Woodson: 'We surprised ourselves by not playing well'
The Eagles controlled the ball for just 22:06 of the game, but they racked up 542 yards of total offense against the Raiders. (USATSI)
There seems to be a misconception running around Oakland that the Raiders got a little too happy with their defense the past few weeks, or that they were caught unaware by the Philadelphia Eagles offense, or that Chip Kelly is just good at trickeration, and it’s just a matter, as head coach Dennis Allen, said of “having a bad day, and getting back to work.”
Well, no. That really isn’t it. Not all of it, anyway.
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In fact, what happened Sunday is that one aspect of the Kelly offense – its long-term reliance on quicker, better athletes – beat the Raiders Sunday.
And they didn’t just beat the Raiders, but beat them 49-20 in cab-hailing time. They beat them with seven touchdown passes from young and until now very ordinary quarterback Nick Foles. They beat them with wide receiver/preseason cause celebre Riley Cooper and running back LeSean McCoy and pretty an offensive line that gave Foles Masterpiece Theatre-level time in the pocket to make his reads and his throws and in general owning the Raiders physically.
Physically, we repeat. The Eagles exposed the Raiders’ speed and strength deficiencies after struggling with stronger and faster defenses in Dallas and New York the past two weeks. Foles didn’t suddenly have an epiphany, and Kelly didn’t reinvent his offense for just this occasion.
They made the Raiders pay for being the Raiders – a team that matches up well against some teams and not others, and a team like many in the lower half of the league, capable of false positives as well as false negatives.
And this was one of those get-schooled matchups, where the Eagles had everything the Raiders could do nothing about and never really had to do anything different.
“I wouldn’t say we were getting overconfident,” cornerback Tracy Porter said. “But we were beginning to build on the wins we were having. We weren’t overlooking this team, we weren’t overly confident, but we were feeling good about ourselves coming into this game.”
The Raiders had been boatraced defensively only once, by the hyperactive Denvers in Week 3, and given their wretched defenses of prior years, people thought Allen had improved his specialty to above-average league levels.
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But seven touchdowns are a lot to give up, especially when you consider that the Raiders have only seven all season. So are 542 yards in 22 minutes of possession time. Eagle receivers ran open and free most of the day, and not just because of blown assignments. McCoy and Bryce Brown routinely found and shot through gaps in the Raider front line.
Oakland’s strength had been exposed as . . . well, not as a true weakness, but as less than it had been advertised to be. And it wasn’t lack of study or practice diligence that caused it.
The Raiders are still a team with significant limitations, and Sunday’s game served as a reminder of that fact. Theirs will not be a miraculous rebuild, but one done over time, and only with superb drafts and other talent upgrades. This is a team in transition after years of roster neglect, and though it will not give up four dozen very often (this is not Jacksonville), its climb to the lower middle is easier than to the upper half, top quadrant or, be still your throbbing livers, the top.
Sunday, they got beat by better players, albeit better players who have lost teams with even better ones. This was a step back. There will be more, and only the truly patient will endure.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com