Fish Squish Raiders
Raiders 14 - Dolphins 34
Plain and simple ... the Raiders got completely manhandled and dominated by the Dolphins in the trenches on both sides of the ball. In a crucial contest to maintain a slim 1 game lead margin over the rollin' Broncos, the Raiders got punked by a very good team playing for pride.
The Raiders defensive front 7 did a very poor job of shedding blockers, penetrating the line of scrimmage, and plugging up holes. The time of possession stat illustrates how Miami controlled the game with a 38:20 to 21:40 margin. This margin was achieved by a Dolphins team that ran the ball 44 times for 209 yards and had a 4.8 average yard per carry. 44 times right down our throat with no answer.
Whenever a team runs the ball effectively this many times, it is a clear case of exerting their will. The fact that the Raiders D was unable to get consistent QB pressure, create any turnovers, and continually shot itself in the foot with inopportune penalties made this game tailor made for a blowout.
The offensive unit was flat, listless, and did a poor job executing. There were countless dropped balls, poor pass protection, and an anemic rushing attack. In a critical game to help secure a playoff spot, the Raiders offensive unit lacked a creative, big play spark.
Simple pass and catch and move the chains type plays were bumbled or the protection broke down. It wasn't until it was a lost cause, down by 34-0, that the unit got in synch. The Raiders OLine had by far the worst performance of this season. 46 total yards rushing is a direct reflection of an OLine who lost the all important man to man battles at the line of scrimmage. Playing from behind and unable to establish the running game, the Raiders became 1 dimensional and far easier to contain.
The Raiders have a difficult task ahead of them in order to reach their goal of winning the AFC West. As I've said countless times, the 2011 Raiders have been a very resilient group. All 4 games pose unique challenges regardless of injuries, weather conditions, opponent, or divisional standings.
Up Next: The reigning Super Bowl Champs and undefeated 12-0 Packers.
I love the fact that everyone is writing off the Raiders, the Raiders chances to defeat the vaunted Pack on the road, are handing the Donkeys the divisional crown, and Te-Blow the MVP. The Raiders have a legitimate shot to "shock the world" and be the 1st team to beat the Pack, if and only if, the running game is the center piece of the game plan. The fact is that the Packers rush D is horrendous (ranked #29 at 4.9 yards per carry).
If you want to dictate tempo, control the clock, keep Rodgers off the field, establishing the run for 4 quarters is the only hope for coming out on top. Even if the Raiders fall short of a "W", it is paramount to put together a solid, sound performance to build towards the remaining 3 games of the season. The stark reality is that if the Raiders lose to the Pack, ripping off 3 consecutive wins to finish the season vs. Detroit, at KC, vs. SD might be required to punch their ticket to the playoff party.