Miami Dolphins vs. Oakland Raiders: Full Report Card Grades for Oakland

Brian Flores@@Raiders_TrackerContributor IIISeptember 29, 2014

Miami Dolphins vs. Oakland Raiders: Full Report Card Grades for Oakland

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    That was hard to watch.

    After an inspiring performance in Week 3, the Oakland Raiders seemed primed for their first win of the season against a struggling Miami Dolphins team. But in Week 4, that wasn't the case as Oakland was embarrassed in a 38-14 loss.

    The Raiders actually began the game on an very impressive 10-play, 74-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass from Derek Carr to backup tight end Brian Leonhardt. The drive ended 5:22 into the game. That was as far as Oakland's positive day would go.

    On both sides of the ball, the game was an endless sequence of errors. On offense, the Raiders had six first downs in the first quarter. They didn't get their eighth first down until the third quarter. Following the impressive opening drive, the Oakland offense once again turned into a series of drives that ended in three-and-outs and punts.

    The defense was just as bad. The defensive line was pushed around all game, the linebackers always seemed to be behind the play and the secondary was completely picked apart by Ryan Tannehill, a quarterback who had been playing so poorly that his own head coach wouldn't commit to him just days before the game.

    The only silver lining to any of this is that the Raiders are heading into their bye week, giving them two weeks to prepare for their next game. With how embarrassingly bad they played against Miami, they're going to have their work cut out for them over the next two weeks.

    Here are the grades for each position group's performance in London. 


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    Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

    Despite the way the game played out, Derek Carr didn't play terribly. He wasn't great, but he did do some good things before he was knocked out with what's Scott Bair is reporting as a sprained MCL and a high-ankle sprain.

    As the game started to get away from Oakland, Carr began to try to force the action, which led to a bad pass that was intercepted. But he still finished the game 16-of-25 for 146 yards, and he did throw a touchdown pass to cap off an impressive opening drive.

    The biggest issue remains yards per pass. On Sunday, Carr averaged only 5.8 yards per attempt, indicative of the offense's inability to get first downs. It doesn't help that Carr has had to play from behind for most of the season. After Sunday's game, the Raiders are the only NFL team that has yet to have the lead in the second half of any game this season.

    Although Carr wasn't terrible while he was in the game, the offense was once again unable to score points. The responsibility for that falls on him.

    After Carr was knocked out of the game, Matt McGloin came in and showed the same things he did last season. He's got a good arm, he can make plays, but he's also careless. He did throw a nice touchdown pass late, but that was after he had already thrown two interceptions.

    McGloin went 12-of-19 for 129 yards and a touchdown. But while he and Carr combined for two touchdowns, they also had three turnovers, making worse what was already a bad game for Oakland.

    Grade: F

Running Back

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    As has been the case throughout the season, the running backs' inability to make any kind of significant contribution resulted from a combination of a lack of explosive plays and the shortage of opportunities.

    Maurice Jones-Drew was available, but with only two carries, he was never really a part of the game.

    On the other hand, Darren McFadden looked like he could have an impact on the game, but he never really got the chance.

    McFadden had only 11 carries for the game, and six of them were on Oakland's first two drives. He didn't have a great game, but he still managed 40 yards on limited touches. What's really frustrating is that although the yards weren't there yet, McFadden was running hard and was having an impact on the game, including a 12-yard run. The Miami defense had to account for him.

    Then, the coaches decided to stop giving him the ball.

    A running back depends on volume over the course of a game to have success. It's unreasonable to give McFadden a few touches early then cut him out of the offense when he doesn't immediately have a big run.

    The running backs didn't have a good game, but most running backs won't when they get so few carries.

    Grade: D-


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    Tim Ireland/Associated Press

    Marcel Reece was once again a non-factor in the game. He had no rushes, and he had only one catch for five yards. Even in a game when the Oakland quarterbacks had some success spreading the ball around, Reece was never really involved.

    As a fullback, Reece is just as responsible in blocking, and he struggled along with the rest of the offense. Whether it was Carr or McGloin, the quarterback was under pressure too often, and Reece was as much a part of that failure as the offensive line.

    Reece is too good to not contribute anything to the offense. But after four games, that seems to be the norm. He's going to have try and make more of the few touches he does get while also playing a more prominent role in blocking.

    Until he does, he'll continue to struggle.

    Grade: F

Tight End

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    Despite the talent and potential at the position, the Oakland tight ends continue to be missing in action on game day. Mychal Rivera, Brian Leonhardt and David Ausberry combined for 27 yards on only five receptions.

    Leonhardt did have a touchdown catch, but it was for only three yards, and it was his only contribution for the game. Rivera was no better, once again disappearing in the game as he was unable to consistently get open.

