The Oakland Raiders come up a couple of wins short, as they lose to the Indianapolis Colts 31-26. The Raiders knew their chance at a playoff birth was terminated when the Kansas City Chiefs took care of the Tennessee Titans earlier in the afternoon. Sunday’s game was a microcosm of the Raiders season. Here’s a recap of yesterday’s match-up.
Oakland jumps out to a 7-0 lead right out of the gate, thanks in part to a Jacoby Ford 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Raiders give up the next 10 points to the Colts, courtesy of a 6-yard touchdown run by running back Joseph Addai and an Adam Vinatieri 30-yard field goal. Early in the second quarter the Colts lead 10-7.
The Raiders can’t seem to get in the end zone in the second quarter, as running back Darren McFadden is held in check. For the game, McFadden ended up with only 45 yards rushing and 31 yards receiving and no touchdowns. Fortunately for the Raiders, kicker Sebastian Janikowski scores the next six points ( 59-yard and 38-yard field goals) to give Oakland a 13-10 lead.
Just when the Raiders seemed liked they were controlling the pace of the game, the 6’5 quarterback, with the laser rocket arm known as Peyton Manning marched the Colts down the field in less than a 1:30 seconds to give them the go ahead touchdown (an 18-yard pass to tight end Jacob Tamme). The Raiders could have and should have stopped the Colts twice on that drive, but penalties kept Indianapolis on the field. The Raiders get a last second crack at a field goal before the half comes to an end, but Janikowski misses a 54-yard field goal wide right. At halftime the Raiders are down 17-13.
In the second half, the Raiders inconsistent offense put a lot of pressure on the defense to contain Manning and the Colts. The Raiders score on another Janikowski 45-yard field goal to pull within one point of the Colts 17-16 to begin the quarter. After that, the offense turns up missing for the rest of the quarter. The Raiders defense hold Manning in check for the most part, besides giving up a touchdown pass late in the 3rd quarter. At the end of three quarters of play, the Colts lead 24-16.
Janikowski kicks his 4th field goal of the game to begin the 4th quarter, but trading field goals for touchdowns is not helping the Silver and Black in this ball game. The Colts score on another Manning touchdown pass, this time to wide receiver Pierre Garcon, as the Colts go up 31-19.
Even though the season is over, the Raiders make one last attempt in Sunday’s ball game. Campbell leads Oakland on a 12 play 80-yard drive as Oakland pulls within 31-26 with a little under 2 minutes left in the ball game. For the game, Campbell threw for 231 yards and a touchdown, and actually out-dueled Manning in yards (179 yards passing, with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions).
Manning however, had the last laugh. After the Colts recovered a Raiders on-sides kick attempt, on 3rd and 2, Manning ran a naked quarterback bootleg up the left side for 27 yards, sealing the victory 31-26.
In this game you saw the good and bad about this Raiders team that made them at times, tough to watch this season. They were oh so close, yet they still have ways to go. Their offensive inconsistencies that showed up in this ball game, has hurt them all year long. The run defense can’t seem to consistently contain the running game when you need them to, giving up a total of 191 rushing yards to the Colts, of all teams. Even though the Raiders lacked consistency on both sides of the ball, they still had a chance to make the playoffs this year, which means they will grow and become better when next year arrives.
Now that Coach Cable has brought back a culture of winning to Oakland, I believe the Raiders will be a favorite of many to win the division and make the playoffs next year. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Raiders could give a small preview of whats to come next season against the Chiefs next week, as they look to go undefeated in the division. This should be interesting!
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Written by Arthur Kai