Sunday, August 20, 2006

Back Off The Ledge

RAIDERS 23 - 49ERS 7
The Raiders looked sharp tonight. The O-line's performance was vastly improved from the previous 2 exhibitions games. Brooks and Walter were very productive and looked comfortable in the pocket. Overall, all 3 units (offense, defense, specail teams) played efficient and spirited football. It was nice to see that we were able to run the ball more consistently, utilize our TEs as a primary weapon, and complete numerous short and intermediate passes to sustain drives. Below are some additonal observations and notes from the game.

- Brooks looked poised, decisive, and confident in his 1st half of play. On the opening drive, he completed passes to Gabriel (11 yards, 8 yard TD), Anderson (9 yards), and Moss (14 yards). The completion to Moss was on a delayed, drag route over the middle of the field. This short, high percentage pass play has big play potential. I liked offensive coordinator Walsh’s play calls throughout the game which included a nice mixture of short and intermediate routes to the RBs, WRs, and TEs. Also there were a number of 3 and 5 step drops used by all of the Raiders QBs.

- The key play of the 1st series was a 25 yard scramble run by Brooks. This is the added dimension that Brooks brings to the table. His ability to make a big run and pick up a 1st down when the protection breaks down is a real back-breaker for the opponent’s defense. Instead of being sacked for a negative loss of yards, he turned it into a 25 yard gain. Brooks finished this drive off by hitting Doug Gabriel with a pinpoint 8 TD pass.

- The 1st unit O-Line gave a solid overall effort in run blocking and pass protection in the 1st half. For the most part, Brooks had time to survey the field and make his read progressions. The few times the pocket didn’t hold up, Brooks was decisive in his actions by either scrambling for yards or throwing the ball away without taking a sack. The 1 interception that Brooks had was on a pass that Randall Williams tipped in the end zone. The deflection was caught by SS Tony Parrish.

- Brooks ran a nice play action pass and hit Anderson in the end zone for a TD which was called back on a very questionable offensive pass interference call on Anderson.

- Andrew Walter looked very confident and poised on the field in the 3rd quarter. He was able to lead the Raiders on 2, time-consuming scoring drives. Walter showed off his touch with a nicely lofted 35 completion to John Madsen. Instead of forcing the ball down the field, Walter was able to use his check down targets in the flat effectively.

- The O-Line didn’t commit any pre-snap penalties the entire game. The Raiders team only committed 3 penalties the entire game (late hit on special teams by Randall Williams, personal foul call on McNasty, and offensive interference on Courtney Anderson).

- Jordan (45 yards), Fargas (32 yards), and Lee (49 yards) ran decisively between the tackles. Lee was able to pick up some nice gains using strong lead, kick-out blocks by FB Joe Hall. The Raiders rushed for 156 yards compared to the Niners meager 57 yards.

- The running backs did a nice job of handling the blitz pick-up.

- The Raiders were excellent at utilizing all of the TEs as weapons. Anderson, Williams, Madsen, and Santiago combined for 10 receptions for 158 yards.

- The offense was very balanced picking up 12 1st downs by run and 12 1st downs by pass.

- The defense did an excellent job of neutralizing the Niners running game.

- Huff shut down Vernon Davis who had only 1 catch for 5 yards and wasn’t a factor in the game.

- The D-Line applied good pressure on Alex Smith but were unable to get a sack.

- The LB corps were solid in tackling and pass coverage. Morrison in particular had an excellent all around game.

- Nnamdi Asomoghu was burned by Antonio Bryant for a 46 yard completion.

- Gibson was used in the nickel, 3rd down defense with Huff playing rover. When Huff went down with a minor ankle sprain, Gibson played out the 1st half as SS.

- Huff & Poole each had an interception in the 1st half. Huff returned his interception 46 yards.

- The defense didn’t commit any penalties the entire game.

Special Teams
- Lechler only punted 2 times (46.5 avg) which is always a good sign.

- Sea-Bass had 2 booming kickoffs that were deep in the end zone. He made a short 23 yard field goal at the end of the 1st half and is 7/7 in 3 exhibition games.

- The return and coverage units had another solid game.

This is the type of exhibition game that the Raiders fans and coaches were anxiously waiting to see. Our QB’s had a comfortable rhythm and were productive. Our O-line played sound football and committed only 1 penalty. The running game kept the chains moving and the offense balanced. Most of our receivers and all of our TEs were used effectively. The defense created 2 turnovers and pitched a shutout into the 4th quarter. The kickers (Sea-Bass, Kimball, Duncan) rang up 9 points on 3/3 field goals.

Next Up: Friday, August 25th vs. Detroit Lions.


Blogger The Analyzer said...

I think Washington had a defensive holding call but that is the only defensive penalty I remmeber and I think it was declined so our defense was very disciplined.

It sure was a huge improvement over our last two games.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Those successful short and intermediate routes were indeed really nice to see. The resurrection of the tight end position was cool as well. We have to remember that this is training camp for Tom Walsh, too. All in all, it was a huge step forward.

10:10 AM  

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