You just new the Oakland Raiders had arrived, and played like team on an upward progression after the first half of their game Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, where they took a commanding 21-3 lead into halftime, after blocking a Buffalo field goal attempt to end the second quarter.
After the Bills scored on their first possession in the third quarter, the Raiders appeared to have an answer for them, moving the ball down the field with timely precision. Then the unexpected happens when running back Darren McFadden fumbled the ball, and just like that the momentum switched to Buffalo at the drop of a dime.
The Bills would go on to score 21 unanswered points before Oakland finally responded. The fourth quarter turned out to be an exciting back and fourth shoot out with Buffalo getting the last laugh as they would defeat the Raiders 38-35.
No adjustments on defense for the Raiders were costly on Sunday. The Bills went to a spread offense in the second half that the Raiders could not stop from scoring, as Buffalo scored on every possession in the second half.
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour and cornerback Chris Johnson knew that the defense had to step up and take responsibility for the loss. Seymour stated that the effort was good in the first half, but was not good at all in the second half. Johnson had a tough game himself, racking up four pass interference calls, a couple of those were questionable, and the other two were costly. Johnson still had a chance to make up for it late in the ball game when he could have intercepted Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone but couldn’t hold on to it. Two plays later Buffalo would score the gaming winning score.
A lack of running game in the second half also hurt the Raiders as they were unable to control the time of possession. McFadden had an all around good game of 143 all purpose yards, but only had 72 yards rushing, less than half the amount he had against Denver in week 1 (150 yards).
The lone bright spot for the Raiders was the vertical passing game, as Jason Campbell had his best game as a Raider going 23-of-33 for 323 yards and throwing for two touchdowns scores and rushing for another. The surprise for the Oakland offense was the depth at the wide receiver position. When starters Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford suffered injuries in practice, the Raiders turned to rookie Denarius Moore and veteran Derek Hagan to pick up the slack, and they both delivered. Hagan had five receptions for 61 yards, but the rook had an impressive outing with five catches for 146 yards and a touchdown score that gave the Raiders the lead late in the ball game. The Raiders were finally able to establish a vertical passing attack for the first time in years.
The Raiders must establish a consistent identity on defense scheme wise, and cut down on the costly penalties, as Hue Jackson has to establish some discipline if the Raiders want to truly progress. They face a tough opponent next week for their home opener the New York Jets. The last time the Jets were in Oakland was two years ago, when they put a smack down on the Raiders 38-0. Raider Nation would love to see a little payback and a big win in the Black Hole next Sunday. Will the Silver and Black re-group and deliver? We’ll have to wait til next Sunday to find out.
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Written by Arthur Kai