Road teams often have a tough task, going into a hostile environment and trying to gut out a win. Sunday showed Raiders fans how far away the Oakland team is from competing with the big boys in the NFL.
The Vikings are a playoff bound team powered by an awesome rushing attack and formidable defense. Penalties played a huge part in the game getting out of hand for the Raiders, allowing the Vikings to stay on the field for long drives at the beginning of the game. Once a team like the Vikings gets a lead there’s little hope of mounting a comeback when they can grind out the clock on offense and rush the passer on defense. Here’s a look at some of the ways things went wrong.
Defense not on the same page
Notice all the confusion pre-snap. Lots of safeties, not a true linebacker in sight. pic.twitter.com/1ZhCWxBgEx— DWillSkills (@BDWilliams18) September 25, 2019
The Vikings are such good running team, they will get their fair share of positive running plays. But if when the defense started making crucial mistakes it exacerbated the problem. The Vikings 3rd touchdown of the day came a play directly after Vontaze Burfict went to the sideline with an injury.
The problem is, Tahir Whitehead for some reason didn’t get in this package on the goal-line and the Raiders are playing with 10 men with inches to go. Gotta think an extra linebacker could have helped on this misdirection run play to Thielen for a score.
Later in the game the Raiders again make a big mistake with their backs to the goal-line. This time reserve linebacker comes on a common gap exchange. Usually this blitz will have the defensive end slant hard inside to the B-gap while the linebacker blitzes the C-gap.
Notice how far the Raiders ends are aligned outside the tackles. This wide alignment often hurt them like this play where Benson Mayowa is unable to work across the tackle’s face into the B gap offering a hole any running back could hit.
Pass protection issues
The Vikings got out to a sizable lead early in the game, this meant the Raiders couldn’t lean as heavily on their run game as they could in the Week 1 win against the Broncos. This meant that the Vikings pass rush could pin their ears back and get after Carr.
Carr didn’t respond well to the pressure often looking rushed and it noticeably affected his delivery. Carr was officially sacked 4 times and threw an interception against the Vikings defense. Games like this will be common-place as long as the Raiders are playing from behind.
Lone bright spot
The glimpse of hope Raiders fans can draw from this game was Darren Waller’s performance. Targeted 14 times, Waller hauled in 13 catches for 134 yards in a breakout game for the “best kept secret in football.”
Waller has been targeted more than any receiver in the Oakland offense through 3 games. He has officially become Carr’s safety net and it looks like the Raiders QB has more trust in him than any receiver on the roster at this point.
Johnathan Hankins and Vontaze Burfict had very good games for the defense. Each getting in on multiple stops and handling their business against a great teams. Hankins alone was involved in 5 run stops and played outstanding football for 4 quarters.
After giving up 2 big catches early in the game Curtis Riley wasn’t targeted again. He swapped time with Erik Harris at safety both playing in the box and deep in Paul Guenther’s scheme.
The Raiders offense seems to be stuck in the past, content to dink and dunk even when trailing by a wide margin. The best NFL offenses air it out and their chunk plays mitigate the lack of clock control. The combo of Gruden and Carr seem unable to come from behind with the only exception being a Browns team in 2018 that hadn’t won a game in a year.