Allen: We wore down defensively; couldn't stop the run
Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray ran for 63 yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders on Thursday. (AP)
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Raiders failed to finish strong in Thursday’s 31-24 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. That’s nothing new. It’s happened six times in a 4-8 season.
Normally, there’s a fixable reason for it. The Raiders might’ve hurt themselves with a mistake or an ill-timed injury or a reasonable cause for frustration.
Not so against Dallas, and it was written all over Dennis Allen’s face. He was exhausted and beaten down by another second-half collapse.
The truly troubling part: the Raiders simply got beat by a better team. There was nothing the coaches could do. Believe that they tried.
“We made a lot of adjustments,” Allen said. “We called everything we had in the playbook.”
Nothing seemed to work because the Raiders were banged up and worn down. Consequently they couldn’t tackle well. Dallas knew it, and went for the jugular. They ran right through the Raiders defense. They passed well and kept the chains moving.
The Raiders allowed 228 yards in the second half, 132 of which came on the ground. They made quarterback Tony Romo seem invincible. They made little Lance Dunbar look like Barry Sanders because the NFL’s No. 8-ranked run defense forgot how to tackle.
Poor tackling was exemplified on a 3rd-and-6 late in the third quarter of a tie game. Tight end Jason Witten caught a pass in the flat, and was trapped before the first-down marker. Kevin Burnett and Brandian Ross were in position and inexplicably let him rumble 19 yards for a first down.
Burnett called that play a turning point. It was certainly a sign that the Raiders defense was well done. It took the offense out of rhythm and kept Romo’s unit on the field for 21 minutes in the second half.
“We didn’t adjust when we had to,” Burnett said. “It is nothing that can be coached. The coaches put us in perfect plays, and we didn’t tackle. That’s what it boils down to. We didn’t tackle. We would hit them in the backfield. We’d get six guys around them, and we’d let them go.
“Everyone has to be accountable. It is what it is at this point.”