The Oakland Raiders played two quarterbacks, got a much-needed boost to the offense from fullback Marcel Reece and scored more than 24 points for just the third time this season. It still wasn’t enough to snap their losing streak, which is now at three straight following a 37-27 loss to the New York Jets.
Oakland has dropped 13 straight games in the eastern time zone, extending a streak that is now four years old and counting. The Raiders have also lost five of their last six to fall to 4-9, assuring themselves of an 11th consecutive non-winning season.
This was a collapse in all three phases, too, against a Jets team that has major problems and worries of their own.
Here are the top takeaways from Oakland’s latest setback.
Sebastian Janikowski’s dismal season continues, and he’s not going to get any empathy from anyone following his latest gaffe.
An interception by linebacker Kevin Burnett set the Raiders up in good shape for a potential game-tying field-goal attempt. Janikowski, however, pushed his 52-yard attempt wide right, his third miss in the last five tries and eighth overall this season.
The eight misses are Janikowski’s most since he went 33 of 41 in 2010 and just two shy of his career high. Jano did make two attempts, from 41 and 40 yards, but his miss loomed large in the fourth quarter when Oakland trailed by 10 points and needed two scores instead of one.
At this point any talk of problems between Janikowski and holder Marquette King should fall on deaf ears. Janikowski has been erratic all season, and whether it’s mental or physical, the bottom line is that he just hasn’t been getting the job done this year.
Maybe now offensive coordinator Greg Olson will take Marcel Reece a little more seriously.
Given a chance to carry the ball more than twice every other game, Reece powered his way to a season-high 123 yards on 19 carries, including a 63-yard touchdown run up the middle when he outraced a pair of Jets defensive backs into the end zone.
Reece finished with 161 yards in total offense, one of the few bright spots in a mostly disappointing afternoon.
The Raiders went into the day without their top three running backs and had used converted defensive back Taiwan Jones in practice earlier this week. Reece, who has been woefully underused all season, wasn’t even in the discussion.
Reece has produced steadily whenever given a chance to start for Oakland during his career. With Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings both set to become free agents in the offseason, it will be interesting to see if the Raiders consider Reece for the job.
It would be foolish if they don’t.
Linebacker Sio Moore laughed off the notion of hitting the proverbial rookie wall, and it’s hard to argue based on the way he’s played for the majority of the past four weeks.
Oakland’s third-round draft pick was the Raiders’ most aggressive defender all game, even after he had to leave the game briefly following what appeared to be a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jets running back Chris Ivory.
Moore had two big tackles for losses, another two near the line of scrimmage and finished with seven overall.
As big as Sebastian Janikowski’s missed field goal was, it wasn’t the only mistake by Oakland’s special teams.
Marquette King had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown, the second time that’s happened this season. To put that in perspective, the Raiders allowed only four touchdowns total during the 13 seasons Shane Lechler was punting.
There was also a foolish decision by Greg Jennings to return a kick he had no business bringing out of the end zone.
Even when Janikowski appeared to make a good attempt at an onside kick late in the fourth quarter, Kaelin Burnett failed to hold onto the ball despite initially getting both arms wrapped around it.
Oakland’s special teams have generally held up well, with the exception of Janikowski. But on a day when everything that could go wrong for the Raiders essentially did, coach Bobby April’s unit wasn’t without fault.
Matt McGloin had a fairly decent afternoon, all things considered, but a lot of credit goes to the Raiders’ wide receiving tandem of Rod Streater and Andre Holmes, both of whom bailed out the young quarterback throughout the day.
Streater caught seven passes for 130 yards and scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass that was originally intended for tight end Jeron Mastrud. Streater got a fortunate break on the play when a pair of New York defensive backs collided, allowing him to race almost uncontested into the end zone.
Holmes caught two passes from McGloin and three overall. All three gained first downs, including a 40-yard reception Holmes made after the Raiders had been backed up near their own goal line.
Tight end Mychal Rivera chipped in with five catches and a touchdown, continuing a steady season for the rookie.
Kevin Burnett makes an interception
Early on this season, it looked like the Raiders defense would be the backbone of the team. Lately, however, defensive coordinator Jason Tarver’s squad has become more of a liability.
The Jets aren’t exactly the cream of the crop when it comes to offenses in the NFL, yet they looked like an elite team at times against Oakland. New York piled up more than 350 yards of offense, were 7-of-13 on third downs and punted just twice.
The Raiders rarely laid a hand on Jets quarterback Geno Smith, broke down in coverage and again missed numerous tackles that allowed New York to keep marching up and down the field. There were four alone on Chris Ivory’s touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Since holding their first two opponents to fewer than 275 yards of offense, the Raiders have accomplished that feat just twice in their past 11 games.
The Raiders started the same offensive line for the second straight game, which is a novelty for the front five this season. The reviews were pretty similar, too.
Left tackle Jared Veldheer was flagged for holding and had an illegal formation call declined in his second start of the season. Right tackle Tony Pashos got abused and overpowered while giving up a sack in the fourth quarter.
Oakland held up fairly well in pass protection most of the game, though quarterback Matt McGloin was sacked three times. The success the Raiders had on the ground was also partially inflated by Marcel Reece’s 63-yard touchdown, though right guard Lucas Nix deserves credit for making one of the blocks to spring Reece.
Like the rest of the team, it just wasn’t a consistent effort.
For most of the season, Charles Woodson could lay claim to being the top player in Oakland’s secondary. Against New York, however, Woodson wasn’t exactly up to par.
He missed an easy diving interception inside Jets territory on New York’s second drive of the game. Linebacker Kevin Burnett came back to pick off a Geno Smith pass the very next play, but Woodson’s tough day wasn’t over.
He blitzed from the right side of Oakland’s defense in the third quarter when the Jets countered with a screen pass where Woodson initially lined up and gained 24 yards. Woodson was also one of four players to miss a tackle attempt when New York scored on a running touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Woodson has shown he can still play at an effective level in the NFL, but his game against the Jets was indicative that his skills aren’t what they once were.