Oakland Raiders: Keys to the Game Against Denver

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Nov 2, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) tackles Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew (21) for a loss during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Oakland 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Running Game Not Being Awful

If you watched the Raiders performance in Seattle against the Seahawks you watched the Oakland offensive line get absolutely pushed around on the line of scrimmage whenever they called a run play, giving little push to the likes of Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew, Latavius Murray and Marcel Reece as the team sputtered to one of the worst rushing performances in franchise history.

That lack of a run game led to rookie quarterback Derek Carr being behind schedule on many third downs, a factor that certainly did not help him early in the game when his two costly interceptions came after he was forced to make a play after run plays stalled for the Raiders. Oakland’s offense have called one of the highest percentages of passing plays in the NFL this season with Carr learning the ropes, something that is directly because of the run game struggling to get going in the majority of their performances this season as the offensive line cannot seem to block for whoever is running the football. Going against the best defensive front in football in the Seahawks, the Raiders came into the game with no chance to ensure that they had a balanced offensive gameplan due to that inability to block for runners.

Losing Gabe Jackson on the offensive line in the fourth quarter, things will be equally as challenging for the Raiders offensive line playing a Broncos front that is every bit as good as the Seahawks this season with Von Miller having a dominant first half for Denver who show no mercy on defense despite the majority of the headlines going to Manning and the offense.

If the Raiders are going to succeed on the offensive side of the football they will need to be better at run blocking, plain and simple. What they have done so far has been unacceptable and while Darren McFadden, MJD and Murray won’t remind anyone of Bo Jackson, Marcus Allen and Charlie Garner it is hard to see any running back in the NFL getting a 100 yard day with the blocking that has been provided. Veteran Khalif Barnes will have to slide into guard and the rest of the offensive line as a whole will have to develop some pride to start pushing opponents off of the ball when run plays are called if Oakland are going to get first downs against the Broncos.