This is the most frustrated that I think I’ve ever been as a Raiders fan. I’ve sat through eleven Raider teams that won fewer than six games, I’ve sat through long losing streaks, several busts, a fumble that was called an incomplete pass, bad coaches, and even a playoff game without our starting quarterback. But starting off 0-3 when the team could, and probably should be 3-0, is soul-crushing. Oh well, another game, another second half collapse, let’s talk about why the Raiders lost this week.
Oakland Raiders Observations: Week Three
Get The Lame Excuses Out of The Way
Let me get the excuses out of the way. In Miami, it’s hot and humid, the Raiders were in their worst time zone, and they were forced to wear black jerseys. That’s the only excuse I can make for this team. For the second week in a row, the defense was gassed in the fourth quarter, and despite an awesome start, they just fell apart when it mattered the most. Maybe they had a ton of adversity against them thanks to mother nature, but their job is to be in peak physical condition for all sixty minutes and this is becoming a problem, scratch that, it already is.
A Isn’t for Effort, but E Is
The play that perfectly epitomized this loss to me? At the end of the first quarter, Derek Carr lobbed it deep to Amari Cooper, and it was intercepted by Xavien Howard. At first the throw looked horrible, as there were three Dolphins in the vicinity and no Raiders, but upon further review, Cooper had stopped running and given up on the route. This completely sums up everything about the Raiders.
Amari Cooper gives up on deep route; Derek Xarr doesn’t. Neither does Xavien Howard pic.twitter.com/59ukvEiton
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) September 24, 2018
Should Derek Carr have thrown that pass into triple coverage? No. Should Amari Cooper ever stop running a route, regardless of whether he thinks he’s going to be targeted? No. Did it end up costing the Raiders dearly? Absolutely. But this perfectly epitomizes Oakland’s problem.
Bad intentions, poor execution, and a lack of effort when it mattered most. Not to mention interceptions to Howard, because that ended up being the only thing that really mattered in this game.
The Dreadzone and The Fourth Quarter
Here are some fun stats.
The Raiders in the first quarter this season: Winning 17-7
The Raiders in the second quarter this season: Winning 18-10
The Raiders in the third quarter this season: Losing 27-17
The Raiders in the fourth quarter this season: Losing 37-3
Against the Los Angeles Rams, the Raiders had a three point lead at the half. They ended up losing by 20.
Against the Denver Broncos, the Raiders had a 12 point lead at the half. They ended up losing by one.
Against the Miami Dolphins, the Raiders had a three point lead at the half. They ended up losing by eight.
The Raiders have had the ball for twenty one minutes and 48 seconds out of the 45 fourth quarter minutes they’ve played this year. That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize they had the ball for ten minutes in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins.
And so far this season, the Raiders have been in their opponent’s redzone nine times, and they’ve only scored five touchdowns. That doesn’t sound too bad, but then you realize they only scored seven times.
This week was the worst, the Raiders had an interception and a turnover on downs. To get that close to the endzone, only to come up with nothing? It’s horrible, especially when the team ended up losing by what is ultimately a single score.
For some god awful reason, the Raiders can’t seem to generate any offense in the fourth quarter and they blow far too many opportunities in the redzone. As long as the Raiders can’t do these two things, they can’t possibly expect to succeed.
Onto… Hue Jackson and the Cleveland Browns
The Oakland Raiders are going to be underdogs hosting the Cleveland Browns and a rookie quarterback, Baker Mayfield, making his first career start. Let that sink in. They say winning cures all, but losing? That can be pretty devastating. Against a man who was fired after going 8-8, a loss could be pretty horrible.
Let’s not have that happen.