he was there and Hubbard plowed into Carr’s back, forcing the fumble that was recovered by the Bengals.
Next series, Miller started by giving up another run stuff. It ended in a three-and-out.
Third and nine on the next drive, Miller was ruined on the edge again by a dip move by Carlos Dunlap to force Derek Carr to throw it away to avoid taking another sack. That’s just the first quarter. Four drives, all destroyed by Kolton Miller both in the run game and in pass protection.
Before the half, Miller would give up another sack to Sam Hubbard to stop another drive in a three-and-out.
After giving up a run stuff for no gain on the first drive, he would be flagged for a false start with the Raiders in 2nd and goal from the 3-yard-line, backing them up. An incompletion on third and goal at the 8 would force them to settle for a field goal in order to keep it within one score.
He would give up one more pressure for a total of 8 pressures and two sacks along with at least four run stuffs by my count. And we thought it would be the new interior linemen who would be the bigger problem.
There were two turnovers in the game. The first was the sack fumble given up by Miller. The other was Richard, who, with the team down 14-0 in the second quarter, took a handoff through the left guard spot four yards and had it knocked out. The Bengals recovered at the Oakland 34, already in field goal range and went up 17-0.
Potentially just as bad as the turnover that led to a score was the poor vision Richard displayed which kept the Raiders from a potential big score in the third quarter. He took the handoff and went right where he got two great seal blocks by Rodney Hudson and Chaz Green on the line with nothing but open space after that. He didn’t take the freight train sized hole. I can’t properly explain what he did do, so I will just show you. Behold.
If you can explain his thinking there, you are a better person than I, cuz I’m absolutely dumbfounded. The Raiders were at the Cincinnati 35-yard-line, so hitting that massive hole could have either scored or put them close to it. They would settle for a 50-yard field goal instead and remained down 20-10. Take away the score off the fumble and the potential TD through the missed hole and we’re looking at a 3-point game.
When you give up 30 points, you knew there had to be a defensive player coming up soon. Whitehead didn’t make a lot of plays in this game, but he made up for it by giving up a few big plays.
To begin the second quarter, he gave up a 7-yard run on third and two. Two plays later, he got run by on Mixon’s 47-yard run. The Bengals moved to the goal line and in fourth and goal, Whitehead dove over the line, while Mixon lowered his head and went right under him for the touchdown. That was Whitehead’s play to make and he seemed to be taking a chance Mixon would be going over the top. He chose poorly.
And finally, on the Bengals final drive, he didn’t see the end around coming and by the time he did, it was too late. The catch was made for 8 yards on third and four and the game was over. He finished with 4 combined tackles (1 solo) – his second lowest tackle output of the season.
While the man to his left was stealing the spotlight in the first half as the weak link on the line, Green was going about his business. That wouldn’t last, however. Eventually he would get his as well.
The first play of the second half for the Raiders, Green missed his blocked to give up a tackle for loss on Seth Roberts on an end around. From there, he had a couple good run blocks to finish out the third. But come crunch time, the veneer wore off.
A field goal by the Bengals put them up 23-13 and the Raiders were unable to pull it back to a one-score game because on third and 9, Green gave up a sack.
Falling back down by 14 points with just over four minutes left, the Raiders would need to score. Instead they got Green giving up sacks on consecutive plays. Welp.
When you give up kick returns of 41 and 77 yards in the same game, you’ve got problems. And when you have a punter who averaged a shade over 38 yards per punt, you’ve got more problems. Johnny Townsend’s 38-yard punt put the Bengals at the Oakland 45-yard-line to start their first scoring drive. The 41-yard kick return led to a field goal and the 77-yard return led to their final touchdown. That’s 17 points right there. In a game the Raiders lost by 14.