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I Knew We Were Going to Lose When...

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I was hopeful that my Raiders would make it to the play offs. I knew it was a long shot. Kansas City did their part for us by beating the Denver Broncos. All we needed to do was win this one game. We went down 38-26. Not even in flames. We went down choking.

I knew early on this was not going to be a good game , though, because I saw signs.

The first sign was when with all kinds of movement on their offense, and our defense reacting to it, we got called for off sides. My stomach turned when I witnessed one of the cleanest players in the league, Matt Giordano, get flagged for unnecessary roughness, hitting a defenseless receiver. And that with less than 2 minutes played!

Then I thought, hmm, maybe it WILL be okay when Matt picked off Phillip Rivers on the very next play.

We followed that by going down the field 95 yards, and scoring a touchdown. That renewed my hope. But I still had that
feeling nagging at me. For good reason.

San Diego went right down field and scored. How? Mike Mitchell lost his balance and fell, covering Antonio Gates. Our best ball hawking safety was busy blitzing.

In what world is blitzing the team leader in interceptions a GOOD thing? Only in the mind of Chuck Breshnahan. Of course, Chuckie B seemingly thinks it is a good idea to have defensive lineman LaMar Houston cover the same player. He only has a career average of 13.1 yards per reception. Who says a line man can't cover him successfully? I am thinking anyone with any actual football sense. But football sense does not seem to be high on that particular defensive coordinator's list. He had Rolando McClain, again, covering a top rated wide receiver. Is it any surprise the pass play, a third and 7, play, resulted in a touchdown? Now keep in mind, we had 6 defensive backs on the field, and yet our middle linebacker was covering wide receiver Vincent Jackson.

The problem with this particular defensive coordinator is he is back asswards. He develops a scheme, then plugs players into it, never giving a second thought to the fact that the players he is plugging in do not have the

skill set necessary to fit. One thing Coach Davis preached was use one's players to their strengths. That is not what has been done with the defense. For instance, Kamerion Wimbley has had 7 sacks this season, but time after time, he was dropped into coverage. I know I questioned why the leader in interceptions, Matt Giordano, was running outside trying to get to the quarterback while Kamerion Wimbley was in coverage - with his entire 2 CAREER interceptions, and the guy with 5 interceptions and zero sacks is going after the quarterback. Yeah, that makes PERFECT sense. Only in the mind of hopefully our soon to be former defensive coordinator. For the record, in this game, Matt was the only player with a a recorded pass defended.

Then there is Lito Sheppard. His tendency is to allow the catch, but not allow YAC, and sometimes he can make a play on the ball. Normally not a bad thing. However, he is only 5'10" tall and 194 lbs. , not big at all for a corner. he seemed to draw man a lot agianst Malcolm Floyd. Floyd is 6'5". That is a classic mismatch. On one play, a 3rd and 4, Lito played several yards off the line scrimmage. He made the tackle pretty much right after the catch was made, but it was a 4 yard reception. There was no push on the receiver at the line of scrimmage, no contact within the first 5 yards to slow the receiver down. And no way Lito could do ANYTHING but attempt to make the tackle. Which he did well.

San Diego had possession of the ball 9 times. Their first possession ended in an interception. They missed one field goal. With less than a minute left , they turned the ball over on downs. They scored 6 times. Their punter took the field only to be the holder on 2 field goal attempts.

The defensive line, allegedly anchored by Richard Seymour, has struggled mightily since Matt Shaughnessy was hurt. With John Henderson missing this game, there were fewer guys to rotate in to relieve these guys.

I have to also look at what I know our offense could be. The one that Hue Jackson calls the plays for.

The one that ran Michael Bush 15 times on first downs. That includes 12 out of 15 times , before our last possession of the half. I shake my head at an offense that had 3rd and 9 and threw the ball 5 yards, forcing us to punt. The one that threw for 6 yards on a 3rd and 13 play, forcing us to settle for a field goal.

The one that did not employ no huddle until there was less than 1/2 a quarter left in the game.

The no huddle has always worked for our offense, and Carson Palmer does run it well. That is as long as he doesn't force his throw.

He did that a few times this game. There were two corner routes to Darrius Heyward-Bey, Both times he ended up playing defense. One , in the south end zone he came close to making it a catch. The second one, in the north end zone, he made a great defensive play to prevent an interception. He also came literally out of no where, jumped in front of a defender all set for a pick. That was the drive that ended with Kevin Boss getting the touch down pass and getting injured. Three passes where he prevented picks, and one where he almost made it a score. I know there will be different points of view on the pass attempt to the south end zone, but the way I see it, the ball was overthrown, DHB managed to tip into himself, and then the Charger defender, Eric Weddle got his hand in to knock it up. What DHB did next is not what you will see from someone like Michael Crabtree. DHB played defense, and before wddle could "gain possession", Weddle was forced out of bounds. Some will say that an elite receiver would have had that pass, but I'd question that. DHB had to jump for the ball and get it into his body to try to protect it. That is what ANY receiver would have done, and Weddle was in position to punch the ball out. Period.

Yeah, I am a complete DHB homer, and probably his biggest fan outside of his family. I know he dropped balls this game, too. But like he is supposed to, he let the drops go, and moved on and made some seriously good plays.

Again, he was the leading receiver for the game. And again, he was the only wide receiver with a touch down.

The 9 receptions for 130 yards helped Carson Palmeer achieve another 100+ passer rating.

It was not a bad game for Palmer, with 417 yards in the air.

It was not getting the holes for Michael Bush that hurt us. He managed only 3.5 yards per carry. he carried the ball 19 of our 24 rushes, 2 of those being Palmer scrambles on busted pass plays.

So when did I know we were not going to win?

It could have been with less than a minute and half gone in the game, the guys in the booth were already talking about the penalty record, and seeing 2 bogus flags thrown already.

Maybe it was when I saw the lack of pressure on Phillip Rivers.

Maybe it was when I realized that we were not going to use no huddle to move the ball... until we were too far behind to make a serious comeback.

Maybe it was when we had them for a safety, and after ruling the return man down on the half yard line, Jackson did not challenge the play. And they moved the ball easily. From the half yard line. Again no pressure.

Maybe it was when they had a 105 yard kick return for a touch down.

Maybe it was when Denarius Moore missed a high, but catchable, ball.

Maybe it was when Palmer finally threw the interception.

Maybe it was when we had a delay of game when going for a field goal.

Nope. Not any of those. It WAS when I saw Houston in coverage on Gates. I knew that a defensive scheme was in place, despite the fact it didn't work for the players we had. And that we would not deviate. I knew we'd never pressure Rivers. (We had only one quarterback pressure by Richard Seymour.) I knew no matter what we did, unless we managed to get another turnover, we were dead in the water.

I do not know what will happen in the up-coming off season for my beloved team.

But I do know I still love my team. And I will be getting my season tickets again.

As ever,

Win, lose or tie, RAIDERS til I DIE!


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Updated 01-03-2012 at 06:19 AM by BlitzChick

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