Things didn’t turn out the way the Raiders would have liked on Sunday afternoon in Buffalo, but what do you expect from a team that had a short week after an emotional win going back on the road across the country? That’s why the smart money would have been on Buffalo in the weekly office pool. But the Raiders did show something the other day that they can hang their hat on. They showed everybody the team they are going to become -- the team they were in the first half of football on Sunday.
Perhaps you turned your television off while cursing on Sunday. Perhaps you left the stadium thinking the Raiders got robbed or even worse, quit. No matter how you felt, when you reflect on it you should understand that you saw something special developing… at least early in the game.
During that first half of competition, the Raiders absolutely owned the Buffalo Bills, and Bills fans probably thought their game against the Kansas City Chiefs in week one was a fluke -- especially when they saw that the Detroit Lions were dismantling the Chiefs in week two action. Perhaps it was a fluke and just maybe the second half against the Raiders was a fluke as well.
But I don’t want to sugar coat it because it is what it is. Like Coach Hue Jackson has said several times since the final whistle blew, the bottom line is that the Raiders need to get better. They need to score more points on offense, give up less on defense, and they need to get it done on special teams. I think it is safe to say that when they do that, they look like a machine more than a professional football team.
The Bills saw that first hand on Sunday when the Raiders came in and obliterated anything that looked remotely similar to the team that put up 41 in week one. The Bills offense couldn’t do anything. They were getting in the quarterback's face, they were shutting down a potent combination of Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, they had an interception, and they had a blocked field goal.
Meanwhile their counterpart, the Raider offense, was moving the ball efficiently despite not having Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Kevin Boss at their disposal. The offense was looking like that new team motto that Coach Jackson has given his players, “Next man up.”
In spite of all that though, the Raiders must have gone into the locker room and taken a nap, because they came out of that locker room flat and on their heels. Someone must have told them they had already won this contest and it was time to board the plane and go back to Oakland. Yet it wasn’t. And anybody who had the opportunity to watch the game was let down. As has been heavily documented, the Raiders gave up five touchdowns in five second half drives, while only scoring two themselves.
Now, the offense they didn’t have the ball much in the second half with all of that scoring the Bills were doing, In the end, the offense did not lose the game for the team, they simply ran out of time.
Football is a game that requires the most effort from the entire team to get a win. For example, in basketball, you might see Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have high scores and the Heat win, but in this case, Jason Campbell, Denarius Moore, and Darren McFadden had high statistical games and the team still lost. That’s because there are only three other starters besides Wade and James in the game of basketball compared to 19 other starters in the game of football.
Still, if you are a Raider fan, which I know most of you reading this are, then you know that what you saw in the first half on Sunday was that bully that Hue Jackson has talked about building. That was a team playing with all cylinders clicking. That was the first glimpse of what Coach Jackson and his staff thinks this team can become.
The second half of this game was a fluke. It won’t happen that way again because the lesson has been learned, that games are won when you play that way for 60 minutes, not for 30. It was a difficult lesson to learn, but if it had to be learned that way, you like to see it learned early on in the season.
This year, the Raiders might not have a dream team, but they might have a team that will give other teams nightmares on Saturday nights.
Follow me on Twitter @Raidersblogger
On a more positive note though, Oakland are a team really turning things around.
The offense, from the QB down, looks really good. Pass protection is great. Run Blocking is great. Good QB play. Receivers look good.
Which is a big step forward from last year, where the team couldn't complete a pass until about week 10!
Oakland remind me of Houston a few years ago. You can see they have talent, and could be a really good team, but you're just waiting for it all to click..........................
What I'm saying is, you can go from hopeless, to Superbowl very quickly in this league, if you have the talent. All it will take in Houston for them to be real contenders is the right D coordinator - Wade Phillips.
Same could happen to Oakland. Just need the right chemistry.
By the way, the elephant in the room is the Oakland D line.
They got ZERO pressure the entire game, and were completely dominated. They all lost their match ups, royally. Not only was their QB not sacked, but he wasn't even touched, and had all day to make plays.
