What Went Wrong Against the Buffalo Bills

It was a devastating defeat for the Oakland Raiders this past Sunday, a loss that puts the team’s playoff hopes in jeopardy.

Before the game, RaiderRamble.com gave you four keys that would’ve led the Silver and Black to a victory. Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at how the team held up.

1. Establish Identity on Offense

Oh boy. Raider Nation exhaled as they thought the offense was back after the Thursday Night game against the Kansas City Chiefs, didn’t you?

Well apologies in advance, but even though the Raiders came out firing on offense marching down the field to score an opening drive touchdown, this proved to be an anomaly. After that, the offense retracted into their shell where they hibernated from Weeks 3 to 6. The play-action went out the window. Derek Carr looked jumpy and scared standing in the pocket. Oftentimes he did not settle his feet and forced throws from his back foot with no defenders around him. Here is an example where Carr rushes the throw on 3rd down before settling his feet.

Carr’s performance wasn’t the only head-scratcher, the play design and play calling by offensive coordinator Todd Downing was lacking as well. Coming into Week 8, the Bills ranked 26th in the league in pass defense and the offense decided to instead dink and dunk, leading to a funny yet sad tweet from Raiders fan Ice Cube.

Offensive play calling and play design looked suspect all night. Routes looked predictable. Receivers were never asked to test the secondary and long passes we saw Cooper come down with last week were non-existent. Here is a video showing two receivers running a route to the same spot

Below are a few stats from PFF Analyst Austin Gayle, which tell the story of the Raiders pass-offense.

  • Carr completed 2 of 6 deep passes (20+ air yards) for 61 yards and 2 INTs
  • Carr attempted 30 passes at or behind 5 yards from the LOS against BUF
  • 5% of Carr’s passes were thrown less than 2.6 seconds after the snap. That number was 56.6% against KC in W7.
  • Of his 71 pass attempts on 3rd down, Carr has thrown past the line of gain just 32 times this season (45.1%).
  • Carr’s average depth of target is 3.28 yards fewer than his ADOT from last season (7.73 to 4.45).

2. Protect the Football

Four turnovers on Sunday along with two fumbles, one by each of the running backs in DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, and two interceptions were thrown by Carr. The Bills came into the game tied for first place with a +10 turnover differential and left the game with +14. Raiders knew how important it was to win the turnover battle and yet converted more turnovers than any other game the last two years. This falls under the overall problem the offense is having this season.

3. and 4. Shutting Down Running Back LeSean McCoy and making Tyrod beat you with his arm

Up until all hopes were lost, the defense gave up a 48-yard touchdown run to McCoy, which unfortunately only helped seal the deal. Considering the talent level on defense and injuries to safety Karl Joseph and cornerback David Amerson, the defense did pretty well. The offense going 3/10 on 3rd downs and keeping the defense on the field 10 minutes longer than the Bills defense.

Final Takeaway

It is mind-boggling to fans and analysts alike that an offense with so much talent can be made to look so ordinary. General manager Reggie McKenzie added a plethora of talent in tight end Jared Cook, running back Marshawn Lynch, and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to a “Top 5” offense from 2016 and it turns into a bottom-dwelling offense in 2017. How does that happen? Many analysts point to rookie offensive coordinator Todd Downing for the inexperienced play-calling and play-design. Raiders have no time to wait and Downing must figure this out immediately for the Raiders to have any shot at the playoffs rescue what has been a disappointing season so far.

Don’t forget Raider Nation to check out our Periscope channel for press conferences and backstage interviews!


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