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Sunday, November 08, 2015

Raiders loss to Steelers reveals many takeaways

By Douglas V. Gibbs

The Raiders scored 35.  The offense did its job.  The defense, however, did not do its job, allowing the Steelers to score 38, and rack up massive yards.  There were a number of opportunities by the defense to stop the Pittsburgh offense, especially after Big Ben went down with a foot sprain, but they failed.  The defense did not look as bad as the Raiders defense of the last decade, but they have to be better if they are going to win these kinds of games.

As Coach Jack Del Rio said after the game, you can't lose the turnover battle and expect to win.  The Raiders turned the ball over 4 times, to the Steelers' 2.

After the smoke cleared, here's what we have to say about what happened:

Charles Woodson, the ageless wonder, missed some of the game, and was apparently influenced by his hurting shoulder.  Had he been 100%, Antonio Brown may not have gotten 284 yards receiving.  Brown's performance, by the way, launched him over the 1,000 yard mark for the season at the mere halfway point of games played, giving him a league leading 1,002 yards so far for the season.

DeAngelo Williams is the main running back now that Le'Veon Bell is out.  He also had a big day, rushing for 170 yards.  It seemed like every time Williams got the ball, be it rushing, or receiving, he broke for big yards.  Of all the players on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Williams was the guy the Oakland defense could not figure out.  The day brought Williams to 480 yards for the season, less than a hundred yards behind team leader Le'Veon Bell, who has 556 yards.

Williams and Brown combined for 531 yards, the first time an NFL rushing/receiving duo has done such since 1960.  Brown's 284 yards is a franchise record, the most by any player without a receiving touchdown since the 1970 merger.  The team total of 507 yards is the most ever allowed by the Raiders in a game ending in regulation.

Raiders Quarterback Derek Carr was 24 for 44 with 301 passing yards. Derek Carr has at least 3 touchdown passes in each of his last 3 games, a feat that ties for the longest streak in Raiders history.  The last time a quarterback has accomplished Carr's 3 game success was Rich Gannon in 2001.  Before leaving the game with one quarter to go, Latavius Murray compiled 96 yards. He was evaluated for a concussion, and at this point there is no word regarding if he will miss any games.  In a classy move, Mike Mitchell, the Steelers player that hit Murray when the possible concussion occurred ran over to the Raiders sideline to make sure Murray was okay. Crabtree received for 108 yards, Cooper's total was 88 yards.

If the Raiders were going to lose, today, this is the way to do it. . . fighting until the end.  A loss is a loss, and I am not going to sugar-coat it, or call it a moral victory.  But, losing the way the Raiders did showed how much the Raiders franchise has improved.  With the Vikings and Lions next on their schedule, the Raiders will likely be back over .500 when the really hard games approach.  To make the playoffs, the Raiders will likely have to beat some quality teams, like Green Bay, or Denver.

If the play of the Raiders continues to improve, and the defense finally becomes consistent, the Raiders may be a force in the 2015 playoffs.  The likelihood, however, is that they will barely fall short. . . but oh, what a powerful force they may emerge as in 2016 or 2017.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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