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Raiders week two report card vs Broncos

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Often times in sports it’s not how you start but how you finish. If any of you have spent time in a football locker room you will hear things from the coach like, “We need to compete for 60 minutes,” or “Let’s finish.”

Yesterday on the road in Denver, the Oakland Raiders had the opportunity to close the door on a Broncos comeback attempt but were unsuccessful. The Raiders now fall to 0-2 and find themselves in the basement of the AFC West division.

Let’s look at the Raiders report card for week two.

Aerial Attack: A

What a difference a week makes for Derek Carr. After getting the brunt of the blame for a poor offensive effort in the second half in week one, Derek Carr was nearly perfect against the Broncos.

Carr finished the game a ridiculous 29 of 32, for 288 yards and one touchdown. This was the first time in NFL history a quarterback completed at least 90% of his passes in a game with 30+ attempts.

Carr made a concerted effort to get Amari Cooper more involved in the passing game and it paid major dividends. Cooper was active all day, catching all 10 of his targets for a team high 116 yards.

Ground Game: B

It would have been nice to see the Raiders be able to get more out of the run game during the four minute offense late in the game. Doug Martin was stuffed on a crucial 2nd and 9, after Jared Cook’s false start penalty. The Raiders were not in an ideal down and distance on the following play, which enabled the Broncos to blitz and force the ball out of Carr’s hand early.

This week’s game plan featured more of Doug Martin and less Jalen Richard. The combo carried nine times for 27 yards.

Marshawn Lynch continues to run hard, earning every yard he gets. Lynch finished the game with a 3.6 yards per carry average and a touchdown. However, he did have two big gains called back by penalty.

Offensive line: B+

Once again I was very impressed with the offensive lines ability in pass protection. With the exception of one Von Miller sack, the bookend tackles performed very well against Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

The Raiders will need to become more consistent in the run game if they want to turn the season around. Sure they have faced two top defense in the league in back to back weeks but a 3.4 yards per average against the Broncos will not get it done.

Defensive line: F

The performance put forth by the defensive line was putrid, especially in the second half. I suppose I should give them a pass for being without Justin Ellis and PJ Hall but the line was gashed for 168 yards on the ground.

The line lacks talent and the Raiders were so desperate for bodies earlier in the week, they signed Johnathan Hankins, Clinton McDonald, and Brian Price.

Outside of Maurice Hurst first career sack the Raiders applied absolutely no pressure on Case Keenum. The unit was completely gassed on the Broncos final drive.

Linebackers: C+

This group of linebackers is as vanilla as it gets. No player does anything on a week to week basis that grabs your attention.

The positive take away from yesterday is the coverage skills of the linebackers. Broncos running backs only caught one pass. I’d like to see better support against the run and help a battered group of defensive lineman.

Secondary: B

The secondary continues to be the strength of the defense, even though when the game was on the line they could not come up with a big play.

Raashan Melvin picked up the first interception of the season.

Gareon Conley continues to look the part of a shutdown cornerback with four pass break ups.

The lack of a pass rush has not helped the Raiders secondary to this point. So far the secondary has been better than advertised.

Special Teams: C

Jordy Nelson filled in for injured return man Dwayne Harris who was not active for the game. Nelson fielded one punt for seven yards.

Johnny Townsend benefited from the altitude, blasting a 56 yard punt and increased his punting average by three yards compared to last week. But he also had a 40-yard punt that went to the Denver 36 and his final punt, in a crucial situation, went for a touchback and a 29-yard net.

Mike Nugent was 2 for 2 in field goal attempts but it was a blocked extra point attempt that proved to be a pivotal moment in the games outcome.

Overall Grade: C+


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