By Sam McPherson
The Oakland Raiders traveled all the way to London, England, only to get their helmets handed to them again, this time by the Miami Dolphins. The 38-14 loss was another ugly one for the Silver & Black, and as the team heads into the bye week with an 0-4 record, there’s little to build on after this stinker.
Last week, it was a close loss that left the Raiders knowing they could compete with the best in the league; this week, it was a painful reminder just how far the Oakland franchise has to go before it will return to the elite status it once enjoyed.
The bye week will be a time of reflection—and perhaps change—for the Raiders, because they didn’t play well at all in this loss.
Derek Carr didn’t make it through the game, leaving with an injury, but backup Matt McGloin wasn’t that much better. Both QBs combined to complete 28 of 44 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. You’re just not going to win that many games with numbers like that, especially with the Oakland defense doing the Swiss cheese imitation again.
The problem is still stretching the field: while the completion percentage is fine, the passes just aren’t going very far on a regular, consistent basis. When you’re averaging only 6.25 yards per attempt, the offense is not stretching the field or giving the running game a chance to succeed, either.
The turnovers are the other problem: teams like the Raiders cannot continue to give the opponents extra chances with the interceptions. They’re back breakers right now. GRADE: D
The running game still can’t get anywhere, averaging 2.9 yards per carry today. Of course, when you fall behind so fast, you abandon the run—and when it wasn’t working in the first place … well, draw your own conclusions.
Darren McFadden ran 11 times for 40 yards, but otherwise, the Raiders didn’t move the ball on the ground at all.
Ten different receivers caught passes in this game, and usually that’s a good thing. But as noted above, it doesn’t matter as much when you’re dinking and dunking your way down the field.
The 6-for-14 effort on third downs wasn’t enough to sustain much today, either. GRADE: D
The Silver & Black defense was back to its usual self this week, giving up 435 yards at a 6.6 yards per play clip. It’s so hard to win when you make an average QB like Ryan Tannehill look good, and the Raiders have specialized in making plain QBs look good. The defense did intercept one pass, which saved a score, but it wasn’t enough, obviously.
Oakland gave up 157 yards on the ground, allowing 4.5 yards per carry. That’s right in line with the team’s effort every week, but it hurts when you can’t stop any facet of the opponent’s offense. Journeyman running back Lamar Miller scored twice to really stick the knife in the Raiders.
The plus here is for the three turnovers forced, which kept this game as close as it was. GRADE: D+
Marquette King had a great game, averaging 47.2 yards per punt, and Sebastian Janikowski converted both PAT attempts. The punt and kick returns were fine, but special teams didn’t play a big role in this big loss. GRADE: A
Up and Down, Now Maybe Down and Out
What is there to say? The Raiders stink.
Now 0-4 already, the season itself is lost: what remains now is continuing to build for the future. And does that include Head Coach Dennis Allen?
The team has a bye week to figure stuff out, and hopefully, the defense can work on the inconsistency that has plagued it this year. The Week Three effort against New England was special, but that level of play was nowhere to be seen in Week Four.
It’s going to be a long season in Oakland … again.
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Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on a Examiner.com.