The loss to the New York Giants on Sunday was indeed, a giant loss (see what I did there). For the second straight week the Raiders came into the game with expectations to win, and the need to win, only for the them to be squashed as the Raiders dropped another crucial game. While this loss was not nearly as statistically brutal as the Eagles’ game, this game was a heart-wrencher because the Giants are not a good football team, while the Eagles are. It was a bad week for Andre Brown to come back as the he caught the Raiders completely off guard en route to a 24-20 Giants’ victory. Here are some key takeaways from the loss.
The defense responds well to blowout- Probably the hottest topic coming into this game was how the Raiders’ defense was going to respond after being thoroughly embarrassed at home by the Eagles. Well, they responded nicely, playing up to the hype they were receiving after the Steelers’ game.
As a team, they held the Giants’ offense to just 17 points allowed, with the other seven points coming off a punt block returned for a touchdown. They held two-time super bowl champion Eli Manning to just 140 yards on the air with an interception and sacked him three times. The only hiccup in their game was being surprised by Andre Brown and allowing him to an uncharacteristic 115 yards on the ground.
Darren Who?- The more Rashad Jennings runs, the more confident I am in his ability to be the lead back next season. Against the Giants, he carried the ball 20 times for 88 yards and caught two more passes for 19 yards. Considering he was averaging 4.4 yards per carry and is a power back, the only thing I was confused with was why the coaching staff didn’t give it to him more when they had first and goal. He was also tackled at the one yard line, although it could be argued that the ball was in the touchdown zone.
Whether it be the offensive line somehow playing better when Jennings is in the back field or what, but he seems to produce no matter what. He didn’t even have Pryor’s running ability on Sunday to prevent defenders from just loading the box. Darren McFadden has a lot to prove when he, if he, ever gets back if he want to continue to be a Raider.
The passing attack needs help- The Oakland Raiders’ terrible passing offense can be put on the blame of many, the coaches for not giving Terrelle Pryor a more expansive playbook of vertical attacks,– “It was a route that they run a lot and I was waiting on it all game,” Giants DB Thomas said. “They run two-by-two slants and coach put us in a great position and I was just happy to make a play for our defense.” Thanks for the diverse play calling Greg– Pryor’s wounded knee, the success of rushing the ball, etc. The one thing that is for certain though is the lack of a consistent playmaker opposite of the inconsistent playmaker, Denarius Moore.
I’m a big believer in Denarius Moore, I think he has fantastic potential, but when he is the main target of Pryor by a long shot and the defense doesn’t respect anyone else’s ability to catch the ball, it leads him to be double covered
and really hopeless when it comes to trying to catch the ball. Pryor targeted Moore 9 times compared to the next receiver with the most targets, Streater, with 4.
It was refreshing to see Pryor getting the ball to Michael Rivera and Marcel Reece though, as they both caught all their targets. Rivera had two catches for 22 yards and Reece had 3 catches for 30 yards. Hopefully in the future, the volume of their targets can be amplified because all they both ever seem to do is produce.
Pryor needs help if the Raiders want him to be successful- I’ll be the first person to say that I have been on the Terrelle Pryor bandwagon since he has been a Raider. And I still am. I feel bad for him right now, because he has all the talent in the world, but his supporting cast is in such a state of disarray that i’m not sure if any quarterback can be successful in his environment. No, in fact, no QB for the Raiders have been able to be successful for the past decade.
Thankfully, the situation is starting to clear up, as Reggie has this team on the right track to be successful. He just needs to wait for the offensive line to get healthy and add a playmaker or two through the draft or free agency next offseason in order to alleviate some of the pressure off of Pryor. I do believe he is the quarterback of the future for the Raiders, and yes he will have a lot of mistakes this year, but you have to remember that just this past offseason he admitted to having really no idea how to play quarterback the past years or even how to throw a football correctly. Goes to show you how much the past coaching staff really cared about his development. His intangibles and athletic ability are off the charts and the things he needs to work on (mechanics, footwork) are things that be fixed with time. With his work ethic and philosophy, he has everything he needs to succeed at this level except a supporting cast. Most importantly though, he gives the fans and team a spark that we haven’t had in a decade.
If you really want to dismiss the only guy able to do that in years because he had a four game lull, as basically a rookie, go ahead. That’s what was wrong with the Raiders’ teams of the past, and just like this franchise, the fan base needs to be patient if they want success. I know lots of fans might comment about having been patient the past ten years and they are done with it, but let it be known that this is a completely different organization and team then we’ve ever seen.