Greetings and gratitude, Raider Nation!
Whew! That was a tough loss! Despite eating the smelly L, it’s still difficult for the Lord of the Sith to hang his head down and cry "NOOOoooooooo!" after the 13-20 Fish over Pirates outcome.
Let it be known: Not many expected us to hang defensively with one of the most DYNAMIC offenses in the NFL. This is not by any means an average team! This is a team that scored SEVENTY points against the Denver Broncos!
This is a Team that is ranked FIRST in the NFL in scoring! (31.7) This is the same team that is ranked FIRST yards per game! (445.2) This is also the same team that is ranked FIRST in Passing yardage per game! (297.3)
So in conclusion, our Defense held the Dolphins BELOW their scoring average and came within one score to tie with a Rookie Quarterback that’s still learning NFL Football. I’ll take it…
The real story was our Defense!! Our guys came to fucking play!!!! Our DARK SIDE Defense was bruising, pressuring and ball hawking all damn day!!
3 more turnovers came our way today!
A forced (Luke Masterson) and recovered fumble (Marcus Epps) and a goal-line stand were sandwiched around superstar wideout Tyreek Hill’s 38-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa, preceding two more takeaways: Nate Hobbs’ strip of Julian Hill and Isaiah Pola-Mao’s interception of Tagovailoa.
Robert Spillane also had a team-high 13 tackles, and Maxx Crosby had one sack. Tagovailoa passed for 325 yards and two touchdowns, and Tyreek Hill caught 10 passes for 146 yards, but the Raiders disrupted the rhythm the Dolphins are accustomed to having.
Our Raiders didn’t allow a touchdown in the second half, limiting Miami without any offensive support to 149 yards.
We saw big things from our new starting Safety Isaiah Polo-Mao (in place of injured Marcus Epps).
The former Southern California player had an interception and finished a tackle on Tyreek Hill on a fourth-down play inside the 5-yard line late in the first half after Hobbs had knocked Hill off balance.
The interception was the first of Pola-Mao’s career.
"I stepped up and was there for my teammates, but I’d trade all those individual accolades for a (win)," Pola-Mao said. "It’s cool to have an interception, to do my job to help the team, but I wish we had a win."
Pola-Mao also had seven tackles. He said the key to stepping in for a teammate is staying prepared.
"We preach every week to not blink because anything can happen," he said. "Even if I’m not out there, we have a turnover or sudden change, we have to go out there on the field just like that. Unfortunate reason I was out there, but I have to have my teammate’s back."
Hobbs also had an impactful game, recording eight tackles and a forced fumble and breaking up a pass against the NFL’s top-ranked offense.
"I feel like I did what I was supposed to and what I got paid to do," he said. "It shows what type of defense we have … to keep getting stops and run around with that little track team they’ve got out there."
The three turnovers forced by the Raiders gives them six in the three games since Antonio Pierce took over as interim coach, tied for the most in the NFL in that span.
Defensive end Maxx Crosby said it’s no accident.
"You see a bunch of guys stepping up," he said. "It just shows the development, and we’re intentional about taking the ball away. … We’re getting better, playing as a unit, flying to the ball. It’s about the things that don’t show up in a stat sheet. Good defenses fly to the ball and impose their will on offenses."
Even the Offense noticed the Defense played one of their best games of the year.
"The defense played really well," wide receiver Hunter Renfrow said. "As an offense, we have to pick it up."
No shit, HR!
Yes, the offense did not come through in critical moments, but at least we got Hunter Renfrow finally producing for us again. #13 had season highs with five catches and 42 yards, including a 31-yard catch that saw him make several nifty moves on a late drive that could have tied the game.
The reception was his longest since the 2021 season.
"It felt good, mainly because it helped the offense out a little bit," Renfrow said. "But we have to do a better job of helping the defense out by capitalizing because they played incredible today."
Renfrow had not caught more than two passes in a game this season! Thanks Coach McDaniels!
Coach AP was in a sad state after the game, but did mention he gained some knowledge after the loss.
