Today might very well have represented everything the 2012 Oakland Raiders have to offer. The rollercoaster ride that was the 42-32 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers displayed all we’ve come to love, hate and wish we never knew about our beloved Silver and Black.
Rookie Doug Martin destroyed the Raiders as their thought-to-be improved run defense turned in its worst performance of the season if not the decade. Martin’s 251 yards and 4 TDs came on just 25 carries. I’ll do the math for you. That’s 10-yards-per-carry and that’s something that just shouldn’t happen in the NFL.
This is already a forgettable season for Darren McFadden and it might just have taken its worst turn yet. Run DMC had just 17 yards on 7 carries (classic Greg Knapp production) before leaving the game with a high ankle sprain. We knew this moment was coming we just didn’t think his potential loss would mean this little. With or without McFadden the run game is going nowhere and so too are the Raiders.
So without McFadden the weight of this game fell on the shoulders of Carson Palmer. And with Palmer being Palmer he played like Palmer by going Palmer when the game was within reach.
To Dennis Allen’s credit he gets his guys to dig deep and step up when the situation requires it. With the Raiders trailing 28-10 in the third it was looking like another sad reminder of how much work Reggie McKenzie has to do this offseason. But then something amazing happened.
With their backs to the wall the Raiders were led back to the brink of victory thanks to an amazing fourth quarter by Palmer and the Oakland offense.
CP3 tossed 3 of his 4 TDs in the final frame including a two-point conversion as the Raider s hung an unreal 22 points on the scoreboard in the final frame.
But then with a win or possible tie within reach Palmer did what we should have seen coming a mile away. He completely lost his form throwing two incredibly costly INTs in the clutch that assured the Raiders’ hopes of victory were gone.
This game truly displayed all Oakland has to offer this season.
One the positive side they showed heart and determination by battling back when all seemed lost. On the negative side there was terrible tackling-a-plenty and mindless turnovers by Palmer in the most inopportune moments.
Despite posting some sick numbers including completing 61% of his passes on a staggering 61 attempts while throwing for 414 yards it’s those sickening interceptions that will be most remerged of Palmer’s performance today. A QB that can’t deliver in the clutch is a QB that can’t be relied on in big moments. We saw this in Atlanta earlier and we should expect to see more this year but likely never again after this season. In other words Palmer’s days as and NFL starter have an expiration date and it’s the last game of the 2012 season.
As for Martin. He is good. Very good and looks like a real asset for the Bucs in the coming years. But no NFL runner is so good that he should make an NFL defense look like USC chasing Kenjon Barner of Oregon. Oakland’s terrible tackling, poor communication and sloppy defensive scheming was front and center in this loss.
How Palmer could be so sharp yet still make such careless throws is frustrating. He was fortunate on the jump ball Juron Criner pulled from the sky on the clutch two-point conversion. CP3 wasn’t nearly as lucky when he blindly threw a ball that Ahamd Black of the Bucs picked with ease as if it was a punt return.
The good, the bad and the ugly of the 2012 Raiders featured prominently today. Something tells me we should get used to this because I’m guessing nothing much is going to change halfway through this exercise in futility.