“Jesus, that last offensive series by #Raiders was Musgrave-esque.”
Above is but a sample of my knee-jerk reactions on Twitter. However, that Tweet was at least warranted. Oakland’s momentum flatlined after going 3-and-out and holding a precarious 14-10 lead against the New York Jets late in the second quarter. Offensive coordinator Todd Downing’s play-calling (he dialed up three plays for six pathetic-looking yards) reminded me of the oft-ridiculed style of former OC Bill Musgrave. Cellar-dweller Gang Green was hanging with the Silver & Black.
Don’t lie; you found that difficult to fathom. You felt uncomfortable, didn’t you?
However, alas, special teams was the much-needed defibrillator. Recovering a muffed punt at the Jets’ four-yard line, Downing righted the wrongs. He proceeded with big boy ball gave Marshawn Lynch the rock three-straight times and boom! Beast Mode’s first TD as a Raider and 21-10 Oakland heading into halftime at the Coliseum.
Oh, but Downing was just getting started because this is where he truly departs from Musgrave’s ways. Downing is not one to milk a lead.
“Bill was a great O.C., but I think T.D. is a younger guy who just brings a little more spice,” Jalen Richard told the East Bay Times’ Carl Steward after the game. “That, and he doesn’t take his foot off the pedal. We don’t want to just rack up yards and points. We want to take the breath out of people. Coming out of halftime, we said, `Let’s gas ’em.’ And that’s exactly what we did.”
The Raiders did what I hoped they would — scorched Earth status. The team proceeded to land some explosive haymakers. Moreover, we got to see Downing’s creativity on full display. He was a wizard laughing right in the face of those who dared to question his magic.
Special teamer and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson motioned from the outside right next to Derek Carr on 3rd-and-1 on the Jets’ 43 and took the handoff 43-yards to the house, 28-13 Raiders.
Ten plays later, Richard took a pitch from Carr, got great blocks and executed one cut to race 52-yards to paydirt, 35-13 Raiders.
Three plays later, Carr took the 1st-and-goal snap at the Jets’ 1 and sprinted right before firing a laser to Michael Crabtree (the wideout’s third TD of the afternoon), 42-13, Raiders.
Final score: 45-20.
The 45 points this past Sunday were the most by a Raiders team since 2010 (a 59-14 waxing of the Denver Broncos). It was also the most amount of points defensive-minded Todd Bowles yielded during his three-year tenure as Jets boss.
Downing will have his mettle tested this year. There will be stumbles, and we saw some against New York. How Downing responds will reveal more of his character and football acumen. However, the early returns on the neophyte offensive coordinator cannot be ignored; it is glorious.
It was mighty fine to see a Raiders offensive coordinator put the pedal to the metal for once.