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Sensations, frustrations and declarations of the Raiders 34-3 Week 12 loss

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The good, the bad, the ugly and what’s next after a dreadful Week 12 loss

NFL: Oakland Raiders at New York Jets Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of those games where you simply burn the tape and move on. No use in dwelling on the abysmal performance. Everything simply went the Jets way. Sometimes these things happen.

With Kansas City next week in what will likely be the game of the year, the Raiders have the chance to right the ship fresh off their worst performance since an identical loss to the 49ers last season. In the meantime, the only thing we can do is vent our frustrations, laugh at the missteps, pick up our big boy pants move on to next week.

Sensations:

Paul Guenther’s ability to make Adam Gase look like a genius

Is Adam Gase the best offensive coordinator in the NFL? He sure looked like it today. It was truly sensational how good Paul Guenther made him appear.

Everything the Jets did seemed to work. They didn’t punt the ball until the 2-minute mark in the third quarter and diced the Raider defense up with an array of crossing routes that Guenther couldn’t counter. This was the first time the Raiders defense didn’t force a turnover or punt in the first half since falling to the Chiefs on Dec. 10, 2017.

Facing one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, the Raiders were expected control the line of scrimmage and show Sam Darnold some more of the ghosts he previously saw against the Patriots. But spooky season is over in the New York metropolitan area apparently — Gase and Darnold just led the Jets offense to their third straight 34-point outing.

Guenther’s inability to make in-game adjustments has hindered the Raiders throughout the past two seasons. His future in Oakland might be in question, but it seems he made a new best friend in Gase.

Maxx Crosby

The one thing working for the Raiders defense was Maxx Crosby. Because when is this guy not working?

Crosby finished with 4 tackles, 2 TFLs and 1 sack, but he should’ve had a second sack if not for one of the most erroneous roughing the passer calls you’ll ever see. Crosby was all over the field for the Raiders defense. When most of the team hung their heads low down by multiple scores, he kept working until his last snap. It may not seem like it at the moment, but games like this are what separate team leaders.

Crosby is now up to 7.5 sacks this season and should continue to climb up the DROY ladder if he keeps up his torrid pace.

Jalen Richard

In a game where few silver linings can be gleaned, Jalen Richard’s performance stuck out.

The receiving back led the Raiders with 6 catches for 47 yards on 7 targets, looking strong out of the gate with first down pickups of 18 and 17 yards on Oakland’s first two drives. As the season progresses, Richard is pulling further and further away from DeAndre Washington for the No. 2 running back role.

Gruden should consider running more two-back sets with both Richard and Josh Jacobs on the field. Currently, they’re predictable when swapping Richard and Jacobs. Putting Richard into jet sweep action or lining him up in the slot in a similar manner to how the Chargers use Austin Ekeler could add another element to the offense. It may even be necessary if Hunter Renfrow’s rib injury lingers.

Frustrations:

A far too formulaic offensive approach

This offense just is not built to come back from major deficits.

Since Gruden’s return to the helm, the Raiders haven’t been able to overcome a two touchdown deficit. That has much to do with how the offense operates. Gruden’s formula for success has been to establish the run, throw easy check downs to convert third down after third down, and hit a few intermediate play action shots along the way.

By taking away the run, the Jets effectively neutralized Gruden’s entire approach and he was unable to pivot to another plan. The combination of the Jets’ excellent run defense and the rainy field conditions was kryptonite for the offensive formula and Gruden realized it early. Knowing that his offense had no shot to put come back, he sent Mike Glennon into the game just prior to the third quarter’s end and threw in the towel.

The thing is, this formula works. It has worked to a varied extent all season. But in games when the Raiders can’t establish the on early downs, Gruden needs to find a capable contingency plan.

Drops. So many drops

We can’t put all of the offenses’ problems on Gruden and Derek Carr. The receivers had their worst showing of the season on Sunday.

The first two offensive possessions were thwarted by key third down drops from Renfrow and Tyrell Williams, forcing the Raiders to settle for field goals — one of which they missed.

The drops didn’t end there. Even against a porous set of Jets cornerbacks without both opening day starters Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts. One of the reasons that Gruden feels so pigeonholed to follow the previously discussed formula is his lack of trust in his receivers. He is just as frustrated as we are.

It’s one game, but after that performance it looks like I’ll be highlighting another receiver in this week’s Draft Hunt installment. Big yikes.

Linebackers getting absolutely roasted

This is becoming a tired take, so I’ll make it brief. Nicholas Morrow and Tahir Whitehead were absolutely nowhere to be found defending crossing routes against the Jets.

Against man coverage, crossing routes prove effective by forcing defenders to run across the entire field and keep up with receivers who can stop or reverse field at a moment’s notice. To protect themselves against the short crossing patterns Gase was determined to call, the Raiders tried to sit in zone coverage, where linebackers are supposed to knock receivers who try to cross face on their asses.

There was zero zone integrity, a lack of communication and a despicable tackling effort when trying to close in on receivers with the ball. Maybe I’ll have two Draft Hunt segments this week? Linebacker is probably an even greater need.

Declarations:

  • The Raiders give up 30+ points against the Chiefs at Arrowhead
  • Maxx Crosby and Benson Mayowa become the first Raider teammates with 10+ sacks since Warren Sapp and Derrick Burgess in 2006
  • Adam Gase asks Paul Guenther to hang out and grab a beer