Oakland Raiders Choke Against San Francisco 49ers: Raider Nation Deserves Better
Okay, I'm thinking now might be a good time to panic!
Jason Campbell has not been the answer at quarterback, Rolando McClain and Lamarr Houston have helped, but not cured a "Jekyll and Hyde" defense and the Oakland Raiders once again find themselves in the AFC West cellar.
Luckily, no one is running away with the division. Kansas City, Denver and San Diego also lost meaning the Raiders are no further behind than they were before the game on Sunday.
Tom Cable has taken a lot of heat for the Oakland Raiders' lackluster performances. Some of it he deserves, some he doesn't. The fact is, there are many more people to blame than just Cable.
As for the offense...
Hue Jackson Has Yet To Provide Any Consistency
Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson called a terrible game against the 49ers.
Every time the Raiders tried to run the ball, Jackson had an unbalanced line (an extra offensive tackle) to the side the run was intended to go.
He also refused to mix up the running plays. He just kept calling the same types of plays over and over, even when it was obvious the 49ers were expecting them.
Every football organization all the way down to pee-wee teams will pick up on that obvious tendency.
The 49ers had no problem figuring out this obvious flaw in Jackson's game plan.
Targeting Zach Miller Only Twice Is a Bad Game Plan
Another flaw in Jackson's plan was that it left Zach Miller almost completely out of the game.
Miller had just two catches for 48 yards.
That's an average of 24 yards per catch, but he was only targeted twice! Ridiculous.
If you have an offensive weapon like Miller, why not get him the ball—a lot?
Jackson failed to utilize the best offensive weapon the Raiders have.
Jason Campbell Is NOT Jim Plunkett, No Matter What Al Davis Says!
When your starting quarterback gets out-played by Alex Smith it's a bad day for the offense.
Jason Campbell completed just eight of 21 passes for only 83 yards and two interceptions.
I realize the offensive line and lack of a running game didn't help, but the fact remains that Campbell looked like the first-round bust rather than Alex Smith.
Red Zone Woes Continue
The Raiders were 0-2 in the red zone.
Twice in the first half Campbell drove the Raiders inside the 49ers' 15-yard line, but had to settle for two Sebastian Janikowski field goals.
Predictable, conservative play calling was the prime reason for this futility.
Not good play calling by Jackson.
As for the defense...
John Marshall Is Letting Raider Nation Down
Defensive coordinator John Marshall showed Raider Nation why he couldn't win a ring as a defensive coordinator with any other team.
All day long the Raiders played tight, man-to-man coverage and stifled the 49ers offense—until it counted the most.
At one point in the second half, the Raiders held the lead and had forced the 49ers into a 3rd-and-20.
Did Marshall call a similar defense to the ones that had been working all day?
No. He called a soft, off-coverage zone that allowed Michael Crabtree to run uncontested down the middle of the field for the game winning score.
This horrible play call was exacerbated by the fact that the blitzes that worked so well against the Chargers (and were working in this game) were virtually non-existent.
Any quarterback in the league, no matter how bad, will beat you if you give him 10 seconds to throw the ball.
Note to John Marshall: "Bend but don't break" is broken!
Safeties Are Not Supposed To Be The Leading Tacklers
Once again, safeties Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch led the team in tackles.
They combined for a total of 16 tackles. This is a symptom of a bigger problem.
When the safeties are your leading tacklers, it means tackles are being made 10 or 15 yards down field, rather than near the line of scrimmage.
Bad philosophy by Marshall.
Now that I got that off my chest, the game wasn't all bad. There were some players that showed themselves well, and some things to build upon.
On to brighter things...
Matt Shaughnessy Continues To Shine
Matt Shaughnessy had another great game.
He is doing everything he can to show the coaches that he deserves to be a full-time starter.
Four tackles and one sack doesn't seem like a fantastic day, but the numbers lie.
Shaughnessy forced the 49ers to double-team him most of the day. He applied pressure on Alex Smith and stuffed most of the runs that came his way.
Every time I watch him play, Shaughnessy gives me hope for the Raiders in the future. Well—hope for the future of the defensive end position anyway.
Special Teams Remain Solid
Janikowski didn't miss any field goals, Shane Lechler was his Pro-Bowl self, the coverage teams didn't give up any big plays and Nick Miller was admirable and didn't do anything to cost the Raiders the game.
John Fassel seems to have the special teams on the right track. Hopefully, this can rub off on John Marshall and Hue Jackson.
Penalties Are Down, But Only a Little.
Eight penalties for 65 yards is still too much, but it's better than it has been all season.
Wouldn't you know it?
The first time all season the Raiders get fewer penalties than their opponent is a game in which they virtually handed their opponent their first win and Bay Area bragging rights to the most obnoxious fans in the NFL!
Even still, the decline in penalties is a good sign. Tom Cable deserves some credit for this.
Fifteen paragraphs of what went wrong and just six paragraphs of what went right (none of which included the offense) make it very difficult to be a Raider fan.
Of course most of the blame will be placed on Tom Cable, and he deserves a some of it. However, don't forget that he doesn't hire the assistants, he can't fire them and doesn't make the offensive and defensive game plans.
I have been a card-carrying member of Raider Nation for 37 years (and will continue to be for the rest of my life), but don't I deserve better from my team?
Don't you deserve better Raider Nation?
Let me hear it in the comments.
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