Last week against the Denver Broncos the Raiders were able to dictate the pace of play with a strong game plan. Riding on the back of rookie RB Josh Jacobs and a quick passing game, the offensive line was able to protect Derek Carr and allow routes to develop downfield when it was needed.
Week 2 against the Chiefs was a completely different story. The Raiders offense sputtered after the second drive and was unable to put any more points on the board. There were miscues in scoring territory during the second half that resulted in interceptions. However those seem to be one-offs and not indicative of the larger issue on offense, which is the deep passing game.
Here’s a look at the Raiders offense last week against Kansas City.
Inconsistent pass game
The passing game couldn’t sustain the success from the first two drives. Much of that had to do with the Chiefs jumping out to a 3-score lead in the second quarter that changed how Oakland attacked and how Kansas City defended. There were glimmers of hope however.
Take this play on the opening drive. The Raiders come out with 3 tight ends which usually means a run play is coming. The Raiders take advantage of the heavy defensive personnel in the game and get their tight ends running deep routes down the field. Derek Carr is able to hit TE Derek Carrier for a 25-yard gain early in the game out of this personnel grouping.
A few plays stuck out in the first half where Carr didn’t allow the play to develop and instead got the ball out quick even when he had good protection. The pass attempt to Hunter Renfrow that was reviewed for defensive pass interference is one such example. Carr perhaps could have bought time for his receivers to get open instead of forcing the ball into a contested catch situation.
Carr did have some nice scrambles however, including a play that should have been for a first down if not for an odd review from the officials. This (different) scramble near the end of the second half where Carr escapes the pass rush and hits Darren Waller for a first down was probably his best play of the game. These are the types of plays the best quarterbacks make consistently in the NFL. Carr has yet to make this a common part of his game, although there have been solid flashes in the last two weeks that he can take that next step.
The Chiefs pass rush was able to pin their ears back and get after Carr after amassing a big lead. The best player on the Kansas City defense is defensive tackle Chris Jones who racked up 15.5 sacks in 2018. He was a one-man wrecking crew, constantly getting pressure on Carr and affecting the run game. Jones beats right guard Denzelle Good for a sack on this play.
Whether it was Carr getting the ball out too quick or because the pass rush started getting home, the offense was unable to get their receivers going downfield when it was needed the most.
Run game humming
It is too bad the defense hemorrhaged points in the second quarter and forced the offense to become one dimensional because the run game is the best part of this offense right now.
As much credit as Josh Jacobs gets for starting his career off strong, his offensive line are doing their part as well. The play above is the Raiders very first play from scrimmage. The blocking scheme is “duo” where the line tries to get as many double teams as possible and the back to makes a read and goes. Jacobs does a solid job but the blockers are what you want to watch. See how TE Foster Moreau and LT Trent Brown put bodies on the floor to set the tone for the game.
Later in the first quarter the Raiders use another blocking scheme, this time it’s “power” for a nice 7-yard gain. Credit Jacobs for finding a secondary hole when his first read wasn’t there. Also notice how Jacobs finishes the run, keeping his legs pumping to pick up an extra 2 or 3 yards.
Of course the biggest play on offense came on this 51-yard rumble from the rookie running back. This time the Raiders are blocking an “outside zone” concept that Tom Cable is most well known for. This is absolutely fantastic blocking from every player. The right side of the offensive line lands heavy punches to create a defined running lane. The backside blockers (Miller, Devey, and Hudson) each dump the man in front of them on the ground. Even check out Darren Waller casually step over Miller on the ground while staying engaged on his man, great effort all around and that’s before we even get to Jacobs.
Jacobs has an ideal skill set for the outside zone scheme. His vision and burst help him weave through the trash and his power helps him churn through 3 arm tackles before turning up the sideline. Raiders fans have no choice but to love the way he finishes this run off with aggression instead of opting to simply run out of bounds.
While Carr did see more pressure than in week one, the offensive line did solid. Neither starting tackle allowed a sack. The offensive line has improved, now it’s on Carr to wait for routes to develop. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Carr is getting rid of the ball at the 3rd fastest rate (2.42 seconds) in the NFL.
Josh Jacobs running the ball well in a variety of blocking schemes is the best takeaway from this game. Jacobs has the ability to become a star running back, indeed the rookie is currently 4th in the NFL in rushing yards and according to PFF has forced a league leading 9 missed tackles in 2 games so far. Expect big things from the rookie.