Friday, November 11, 2011

Raiders Follow The Blueprint

Raiders 24 - Chargers 17

Thursday night's game was a tough challenge for the Raiders. It was a character driven and character defining game in many ways. The key to a successful night was the Raiders dominating both sides of the line of scrimmage and staying true to their formula for success.

I appreciate and admire the 2011 team's resiliency. There have been a number of games this season where the team's character and commitment has been tested. After a heart crushing 2nd half collapse to the Bills, the team responded with a convincing bounce back victory vs. the Jets. After the loss to the Patsies and loss of owner Al Davis, the Raiders had an inspiring and emotional win at Houston. Going into the game there was a litany of built in excuses (short week, injury filled roster, new players getting up to speed) that ultimately fell on deaf ears as the Raiders physically dominated the Chargers.

* Establish the run early and often.

When the Raiders utilize the rushing attack as a hammer, it wears down the opponent and sets up big plays in the passing game. When the opponent commits 8 defenders in the box to contain the Raiders rushing attack, play action pass is more effective and there are more favorable 1 on 1 match-ups for the receivers. An opportunistic, big play passing attack to score points and stretch the field is built on the shoulders of the running game.

More Bush: Michael Bush had a Herculean performance against the Chargers rushing the ball 30 times for 157 yards for a 5.2 average plus 1 TD. He also had 3 receptions for 85 yards. With Bush as the primary RB the past 3 games, he has racked up a total of 352 yards on 66 carries for a robust 5.4 average. Bush's elusiveness and speed (for a 250 lbs. RB), his ability to read blocks, make decisive cuts, and shed initial contact are his key attributes. He is also a sure handed pass catcher who is especially effective on delayed screen plays. The one area that he needs to improve upon is his pass blocking skills. His whiff on a pass block led to Palmer's 1 INT.

Bush's productivity in the 1st quarter (78 yards rushing) was the platform for QB Carson Palmer to have an efficient (12-20, 299 yards, 2 TDs) night in the passing attack. Palmer's handle and command of the Raiders offense has grown leaps and bounds in 2 short weeks. Palmer looked very comfortable in the pocket and was precise with his passes. The connection and trust between Palmer and Denarius Moore has also gained traction very quickly. Moore, drafted in the 5th round, had an electric night with 5 receptions for 123 yards and 2 TDs.

* An effective 4 man defensive pass rush that creates consistent QB pressure while using the blitz at key junctures in the game to ratchet up the pressure and become less static or predictable.

The Raiders defensive front 4 absolutely annihilated the Chargers OLine and caused Rivers discomfort, 6 sacks, 10 pressures, and 6 hits. Kamerion Wimbley had a monster game with 4 sacks and was such a disruptive force that the Chargers were forced into double-teaming him for most of the night. Safety blitzes from Branch, Mitchell, and Giordano were used judiciously and effectively to mix things up and keep Rivers on guard.

* Containing the run and minimizing the big chunk yardage on the ground.

Defending the run has been a weakness of the Raiders for too many years to count. There is a real "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde" quality to this year's run defense. In Oakland's 5 wins this year, the defense allowed an average of 69.6 yards. In Oakland's 4 losses, the number swells up to 209.3 yards per game.

Run to win, pass to score, the QB must go down hard, and stop the run at all costs ... this is the core essence of the Raiders formula for success. The key for the Raiders to go to the next stage of progress and win the AFC West is centered on establishing more consistent team performances from week to week.

Up Next: 11/20 at Minnesota with the arduous task of slowing down RB Adrian Peterson.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about that offensive line amazing. Would you agree the O-line has without a doubt been the most consistent part of the team this year?

Florida Raider

7:25 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...


In my mind, the OLine have been the unsung heroes this season.

Pass blocking - check

The OLine has given up only 11 sacks in 9 games which is the 2nd best rank in the league.

Run blocking - check

The Raiders are the #1 rushing team in the league at 156.2 yards per game which the OLine deserves major credit.

The Raiders are ranked #7 in total offense with 384.9 yards per game.

I would expect that to go up with Palmer guiding the offense and a more dynamic passing game.

9:55 PM  
Blogger raiderpirate said...

When we run STOP the run and get after the qb we win... always been that way always will be... our Raiders are coming out of the funk... About time...

8:18 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...


The key is consistency from week to week. Winning 1 of our last 3 games is not consistent.

To climb the competitive ladder, the Raiders need to start stacking up winning streaks, do better at home (2-3), beat the teams that are sub .500, and play better run defense on a regular basis.

9:57 PM  
Blogger raiderpirate said...

Yes CJ i would agree But this was a HUGE win against the Dolts and Im seeing a much better Raider team this year Than the last 10 or so and we are in 1st in our div So Im Optimistic that we are turning a corner Go RAIDERS....

10:09 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

No doubt, RP about the win over the Chargers being HUGE.

Hopefully the win and CP3 getting better each week will be the platform to finishing the season strong and AFC West champ!

12:42 PM  

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