    Even the surprise appearance of Ausberry didn't make a difference. Still, it was good to see him on the field finally seeing some action. Given the general ineffectiveness of the tight ends so far, he'll definitely get a chance to see the field going forward.

    Tight ends are supposed to provide a security blanket for a quarterback, especially a rookie. On Sunday, they failed in this role.

    Grade: F

Wide Receiver

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    Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

    While the Raiders struggled as a whole, the starting wide receivers actually had a decent game. James Jones finished with six receptions for 83 yards, Andre Holmes had five receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown. Little-used Brice Butler also contributed two receptions for 30 yards, and even new addition Vincent Brown chipped in with three receptions for 22 yards.

    Jones continues to be a consistent contributor, and he also showed that he has the ability to make plays after the catch. The most pleasant surprise was Holmes, who continues to improve. He was named a starter against Miami, and he took advantage of the opportunity by showing that he can be effective when given more responsibility.

    Butler and Brown are likely to see much more action going forward given the injury to Rod Streater and the unknown status of Denarius Moore, who was a surprise omission from the game. In an unexpected move, Moore was listed as inactive for Sunday's game. There's been no update regarding why the coaches made the decision other than that it wasn't injury-related.

    It remains to be seen exactly what happened that led to this decision, but it doesn't bode well for Moore, not just for the rest of this season, but for his future as a Raider.

    While the receivers put up some nice stats, they proved mostly empty as not enough of those plays resulted in key first downs and touchdowns. The production needs to start having more of an impact on the game.

    Grade: D

Offensive Line

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The offensive line had a great opening drive, opening up some running lanes for McFadden while providing good protection for Carr. This led to an impressive opening drive for Oakland that resulted in a touchdown. But the unit was unable to replicate this level of play the rest of the game.

    While Carr was only sacked once, he was constantly under pressure. The offensive line had actually been one of Oakland's best units this season, but that wasn't the case against the Dolphins.

    Donald Penn, who had been solid at left tackle, was on his heels all game. Even center Stefen Wisniewski, who's usually the epitome of consistency, threw a shotgun snap past McGloin that was picked up and run in for a touchdown by the Miami defense.

    The offensive line only gave up two sacks, but it buckled under the pass rush all game, and the quarterbacks were regularly forced to scramble to create more time. The group also continues to struggle in run blocking and is unable to open up running lanes.

    The pass blocking has been decent this season. The group is going to have to spend the next two weeks figuring out how to be effective in the running game as well.

    Grade: D

Defensive Line

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    USA TODAY Sports

    After the defensive line's good performance in Week 3, it seemed like it had finally turned the corner. Going up against a depleted offensive line and a struggling quarterback, Week 4 was a great opportunity to build off last week's success. Instead, it reverted back to its ineffective form.

    Once again, the group was unable to get any pressure on the quarterback. As was the case when it was up against Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 2, the Oakland defense allowed a quarterback who's average at best to look like a Pro Bowler.

    Ryan Tannehill finished the game 23-of-31 for 278 yards, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 109.3. This is the same quarterback who had performed so poorly in recent weeks that it looked like he'd played himself out of the starting job.

    A major reason for his success was the absence of an Oakland pass rush. On most of his dropbacks, Tannehill had plenty of time to survey the field and pick out his targets.

    The same poor play was evident in the running game, where Oakland allowed 157 yards on 35 carries for an average of 4.5 yards per rush. Even against a suspect offensive line, the Oakland front was pushed around and still gave up major running lanes.

    The group was completely swallowed up on Sunday, and it's clearly one of the units that has performed the worst through four games. It's likely that when the Raiders head into their next game in two weeks, the starting defensive line will have some new faces.

    Grade: F


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    Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

    Given how decimated the linebacking corps is by injuries, the poor performance should be taken in context. But that doesn't help the on-field results. The linebackers certainly played hard, but they always seemed to get to the play after the fact.

    Miles Burris and Kaluka Maiava can be counted on to give everything they have, but they're reserves, not starters. The longer they're on the field, the more they're exposed, and that happened again this week. It's not for lack of heart or effort. But Burris and Maiava shouldn't see more than spot duty on game days. When they're forced to be every-down players, they don't have the ability to keep up.

    Khalil Mack showed flashes of what he can do, and he once again played well against both the run and the pass but only in spurts. His play was mostly buried under the overall ineptitude of the defense. With everyone around him playing so poorly, it also affected his play, and like the rest of the defense, he spent most of the game chasing the play.

    With the possible return of Nick Roach and Sio Moore in Week 6, the group's play will improve dramatically. But Roach and Moore didn't play against Miami, and the results reflected their absence.

