In a game that the Oakland Raiders could ill afford to lose, quarterback Matt Flynn was given a chance to show his worth as an NFL quarterback. All off-season, Raider Nation had to listen to pundits that professed how poor a quarterback Flynn was. He didn’t have very good arm strength, he couldn’t make the big throws, and he didn’t see all the field. Reports surfaced that he was being given the reigns to the offense, only to have Terrelle Pryor snatch them out from underneath Flynn. Yet, Flynn was still given the chance to be “the guy.” He dropped the ball, miserably.
It was painful, but I watched the game film twice more. I wanted to confirm or deny my suspicions as to why the Raiders offense fizzled out. A case could be made for losing two key offensive players in the first quarter (Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece), but the offense was still able to function and move with Rashad Jennings handling 98% of the carries. Was it the offensive line’s fault that they couldn’t maintain their blocks long enough, or should Flynn have gotten the ball out more quickly? Were the receivers totally covered? Why wasn’t Flynn throwing more often? I had to answer these questions. The only way to answer them was to watch the film. Here is my assessment:
Offensive Line: Matt Flynn was sacked 7 times, yet I don’t believe that the offensive line is to blame for the sacks. As a matter of fact, I believe that Flynn is to blame for his sacks. He wasn’t seeing the field in front of him, because he was too focused on one receiver. He missed so many open guys that it wasn’t funny. Don’t believe me, check the film. I’m not kidding. TE-Mychal Rivera, WR-Rod Streater, WR-Denarius Moore, and RB-Rashad Jennings were open several times, and Flynn failed to go through his progressions. He would stare down one passing route and wait. If that passing route wasn’t open, he would hold onto the ball, and the pocket would collapse around him.
Did I mention that he wasn’t stepping up in the pocket either? He’d drop back and stay in one place. All the while Redskins DE-Ryan Kerrigan and DE-Bryan Orakpo collapsed the pocket around him. Had Flynn stepped forward in the pocket and looked to his dump off receiver (Jennings or Rivera), the offense would have scooted down the field on short 3-10 yard pass plays. Either way, the offense would have moved. Instead, Flynn failed to see this and he got sacked. Other times, Flynn would transition to a second pass route, but it was usually too late. If he didn’t throw the ball behind the receiver, he threw it into the open arms of a defender for a pick six. Either way you cut it, Flynn dropped the ball.
Wide Receivers: The receivers were open. Not every play was a streak or hail mary. Had Flynn recognized the single coverage on the outside, he could have given Streater or Moore more of a chance to gain big yardage. Even when Streater and Moore pushed up the field, the underneath routes were open, but Flynn failed to progress through his reads. Therefore, he didn’t see the wide open Jennings in the flat for 3-4 yards up the field. He didn’t see Rivera or Streater wide open in the open space between the sideline and the middle of the field. The receivers were open, and Flynn dropped the ball.
Too Many Run Plays: There was no sense of urgency on the part of the Oakland Raiders. At the end of the first half, the Raiders had a chance to run a fast paced, no-huddle offense. This would be the same no-huddle offense that Matt Flynn ran in the pre-season and most of training camp. So, Flynn knew how to run a two-minute drill. The problem was the play-calling. I didn’t like it one bit, and I think Greg Olson dropped the ball. Dial up some 10-15 yard passing plays that give Flynn the opportunity to throw the ball quickly. Oh, wait, did I just say that? Oops, that’s right, Flynn couldn’t see the field, and he wasn’t getting the ball out of his hands. Maybe Olson saw this and didn’t want to take the chance to have Flynn throw it to the Washington Redskins again. Either way, Flynn dropped the ball.
Final Assessment: Flynn dropped the ball, and there was no way that the Oakland Raiders were going to win the ball game with him behind center. Matt McGloin should have been brought in for the fourth quarter. Seriously, would it have hurt our chances? I think it would have given us a better shot. Sure, McGloin is a rookie, but in essence, so is Flynn. The Raiders should have given McGloin some snaps. Besides, this is Terrelle Pryor’s team, and he will be back this week to exact some revenge on the San Diego Chargers! Go Raiders!