The stage was set as the Raiders faced off against the New England Patriots in what was billed as a matchup of top teams. Both were 2-1 with the Raiders coming off a big win over the Jets and the Patriots coming off a big loss to the Bills.
The mistakes began early in this game and plagued the Raiders throughout the afternoon. If there is anything we know about the Patriots, they thrive by capitalizing on mistakes.
The Raiders' offense looked good on the first drive just as it had all season. With the help of a couple of long catches by Darren McFadden (15 yards) and Kevin Boss (23 yards), they were quickly in the red zone. But a block in the back penalty on the next play pushed them into first and 20 at the 28 yard line and they couldn't get it back, settling for a field goal.
A field goal on any Raider drive is a victory for a Patriots team that scores in bunches on offense but gives up nearly as much on defense. You immediately got the feeling that missed opportunity would be a costly one.
The Raiders continued their mistakes when the Patriots got the ball. The defense came out swinging and looked to hold the Patriots to a three and out, but Richard Seymour was called for a roughing the passer penalty. The whistle had apparently blown but with the crowd noise Seymour didn't hear it and threw Brady down anyway. Instead of a three and out, the Patriots had a first down.
"They said that they blew the whistle," said Seymour. "But it was so loud I never heard a whistle, but the ref said it was unnecessary roughness, but I was like, 'He wasn't down,' but they said I tried to sling him down, or whatever the case."
Hue Jackson was also not happy about the call on the field.
"Well all I can say is what the official said," said Jackson. "I know what I thought. I thought it was very loud and you couldn't tell. When the ball was snapped our players are taught to make sure... you think it's a live ball. The quarterback has it, you got to take him down. What they said to me is it was the way he took him down was flagrant and so they called a penalty. Obviously I felt different about it."
A few plays later Seymour would be called for a facemask penalty. Those two plays accounted for 30 yards of the drive and the result was a Patriots touchdown.
Those three penalties kept the Raiders from a chance at scoring a touchdown and gave the Patriots a touchdown.
Then they got the ball back with a chance to atone for those mistakes. They drove into Patriot territory after converting on two third downs. They lined up with four wide receivers both times. The first time resulted in a wide open Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 16 yard gain. The second was a dump pass to Michael Bush that went for seven yards and a first down.
The Raiders would drive all the way to the Patriots' 40 yard line and were faced with fourth and two. At that point, the two top options are to go for it or to try a Sebastian Janikowski field goal attempt. The Raiders opted to take the third option and punted. The decision wasn't the aggressive one that you would expect from a coach who is "living on the edge," especially in a game we knew the Raiders would need to score a lot of points.
Hue was asked about his decision after the game.
"It goes back to the same thing to making a decision, when I get a good feel about our kicker if he can make it. Either you stick him out there and let him kick it or you pin them back there and see if you can hold them and get field position. At that particular point in time, I made a decision to punt the ball.
"I didn't want to [go for it] at that particular point in time. I thought it was most important at that time to try to play defense and see if we can pin them back there and hold them back there. Obviously there will be all kinds of decisions you wish you could have back but at the end of the day I felt very good with exactly how that part of it went."
However, the decision wasn't disastrous and after a short drive, the Raiders would get the ball back. Then on the first three plays Darren McFadden broke off a huge 41 yard run followed by a 17 yard scramble by Jason Campbell and then a 23 yard catch by Kevin Boss to put the Raiders in first and goal from the seven. They scored a touchdown two plays later to take the lead back 10-7.
This quick scoring drive would prove to be the last of the game for the Raiders. And the lead didn't last long either.
Just as they had after the Raiders' field goal to begin the game, the Patriots answered the Raiders' score with a touchdown of their own, picking up huge chunks of yardage in both the passing game and the running game. They would take back the lead 14-10 and never relinquish it.
On the following Raider drive, they drove to first and goal at the seven again thanks in part to a big 29 yard end around run by Jacoby Ford. But on the next play Campbell had the most mysteriously terrible throw I have probably ever seen from him. He dropped back, couldn't find an open receiver and simply threw the ball right into the middle of the field where there were three Patriot defenders and not a single Raider receiver anywhere in sight.
"Just a bonehead [play]," said Campbell. "Like I was going to throw the ball outside, and I started running around trying to make a play. It was just one of them, I've gotta throw it out of bounds... I kind of lost control of it a little bit as I was throwing it... I probably beat myself up more than anybody would, because I pride myself on taking care of the football and put the team in a good position to win, and unfortunately I didn't do that."
The interception was a backbreaker for the Raiders who desperately needed to answer the Patriots again and score before halftime. Instead, the Patriots took the ball and had a drive of their own to hit a field goal and head into the locker room up 17-10.
After halftime, it was more of the same, and the tide shifted toward the Patriots and did not return. They took the opening drive for a touchdown. The Patriots converted two third downs on that drive—one a 32 yard pass to Wes Welker, the other a 33 yard run for the touchdown. The 33 yard touchdown run was by rookie Steven Ridley and it was the first of his career. The Patriots were pulling away 24-10.