    Grade: F


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    Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

    In a game where the secondary forced two turnovers, including a touchdown-saving fumble recovery in the end zone, it would seem that the unit did at least some things right. But that's not the case. Even the two turnovers weren't enough to cover up how poorly the secondary played.

    The story was the same one as it was in the first three games: somehow, there was always a wide receiver wide open. 

    Chimdi Chekwa was questionable up until game time, and given the way he played, it would've been best to leave him on the bench to continue his recovery. Not only was he burned regularly throughout the game, he was burned downfield and constantly gave up big plays.

    The performance of every member of the secondary was just as bad. The Miami receivers got whatever they wanted all game, and the Oakland secondary just watched them do it.

    The one standout was once again Charles Woodson, who's the only one who has exhibited heart and fight. Unfortunately, he can't single-handedly cover up the entire unit's flaws. The rest of the cornerbacks and safeties need to follow his example, something they didn't do this week.

    T.J. Carrie also showed some promise, including an interception and a nice return. He's still raw, but he at least played hard and was able to make a few plays.

    The coaches continue to insist on playing man-to-man, but after yet another terrible performance, they have to accept the fact that this group isn't capable of succeeding this way.

    This group allowed Tannehill to look like Dan Marino. It was an embarrassing performance. Each member of the secondary is going to have to take a very serious look in the mirror over the bye week and figure out a way to stop someone.

    Grade: F

Special Teams

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Marquette King was busy once again, finishing the game with six punts with an average of 48.7 yards per. Heading into the bye, King might be Oakland's MVP, which says a lot about the team's poor overall play.

    Sebastian Janikowski had another quiet game, with his only contribution coming on kickoffs and extra points. It's indicative of the offense's inability to move the ball that, even with a leg as strong as Janikowski's, the team is still unable to get into field-goal range. 

    The return game was solid, with Travis Carrie getting 17 yards on one punt return and Latavius Murray averaging 22.4 yards on five kick returns. They were able to get the offense decent field position more than once, but nothing came of it.

    The Raiders only had to deal with two kick returns, but they gave up an average of 30.5 yards. Oakland is already struggling, and it can't afford to give up good field position on top of it.

    Overall, it was a decent game for special teams. But going forward, this might be the unit that has to jump-start the team with big returns and forced turnovers.

    Grade: C-


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    Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

    Whether he wants to admit it, head coach Dennis Allen is going to have some sleepless nights this week. The same goes for defensive coordinator Jason Tarver and offensive coordinator Greg Olson. All three have done little to justify them keeping their jobs, and if any one of them (or all of them) is going to be fired, early in the bye week would be the ideal time to do it.

    Tarver's defense was once again embarrassing. There's no redeeming element to be found in the performance of his group or in his play-calling. Over the course of four quarters, the Oakland defenders were no more than bystanders as the Miami offense moved up and down the field with ease.

    If you look at Miami's second-half possessions, they read: fumble, touchdown, interception, punt, punt and turnover on downs. That doesn't sound so bad, but the damage had been done by then. Tannehill looked like a world-beater on Tarver's watch. He needs to be held accountable for that.

    Offensively, Olson's play-calling was once again ineffective and lacking in any adjustments. As the Raiders fell further and further behind and as the offense continued to punt drive after drive, nothing changed. Whether it's a question of being too conservative or just a lack of ability, the offense hasn't done enough to win games, and that falls on Olson.

    The head coach is ultimately responsible for the results. It's possible Allen might say he's not worried about his job, but given how bad Oakland has played, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him out as head coach within the next few days.

    For now, he's responsible for trying to figure out a way to turn things around. Watching the games, it's unclear what exactly his plan is. But whatever it is, it's obviously not working. Allen is needs to do something drastic over the next two weeks for a new Oakland Raiders team to show in Week 6.

    That is unless he's no longer the man in charge when the next game rolls around.

    Grade: F

Final Grades

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
    Position UnitOverall Grade
    Special TeamsC-
    Cumulative GradeF

    There's no way to sugarcoat it: The Oakland Raiders played terribly on Sunday, and they were humiliated because of it by a struggling and very beatable Miami team.

    Given how poorly Oakland has played through the first four games of the season, the bye week couldn't come at a better time. The Raiders don't have a game Week 5, but they certainly don't have the week off. From the players to the coaches to the front office, this team has some serious soul-searching to do over the next two weeks.

    It's not just that Oakland has lost its first four games to open the season—it's how the team has lost. The team has looked disorganized and overmatched, and it has been been dominated on both sides of the ball for most of the 16 quarters it has played.

    When it comes to fixing what's wrong with this team, there's no obvious solution because there's simply too much that isn't working. But that doesn't change the fact that something has to be done, and both the players and the coaches have to be held accountable.

    The Raiders have two weeks to try and get things right. For the sake of the fans, they'll hopefully be able to find some answers.

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