Monday, December 06, 2010

Raiders Identity Restored

Raiders 28 - Chargers 13
The Raiders dominated, mauled, mugged, and man-handled the Chargers on both sides of the line on Sunday. This was a game clearly won in the all important trenches. The dismantling of their divisional rival foe restored the Raiders bread and butter identity of a team that relies heavily on a punishing rushing attack to exert their will.

251 net yards rushing to the Chargers 21 yards net rushing is what allowed for an effective play action pass, a bootleg run TD, for the Raiders D to be fresh, and pin their ears back with a relentless pass rush.

Playing with an early lead due to a muffed punt return by Sproles that set up an early TD bootleg run by Campbell, the Raiders defense hounded Phillip Rivers with an excellent pass rush. By my estimation, the Raiders pass rush accounted for a combination of 25+ hurries, hits, and sacks (4). Rivers was running for his dear life and never got in any rhythm. When necessary, DC Marshall dialed up an extra blitzer (Huff, McClain, Groves, Branch) to ratchet up the pressure.

The OLine had their best performance of the season and deserve lofty praise for enabling McFadden and Bush to combine for 192 yards on the ground. McFadden and Bush did a nice job breaking through the initial tackler and surging forward for critical 2,3,4 yard gains and more. Throughout the game, due to the effectiveness of the rushing attack, QB Campbell had the luxury of using play action passes to make some big plays and being set up with manageable 3rd down conversions.

Bottom Line: The Raiders' team success is largely predicated on the efficiency and persistence of the rushing attack. When the Raiders are running "down hill", this team has a noticeable swagger and is rather difficult to beat.

Key Stats:

* Time of Possession: Raiders 38:39 - Chargers 21:21
* Red Zone Efficiency: Raiders 4-4 100% - Chargers 1-2 50%
* Rushing 1st Downs: Raiders 14 - Chargers 0
* 3rd Down Conversions: Raiders 8-15 - Chargers 3-10

"We told ourselves all week we wanted to stick with the run, whether it was working or not" McFadden told reporters afterward, "We feel like we go back to our identity today. We wanted to run the ball and we did a great job with it."

52 rushes for a net of 251 yards and an average of 4.8 per carry is the type of rushing attack that clearly demonstrates this team's capabilities to set the tone and dictate the terms of the game.

The unequivocal belief that you can run the ball down the throat of an opponent requires the mindset that you won't back down. The Raiders coaching staff, OLine, and backs deserve a ton of credit for sticking with the game plan of re-establishing the team's identity in spite of the opponent's lofty standing as the #1 D in the NFL.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

McFadden's TD run where he laid out Weddle was his best and perhaps most important moment as a Raider to date.

Living in SEC country I watched a lot of D-Mac in college and was psyched when we got him but then perplexed about his first 2 years. Its great to see him look like his college self.

All that being said I think Bush still needs his carries as well.

CJ, whats your opinion on what the % split of carriers should be between the two?

Regards Florida Raider

6:33 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

FLRaider -

My personal opinion on the % split on carries is that it should be roughly 50%-50%.

I like rotating the backs, keep both engaged and fresh throughout the game.

What was especially impressive in the Chargers beat-down was how well the Raiders ran between the tackles. The key that Fouts pointed out on the telecast, was that both McFadden and Bush were able to break or get past the initial tackler through power or moves.

When we are able to feed McFadden & Bush 40+ carries combined in a game, it is a good sign.

vs. Chargers

McFadden-19 carries, 97 yards, 1 TD
Bush-23 carries, 95 yards, 1 TD

As Cable alluded to in the week prior to the Chargers game, it is VERY important to get those "ugly" 2,3,4 yard runs early in the game to soften up the D and put Campbell in manageable 3rd conversion opportunities.

6:30 PM  

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