If you watch Oakland over the last few years - if the D line plays well, they generally have a good game defenisively. If they stink, we get torched.
I'm not saying we have awesome pass D, but you can't really blame them completely, when they're trying to cover man on man, for like 4-5 seconds a play.
If you give good QBs time to make plays, they usually do, no matter what the cornerbacks do.
nice article Bret. my thoughts exactly even before reading this piece! you can see for yourself on B/R ... we think alike as far as seeing a potentially deadly offense. AS LONG AS MOORE AND HAGAN START, with Boss catching balls underneath, this will be a very great offense. much hinges on DMAC staying healthy ...
when was the last time this offense looked this good the first 2 weeks of the season?! they don't even click like this against bad teams... like TEN last year week 1.
even if we lose close games in the next 3, we can easily beat CLE, KC, and DEN the following ones. even MIN with an old Mac5 QB'ing.
The Raiders are definitely heading in the right direction, offensively, but the defense has taken a huge step backwards. Losing Asomugha has proven to be disasterous, and the Raiders need to fix their pass defense or its going to be a long season. The next two games are very important, and we have to put pressure on Sanchez and Brady, or both these games could be very dangerously high scoring.
Totally disagree with your assessment that the second half was a fluke Bret. The Bills had a very effective game plan and threw quick short passes that Chuck B had no answer to. Five drives for five TD's is no fluke. The Bills QB didn't throw a pass 15 yards past the line of scrimmage, but our pass D couldn't deal with it. Our D-Line didn't get anywhere near the QB all game long. Other teams will look at that and do exactly the same, and also target CJ as well.
I think that was the worst defensive display that Ive seen in c.30 years of being a Raiders fan ... and god knows, there has been some still opposition over that time. Embarrassing is the only word for it. Brady could go over 1,000 yds in one game. ... and the disappointing thing is that this has been obvious from day 1 in preseason .... we would likely have lost to Denver too, if lolorton hadnt dropped the ball ...
D lost the game, JC, DMaC and Moore kept us going strong but in the end, our D F@#$ing Collapsed, gave up, what have you. This cant happen if we want to make a push for Playoffs. If we play like the first half in all our other games, we definitely will be the Bullies Jack wants us to be, NE gonna give us a game on Sun, we play like we did w/ Bills, there's no damn chance. I know we can beat NE, but do the Raiders??
I don't personally rate Hagan ahead of Heyward Bey, in terms of talent, or production.
They've both made similar plays in their one start. Similar catches.
Heyward Bey will get the start, as he's a deep threat (even if he does drop it - it's still something for defenses to plan against).
I seriously think DHB will have a good season. He caught everything that came his way in week 1. Including a real, top quality, deep ball, that was ruled out as he stepped out of bounds
Was the D that good last season?
You know, we may have had a good pass D, but that was only because teams could run 250 yards on us, so didn't bother risking throwing it!
If you ask me, the D looks pretty similar. Giving up heaps of yards to good offenses, and dominating the bad ones
@Spartacus wrong again. we can go 1-4 ... but then we face CLE, KC, then DEN ... which sound like a 3 game winning streak to me. we are far superior than they are... and will be too much for them to handle. when you throw in MIN and SD the following 2, it's looking very up for this ballclub.
SURELY you thought about the rest of the games after these two right? i guess you didnt, AS USUAL. just like VELDHEER SUX COMPARED TO BULAGA... correct? haha
@DevonRaiderUK If it wasn't a fluke then they should be able to do it at least one more time this season and should be consistently scoring TOUCHDOWNS, mind you, not field goals, in the second half of the rest of their games. It was totally a fluke. It won't happen again, to them or the Raiders this season
Check the KC score the week before and you'll see the Bills did consistently score TD's! OK not five in a row but they produced. Using your logic you could say that not scoring ANY TD's in the first half was a total fluke also! Granted that the Bills Offense is not All-World but your assessment indicates the Bills got lucky in this game and I dont think they did. They had a good game plan to negate the rush and our DB's couldn't deal with it. I dont pretend to know how to combat the short passing game that worked so well for the Bills but the Raiders coaching staff are sure going to see a lot more of it.