'Explosive' plays define Raiders' lost season

'Explosive' plays define Raiders' lost season
December 4, 2012, 3:49 pm
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ALAMEDA -- A constant theme throughout his 42-minute sit down with seven reporters last Friday was Reggie McKenzie lamenting the Raiders' trend of giving up big plays at, well, big moments.The Raiders first-year general manager pointed to them as a major reason for the team's slide, which went from a four-game losing skid to five with Sunday's 20-17 defeat to Cleveland."Big plays kill us on defense," McKenzie said. "It's hard to win when you're giving up big plays on defense."The Raiders define an "explosive play" as one that gains at least 16 yards throughout the air, 12 yards on the ground. Such explosive plays, though, have actually defined the Raiders this season.And really, you could say the Raiders' best game this season was in a loss, at Atlanta."If I could put my finger on it, I would fix it myself," McKenzie said. "But, when you look at tape, how we attacked Atlanta, how we stopped the run, how we did not give up big runs, when you count the number of big plays in that game, you can start with that, and how we played on defense. That's why we were in that game."Indeed, the Raiders limited the Falcons to five explosive plays in that last-second, 23-20 loss, four passes and one run. And none of the plays ended as a touchdown."But since then, if you look at game by game, and see the big plays, now, our D-line is not getting knocked around the ball, we're stout up front," McKenzie said. "But when you talk about run game, run defense, the one thing that you worry about is getting knocked around up front. And our guys are not. But the bottom line is, the gaps. I mean, yeah, that's fixable, but you can't let it happen. So, that's part of it right there. That and a big pass play, especially on third down, when you think you can get off the field. Too many of those since then. Especially in November."Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly used to refer to it as the stop, stop, boom phenomenon. And it continues to this day."After you stop them and have a great play, good play, then all of a sudden, Wham, seven points. Easy," McKenzie said. "Kind of knocked the wind out of you, especially a team like this. Were not at that level where we can continue to overcome (that) time and time again."In the Raiders' five-game losing streak, the defense has surrendered a total of 49 explosive plays, 32 passes and 17 runs. Of these plays, nine have been touchdowns, with five by air and four by ground."We just have to work together to understand why and how (it happens)," said Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "We have to take better angles down the field, is some of it."Theyve happened in zone, theyve happened in every call known to man. Its a continuing process to have the guys understand where their help is and have guys understand how to take angles and go from there. Sometimes younger players, when they come out of the stack or different things, dont necessarily take the correct angle based on whats going on."Conversely, the Raiders have had 34 explosive plays, 27 passes (five TDs) and seven runs over the last five games."We're not good enough to just give guys, let alone points, but just to give them big plays like that," McKenzie said. "I'm looking for the offense to not just move the ball but score some points, get better in red zone, get better on third down, keep the chains moving, score points. More consistent special teams play, especially in coverage. I'm looking for a lot of things, but I'm looking for some wins."A look then, at the Raiders and explosive plays through 12 gamesEXPLOSIVE PLAYS
Passes of 16 yards or more, runs of 12 yards or moreSan Diego game (Lost, 22-14)
Raiders (5) 5 passes, 0 runs
Chargers (4) 4 passes, 0 runsMiami game (Lost, 35-13)
Raiders -- (8) 8 passes (TD), 0 run
Dolphins (10) 4 passes, 6 runs (3 TDs) Pittsburgh game (Won, 34-31)
Raiders (7) 5 passes, 2 runs (1 TD)
Steelers (8) 8 passes (1 TD), 0 runsDenver game (Lost, 37-6)
Raiders -- (6) 5 passes, 1 run
Broncos -- (12) 9 passes (2 TDs), 3 runsAtlanta game (Lost, 23-20)
Raiders -- (11) 10 passes (1 TD), 1 run
Falcons -- (5) 4 passes, 1 runJacksonville game (Won, 26-23)
Raiders -- (6) 5 passes, 1 run
Jaguars -- (3) 3 passes, 0 runsKansas City game (Won, 26-16)
Raiders -- (9) 5 passes (1 TD), 4 runs
Chiefs -- (6) 2 passes, 4 runsTampa Bay game (Lost, 42-32)
Raiders -- (6) 6 passes (1 TD), 0 runs
Buccaneers -- (10) 4 passes (1 TD), 6 runs (3 TDs)Baltimore game (Lost, 55-20)
Raiders -- (5) 5 passes (1 TD), 0 runs
Ravens -- (11) 10 passes (2 TDs), 1 runNew Orleans game (Lost, 38-17)
Raiders -- (12) 9 passes, 3 runs
Saints -- (10) 5 passes (1 TD), 5 runs (1 TD)Cincinnati game (Lost, 34-10)
Raiders -- (4) 2 passes (1 TD), 2 runs
Bengals -- (8) 4 passes, 4 runsCleveland game (Lost, 20-17)
Raiders -- (7) 5 passes (2 TDs), 2 runs
Browns -- (10) 9 passes (1 TD), 1 runTOTALS
Raiders -- (86) 70 passes (8 TD), 16 runs (1 TD)
Opponents (97) 66 passes (8 TDs), 31 runs (7 TDs)