The Patriots coordinated and proven method of attack were too much for unorganized and mistake-prone Raiders on Sunday. The two teams did battle, but the well-coached Patriots had far more weapons in their arsenal and the rowdy Raiders put themselves into difficult positions all day. By the end of the day, the Patriots were burning the Jolly Roger and sending the Raiders to the gallows.
How big was the Jason Campbell interception in the red zone? With time ticking down in the first half and the Raiders offense marching down field Campbell threw the ball to a wide open Patrick Chung in the end zone. There wasn’t a receiver within ten yards. Did the ball slip or did Campbell just have a mental lapse? Campbell said he was going to throw the ball away, but at the last second saw Darrius Heyward-Bey get open in the back of the end zone. His body responded to his brain and tried ended up catastrophically merging the two thoughts. It was like that time when I put hazelnut creamer in my orange Zipfizz instead of french vanilla. One tastes like vomit, the other like an orange creamsicle.
Richard Seymour spotted the Patriots 30 yards on the opening drive. Maybe the Patriots score without the yards or maybe they don’t. Seymour should have realized after the very first penalty that the he had to play cleaner than most at least until the officials settled into the flow of the game.T
Blown coverages, missing tackles and not disguising blitzes added to the Raiders mistakes on Sunday. Everyone asks why Al Davis hates to blitz and Sunday’s game was a good example. If the blitz is picked up, the quarterback has open receivers and/or one-on-one matchups.
Will things ever change? Raiders killed themselves with penalties all afternoon. Complaining doesn’t change the outcome or the number of flags thrown. There is no denying the questionable nature of several penalties called against the Raiders, but there is a reason the Raiders are the most penalized team year after year and it has nothing to do with coaching. Reputation kills the Raiders. A small minority of penalties are black and white mental errors that the Raiders can correct with coaching. There simply is no sense in complaining about the penalties because as long as the Raiders image remains, the penalties will remain.
To change the penalties the Raiders have to do nothing more than change their image. Jon Gruden did it, but he may be the only coach to successfully alter the Raider mystique. The Raider mystique is something most fans don’t want to see lost, but for the Raiders to win another Super Bowl it has to go. There is so little margin for error in the NFL that the Raiders can’t afford to battle against two teams on Sunday.
Hue Jackson is trying to reduce the penalties. The best he can hope for is avoidance of mental penalties. Time will tell if that is enough.
What defense? The Raiders didn’t get a single stop of the Patriots until the Patriots were comfortably in control of the game. The Patriots passed when they wanted to pass and ran when the wanted to run. They did both successfully. While the offense had problems converting yards into points, the defense had problems with yards and points. Bend and break defenses don’t win many games. The Raiders have faced two quality offensive teams this season and were unable to stop either of them for long stretches of the game. The Raiders face a third quality offense in week 5 in the Houston Texans.
Chuck Bresnahan will take the heat, but the players aren’t performing. It isn’t like Bresnahan can drastically alter the defensive scheme with Al Davis around.