In response, the Raiders again were able to move the ball downfield but again kept out of the endzone. This time a questionable... no I don't need to dance around it, it was a terrible call, derailed their chances. A flag was thrown for pass interference as Jacoby Ford was tripped by his defender at the two yard line. The call was overruled as incidental contact. The problem with the ruling was Ford was tripped up while the defender was facing him and in his kitchen and didn't turn to look for the ball until Ford was already on the turf and the ball was in the air. That is a pass interference any way you look at it. But regardless, the Raiders couldn't pick up the first down and settled for a field goal.
Then it was time for the Patriots to answer with another touchdown, which they did thanks to another large helping of Wes Welker. The drive took the game into the fourth quarter and left little time for the Raiders to mount a comeback--a comeback that would require three scores as they were down 30-13.
They tried though and were given a boost after a 26 yard screen catch on first down. Then a third down conversion on a 14 yard catch by Darrius Heyward-Bey kept hope alive. A helmet to helmet roughing penalty on the Patriots would put the Raiders in scoring position at the 30 yard line. But another Campbell interception, this time to nose tackle Vince Wilfork, would kill another scoring opportunity.
As crucial as every scoring opportunity was in this game, the Raiders were now battling the clock and that interception all but sealed their fate. From there the Patriots ground out the clock. The Raiders got the ball back with under two minutes left and were able to score a meaningless touchdown. The drive featured a 58 yard catch by Darrius Heyward-Bey—the longest of his career. It ended with a 6 yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore. A failed onsides kick would make it official.
The Raiders are now 2-2 and the two losses they had were the two games Jason Campbell had over 300 yards passing. In their two wins he had under 108 and 153 yards passing respectively. He also had just his second and third interceptions in this game. The only other interception he had was on the hail mary pass to end the Bills game in week two.
Wes Welker was the story of the game. He had 9 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown and had his way with the Raiders' beat up secondary.
Darren McFadden put up near his usual numbers. In each game this season he has had between 150 and 175 yards from scrimmage. He had 123 yards from scrimmage on 75 yards rushing and 48 yards receiving. He had just 14 carries however which gave him 5.4 yards per carry but his absence from the offense was noticeable. He sat out the entire second quarter for what Hue said was injury related.
"I'm not going to tell you it was just an injury," said Jackson. "There's some things we have to check on him, I think he came back in the game... I know there was something there for a second, but he's fine."
Kevin Boss had his best game as a Raider. It was just his second game back and he finished with 4 catches for 78 yards. He had a near touchdown in garbage time that would have made his day look better. It is just his second game back after missing a month with injury.
The Raiders actually outgained the Patriots in net yards 504 to 409 but it was the penalties and turnovers that did them in. The Patriots had difficulty with the raucous sold-out crowd, but the prolonged drives quieted the crowd early and noise was not a factor after the initial drive.
Next week the Raiders will have to deal with the crowd noise in Houston against a Texans team that beat up on the Steelers today. That will be another tough test as they will hope not to dip below .500. If they hope to have any shot, it will require a lot of film work and a short term memory.
Everyone talks about the Patriots' ability to bounce back after a loss. If the Raiders ever hope to be a contender, they will need to do the same.
|New England Patriots (3-1-0)||Oakland Raiders (2-2-0)|
yep - agree with pretty much everything you say .. tough loss :(
one thing that really jumps out from the first 4 games is the run defense: v Broncos/Jets (power) we do pretty well .. keeping it to a 3.5ish average, but when we play spread/finesse teams like Bills/Pats, it is horrible .. we give up 7+ yards/rush ...
to be honest, this game was lost on the campbell pick in the end zone. we were set to potentially take the lead and he threw a horrible pass that was picked, and they go the length of the field and get some more points and they were getting it after half time. despite all the dumb stuff that happened earlier, we had a chance to get them on their heels for the half and we blew it, point blank. also, is dmac hurt or what? tired of seeing him off the field so much. our run defense is atrocious, they better be dialing tatupu's number as im typing. hell, call darren sharper as well.
Apart from the picks Campbell threw I thought the offence looked quite good. The Defense is a whole different story. They're starting to believe their own hype of being the best front 7 in football, which is an absolute joke. The Patriots O-line totally man-handled the Raiders D. We never got Brady out of a rhythm and made the average Pats RB's look amazing. Jarvis Moss was the only D-lineman to consistantly get pressure.
This was definitely a tough loss. The Raiders played good enough to win this game, but the horrible calls by the refs and poor execution from the defense really cost us any opportunity we had.
The Patriots were just better prepared and more disciplined, and truely benefitted from the lousy officiating....
On a positive note, Campbell really spread the offense well, and I am just so impressed with his leadership and poise. He had two costly picks, but when a team throws the ball a lot, picks are going to happen, so we can't hold that to much against him. I am so glad the Raiders stuck with Campbell and got rid of Gradkowski. Al Davis made a truely great call on that one.... I was amazed to see DHB make that 58 yard reception at the end of the game (career long), and there are definite signs that he is improving as a player. DHB needs to work on his consistency, though, and not take games off like he did against the Jets. He also needs a lot of work in the Red Zone, and has to learn to get a feel for making Touchdown catches. He is still a work in progress, but his performance against the Patriots gives me some hope. Denarius Moore did not have a huge game, but this kid has a feel for the Red Zone, and made a nice touchdown catch. Moore is a playmaker and a scorer, and the Raiders need a guy like him who can make plays in the end zone, something which the other receivers have struggled with...
