Only a month ago, the Oakland Raiders were positioned to make a run at the postseason. Following their third straight loss and fifth in six games, however, coach Dennis Allen’s team won’t even be able to finish with a winning record.
The breakdowns in Oakland’s Week 14 loss to the New York Jets came in all three phases, and not even a few solid individual performances were enough to prevent the team's 13th consecutive loss in the Eastern time zone.
At 4-9, the Raiders are guaranteed an 11th consecutive season without a winning record, and the slide isn’t over yet.
Here’s a look at the Raiders’ full roster report card grades from their 37-27 loss to the Jets.
There is still no making sense of the coaching staff’s decision to pull starter Matt McGloin from the game after just two drives and bring in Terrelle Pryor for one series. It did neither man any good, was foolish in its timing and ultimately played a pivotal role in the loss.
Coach Dennis Allen told reporters after the game that it was a planned move, shooting down any notion that McGloin might have been benched and further clouding an already questionable decision.
Pryor gave the offense a little spark by leading a scoring drive, but that was the extent of his day. McGloin returned and threw an interception on his first throw. He also fumbled twice, was sacked three times and had one throw batted down at the line of scrimmage. The undrafted rookie did throw two touchdown passes, but his overall outing was mediocre at best—much like McGloin’s previous two outings.
With Darren McFadden sitting out for the fourth time in five weeks, this time with an ankle injury, and Rashad Jennings out because of a concussion, Oakland turned to fullback Marcel Reece to shoulder the workload in the backfield, which he did with surprising results.
Reece put together the third-best game by a Raiders running back this season, rushing for 123 yards on 19 carries. He also had a 63-yard touchdown run that was astonishing because Reece outran a pair of New York defensive backs over the final 40 yards.
Taiwan Jones did very little in the limited time he was on the field, while backup Jamize Olawale caught a pair of passes while filling in for Reece at fullback.
It’s not often that a passing game gets better when the leading receiver goes out, but that’s been the case in Oakland, where Rod Streater and Andre Holmes have more than made up for the loss of Denarius Moore.
Streater had his best day as a pro with seven catches for a career-high 130 yards. The second-year receiver made several big plays but none as significant as his 48-yard touchdown in the third quarter that built a little momentum at the time.
Holmes didn’t top the century mark but made three key receptions, including a 40-yarder in the second quarter that wound up being Oakland’s third-longest play of the day. He continues to look more and more comfortable with each game and might be one of the best supporting receivers in the NFL.
No other receiver caught a single pass.
Quarterback Matt McGloin has found a few comfort zones since taking over as the starter, and tight end Mychal Rivera is one of them. The rookie tight end has been one of McGloin’s favorite targets besides wide receiver Rod Streater, and he proved that again against the Jets.
Rivera caught five passes, second-most behind Streater’s seven, and repeatedly bailed McGloin out when the quarterback was hurried or flushed from the pocket. He gained just 21 yards but managed to get into the end zone with his third touchdown of the season.
Meanwhile, the only times Jeron Mastrud was mentioned came when he was whistled for a false start and when he appeared to be the intended target for McGloin on a play that wound up going for a 48-yard touchdown from Streater.
Another game of mixed results for the front five.
On one hand, McGloin was sacked three times and hurried on a handful of other plays, and the running totals were partially skewed by Marcel Reece’s long touchdown run.
Conversely, the pass protection was pretty solid at times, which allowed McGloin time to find receivers downfield.
Also, right guard Lucas Nix made arguably the best block of the season by an Oakland lineman when he pulled and sealed off the middle running lane, which Reece sprinted through.
Not the best of days on the overall scale, but certainly not the worst. "Serviceable" might be the best description.
What has been the strength of Oakland’s defense most of the year fizzled out against the Jets, both against the run and the pass. New York controlled the trenches and didn’t allow the Raiders to establish much of a pass rush at all or get much going against the run.
Particularly troubling was the ease with which Jets quarterback Geno Smith was allowed to operate most of the day. Smith has not played well at all this season, but he looked like a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback against the Raiders, passing for 219 yards and a touchdown while adding 50 yards and another score on the ground.
Overall, the Jets rushed for nearly 150 yards, while Oakland’s only sack of Smith came on a safety blitz.
Outside linebacker Kevin Burnett’s first-quarter interception ended the Jets’ second drive and left the Raiders in great field position. Although the turnover didn’t lead to points when Sebastian Janikowski shanked a field-goal attempt, it was typical of the game had by Oakland’s linebackers.
Rookie Sio Moore, starting in place of injured Kaluka Maiava, was the most active of the three linebackers and put together no fewer than four clean, hard hits at or near the line of scrimmage. Middle linebacker Nick Roach led the team with nine tackles and a forced fumble.
Still, the Jets don’t have the type of day they had running the ball without some breakdown at the linebacker level. Oakland’s was once again a lack of tackling.
Oakland did a fairly good job not allowing any one New York wide receiver to do much damage, although the totality of what the receivers did was plenty effective.
On the Jets' first play following Sebastian Janikowski’s missed field goal, Mike Jenkins went for an interception but wound up getting burned for a 30-yard gain, a play that set the tone for the remainder of the afternoon.
Phillip Adams, getting more playing time at the nickel corner lately, was beaten for a touchdown but the Jets failed to hold onto the ball.
None of Oakland’s three corners had more than four tackles, either, which is surprising considering how well Jets quarterback Geno Smith spread the ball around.
Brandian Ross appeared to give Oakland’s defense a big lift when he sacked Geno Smith for a 10-yard loss in the first quarter when the game was still close. Ross also pressured Smith one other time, but that was it as far as highlights are concerned.
Charles Woodson let an easy interception slip through his hands and later did the same with New York running back Chris Ivory on Ivory’s game-clinching 15-yard touchdown run. He was also caught out of position when he blitzed and the Jets countered with a screen pass toward where he was.
The Raiders had hoped to get Tyvon Branch involved after he practiced earlier in the week for the first time since Week 2, but they kept him inactive instead. Oakland needs to get him back, however, if it is to have any shot at ending the three-game losing streak.
Where to begin?
Sebastian Janikowsi’s missed field goal was his eighth of the season and illustrates how far he has fallen. Considered one of the game’s most powerful kickers, he is just 3-of-7 this year on tries from 50 yards or longer.
Punter Marquette King didn’t get much help from his protection and had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown, further escalating an already rough afternoon for special teams coach Bobby April.
There was also a foolish decision by Greg Jenkins early in the game when he fielded a kickoff at his own 1-yard line and was smothered before even getting out to the 10. Jenkins had two other decent returns, but his first put Oakland in too big of a hole to get out of.