It's beginning to look a lot like 2003-2009. The Raiders completely melted down in the second half, being outscored 28-3 and losing 35-13 to the Miami Dolphins. Even more disconcerting, their run defense looked like the same old sieve it has been the last decade, allowing a total of two yards overall.
On the flip side, Darren McFadden was completely ineffective again, running 11 times for 22 yards. The Raiders only amassed 23 yards on 13 carries.
The inability to slow down the run made life much easier for Ryan Tannehill, who picked on the combination of Joselio Hanson and Pat Lee to find Brian Hartline nine times for 111 yards. Most of those passes came on comeback or out routes that saw Hanson and Lee playing seven to nine yards off the receiver, making it easy to pitch and catch for Miami.
Earlier in the week, I targeted five keys to a Raider win. First, pressure Ryan Tannehill. The Raiders managed one sack in the second quarter by Matt Shaughnessy, but they were mostly unable to collapse the pocket consistently. That enabled Tannehill to go 18-of-30 for 200 yards and his first NFL touchdown.
Second, I thought the Raiders needed to win the turnover battle. As it turned out, they had one turnover and the Dolphins none, but that was not really a determining factor as the only turnover in the game came with the score 35-13. The reality was, the Raiders were simply outmanned in the second half.
Third, my feeling was that the Raiders needed to stretch the field. There were only a couple of deep shots, but Brandon Myers was able to get down the field from the tight end position, catching six passes for 86 yards.
The big play of the game was a 64-yard touchdown on a catch-and-run to Mike Goodson, but the Raiders' passing game was largely hindered because they had absolutely no running game to set it up with.
Fourth, stopping the run was paramount. Needless to say, the Raiders failed miserably. When it was all said and done, the Dolphins ran 42 times for 259 yards.
If there was one thing the Raiders needed to do, it was stop the run at all costs. Instead, Miami shoved the ball down the Raiders' throat in the second half and completely imposed its will on the Raiders for the third straight year. When everyone knows what you need to do and you still can't do it, needless to say, that's a big problem.
Lastly, I felt stopping and converting third downs would be an important factor. While nothing was a bigger factor than the Raiders' awful showing in the running game, the Raiders allowed 9-of-17 conversions by the Dolphins while going a miserable 1-of-12 on third downs themselves. Too many three and outs and extended drives led to another typical game where the defense wore down.
Nothing in the short term can fix the deficiencies this team appears to possess (bad running game, poor cornerback play, putrid special teams). If Carson Palmer has to throw 48 times in a game, it is usually going to be a bad loss.
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