The grades from the Just Blog Baby staff following the Raiders second half Thanksgiving collapse against the Dallas Cowboys.
Rory Anderson (JBB Podcast cohost)
Rashad Jennings was only able to muster a little over two yards per carry against the porous Cowboys defense, which was the first time he has been held in check since taking over the majority of the carries in the Raiders offense. The saving grace of this grade was that Jennings did get into the endzone twice. I would’ve liked to see Darren McFadden get more than five carries, particularly in the second half when his speed could’ve equated to big plays against a tired defense.
QB Play – B-
A good outing from Matt McGloin, he put the ball in a ton of tight windows and displayed great faith in his wide receivers to go up and make plays. His one glaring mistake came on a ball that was actually well-thrown, but in the direction of Jacoby Ford, who hasn’t known how to attack the football since 2010. Lesson learned.
Blocking – D+
Jared Veldheer was back, and he looked powerful as ever. Demarcus Ware wasn’t having a lot of success against him, so he switched to the other side where Tony Pashos kept him out of the stat box as well. Matt McGloin didn’t get sacked at all, in fact, which is a great feat against an elite pass rusher like Ware. Veldheer did show some mental rustiness, occasionally blocking the wrong man on running plays, and Khalif Barnes appeared to be having a little difficulty transitioning to the left guard position. I would attribute the lack of success running the ball to the offensive line, which is particularly unacceptable against a weak defense, hence the harsh grade.
Andre Holmes and Rod Streater have the potential to be a very, very good receiving tandem, and they showed why on Thursday. Matt McGloin was 10-15 for 193 yards when targeting one of the two. Mychal Rivera made a few key catches as well, his role has expanded recently and I would expect that trend to continue. It seems like the more the Raiders try to get Jacoby Ford involved, the worse it gets. With Holmes bursting onto the scene the way he did, Ford’s minor role in the offense will probably become nonexistent very soon.
Defensive Line- D-
Thursday was the worst showing of the year from a normally upper-level group. The lineman who provided the most pressure on Tony Romo was backup defensive tackle Daniel Muir. No one in the unit looked powerful or explosive, and caused little-to-no disruption in the Cowboys offense all four quarters.
Sio Moore disappeared again. Well, he showed up to get a personal foul, but that was about it. Rookie inconsistency is to be expected, but it is inevitably frustrating. Nick Roach was the biggest bright spot of the entire defense, sporting 6 run stops and 2 sacks of Dallas QB Tony Romo. Roach has really come on as of late.
Dallas QB Tony Romo was able to complete a pretty high percentage of his passes, but I didn’t hate the way that the Oakland secondary played. They contested a lot of throws, and were almost always there to make the tackle immediately. Mike Jenkins had a nice day, forcing Dez Bryant to cough up a fumble, although he then allowed Dez to score a touchdown on him. Not a lot of guys stop Dez in the endzone, however.
Special Teams- B
The big forced fumble on the opening kickoff that was returned for a touchdown by Greg Jenkins set the tone and rolled momentum in the Raiders favor right out of the gate. Otherwise, a fairly pedestrian day for the special-teamers: Sebastian Janikowski made his only attempt of the day, a 45-yarder off the right hash. Marquette King put two punts inside the 20 yard line, and had only one touchback on five kicks.