So we talked about the 29 unanswered points already, but the problem is, it’s unfortunate that the Raiders once again found themselves in a position where they needed to erase a deficit.
As fun (but mostly stressful) as they 4th quarter comebacks are, at some point, this isn’t something that the Raiders can just bank on happening. So they have to find a solution to erase these slow starts.
Maybe it’s coaching, and the game scrips to start the game need to be reworked. Maybe it’s on the players, and they just take some time to get settled in.
It could be, and likely is, a variety of reasons as to why the Raiders struggle early in games. But with a potential playoff trip on the horizon, they do not want to find themselves in a two-possession hole to a playoff-caliber team.
Drops and Penalties
This was the theme of the first half — drops and penalties.
Seth Roberts and Michael Crabtree both dropped what would have been touchdowns, and by the count of several people, myself included, the Raiders dropped five passes in total on Sunday.
Which also has been a theme for the season. And actually:
Outside of the drops, there were several costly penalties that hurt the team. The biggest one was an Austin Howard penalty for illegal formation that wiped out 51-yard completion.
There were also just several unnecessary penalties that need to be cleaned up. So if the Raiders can play a clean brand of football — limited penalties, no drops, no turnover, etc. — they will begin to dominate games.
The Raiders have the fourth worst run defense in the NFL, allowing an average of 124.8 yards per game on the ground. Against LeSean McCoy and company, the Bills ran wild for 212 yards on 30 carries (7.0 YPC) along with 3 TDs.
McCoy led the way with 130 yards on 17 carries (7.6 YPC), with 54-yards being his longest gain. He didn’t find pay-dirt, however.
Mike Gillislee ran hard for 49 yards on 8 carries, picking up two of Buffalo’s rushing touchdowns. Tyrod had the third.
Stopping the run, in my opinion, is the weakest phase of Oakland’s defense. It’s something they’ve rarely shown they can succeed with. They can’t just sit around for Mario Edwards Jr. and Aldon Smith to save them, and need to do something to get this part of the defense patched up.
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