Monday, November 20, 2006

Brooks Provides a Spark

Here are some observations from the Raiders heart-wrenching 13-17 loss to divisional rival Kansas City Chiefs.

QB Aaron Brooks provided a noticeable spark to a struggling offensive unit. With Brooks at the helm, the Raiders were able to convert 8 of 14 3rd downs. Brooks shook off the rust rather quickly after being on the sidelines the previous 9 weeks. Excluding the opening drive, Brooks was able to get the offense in gear with his decisiveness, elusiveness, poise, energy, and experience. After the opening drive, Brooks led the Raiders on the next 3 possessions to 3 time consuming, scoring drives and a 13-7 lead.
- The first scoring drive was 11 plays, consumed 5:57, and led to a 41 yard Sea-Bass FG.
- The second scoring drive was 11 plays, consumed 6:15, and led to a 36 yard Sea-Bass FG.
- The third scoring drive was 11 plays, consumed 6:05, and led to a 2 yard TD reception to Courtney Anderson in the back of the end zone.

When the protection scheme broke down (which was fairly often), Brooks' improvisational abilities took over. I counted at least 6 times where Brooks mobility and pocket awareness allowed him to avoid being sacked by the Kansas City D. Brooks wasn't sacked the entire game which is noteworthy for 2 reasons. #1, the Raiders have allowed the most sacks in the entire league (47). #2, the Raiders offensive line was shorthanded & dinged up. At one point in the game this make-shift starting O-Line consisted of only 1 opening day starter (Grove). Brooks led the Raiders to the doorstep of a dramatic come from behind victory when he marched the team down to the Chiefs 8 yard line with 32 seconds remaining in the game. With the game on the line, Brooks misfired a pass intended for Randy Moss in the back of the end zone that was intercepted by FS Jarrad Page.

With the offensive line in a shambles, there is no doubt that Brooks gives the Raiders the best chance to win. For the game, Brooks was 13-22, 179 passing yards, 1 TD pass, 1 interception, and 5 runs for 34 yards.

It hurts me to say this but ... our defense really let us down vs. KC. The rush defense and goal line defense were subpar. The Raiders defense knew that the key to a victory was to contain the Chiefs' running back Larry Johnson. Johnson gouged the Raiders front 7 for 154 yards on 31 carries and 2 TDs. The front four was having a difficult time shedding the blocks and clogging the lanes. The LB corps did a poor job tackling and filling the gaps. When your 3 leading tacklers (Huff 8, Schweigert 7, Asomugha 6) come from the secondary, it points to a bad performance by the front 7. In a game where Chiefs QB was ineffective in the passing game (9 for 16, 102 yards, 0 TDs, 0 Ints), it was imperative for the Raiders run D to be stout. The Raiders goal line defense came up short on KC's 2 opportunities which were the opening drive and their last possession of the 4th quarter. On 1st and 10 from the 10 yard line, KC ran the ball 3 straight times right up the middle. On 3rd down and 5, Larry Johnson ran it into the end zone. On the other goal line possession, with the Raiders up 13-10, KC had the ball, 1st down on the 9 yard line. Johnson again ran it right up the middle on 1st down to the half foot line. On 2nd down, he punched it in.

Up Next: Oakland (2-8) at San Diego (8-2)


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