Turns out it didn’t matter who played middle linebacker for the Oakland Raiders today. The silver and black could have easily lost to the Dolphins without the services of Rolando McClain. Hue Jackson’s decision to let McClain play only days after his arrest proved to be a big nonfactor. Then again, just about every man wearing a Raider jersey was a nonfactor in the putrid 34-14 loss to the upstart Dolphins.
Once again Biscayne Bay has taken the air out of the East Bay. We saw something eerily similar last year when Miami rolled into Oakland and left with a convincing result. Today was more of the same.
Where was that bully Coach Jackson has been building? This afternoon he sported a helmet with a fish logo. The Oakland Raiders were completely outclassed in every aspect of the game. This is a loss that cannot be attributed to anything more than effort or lack thereof on Oakland’s part.
Miami played like a team grinding towards the playoffs while the Raiders looked like the squad sucking for Luck. The good news is the season is far from over. The bad news is the Raiders are officially fighting for their playoff lives as the Denver Tebows did what they seem to always do these days.
If you blinked you might have missed those Mile High Donkeys sneaking up from the rear. Suddenly it is Denver in the driver’s seat for AFC West supremacy.
Certainly Reggie Bush had a lot to do with Miami mauling Oakland. The reborn runner continued his improved play by torching the Raider run defense for a workman’s 100 yards on the ground. All after noon the Dolphins dominated the trenches. Even Matt Moore found success running the rock.
When the Dolphins weren’t shoving the rock down the Raiders’ throat they were stopping every offensive effort Oakland made. Michael Bush and the Oakland ground game was nowhere to be found leaving Carson Palmer to shoulder the offensive burden. Too bad for Palmer that he spent most of the afternoon running for his life.
Miami beat the Raiders at their own game. They were the bullies on the block dominating the trenches with a physical brand of football built for the playoffs.
Speaking of the playoffs…
Playoffs? Playoffs! Don’t talk about playoffs!
Now is not the time to even consider seeing Oakland in the postseason. Sure, their hopes are very much alive. Problem is they’ve got Denver breathing down their necks and a date with the defending Super Bowl champs on the horizon.
What we saw from Hue Jackson’s team today was as confusing as Richard Seymour’s ejection. Somebody in the league office is going to have to review the game tape and explain why Seymour was tossed. But his presence didn’t matter. Nothing Oakland did today mattered. Jackson is going to have plenty of explaining to do.
First and foremost he’s got to explain why his team was flatter than the surface of South Beach.
Secondly he’ll have to tell us all why his team was beaten at their own game.
However the question every reporter will no doubt be lining up to get a sound bite on is why McClain was allowed to play today. The Raiders didn’t need Rolando to get beat by 20. They could have done that with Sebastian Janikowski playing middle linebacker. They also could have saved themselves a lot of heartache by beating a team with nothing to play for today.
That is what is most inexplicable.
It is one thing to be beaten. This is pro football so losing will happen. However failing to match the effort put forth by an opponent with nothing but pride to play for is inexcusable.
Now the road to the playoffs has gone off course. Every time the Raiders get to a place where they can control their fate this seems to happen.
Do you believe in miracles? You’d better if you think this team has any chance to beat the Packers in Lambeau next week. Safe to say that an effort like today’s will result in a much more embarrassing result against the best football team on the planet.