Before the game started the Raiders knew their playoff chances were done. So, to honor the occasion they went out and got abused by the Indianapolis Colts. Make no mistake; this was not a dominant performance by Peyton Manning and Co. This was a good enough performance. A showing that displayed just how much further Oakland has to go until they’re true contenders.
A sure sign of bad things to come, Jacoby Ford took the opening kick to the house. Before this season, no Raider had ever returned the opening kick for a touchdown. It’s happened twice this year and both times the Raiders have lost.
But Ford’s heroics weren’t the problem. In fact, until the last two minutes of the game Jacoby was the only reason there was an ‘O’ in the Raider offense. Well…that and the 4 field goals that Sebastian Janikowski nailed helped too.
Jason Campbell spent the entire afternoon dumping the ball off underneath, playing it safe and never even attempting to stretch the field. Darren McFadden never got going as the running game was shutdown. And for good measure the Raiders added another 10 penalties for 116 yards to aid in the Indianapolis effort.
All that doesn’t help when you’re facing a playmaker like Manning. Peyton wasn’t great today but he made plays when his team needed them including a naked bootleg that sealed the deal. In addition, the run inefficient Colts ran the ball down Oakland’s throat. Former Raider Dominic Rhodes took advantage of Richard Seymour’s absence as he led the way running for 98 of Indy’s 191 yards on the ground.
Credit where credit is due, Tom Cable has put together the best season of Raider football in nearly a decade. Still, there is much work to be done.
When faced with must-win situations late in the season, Cable’s team failed. When you can’t afford to be your own worst enemy, the Raiders have gone Plaxico Burress and shot themselves in the foot.
With little more than pride to play for in Arrowhead next week the season has finally reached its end. This has been a year of great growth but as both Indianapolis and Jacksonville have reminded us, there is still a long road ahead for these Raiders.