Oakland Raiders Defense: Should the Great Collapse Be Cause for Concern?

Yusuf HassanCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2011

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd #84 of the Denver Broncos makes a reception for a first down as Chris Johnson #37 of the Oakland Raiders defends at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 12, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The theme of the Oakland preseason was: Building a Bully. After Sunday’s second-half debacle, the Raiders defense is as much of a bully as Marty McFly.

Chuck Bresnahan, the Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator, told reporters after the preseason (via CBS Sports), "We have to be physical, and that's what we're trying to do. The primary thing is to shut the run game down and force the game to be one-dimensional. When you do that, you have the opportunity to do some special things."

On Sunday afternoon, Buffalo ran for 217 yards and averaged 8.7 yards per carry. Overall, this season Oakland is giving up 6.7 yards per rush. Among the teams in the league who have played two games, Oakland leads the league in yards given up per rush.

Ironically, the worst team against the run in 2010, the Buffalo Bills, gave up 4.8 yards per rush last year.

Many within Raider Nation felt a bit of comfort with the Oakland run defense after Week 1 against the Denver Broncos; however, the Broncos were one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL in 2010.

In addition to 217 rushing yards given up, the Bills set a franchise record with 34 first downs against Oakland. Most of those first downs were passing first downs, which brings up another alarming stat: Oakland ranks third in the league in giving up first downs via passes, which means Oakland’s pass defense is deficient against the pass on third downs.

This might be the reason that the Raiders rank sixth in points allowed per game.

Overall, the second-half collapse by the Raiders defense was one of the worst second-half performances in NFL history.

The Bills had five second-half possessions and scored touchdowns on every possession in the second half to overcome a 21-3 first-half deficit. After Roscoe Parrish left the game in the second quarter, WR David Nelson came into the game and caught a game-high 10 balls for 83 yards and the winning touchdown with 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Oakland veteran cornerback Chris Johnson had an opportunity to clinch the win two plays before Nelson's touchdown. Johnson was in position for an easy interception on a pass intended for Donald Jones, but he let it slip away.

Johnson said after the game (via SI.com) about the missed opportunity, "The game would've been over. I take this loss for the team today." Thanks, Chris.