Third-quarter collapse as epic as it was collective

October 1, 2012, 1:34 am
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DENVER -- There was a feeling of unbridled hope in the Raiders' locker room at halftime.They were only down 10-6 to the Denver Broncos, momentum had swung in their favor and they would be receiving the kickoff to open the second half.A few hours later, though, and the only emotion left in that room was the three-headed monster of disappointment, disgust and despair.Getting pummeled and embarrassed and outscored 27-0 in the game's final 30 minutes en route to a 37-6 shellacking will do that to a team. Especially one that thought it had turned a corner the previous week.It was a collapse as epic as it was collective."They out-coached us," said Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen, who was the Broncos' defensive coordinator last year."They out-played us. They beat us in every phase of the game so there's not a lot of positive you can take from it."Indeed. The Raiders, who had won the previous four games in Denver, were beat up and beat down by the Broncos.Consider: Denver led in time of possession, 37:25-22:35, in first downs, 26-12, in third-down efficiency, 10-of-16 to 1-of-12, and in total yards, 503-237.So yeah, you could say the first half was fool's gold for the Raiders, who benefited from Demaryius Thomas simply dropping the ball as he ran towards the Oakland end zone and Denver attempting a fake field goal and the Broncos blowing it.Especially with the way the Raiders folded in the second half."Really shocked," said receiver Derek Hagan, who started in place of the injured Darrius Heyward-Bey. "We came out flat. The game wasnt going our way the whole game but when youre down four at the half, youre obviously still in it."That third quarter, we couldnt put anything together and they kept scoring, kept scoring, kept scoring. You see the results when you come out flat and dont finish.While Oakland's offense had four straight three-and-outs in the third quarter, the Broncos were scoring three touchdowns.While Raiders punter Shane Lechler was getting his punt blocked -- technically, it's not a block because it rolled forward two yards, which will wreak havoc with his average -- the Broncos were not punting. At all.In four games, the Raiders have been outscored in the third quarter by a cumulative 55-7."I'm not exactly sure what that is," Allen said, "but we've got to get that figured out."Obviously. The Raiders also have to figure out how to slow down the opponent's passing game.The past two weeks, the Raiders have given up a combined 722 yards through the air on 66 of 87 passing (75.9 percent) for seven touchdowns with no interceptions and just one sack, for five yards.Disrupting Peyton Manning should have been Goal No. 1 on that side of the ball. And if it was, the Raiders defense failed at it miserably. The Raiders were credited with exactly zero -- ZERO! -- quarterback hits."Pass defense works collectively," Allen said. "It's pass rush and pass coverage together, and when we do put pressure on the quarterback, we've got to be able to cover him. When we're covering him, we've got to be able to get to the quarterback."The Raiders did neither on Sunday.Getting the run game going offensively should have been that unit's main focus. Again, failure, what with Darren McFadden going for 34 yards on 13 carries with a long run of eight yards in the Raiders' new zone-blocking scheme."I never really felt like we stayed in sync on offense," McFadden said. "We'd make a few plays here and there and then we'd get out of rhythm."A game like that, it's hard to swallow. It's a division opponent, you want to go out there and get a win but we just have to come back and go back to the drawing board and execute our plays."And figure out why the third quarter has been one of horrors for them thus far.