The Raiders dropped to 1-4 in an emotional loss to the Falcons, today. The Raiders, coming off their bye week, looked to catch the Falcons off guard as they played physically all afternoon, especially on defense.
Matt Ryan, who many believe is the early front runner for MVP, was knocked around and ended up throwing 3 interceptions to a Raiders defense that had not had an interception for their first four games.
The Raiders also clamped down on the running game of Atlanta, with the entire Falcon team running 15 times for 45 yards, an average of only 3 yards/carry. That includes a 15 yard scramble by Matt Ryan, however, and if that is taken out the RBs ran 14 times for only 30 yards, a 2.14 yd/carry average.
In fact, the Raiders led in almost every statistical category. What did the team in, eventually, was penalties and turnovers. The Raiders had only been flagged 19 times coming into the game but drew 12 flags in this game, alone, a few of them holding plays that brought a number of long runs back. The Raiders also had 3 turnovers - 2 fumbles and and interception - all of which killed precious momentum for the squad and kept Atlanta's normally-potent offense in the game.
There are a few bright spots that can be taken from the game, even with a loss. First, the team showed that it can hang in with the best teams in the league. They were very close to beating Atlanta which remains the only unbeaten team this year.
Furthermore, the coaching staff made some decisions that many fans will be happy about. Most importantly, the team decided to take Rolando McClain out of their nickel package on defense, opting instead to keep standout SLB Philip Wheeler and rookie Miles BUrris on the field over the former first round pick McClain.no comments