Oakland Raiders Film Room: Week 12 at TEN

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The Final Drive

• Play 1 – 1 & 10, 4:34 in the 4th Quarter

First play of the drive and Oakland knows they have to go 90 yards to score. Raiders utilized the ever-so-popular (and flexible) 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) to attack the defense in multiple areas and force an honest defense. It was an excellent play to begin with because it sent the two slot receivers above and below the middle zone in the Titan’s Cover 3 Dime defense. Rivera’s motion took middle linebacker Avery Williamson closer to the sidelines forcing the two slot DBs to shift mid-play as they passed Crabtree and Cooper along to each other.

It was also very telling as the Raiders were able to see that in crunch time single high safety coverage the Titan will place their safety directly in between Crabtree and Cooper, very weary of the deep pass. Cooper snuck underneath the mid-field zone, and used his after-the-catch skills to get a quick 16 yards, for a great start to the drive.

• Play 2, 1 & 10, 3:54 4th Quarter

The beginning of the early-down pattern emerges with the second play of the drive. The Raiders will always send one or two receivers deep, opening up the field and forcing the safeties to stay back.

The Raiders switch to 01 personnel (0 RBs, 1 TE, 4 WRs) and set up two levels of targets. The lower level all make their breaks at around five yards while Walford and Roberts go for the deep shot. Titans stick to their Cover 3 Zone (Deep field split into three zones, zone coverage underneath) Dime scheme. Once again, Crabtree finds the soft spot under the middle zone and gets the catch for five yards.

There is still plenty of time left on the clock, and now the Titans know the Raiders are absolutely happy with, and capable of marching right down the field with short passes.

• Play 3, 2nd & 5, 3:15 4th Quarter

After two successful passes in the short middle of the field, it makes perfect sense to now test the Titans’ discipline in the deep field. Back in 11 personnel, the Raiders attack the exact same areas of the field, though with somewhat of an inverse route combination. The Titans switch to a Man-free coverage scheme (one deep safety, man coverage underneath), which happens to fit right into the Raiders’ plans.

Contrasted to the second play, having the deep threats on the outside presents a little tougher of a matchup for man defense and a single safety. While running the deep threats on the inside before having them bounce out (looking for the seams) works better against the zone.

Unfortunately, Crabtree couldn’t hold on to the beautiful pass from Derek Carr for what would have been a beautiful play.

• Play 4, 3rd & 5, 3:08 4th Quarter

This is one of the best play calls in the drive, maybe the game. Faced with 3rd and five, Musgrave calls a super predictable Raiders play, with a twist. From 11 personnel, with two in the backfield, he runs all his receivers on routes which break right at the first down marker except for Seth Roberts, who find the soft spot between the safeties.

The Titans switch to a 2-Man scheme (two deep safeties, man coverage underneath) and only send four rushers after Derek Carr, indicating they might have expected a deep threat. But Roberts’ route is run to perfection as he splits the safeties, and Carr delivers a beautifully timed strike for the big 31 yard gain.

• Play 5, 1 & 10, 2:43 4th Quarter

This is the first play in the series that really felt like a bit of a failure. Raiders go back to two in the backfield from 11 personnel, and really just go straight for the deep shot. Titans move back to their Cover 3 Zone (Deep field split into three zones, zone coverage underneath, which again works to the Raiders advantage.

The play starts and Derek Carr looks down the middle of the field for a two count to not tip his hand to the safeties, but completely misses that Andre Holmes breaks wide open into the right seam. Instead, Carr shifts to his predetermined target, Crabtree, and slides out of a solid pocket due to phantom pressure. Luckily, he notices the sliding defender and checks down to TE Lee Smith for a two yard gain. The play nets positive yardage, but is another example of Carr’s weakness to not see the field in front of him when he makes a pre-snap decision.

• Play 6, 2nd & 8, 2:09 4th Quarter

Musgrave tries again to make the deep pass happen by running the same play as in Play 3, but this time Murray stays in to help block the six pass rushers Tennessee sends in front of their Man-Free coverage. Facing man coverage, Cooper generally excels at this kind of fade route, but some combination of the weather and this play result in one of the most mediocre fade routes Cooper has run. He doesn’t break down enough for a stop and go, and he doesn’t make much of a cut to get CB Perrish Cox off balance for the outside break. Carr throws a solid pass, but Cox makes an even better play on the ball for the pass defense.

• Play 7, 3rd & 8, 2:03 4th Quarter

With their backs against the wall, Musgrave reverts to a classic Carr-Raiders 3rd down play. Unlike the beautiful call on the 3rd and 5 in Play 4, this play is far more conservative, and easier to defend.

From 11 personnel with two in the backfield, the three receivers run to the sticks and turn around for the pass, spread out horizontally across the field. The Titans run 2-Man coverage from their Nickel sub-package.

Still, the play works out and Crabtree gets open, but the ball gets away from Carr and the result is an overthrown pass. Most likely the rain just made the ball slip, so there’s not really any blame here.

• Play 8, 4th & 8, 1:57 4th Quarter

This is a gutsy play call for the 4th & 8. On the Titans 36 yard line, the Raiders go for the end zone with three deep routes. Both of the underneath routes take time to develop along with the deeper ones. This call is more understandable on the other side of the two-minute warning, but inside of two minutes it’s insanely risky.

Even worse, Carr does his hero thing and launches the ball to WR Andre Holmes despite the fact that Holmes is breaking from the middle of the field with the safety right over him. Luck strikes twice on this play. First, the Raiders are lucky that the interception in the end zone was dropped. Secondly, the Raiders got a bail-out defensive holding penalty that was so ridiculous the NFL allegedly admitted it was a blown call.

• Play 9, 1st & 10, 1:50 4th Quarter

The seam route strikes again! Now on the Tennessee 31 yard line, it’s time for the Raiders to make the final push into the end zone. Oakland uses a three level concept from 11 personnel to give Carr a variety of options to work with and force Tennessee to cover the entire field. Carr delivers the pass right between the mid and deep zones in the Titans’ Cover 3 Zone. Great call from Musgrave, fantastic pass from Carr. Kudos to Rivera for holding onto the ball after the big hit as well.

• Play 10, 1st & 10, 1:27 4th Quarter

This is one of the best designed plays Oakland has run all season. The right side of the play is designed to stress a Zone defense, forcing the deep defenders on the right side to deal with a vertical stretch right along the area where the receiver would be passed off. The left side of the play is designed to beat man coverage. The Titans went with Man-Free coverage and sent six rushers after Carr, begging for this TD to happen.

Much of the work for this play had been done on the several plays above in which the number 2 receiver (second from the outside) would run a simple 5-7 yard route as the second option behind the deep route. Instead they fake the route, while Cooper draws the cornerback into the middle of the field, and Roberts slips into the corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Victory: Raiders.

The biggest question of this drive is why it took so long to get aggressive with the passing game. The weather wasn’t any better or worse than it was the entire rest of the game, yet the Raiders were able to march right down the field, 90 yards for the touchdown. Hopefully, it will be a lesson to Bill Musgrave and the rest of the Raiders coaching staff that when things slow down they should double down on the strengths of this offense instead of backing down from it.