Raiders 27 - Vikings 21
The game yesterday had an odd ebb and flow to it. After surrendering an early 7-0 lead to the Vikings, the Raiders scored 27 unanswered points. It seemed like the Vikings completely fell apart immediately after RB Adrian Peterson was injured.
In the ensuing 2nd quarter of play, the Raiders had 3 possessions and 3 touchdown drives. With :51 left in the 3rd quarter, the Raiders had a very comfortable 20 point lead.
At this juncture in the game, the momentum shifted in the Vikings direction. Instead of closing out the Vikes, the game truly hung in the balance with the Raiders up 27-21 with 3:01 in the game and the Vikings with the ball.
The best way I can describe the Raiders' performance yesterday is "Good, Bad, and Ugly" with the end result an important victory to stay on course in capturing the AFCW division. 10 games into the season, at 6-4 and in the driver's seat in the division, there is a need to establish more consistency from quarter to quarter, half to half, and game to game. Most importantly, this team needs to ramp it up in the 4th quarter of play and put their collective foot on the opponent's throat.
- Raiders defensive pass pressure; 5 sacks (Sheppard on a corner blitz; 2 for Kelly, 2 for Bryant) 6 QB pressures, and 5 QB hits. DT Desmond Bryant, filling in for the majority of snaps for
Seymour, had his best game of his career. The next man up (Bryant) stepped up.
- Hue Jackson's playcalling; I like that Hue stuck with the run for 4 quarters instead of following the conventional wisdom of airing it out against an inexperienced, poor secondary. The Raiders rushed the ball 40 times and passed 23 times. It was also nice to see TE Kevin Boss targeted for 6 balls and coming up with 5 important receptions. Boss is an excellent receiver, a huge target for Palmer, and should be incorporated more in the red zone playbook.
- Michael Bush; Bush is the model for a consistently productive RB. He had his 2nd straight 100+ yard game on 30 carries compiling 109 yards on the ground. In the last 4 games, Bush has 461 total rushing yards.
- Jared vs. Jared; Jared Veldheer did an amazing job on the best pass rusher in the NFL, Jared Allen. Veldheer made Allen completely anonymous on the field (2 tackles, 0 sacks, 0 pressures, 0 QB hits).
- Takeaways (3 INTS; 2 fumble recoveries); Safey Giordano stopped a deep drive by Minnesota and returned the INT for 42 big yards. DT Kelly showed nice hands on a tipped pass securing an INT that led to a short field FG. CB Routt had a critical, game saving INT in the end zone.
- Closing out the game with less than 6 minutes in the game, RB Bush coughed up a fumble. Bush hadn't fumbled since 2009 but this fumble allowed the Vikes to close a 13 margin to 6 and give (no pun intended) them new life.
- Pass Protection of everyone not named Veldheer; The Raiders OLine had provided solid, consistent pass protection all season long giving up only 11 sacks in the previous 9 games. In this game, Palmer was sacked 4 times and hit 8 times.
- QB Containment; QB Christian Ponder had 5 runs for 71 yards on busted plays. The Raiders LBs did a poor job tracking Ponder's scrambles and made it far too easy for him to pick up big, chain moving chunks of yardage.
- Penalties; what else is new? The Raiders had 12 costly penalties for 117 yards. Take away a few of the these inopportune, bone-head penalties, and the Raiders would have had a "W" on cruise control. Instead, the penalties reared their ugly head to breath life into the Vikings.
- 4th Quarter Drought; In the last 5 games (3-2), the Raiders have scored 0 total points in five consecutive 4th quarters.
The Raiders caught a major break when Da Bears (7-3) visit Oakland with QB Caleb Henie behind center. Starter Jay Cutler suffered a broken right thumb vs. San Diego.