Bucs use 17 big plays to embarrass Raiders

Bucs use 17 big plays to embarrass Raiders
November 5, 2012, 2:51 am
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OAKLAND -- In the smoky wreckage of the Raiders 42-32 loss to Doug Martin and various other Tampa Bay Buccaneers, head coach Dennis Allen kept going on and on and on about execution, as though he was considering it as a midweek drill.His problem in that case, though, would have been in amassing sufficient ammunition. When a team loses like this, the blame is thick, wide, and applies easily.Mostly, though, Allens specialty, the defensive side of the ball, is the reason the Raiders got chased out of their own building Sunday. Tactically, strategically, technically and chronically, Oaklands defenders did little to earn the name.And while the offense had its issues (Carson Palmers three interceptions, two born of sheer Palmerian impatience), and is going to have more if the news on the ankles of Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson is bad, the Raiders shamed themselves Sunday because of atrocious tackling and pursuit, which remain two of the most important things a defense can do.We didnt tackle well, is how Allen put it. Weve done a good job of tackling but today was not a good day.Then again, watching your garage burn down is not a good day, too.Martins 251 rushing yards and four scores were plenty in and of themselves, and it was only Tampa coach Greg Schianos conservatism down the stretch that kept those numbers from being more jaw-dropping.I kind of stumbled on a few early, and my coach was like, Get your head up, get your head up, Martin said. So I started to pick my head up after I was stumbling. What follows the head is the body, so I just kept going and I was on to the third level.The fourth level, of course, being Oakland International Airport.But the more elemental truth is this: Of the 63 offensive plays the Buccaneers ran Sunday, 17 went for 10 or more yards. Thats 27 percent of their plays from scrimmage. How they only ended up with 515 total yards based on that number alone is stunning.And not all 17 of those plays were Martins doing, which means this was not a matter of one man beating 11, as much as fantasy blokes might paint it as such. From the games first play, when Tampa quarterback Josh Freeman scrambled into wide open prairie for 11 yards, the Raiders gave up huge hunks of yardage to a multiplicity of Buccaneers. Martin for 12.
Freeman to former Stanford defensive end Erik Lorig for 11.
Freeman to wide receiver Vincent Jackson for 64, minus 15 for Jacksons taunting of Tyvon Branch.
Martin for 13.
Freeman to Jackson for 20 and the first touchdown.
Freeman for 11.
Freeman to tight end Dallas Clark for 10.
Freeman to Williams for 22.
Freeman to Clark for 12.
Martin for 10.
Freeman to running back D.J. Ware for 12.
Martin for 45 and the second touchdown.
Freeman to wide receiver Mike Williams for 37.
Martin for 67 and the fourth touchdown.
Martin for 70 and the fifth touchdown.
Freeman to tight end Nate Byham for 10.Thats 437 of the 515 yards, an average of 25.7 yards PER PLAY. Next to that, Palmers performance, which probably infuriated more people than it should have given the fact that the Raiders played most of the game without McFadden and half the fourth quarter without Goodson, was downright incandescent.Now you may be comfortable with the idea that this was just one of those days, but they play Baltimore (Ray Rice) next, and before seasons end still must face Cincinnati (BenJarvus Green-Ellis), Cleveland (Trent Richardson), Denver (Willis McGahee), Carolina (Cam Newton) and San Diego (Ryan Mathews). They all rank 22nd or higher (Martin was 11th), and theyve all had or nearly had 100 yards in a game.In short, there may be other days that approach this one not 251 yards worth, but enough to make an impression on a team whose latest impression is Doug Martins foot on their faces.And therein lies the true and enduring problem. The Raiders changed a lot of things over the off-season, and they manically emphasized defending the run. As a result, they ranked in or near the top 10 in total yards, yards per carry, and various lesser run numbers. After Sunday, they went from a thoroughly acceptable 3.9 yards per rush to 4.7, which would now place them 29th.In one day.In other words, this is still a work in progress, and slower progress than one would think. Many changes remain to be made before this ocean liner completes its U-turn, and Sunday was a 40-piece brass bands proof of that.And yes, execution still sounds like a pretty good idea. No matter how you define it.