If this were a football game played on a Friday or Saturday then the effort the Oakland Raiders gave today in Atlanta would be something to hang your hat on. Unfortunately this is the only type of football that is played on Sundays, a cutthroat business where only the bottom line matters.
Today the Raiders nearly shocked the football world by giving the undefeated Falcons all they could handle. In the end it still wasn’t enough as the ATL come out on top 23-20.
Anyone who watched the game knows the Silver and Black controlled the contest. Darren McFadden’s 70 yards on 27 carries might not look impressive but the way the Raiders ran the rock on Atlanta did turn heads. Finally the zone scheme is coming together…kind of.
Greg Knapp’s offense finally clicked as Carson Palmer played perhaps his best game as a Raider.
That said Palmer’s costly pick six in the fourth will be the headline but the way he led his offense down the field time and time again today was truly impressive. Showing the mental toughness only pros possess, Palmer shook off his biggest mistake of the afternoon to lead the Raiders on a drive that would give them the lead late in the fourth.
Unfortunately the Raiders left too much time on the clock for Matt Ryan.
Matty Ice led yet another game winning drive as Matt Bryant nailed a 55-yarder to seal the deal with one second left.
Despite the Falcons success moving the rock late in the contest this was by far and away the most inspired effort Oakland’s defense has given all season. Wes still aren’t seeing much in terms of QB pressure when compared to last season but Ryan was certainly forced into a few errors.
Coming into the game the Raiders had exactly zero interceptions on the season. By game’s end that total was tripled.
However the Raiders were unable to punish Atlanta for those costly turnovers. In the end it would be Oakland that paid the price as Asante Samuel took one to the house that pretty much setup Atlanta’s dramatic win.
This was truly an effort to be proud of as many pegged the Raiders as ripe to be blown out today. Again, this is the NFL where merit badges don’t exist. There is no solace taken in playing a close contest with one of the league’s elite. Only winning matters.
That said it was refreshing to see playmakers like Denarius Moore finally get theirs. D-Moe notched his first 100-yard game of the season and made the Falcons defenders looks silly with each touch of the rock he got. It was even more refreshing to see the Raiders hold Atlanta to just 2 of 9 on third down conversions and the Falcons running attack to just 45 yards rushing. Both are major positives.
Still, the record will show the Raiders as mired in the cellar of the AFC Worst with those pathetic Kansas City Chiefs. The effort as very inspired but the end result was still the same. No matter the how well the team played we’re still looking at a 1-4 record with playoff chances seeming more evaporating by the week.