The Seymour roughing the passer and non call on the Pass Interference were BS. What did they expect Seymour to do? Put Brady down nicely on the ground so he doesn't get hurt? And why would the whistle be blown before Brady was even put on the ground? What if he had escaped? I thought there was a few other cases also where we should have got some calls and they were "missed". Very disappointing umpiring.
Enough of the excuses though. The Patriots defense planned perfectly for stopping McFadden and really showed that you take McFadden out of the game and force the pass we can be beaten quite easily which is a worrying sign considering how bad their defense has played to start the season. Take away the 41 yard run from McFadden and his other 13 carries gained a measly 34 yards (2.6 avg!). Not to mention the way the Patriots bunch of average RBs all running against us looking like All Pros.
I really thought we had more shot at beating the Patriots than we did the Jets! Here's hoping it was just a bad day and maybe some over cockyness from beating the Jets. Hopefully we can pull of a win against the Texans (who may be missing Johnson, but now have Foster back) and we could very well go into the bye 5-2.
". The Patriots defense planned perfectly for stopping McFadden and really showed that you take McFadden out of the game and force the pass we can be beaten quite easily"I wouldn't go that far. We torched the Patriots rushing and passing all day. We just didn't score because of individual errors.
You know, we put up the same yards as the patriots. Campbell's completion percentage was identical to Brady's. As was his number of attempts.
They got 31 and we didn't, as they didn't throw 2 picks in the red zone
@nilbymouth The refs were definately not too good! Really hated the PI that was called back, so typical when playing the Pats!
D-Mac was stopped pretty efficiently, and that is kind of hard to accept after they missed Haynesworth and Mayo partially as well! Would like to see some statistics on the rungame though, cause it seemed we ran it more through the middle than to the left (and not at all to the right, which is their strong run side) - would have liked to see some more outside runs as the LBs are pretty slow!
And as you say, it was clearly worsened by the fact that they ran through, around and over us all day! Crazy to see how easy it is to rip us apart and it will only get worse next game (remember last time?) unless something is changed drastically! The LBs can't keep their gap control and are blown off by blockers way to easily which is even worse when the Safeties regularily is out of position, too late or take a bad angle when trying to run support (anyone has an analysis of the S play? Rob didn't really get anything, was Missile Mike on him the majority? Didn't notice..)!
Embarressing to watch, and Chuckie needs to do something different - more zone so the CBs can see and help the play, put the SS in the box every possible rundown, play 4-4 .. Whatever, but something has to change!
The Texans zoneblocking scheme is really effective in isolating the LB or S to make a tackle, and the way we are playing that is definately not a good thing! The way we play with the man scheme it is more suited for the 3-4 when trying to stop the run, as the 4 Dline (and often one of the OLBs) often are too far ahead to get back and make the play when the LB has missed the tackle, so when the S also misses it is a very long gain as the CBs are turned and the LB support are many yards away..
Another thing - why was Joey on Wes so often? Understand that sometimes changes and breaks can require this, but having a pure speedster on the best routerunning WR on so many snaps is just not good planning imo (although Mr. Porter did ok all things considering)..
@ChristopherMooney I personally am not to concerned about the offence... With the Pats sticking to stopping the run I think, we showed that we aren't just a running team. Just like against the Bills we do have a vertical game when needed, but, just like the Bills and when Dmac fumbled the Ints by Jason were, although very uncharacteristic, so important! The 1st Int was just, well, he won't do that again.
I trust Campbell and am almost pleased he had this game against the Pats where we will find it hard to get a win, rather than against the Chiefs or Browns, for example, where we all expect a big fat W!
I hope Raider fans are fair to him and don't act like Bronco fans with their unreasonable behaviour over Orton, which quite frankly show me how stupid their fans are, or maybe it is something to do with the lack of oxygen at Mile High!
What I would hate to see if when Pryor is ready I am a bit worried that Raider fans will start calling his name instead of getting behind Campbell...
What does seriously concern me... really really... Is Chucky's defence! I love the direction in coaches, players which Al is taking us but employing Chuck, again. wasn't a good decision. We are almost last in receiving and rushing yards conceded! If we want to be a playoff team, quite frankly this is unacceptable! Puts to much pressure on the offence and Jason.
Next off-season, I would love to see a new DC in place! Jeff Fisher could well be looking for a return to football next season and I would love to see him as a DC for the Raiders..
Problem is it doesn't matter how many yards you net if you cannot score points. You don't win games by having the most yards.
@nilbymouth Oh, yeah, and Giordiano is crap! Looking forward to him being off the field when both Huff, Missile Mike and Branch are all ready next week!