"It’s a learning lesson for me, for Bo, for Aidan. We’ve got to do a better job managing the game, not put him in those situations where Aidan has to win the game."
Many questioned the Coaches for not being more aggressive in the final minutes of the 2nd Quarter. Multiple run plays were called with no success.
Shouldn’t we have call in more passing plays, Coach?
"Just wanted to protect the young quarterback," Pierce said of the possessions that ultimately netted a field goal. "Wanted to get points on the board if we had that opportunity. Didn’t want anything that would happen to be negative for us. I just felt it was in our best interest going into halftime." like his final pass by Dolphins standout cornerback Jalen Ramsey. If AOC happened to look to his right, He’d see a wide open Ameer Abdullah headed near the sideline.
"It’s really on us at the end of the day to do our job better. Me in particular." O’Connell said.
Added Pierce, who declined to offer detail when asked to assess how his quarterback played:
"We’ve got to do a good job with the football … Again, that starts with the coaches, prepping him, making him understand situational football. But again, young player. Will get better. And we’ve got to go back to the drawing board."
Another issue was not getting our Running Back engine Josh Jacobs going to help the Offense. He only totaled 39 rushing yards for the entire game.
The rushing offense (30th in the NFL) that topped 100 yards the past two weeks..
it was a different outcome against the Dolphins.
We also missed out on getting Tackle Kolton Miller back on Sunday. He is still out with a shoulder injury.
Back to the Passing O:
"I just have to play better. Passing the ball, decision-making all of that stuff," said O’Connell, who finished 24-for-41 for 271 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. "I’m learning how hard the NFL is and how hard it is to win. Kudos to our defense. They just played so well in the second half and kept us in the game."
Keep your head up, Rookie! We’re still learning...
"It’s really going to come down to our offense and watching the film to just be better all around, and it starts with me." Aidan said.
"Every day we talk about pride, poise and passion. Respect for the game and playing it the right way," Pierce said. "And guys did. They played hard. Does that get you wins? No. But it gives you a chance. We had an opportunity to win in plus-territory with under a minute. There are no moral victories, but I told them to keep their chins up. We’re going to be the same way win, lose or draw. We’ll go back to work on Tuesday and get after it."
I still love our Coach’s mentality. He doesn’t let the players soak in a loss for too long and remains eager to play well next Sunday. The Players still respond to his philosophies and will not let a loss get in their way of building something special for 2023.
"At the end of the day, we’re not riding a roller coaster," he said. "It’s not like that. Guys are itching to play, and you feel that. You’ve seen it the last three weeks. It’s not a coincidence or a fluke. Guys are playing together, and there’s no other guys I’d rather play with."
Despite all the negatives, I’d like to congratulate Running back Josh Jacobs on breaking another record! #8 continues to write his name in the Raider franchise record books!
Despite a rough day during which he had 39 yards on 14 carries, Jacobs did enough to pass Marcus Allen for the most rushing yards by a Raiders player in his first five years. He has 5,401 yards to Allen’s 5,397. Let’s keep working hard, Jacobs! You owe us a better game after that stinker! The force is with you!! Let’s get it!
Shake it off, Raider Nation! We’re still 2-1 under new management and are still playing much harder than previous Weeks! Especially on Defense!
Next Sunday we have yet ANOTHER tall task against one the most hated teams on the planet:
THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS!
It’s been a long time since we have defeated these cocky bums so let’s bring our A games and sack Muppet Mahomes more than a few times! Maxx "Condor" Crosby is absolute TERROR on the field this year and has to be licking his chops when he realizes who he is pressuring next Sunday in Las Vegas! Let’s stick to Kelce like a tractor beam to the Falcon! Let’s also hit their Running back Pacheco harder than Mando hits Stormtroopers! This is the way!
If Denver can Beat this team..SO CAN WE!
See in you in Sin City, Nation! I will not be happy unless you’re louder than a drunken sailor! So stand up and shout your guts out!
We need the most passionate fans available! Plan your trip now!!!!
Lord of the Sith, Master of all evil