In their biggest test of the season coming after a bye, the Oakland Raiders were a major disappointment in a 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots.
The Raiders defense looked outmatched by Tom Brady and Co., even with an additional week to prepare. Overall, it was an opportunity that went awry and now the prospect of the playoffs, never mind any Super Bowl aspirations, looks bleak.
The Oakland Raiders’ defense gave up 21 first downs, 420 total yards, and was physically beat down in the thin air of Mexico City. Tom Brady methodically worked the Raiders defense like artwork.
With the dismissal of Ken Norton Jr., the Raiders defense will now need to figure it out with John Pagano at the helm. Raiders players will be thankful they don’t have to face elite offenses in coming weeks, as they will play two winnable games at home against the Denver Broncos and New York Giants. Look for the team to play more man coverage in the secondary and to lean on the players up front to stop the run as they have been capable at times this season.
Not All Gloom & Doom
Cory James was healthy enough to rack up seven tackles on Sunday. Khalil Mack notched his fifth and a half sack against Brady in a moment he can look back on after the season or later in his career. Safety Karl Joseph continues his rise to stardom as he had another solid stat line that will keep him showing up as a matchup problem for opposing offenses. Though miscommunications between defensive backs and free safety Reggie Nelson have continued to plague this team.
The Litmus Test
Sunday’s contest was an opportunity to come together and secure a win for the second stretch of the season, instead, the whole club appeared to flounder on an international stage. Everyone needs to be held accountable and do what they can do to be respectable in coming games. If they can win the next two, the team will get a chance to position themselves atop the AFC West in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead. The Raiders now have to put the past the game and firing behind them and remember what brought the team to win games they had no business winning. Until next time, Ramble On Raider Nation.