It was supposed to be a day where the Oakland Raiders vaulted themselves into the AFC Wild Card race after an early afternoon loss by the San Diego Chargers when the Silver and Black took the field on Sunday at the Coliseum to host the Philadelphia Eagles.
It was anything but that.
A seven touchdown performance from Nick Foles rejuvenated the Eagles season under first year coach Chip Kelly. After three quarterbacks failed to score an offensive touchdown over two games, everything seemed to click for the Eagles offensively on Sunday to the chagrin of the the Raiders secondary.
Foles completed 22-of-28 passes for 406 yards and seven touchdowns, which tied an NFL-record for passing TDs in a single game. If it wasn’t for Matt Barkley coming into the game late in the fourth quarter, Foles could have earned the all time record.
Oakland were simply outplayed and over matched in every facet of the game on Sunday. Their staunch and stingy defense of the past month was gone and was replaced by a unit that couldn’t stop the Eagles screen passes or their long attempts down the field from Foles.
On offense Terrelle Pryor once again looked uncomfortable in the pocket, spending most plays running backwards away from the pocket and once again relying on the big play to bail him out. With the defense unable to stop the fast pace of the Eagles offense, the offense’s inability to find the endzone resulted in the blowout that we witnessed on Sunday.
After being praised all week and talked up as a potential playoff contender by the pregame show circuit Sunday morning, the Raiders were reminded that they are still in Year Two of a long rebuilding process that is slated to really get going next season when they have close to $70 million in cap space. Against a speedy team like the Eagles with a high powered offense, the Raiders were overmatched. After two poor performances from Philly leading into the game, Dennis Allen and the coaching staff seemed under prepared for an Eagles team that pressured the Raiders out of their comfort zone on both sides of the ball from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
At 3-5 the Raiders wasted an opportunity to continue being a prominent fixture in the AFC Wild Card discussion, but that ultimate goal is and always was a longshot. A team that has been well reported to be considered as a “talentless” team, one that was supposed to potentially go 0-16, has came leaps and bounds from what everyone expected which was abject failure. The fact that they were a favorite to win today speaks to how far they have came, the fact that they were blown out shows that they are simply a year off from where they could be.
Riley Cooper haunts Black Hole, D.J. Hayden
Riley Cooper exploded for two first half touchdowns on Sunday, jumping into the Black Hole on one of those catches as the infamous Eagle terrorized the Raiders on multiple occasions. Most of those big plays from Cooper came at the hands of rookie D.J. Hayden who had the worst day of his rookie season at the worst possible time.
The 12th pick in the 2013 Draft quit on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Cooper, and then got burned for a 66-yard touchdown on Philadelphia’s next play after appearing to get trash talked by the Eagles pass catcher.
Hayden has been hit and miss this season, but he has been a solid starter for the Raiders by all measures and accounts. Every cornerback in the league has had a game or two where they have been absolutely burned, Hayden will recover from this game and continue to have a strong rookie season.
Matt McGloin makes fourth quarter appearance, Pryor avoids serious knee injury
Terrelle Pryor left the game in the fourth quarter on Sunday, taking cautionary measures after tweaking his knee on a slide during the blowout loss to the Eagles. After the game he said that his knee felt fine and that there is no serious injury.
Matt McGloin stepped into his role, putting together a late touchdown drive and getting within striking distance on another occasion showing promise in garbage time. An undrafted free agent out of Penn State, McGloin has surpassed everyone’s expectations in his rookie season and it was a silver lining to get to see the unsung McGloin get a taste of regular season action. The fact that he looked comfortable made it even better.
Next up for Oakland is a road date with the New York Giants, who are currently on a two game winning streak and are coming off of a bye. If the Raiders are going to have any hope of getting back into the playoff discussion it is a must win game, but for now this week was a reminder that 2o14 is the target date for a Raiders playoff run. Anything that happens this year is just a pleasant surprise.